Boasting a sophisticated lifestyle that is strongly based in the entertainment business and inspired by the yachting crowd, this city of about 86,000 has an average home price of $1,000,000. Even if you canít afford to live in Newport Beach, itís worth a visit for a great vacation involving beaches and water, and water-based sports. The affluent live here and it shows in the upscale shops and dining establishments, but it is also renowned for great surfing, bodyboarding and bodysurfing.
Newport Beach has been built on a marshy lagoon and river estuary that empties into the Pacific Ocean; at the upper end of that estuary sits the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. The natural, as well as the wealthy, make their homes here. The main beach has an unusual zig-zag shape, moderated by the ocean so that summers are gently tempered by the sea and winters are never cold.
Newport Beach, thanks to its discriminating citizens, is a center of cultural activities and high-end golf courses, including the famed Pelican Hill Golf Club and the Big Canyon Country Club. It is home to the Orange County Museum of Art, 5 private yacht clubs and what is known as Fashion Island at Newport Center, a fashionista paradise! But itís the water-related activities that give Newport Beach its distinction.
The Newport Aquatic Center offers facilities for public boating, from sailing to kayaking, and the Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship. Regattas and other sailing events are held almost daily, and this is the location of the beloved Annual Christmas Boat Parade that has been staged since 1908. Sailors will want to visit the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, a tribute to all things boat-based. Dozens of charter companies take tourists on harbor tours, and host on-boat weddings and corporate functions.
A concrete path spans the length of the beach area, and is known as the boardwalk, despite its lack of wood. Itís the ideal place for a sunset stroll or an invigorating morning jog; you never know who you might bump into (this city has more celebrities per square mile than almost anywhere!); Newport Beach has been used as shooting locations for many television series, such as The O.C., and films.
The Dory Fish Market is a pleasure to experience, as are the numerous seafood restaurants that dot the streets of Newport Beach. Every type of food is served here, and since the demand for top-quality dining is high, the level of cuisine and service is accordingly excellent.
A glittering place in and of itself, Newport Beach is also close to other Pacific coast gems, and this puts it in an enviable geographic position. A visit here enables the traveler to see at least a dozen other California cities and towns, with their beaches and laid-back lifestyles.