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19 Fun & Best Things to Do in Newport Beach, California

Zodiac boat in the Pacific Ocean for whale watching near Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach is a popular destination for all ages, offering the best of California weather, beaches, dining, water sports, and family fun. This Southern California coastal town is known for its large harbor, ten miles of beaches, excellent whale-watching opportunities, and local craft beers.

In addition, the annual international yacht race, the Ensenada International Yacht Race, brings in scores of visitors every spring. The quaint harborside community of Balboa Island is also quite a draw with its boutique shops, restaurants, and water sports rentals.

One of the best experiences in the coastal city of Newport Beach is taking one of the many whale-watching excursions, where you can witness the magic of giant blue whales, humpback whales, or grey whales. During your whale-watching trip, you can also see dolphins and other marine life.

You’ll also find Newport Beach to be a food, art, shopping, environmental, and cultural hub, with the Orange County Museum of Art, the Environmental Nature Center, Fashion Island, and the Sherman Library and Gardens.

Whether you’re visiting this coastal city for business or pleasure, there are endless things to do. Keep reading to find our top picks for this Pacific Southwest destination!


  • Most significant landmark – The Wedge
  • Best park – Inspiration Point Park
  • Best free activity – Crystal Cove State Park
  • Best activity for kids – Balboa Fun Zone
  • Best activity for adults – Newport Landing Whale Watching
  • Best food – Crystal Cove Shake Shack
  • Best nightlife – Billy’s At The Beach
  • Best all-around accommodationLido House

Fun & Best Things to Do in Newport Beach, California

1. Newport Landing Whale Watching

Zodiac boat in the Pacific Ocean for whale watching near Newport Beach, California
Kim Magaraci / ViaTravelers

Address: 309 Palm St A, Newport Beach, CA 92661

You can’t visit Newport Beach, California, without booking a whale-watching excursion! These tours are plentiful, from private tours to luxury catamaran cruises. While the most common whales are grey and blue, you may also stumble upon killer whales during your whale-watching tour.

There are whale-watching trips offered daily and year-round, so no matter when you visit Newport Beach, you’ll have an opportunity to see whales. If you’re hoping to see grey whales, you’ll want to book a trip from December through April, whereas blue whales (along with killer whales, dolphins, and other mammals) are most commonly seen from May through…

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