The Best Beaches Of Newport Beach California

Posted by Jacqueline Thompson on Monday, August 24th, 2020 at 12:09pm

Aerial view of Newport Beach pier

Newport Beach is a city that wears its distinction in its name as the coastline of this seaside town boasts a wide sandy stretch that visitors come from all over the world to see and experience.

But it's not just the eponymous beach of Newport Beach that people appreciate.

The city also has a plethora of locations along its Pacific shores with amenities and natural features to suit a wide variety of tastes.

So if you want to get salty in the water, or enjoy an ice cream cone on a boardwalk, taking in gentle surf to rugged vistas, you can find them all on Newport Beach's many points, coves, and shores.

Here we've assembled a list of some of the best beaches that Newport Beach has to offer.

Newport Beach Municipal Beach

Starting at the top, it's not surprising that Newport Beach Municipal Beach should feature on this list. After all, it is perhaps the one that the city is most famous for.

The beach is incredibly wide - far wider than almost every other spot on the Southern California coast, and with unparalleled amenities.

You can take a long stroll down Newport Pier to enjoy the sights and to watch the surfers do their thing, or you can attend one of the local surf schools to get out there yourself. Relax at McFadden Square, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and eateries in the area... 

Acclaimed local food venues include:

  • Newport Coffee Company
  • Seaside Donuts Bakery
  • Banzai Bowls
  • The Crab Cooker
  • Mutt Lynch's

Newport beach with lifeguard towers and houses

Note that the sands on the south side of the pier tend to be less busy, so if you're looking for a little more social distance on the beach, this is the spot.

If you have kids in tow, cross Balboa Boulevard, and Balboa Peninsula in the process, to Marina Park Playground at the Marina Park Community Center. There you'll find a more sheltered beach with large greens, gazebos, and playscapes. 

Newport Beach Municipal Beach is accessible on foot for residents and visitors of Balboa Peninsula, Lido Isle, and Balboa Island. 

Balboa Beach

Further down Balboa Peninsula, you'll eventually reach Balboa Beach. This stretch of sand is a bit quieter than Newport Beach proper, but with a similar set of amenities to enjoy.

There's Balboa Pier (with the iconic Ruby's Diner located at the end), as well as the Balboa Peninsula Park, and a number of highly regarded eateries near the main parking, including Green Element 365, Great Mex Grill, and Tacos Cancun.

Walk down to the channel entrance and you'll be in the presence of The Wedge - a legendary beach-breaking wave that attracts world-class talent and media attention when the conditions are right. The surf here is dominated by bodysurfers and is definitely not recommended for beginners!

Overall, Balboa Beach offers a more serene experience, with more greenery and protected dune vegetation. It's an excellent beach to visit for anyone visiting or living on Balboa Island or the Lower Newport Bay area

Balboa pier, Newport Beach California

Little Corona Del Mar State Beach

little corona del mar beach at sunset

Jump over the channel entrance to Newport Bay and you'll land on Corona Del Mar State Beach. However, if this popular spot is a bit too popular, you can take a short walk down Ocean Boulevard to visit Little Corona Beach. 

On the way, you'll pass the Inspiration Point lookout spot before arriving at a footpath where Ocean Boulevard becomes Poppy Avenue. Following that down to the water will put you at Little Corona del Mar Beach.

This beach can still get a little busy in the peak season, but the interesting rock formations and rock pools create an enclosed area that's great for swimming.

This beach is a bit rockier than most - so watch your step. You can also bring a board if you're interested in giving surfing a try because the waves here are very gentle. But watch out for swimmers!

This beach is great for those visiting or living in the Corona del Mar Village area, or the communities of Shore Cliffs or Corona Highlands

Pelican Point Beach

Continuing down the Pacific Coast Highway, you'll eventually come to Crystal Cove State Park, accessible from the intersection with Newport Coast Drive.

