There is a recurring question that comes up a lot in emails from Disneyland brides and grooms, or back when I was planning Disneyland vacations – how far is Disneyland from the beach? And my #1 beach recommendation for people coming to Disneyland is always Newport Beach. I have been to this cute little coastal community a few times and I just adore it. I’m excited for the opportunity to share some of the fun things to do and see in this little California town!
When people come to Disneyland for a destination wedding or a vacation, they often want to hit up the beach. I always recommend Newport Beach because it’s easy to get to, the beaches are clean and safe, and there are so many other fun things to do and see. Newport Beach is only about a 30 minute drive from The Disneyland Resort, but it feels like a world away! There’s plenty to do in Newport Beach for adults and families alike, so it’s the perfect beach spot for guests visiting Orange County from out of town. You can visit for a few hours, turn it into a day trip, or even stay overnight in a cute boutique hotel. To prove there’s plenty to do for a weekend visit, I’m sharing my 10 favorite things to do in Newport Beach.
1. Dip Your Toes in the Water – Perhaps the most popular beach is Newport Municipal Beach, with a five mile stretch of sandy beaches, a bike trail along the coast, and nearby restaurants such as Ruby’s Diner at the end of Balboa Pier.
2. Shop til You Drop at Fashion Island – Fashion Island is a huuuuuuuge mall with over 125 stores including department stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, specialty shops such as Kate Spade and Jonathan Adler, and over 30 dining options.
3. Whale Watching – We went whale watching in Newport Beach a couple years ago and it was so fun! We did see a whale, but the highlight for me was seeing tons of dolphins swimming alongside our boat!
4. Visit Balboa Island – “There’s always money in the banana stand.” If you’re a fan of the TV show Arrested Development, like I am, you gotta visit Balboa Island and grab a frozen banana treat. Bluth’s Frozen Banana Stand may not actually exist, but you can grab a similar treat from Sugar N Spice or Dad’s Original Frozen Banana.
5. Go on a Wine Tour – The hills of Orange County are home to several great wineries, including Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery. You can arrange a shuttle tour which will pick you up and drop you off right in Newport Beach.
6. Get in Some Golf – I know sometimes the guys like to go golfing the morning or the weekend of the wedding. Newport Beach has two beautiful golf courses to choose from: Newport Beach Golf Course and Pelican Hill Golf Club.
7. Take a Romantic Gondola Ride – The sunset sails through the canals of Newport Harbor are very popular for engagements! Contact Gondola Company of Newport to arrange your own private romantic cruise.
8. Have an Amazing Meal – You have several options for dinner and a view, such as The Cannery, Sol Cocina, or Back Bay Bistro.
9. Embrace Your Inner Kid at the Fun Zone – The Balboa Fun Zone has a waterfront Ferris Wheel, arcade games, and yummy snacks.
10. See a Show – The Newport Beach City Arts Commission hosts concerts in the park and Shakespeare by the Sea on select days. Contact Visit Newport Beach for more info.