Campsites and Cottages
When heading to Newport Beach for the summer, why not forego the usual hotel and stay at one of the area’s popular campsites or cottages? There are several to choose from, some right on the sand and next to the ocean. Check out — and then check into — these popular spots.
Families will love the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, a 110-acre resort situated on the Back Bay Nature Preserve. Here they will find one of Southern California’s premier RV parks and marinas on a mile of beautiful sandy beach overlooking the Waveless Lagoon, which opens on Memorial Day weekend and is ideal for activities such as swimming, kayaking, boating and paddle boarding. There’s also a children’s playground on the beach.
Those who wish to stay at the resort can choose from 406 deluxe RV sites, camp sites and 24 cottages, many on the beach directly overlooking the lagoon. The 400-square-foot cottages can accommodate up to six people and include a queen-sized bed, living room with pullout sofa bed, full kitchen, bathroom, cable TV and patios. Guests also have access to the Village Square, offering amenities and services such as an exercise room; game room; pool and spa; laundry facilities; events and fun crafts for both children and adults; and the Market Place for food and snacks, clothing and gift items, and RV and boat supplies. Rental prices are seasonal and depend on location, with cottages ranging from $165-$215-plus from September through May and $215-$325-plus from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
While staying on the property, be sure to partake in special activities including Movies on the Beach, showing popular films from Surfs Up to Monsters vs. Aliens every Friday and Saturday at dusk until Labor Day, as well as the Back Bay Bistro’s “Wine-Down Wednesdays” (half price on select wines), “Date Night Thursdays” (special dinner for two) and popular Sunday Brunch (named best top 10 brunch in the Southland by “Open Table”).
In addition, the resort also collaborates with the city of Newport Beach to stage one of Orange County’s largest and best coastal Fourth of July celebrations — Independence Day on the Back Bay — with this year’s event including live music by KC & The Sunshine Band and a sensational fireworks show, along with a 4th of July Buffet at the Back Bay Bistro, from 3-9 p.m., offering seafood, prime rib and dessert. And, on July 5, the resort also hosts a Beach House of the ’80s festival, complete with DJ Richard Blade of KROQ and SiriusFM and live music from Flashback Heart Attack and Neon Nation.
For another fun camping and cottage experience, head to Crystal Cove State Park halfway between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach. There you’ll find three different arrangements: the Crystal Cove Beach Cottages; Moro Campground; and Moro Primitive Tent Camping. The cottages were built in the 1920s and ’30s and are located in the 12-acre historic district dotted by three miles of stunning wide sandy beaches with tide pools, gently sloping hills and deeply wooded canyons and ridges. Each of the rustic structures has been authentically restored, with the most iconic being the “Beaches Cottage” because it appeared in the 1988 Bette Midler film.
The cottages are ideal for families who enjoy water-related activities like swimming, scuba and skin diving, fishing, as well as mountain biking and hiking. Campers will also want to be sure to check out the Park Interpretive Store and Art Gallery; Visitors Center; and The Beachcomber Cafe, a popular beachfront spot for indulging in breakfast, lunch or dinner or for grabbing a cocktail at the Bootlegger Bar (don’t miss the raising of the martini flag every day at 5 o’clock!). For burgers and an original date shake, try Ruby’s Shake Shack on Pacific Coast Highway at Crystal Cove.
The average rate for individual cottages, which hold up to four people, is $229 per night (plus tax) and the average rate for a dorm-style cottage, which accommodates from one to six and offers shared kitchens, bathrooms and decks, is $75 per night (plus tax), with additional per person nightly fees over the base rate and up to the maximum occupancy. Crystal Cove also has four ADA cottages for its disabled guests.
Meanwhile, Moro Campground has 27 RV/trailer spaces and 30 standard spaces, with electric and water hook-ups, and Moro Primitive Tent Camping offers 10 spaces, with campers required to pack everything in (including water) and out inland for about three miles on a mostly uphill trail.
There are four parking areas at Moro, Reef Point, Los Trancos and Pelican Point, and you don’t need to be a Crystal Cove camper to enjoy the park. For a complete history of this O.C. landmark, you can even download a free walking tour onto your phone.
Both Cottage photos are by: Jon Edwards
Campground photo by: Shelby Barone