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24 things to do with an extra 24 hours on Leap Day

February 25, 2020
  • Text goes here
  • Photo Credit: Skott Snider Photography
  • Lido Marina Village
  • Crystal Cove State Beach
  • NEWPORT DUNES WATERFRONT RESORT & MARINA
  • Javier's Restaurant in Newport Beach
  • Bluefin

Every four years, something magical happens in February; we’re talking about that extra day we tack onto the end of the month. The 29th is better known as Leap Day and while there are heaps of traditions, superstitions and folklore attached to the day, for us, it’s the perfect excuse to venture out into the city and do something special. In honor of the bonus 24 hours we’ll be earning this year, we came up with 24 fun things to do in Newport Beach. Consider this a grocery aisle of ideas—what you put in your shopping cart is totally up to you!

 

1 – Catch the rays at Corona del Mar State Beach, where the white sand, tranquil ocean and clean air will have you de-stressed and breathing easier this season.

2 – Ride the Ferris wheel at Balboa Fun Zone and meander through the nostalgic amusement area with a cone from Cowafornia. The brownie extreme and the horchata are all good, but the cappuccino crunch is a standout.

3 – Spruce up your home for spring by shopping for chic tableware, pillows and candles at Malibu Farm Home, and don’t forget to pick up fresh, seasonal blooms from French Buckets flower cart in Lido Marina Village.

4 – Get your sweat on by hiking through the backcountry wilderness of Crystal Cove State Park, which offers 18 miles of easy-to-strenuous hiking trails. After your invigorating hike, kick back with a refreshment at The Beachcomber Cafe.

5 – Kayak through Upper Newport Bay by opting for one of Newport Bay Conservancy’s guided tours. A trained naturalist will give you the inside scoop on the wildlife you spot as you float by.

6 – Celebrate Leap Day inside the cozy quarters of Five Crowns, which is modeled after one of England’s oldest country inns. This year, the restaurant is offering a $125 four-course Leap Year wine dinner with Stags Leap Winery vs. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

7 – Get your ‘om’ on at Ra Yoga, which hosts a slew of classes—yogalates, strength yoga and hot yoga and all levels of vinyasa!

8 – Pick your favorite house while walking around Balboa Island with a chocolate-coated frozen banana in hand. Snag it from either Sugar ‘n Spice or Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop, both of which claim to be original purveyors of this classic Balboa Island treat.

9 – Join Crystal Cove State Park’s naturalists on a Leap Day bluff and beach sunset trek, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m. and lasts till sunset. Don’t forget to bring a camera and binoculars for a prime wildlife viewing experience.

10 – Stroll through Sherman Library and Gardens and then treat yourself to a delicious meal at Cafe Jardin—a French-inspired restaurant nestled inside the lush garden.

11 – Spend the day practicing your swing at Pelican Hill Golf Club, or if golf’s not your thing, then go all-out with an ultra-luxurious pamper session at the resort’s 5-star spa.

12 – Raise the bar for your workout and practice your pliés at The Barre Code. Barre is combined with ballet-inspired moves with a little bit of pilates, dance and a dash of yoga sprinkled in.

13 – Shop till you drop at the diverse cluster of stores at Fashion Island, then round out your evening with a movie at The Lot. Relax with a scrumptious meal brought straight to your comfy leather recliner.

14 – Feel the ocean breeze as you idle away the afternoon in a Duffy boat. Balboa Boat Rentals has a fleet of boats you can choose from for your water-based adventure.

15 – Explore the expertly curated and manicured grounds of Roger’s Gardens. Wind down with a cocktail at Farmhouse, which serves up dreamy farm-to-table American fare.

16 – Pedal along the boardwalk by renting any gear you’d like—men’s, women’s and children’s bikes, Italian surreys, tandems, beach cruiser and mountain bikes—from Seaside Bike Rentals.

17 – Spot a whale while exploring Newport Beach’s coastal backyard. Dolphin and sea lion sightings are almost a given when you swing for a Davey’s Locker whale-watching cruise.

18 – Spring for a Hornblower dinner cruise. The three-hour experience runs every Friday and Saturday and promises delicious grub, a boarding glass of bubbly, and entertainment by way of dancing and music. (If you book by Feb. 29, you’ll snag a 20 percent off on dinner cruises through March 31).

19 – Not sure about sailing out into the water? You can still enjoy the sunset pinks and reds by dining at one of Newport Beach’s many waterfront restaurants. (Waterline, Bluewater Grill, Newport Landing Restaurant and Lighthouse Cafe, just to name a few).

20 – Hunker down with a good book at the Newport Beach Public Library. Or better yet, take your new read down to one of the scenic picnic benches at the nearby Sculpture Exhibition in Civic Center Park.

21 – Find out what the city’s most celebrated chefs are cooking up by booking a table at Newport Beach’s premiere dining venues such as Javier’s, Marché Moderne and Bluefin.

22 – Cloak yourself in designer garb found at A’maree’s. Stocked with a myriad of niche European brands, the boutique’s spacious waterfront location is a can’t-miss Newport Beach shopping destination.

23 – Find zen at Inspiration Point, which offers top-notch views of Balboa Bay and Corona Del Mar beach. (Aka, the best place to practice meditation and quiet your mind’s chatter).

24 – Park your RV at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina. There’s a variety of sites to choose from as your glamping destination, from ones that feature picnic tables to others that overlook the beach.

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