A Guide to Picnicking in Newport Beach
When the rest of the country dons down jackets and wool hats, we can get by with a cozy sweater in sunny So. Cal. Here’s what we’ve learned from those beautiful bouts of winter sunshine: always be prepared for an impromptu picnic outdoors. If you think orchestrating a picnic is too much of a hassle, don’t fret. You bring the plaid blanket—we’ll supply you with ideas on where to throw it down and where to pick up the appropriate grub. (Because what’s a picnic without food?)
Fire Pits @ Crystal Cove State Park:
You’re settling down: by a fire pit on the beach at Crystal Cove State Park. You can reserve it online or in person at the Beachcomber’s express beach tent. (The rental includes one propane tank). To make things a little cozier, you can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas and even buy a beach towel if you’re brrrr-ave enough to take a dip in the water.
You’re ordering: from The Beachcomber cafe’s express menu, which features everything you might need for a well-rounded picnic experience. This includes staples like cheeseburgers, turkey panini, hot dogs, grilled cheese and frozen treats. And no, we’re not forgetting the obvious thing here—s’mores! You can order this campfire classic, too.
Brunch Bites @ Inspiration Point:
You’re grabbing: as many baked goods as you (and your friends) can eat from A Market, which whips them up fresh daily. Take your pick from muffins, lemon cakes and scones, but whatever you do, don’t miss the place’s famous ooey-gooey cookies. If you’re longing for something a little more savory, opt for the green machine sandwich, which tucks roasted chicken, pumpkin seeds, fire-roasted peppers and pesto Caesar in a spinach flatbread pouch. Both the caprese and roast beef sandwiches are winners, too.
You’re heading out: to the appropriately named Inspiration Point, where you’ll be treated to grand, sweeping views from your perch on a bluff overlooking Balboa Bay and Corona Del Mar beach. If house-watching is more of what you’re into, you’ll enjoy surveying the surrounding extravagant, cliff-top mansions.
Gourmet on the Sand @ Corona Del Mar State Beach:
You’re driving to: Tackle Box—a local “grub shack” that rustles up delicious sandwiches and chips served in take-out containers. No shade to your homemade sandwiches, but who can really stay away from their pork-belly banh mi? Think: rich pork belly cradled between the cottony-soft arms of milk bread, topped with pickled carrots and green papaya and slathered with spicy aioli.
You’re taking: your grub to the Corona Del Mar State Beach, a half-mile-long stretch of sand and sea, nestled between scenic cliffs and a rock jetty. Here, you can roll out your blanket, nosh on your lunch, and dive deeply into a conversation with your picnic mates. Going solo? A good book will do in a pinch.
Dock & Dine on the Harbor:
You’re going: against the grain by planning a non-traditional picnic on a boat. (This might require a little planning ahead, but your friends will love you for it). Rent your craft from Balboa Boat Rentals, which is situated in Balboa Village and is home to a fleet of duffy boats ranging in passenger capacity and features.
You’re taking: advantage of the Dock & Dine situation, which is a quintessential Newport Beach activity. Plan ahead by placing your order at Arc Butcher and Baker, which is famous for its everything-fresh, home-style and healthy grub. Spring for the “boat basket” and choose from cheese and charcuterie boards, crudité and hummus platters, croissandwiches and more. The best part? They’ll deliver your meal straight to your boat.
Written By: Mariam Makatsaria