A quick one hour jaunt south down the 405 freeway from Los Angeles, the sophisticated coastal town of Newport Beach, California offers more than you think. With miles and miles of scenic hiking, biking, surfing, over 400 local restaurants, and a laid back nightlife, its intoxicating charm will have you coming back for more.
|Crystal Cove, Newport Beach [Photo Courtesy Visit Newport Beach]|
Mommy Hiker's Top 2 Favorite Newport Beach Hikes
One of the largest coastal wetlands in southern California, offering 1,000 acres of open space, the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve is a mecca for birders, hikers, runners, bikers and picnickers. Classified as a "critical estuary," its preservation is crucial to providing a safe haven for nearly 200 species of birds, and foraging, spawning and nursery habitat for numerous species of fish, such as halibut, croaker, white sea bass and barred sand bass.
For breathtaking bluff-top trails, head over to the northwest side of the bay. If it's jogging or a brisk walk you're looking for, Back Bay Drive is a multi-use road that stretches 3 miles northwards along the east side of the Bay from the Back Bay Science Center at Shellmaker Road to Vista Point on the corner of Eastbluff Drive.
Avid cyclists can enjoy a 10-mile bike loop around the Bay which starts at Jamboree at San Diego Creek, and the more ambitious adventure seekers can tackle the 22-mile Mountains to Sea Trail, which runs from Weir Canyon north of Irvine Regional Park joins the Back Bay Loop at Jamboree Road and continues through to Shellmaker Road.
Divided into three beach areas, Reef Point, Pelican Point and Los Trancos, Crystal Cove Beach boasts 1,140 acres of majestic underwater beauty for snorkelers and scuba divers and white sand beaches for sunbathers to frolic. If water and sand isn't quite what you're looking for, head to El Moro Canyon located at the southernmost edge of the beach to explore 18 miles of pristine hiking, biking and horse trails.
|Newbie surfers at Blackies Beach, Newport Beach [Photo Courtesy Visit Newport Beach]|
On the northside of the Newport Pier is a special swath of sand called Blackies, known for its slower breaks it is the perfect spot for kids who are itching to get their toes wet in the sport of surfing.
Join over a million delight-filled viewers at the 107th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, the nation’s longest running lighted holiday boat parade, for five jam-packed nights on December 16-20, 2015.
December through April is prime grey whale watching season and Newport Beach is ranked as one of the top destinations to witness these magnificent creatures make their way down to the warmer breeding grounds of Mexico.
|Stand Up Paddleboarders, Newport Beach [Photo Courtesy Visit Newport Beach]|
From full moon paddles, to SUP movie nights, and sunset outings, take advantage of the gorgeous year round sunshine Newport Beach has to offer by taking the whole family out on a stand up paddleboard adventure.