Park at one of the parking lots on the bluff and then descend towards the beach via the trails that make their way through the preserved coastal vegetation.

From the trails and viewpoints, you can experience what this coastline looked like 100 years ago, and once you're at the beach you can take in the beach and ocean uncluttered with buildings, traffic, or people.

Note that this destination doesn't have any city-beach amenities - so bring your own lunch, stay safe, and enjoy the peace and quiet!

Pelican Point is situated just below The Resort At Pelican Hill and its associated residential communities

Crystal cove state park beach overlook

Looking for something specific?

Many people look for a beach with a specific need or activity in mind, and many visitors to the area don't even know what they're looking for. Below we answer some questions that people have about the beaches around Newport Beach.

Are The Beaches Around Newport Beach Dog Friendly?

At Newport Beach beaches, dogs are not allowed between 10 AM and 4:30 PM, and the times are a little more restrictive for any beaches facing the inner bay. However, leashed dogs are allowed outside of those times.

There is one notable exception though...

Newport Beach has one off-leash dog beach located adjacent to the Santa Ana River mouth at the far north end of the city's shoreline. Between the river and the 74th Street lifeguard tower, dogs are allowed to play and run without a leash.

What Are The Best Surfing Beaches At Newport Beach? 

surfers at Newport Beach at sunset

Newport Beach has many locations that are great for surfing. If the conditions are right - you can surf almost anywhere! However, here are some of the more notable spots:

The beach immediately north of Newport Pier is known as "Blackies". This break is known for its long gentle waves that are perfect for longboarders and beginners.

Further north, up the beach, the breaks between 52nd and 56th Street are sometimes referred to as "Echo Beach" and are excellent for novice to intermediate surfers.

Again - it's all about conditions on the day, so check the forecast first if you don't want a surprise.

And of course, there is the already mentioned "Wedge" at the south end of Balboa Beach. The conditions here are fickle, and when they are working the break is for experts only. Best to just show up with a camera.

The best beaches for surfing in Newport Beach are Blackies (beginner), Echo Beach (intermediate), and The Wedge (expert).

How Far Is Irvine From The Beach?

Irvine is a landlocked city in Orange County, so it doesn't have any beaches of its own. However, Irvine is still quite close to the shore, so the beach is never too far away.

The easiest beaches to access from Irvine are probably Pelican Point via Newport Coast Drive, Corona del Mar Beach via MacArthur Boulevard, and Newport Beach via Newport Boulevard.  

So how far is the beach from Irvine? If you're planning on driving from somewhere like the Irvine Spectrum Center, the beach at Pelican Point is just 20 minutes away.

Can you swim in Newport Beach?

Many Newport Beach beaches are excellent for swimming, with long shallow shores and lifeguards on duty. Although, you should be careful to watch out for surfers. 

The ocean water temperatures around Newport Beach are above what some might consider "unbearably cold", but they're also below what most people can tolerate for extended periods of time. As such, they're good for a dip or a swim on a hot day, but extended exposure (like surfing, for instance) usually requires a wetsuit. 

What Are The Best Beaches In Newport Beach, California?

  1. Newport Beach Municipal Beach
  2. Balboa Pier Beach
  3. Little Corona Beach
  4. Pelican Point

Honorable Mention

The list above is by no means exhaustive, so below are yet more beaches to check out in and around Newport Beach, CA. 

  • Newport Dunes - A secluded cove in the inner bay, associated with the Newport Dunes Resort. 
  • Santa Ana River County Beach - At the far north end of Newport Beach, this one is home to the area's only off-leash dog beach. 
  • Corona del Mar State Beach - The main coastal attraction in Corona del Mar, just south of the village with ample parking. 
  • Reef Point & Scotchman's Cove - Located in a separate portion of the Crystal Cove State Park, these beaches are at the extreme southern end of the Newport Beach area.

For more information about everything that Newport Beach has to offer, including luxury oceanside real estate, contact the Jacqueline Thompson Group today!

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