Carefree Car-free Getaways in Newport Beach
While cars are decidedly a godsent gift, every once in a while, it’s nice to ditch the wheel and rely on our legs for transportation for a change. Not only does a car-free weekend allow you to explore often-overlooked nooks and crannies of the city, but walking also helps boost your energy levels and cardiovascular fitness. If you’ve been thinking about planning a car-free getaway, we’ve compiled a list of hotels you can use as your base camp. And in case you’re scratching your head about what to do in the area (that’s within walking distance), we took care of that, too.
You’re staying at: Lido House—a boutique hotel which boasts an unpretentious vibe and a stylish aesthetic that calls to mind Cape Cod’s minimalist charm. The hotel itself is chock-full of attractions, particularly if you’re a foodie looking to explore the area’s culinary offerings. Inside Lido House, you’ll find a top-notch seafood-forward restaurant, a coffee shop and crémerie, and a rooftop bar that overlooks the harbor.
You’re exploring: Lido Marina Village, a scaled village that captivates in a way that few places can. There are boutiques, bars and al fresco dining options you won’t soon forget. If you find yourself outdoors in the evening then a trip to Lido Theatre—an iconic, 1938-era movie theatre—is an absolute must. (The movie theater will be reopening in spring following a renovation). Plus, all guests have access to beach cruisers if you want to extend your exploration to the oceanfront boardwalk.
You’re staying at: The Pelican Hill Resort, a luxurious Italian-inspired architectural gem that hugs the coastline. Think: a lush, manicured landscape, ocean-view bungalows and villas, a vast coliseum-shaped pool offering poolside dining and views of Newport Beach at its best. One of the resort’s restaurants, Andrea, also cooks up to-die-for Italian fare, which you can burn off later during a wellness class at the fitness center. (Alternatively, book yourself a treatment from the resort spa’s extensive menu).
You’re practicing: your swing at the Pelican Hill Golf Club. This golfer’s dream playground houses two courses with panoramic views of the vast ocean from every tee box. The hotel is also a complimentary shuttle to Crystal Cove State Park, which features hiking, jogging and biking trails. If you don’t feel like going solo, join one of the bike tours that departs from the resort and hits up the historical Crystal Cove Cottages, tide pools along the beach and Ruby’s Shake Shack.
You’re staying at: Crystal Cove Cottages, a cluster of renovated 1930’s beachfront individual and dorm-style cottages. (The place has starred in many Hollywood productions and is now an indispensable part of the city’s history and community). Since the lodges vary in how many people they can accommodate, they can serve as a home base for couples and group getaways.
You’re getting: your morning workout while hiking through Crystal Cove State Park, which encompasses 3.2 miles of sand and sea. (All to say, if you’re hoping for a more off-the-grid, beach-forward getaway, this place is for you). Wind down at the beach with a book, and when hunger strikes, trek over to the Beachcomber cafe where you’ll be treated to delicious noshes alongside fabulous water views.
You’re staying at: the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa, an upscale stay in the bustling shopping district of Fashion Island. Aside from plush accommodations, the hotel also houses a full-service spa with a gamut of offerings including massages, facial therapy and body wraps. But if you don’t feel like springing for a spa sesh, you can still take advantage of the resort’s outdoor pools and state-of-the-art fitness center.
You’re spending the day at: Fashion Island, where the hotel is located. You really can’t go wrong shopping at this outdoor mall. This is where department store giants like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom happily coexist with a pitch-perfect collection of boutiques, nail and hair salons and a slew of bars and eateries.
You’re staying at: Balboa Inn, a charming retreat that elegantly mixes an old-world charm with a modern sensibility. The best part? It’s just a few steps away from the wide-open arms of the beach. There are 45 guest rooms available here, but only 20 offer prime ocean-peeping opportunities, so you are strongly encouraged to snag an oceanfront room.
You’re walking: to the Balboa Fun Zone, a family-friendly amusement area that oozes charm and nostalgia. If you have time, you might want to take the ferry to Balboa Island, a picturesque community teeming with quaint shops and eateries. Before you head back home, walk towards Balboa Pier, because it’s a great place to watch the sunset, and because, well, it’s literally around the corner from your hotel. A great dinner spot—the vintage Ruby’s Diner—also sits at the tip of the boardwalk.
Written By: Mariam Makatsaria