Neighborhood Guide: Newport Coast/Crystal Cove
Perched at the southernmost end of Newport Beach sits Crystal Cove State Park, a designated area of preserved natural beauty. Crystal Cove, one of Orange County’s largest remaining examples of protected natural seashore, boasts 3.2 miles of sandy beaches, rolling waves, tidepools and scenic rural spaces. Visitors can stick an umbrella in the sand for a day at the beach, hike the inland canyons and explore the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District. Here’s our guide to spending a fall day in this region of Newport Coast.
Possibly one of the most luxurious hotels in Orange County, The Resort at Pelican Hill rests on 504 acres of pristine coastline, boasting a “barefoot luxury” kind of vibe. Between the property’s Roman aqueduct-style architecture, lavish Tuscan vibe and beautiful villas and bungalows with marble soaking tubs, this stunning respite is a dream (vacation) come true. Make yourself at home and enjoy sumptuous perks like panoramic ocean views, private furnished terraces, access to the majestic Coliseum Pool and an assortment of places to wine and dine.
When many think of Newport Coast, the words “rural” and “scenic” come to mind. And while most of the region remains untouched, there’s a smattering of swanky restaurants throughout, including Michelin-starred French restaurant Marché Moderne. Guests can indulge in coastal cuisine at Pelican Grill, enjoy upscale Mexican cuisine at Javier’s or sit down to a sophisticated dinner (starring steaks and seafood) at Mastro’s Ocean Club. For more casual daytime bites, we recommend Crystal Cove Shake Shack for burgers and milkshakes, Bear Flag Fish Co. for a quick lunch or The Beachcomber for brunch, cocktails and everything in between.
Perched on Pacific Coast Highway, Crystal Cove Shopping Center features a unique mix of well-known retailers and designer boutiques. It’s home to classics like Banana Republic, Gap, Sonder Living, Williams-Sonoma and more. Take a stroll around the center, pop into stores and admire the breathtaking ocean views!
Outdoor activities abound in Crystal Cove, which means you’ll never run out of things to do and places to explore. Start your morning with a hike on the El Moro Canyon to Moro Ridge Loop (9.5 miles), then soak up the sun at Crystal Cove State Beach, where you can also visit the tide pools! If you prefer the green over the sand, you’ll love teeing off at the stunning Pelican Hill Golf Club. But whichever way you choose to spend your day, end it with a cozy bonfire on the beach! Hint: The Beachcomber in the Historic District will set everything up for you.
The Resort at Pelican Hill’s Beach Picnic Experience is definitely something you’ll want to add to your itinerary. Their complimentary coach service will transport you down to the beach and equip you with water, towels, chairs and umbrellas. You can even have the on-site Caffè & Market prepare a picnic lunch!
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger