ON THE WATER
Whether you’re a local to Southern California or traveling from afar, the mere mention of Newport Beach likely conjures images of luxury yachts and sexy sailboats. Boasting beautiful coastlines that sprawl into seemingly endless blue seas, it is no wonder that Newport is renowned for its on-the-water lifestyle. Fortunately, if you’re not among those blessed with your own slip at the marina, many local outfitters still offer the opportunity to experience life at the helm — and it doesn’t end there. Here are a few spectacular ways to enjoy the open ocean.
Perhaps you’re an adventurer who’s interested in learning how to sail, or maybe you’re seeking a charter that requires your hands do nothing more than pop Champagne and snap photos of the view. Well, Newport Beach can provide both: Catering to novices and intermediate students alike, Newport Beach Sailing School offers an array of courses with an ASA sailing instructor that cater to various levels. For a bespoke experience, sign up for a private package. Three-, five- and seven-day courses are available for those of you who are here on vacation. If a leisurely sail is more your style, Newport Beach Sailing Charters will captain a cruise while you sit back and enjoy the sights. Go for only a few hours or stay the day — the option is yours. This sleek fleet of ships offers all of the “creature comforts” you’ll need for hours on the water.
Looking for an outside-of-the-church way to wed? Or maybe there’s another sort of special event you’d like to host at sea. Whether you’re looking to throw the ultimate party or just escape in solitude with your significant other, a yacht is the perfect place. Charter Yachts of Newport Beach features three luxury boats of different sizes —The Icon, The Paradiso and The Quiet Place — that accommodate any excursion. Take a romantic dinner cruise around Catalina Island or go for a day trip with a dozen of your closest friends. Host up to 120 guests for your wedding, and sleep aboard in a sophisticated suite. Everyone deserves a special moment spent in true Newport style.
Hornblower Cruises & Events is in the midst of their annual celebration in honor of John Wayne’s birthday with a cruise on his yacht, the Wild Goose. Guests have a chance to meet Wayne’s Capt., 82-year-old Bert Minshall, buy an autographed book and pose for pictures on Wild Goose with a wax figure of John Wayne on loan from Madam Tussauds Wax Museum in Hollywood.
If you don’t mind taking the wheel, an electric boat rental is a great way to leisurely explore the harbor and surrounding seas. The 21-foot Duffy boats accommodate up to a dozen passengers and feature overhead and window coverings as well as a center table so you can comfortably enjoy refreshments as you explore. Rent a boat for up to four hours from Newport Harbor Boat Rentals or Duffy Electric Boat Company. At Newport Beach Boat Rentals, choose from a fleet of boats — ranging from a 16-foot Runabout to 16-foot Hunter Sailboat to a 21-foot Lear Electric — and take your own tour. You can also rent kayaks here for a quieter and more intimate encounter with Newport’s coastal waters.
If marine life is what you wish to see, then head far out to sea on a whale-watching tour! Newport Landing Whale Watching offers individual and group tours. May through November is the time to see giant blue and finback whales.
SEE AND DO
One of the most fun ways to combine sightseeing with adventure is on a Sea Doo. Rent one from Balboa Water Sports and enjoy an hour of zipping across the ocean waves. Raise your adrenaline and see an array of sea creatures including dolphins and whales.
KAYAKS AND PADDLEBOARDS
If a boat with no motor is more your mode of exploration, discover the coastal waters in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard. Rent them from Southwind Kayak and SUP Center, Pirate Coast Paddle Company, Newport Paddle Co or Paddle Power.