Wedding Series – Honeymoon Activites
So, you’ve said, “I do.” Now what? Well, if you’ve chosen Newport Beach as the site of your destination honeymoon, the options are endless. For starters, you and your new spouse could grab some towels and head to the beach armed with your choice of rental equipment, from boogie boards to standup paddleboards. Or you could rent a bike and cruise the boardwalk. You might even want to enjoy a relaxing massage at a local resort or check out a nearby restaurant. No matter what’s on your list, this coastal community has something for every taste. Here, a glance at just some of the many activities and experiences our area has to offer that are just perfect for the honeymooning set.
Whether you’re an adventurer seeking to explore the ocean’s underwater environs or a sun-lover searching for your own piece of paradise, there’s a beach here for you. Throughout Newport Beach, you’ll find an eco-friendly estuary teeming with life on and below the water flowing into the harbor; miles of pristine beaches sporting smooth sand; surf breaks; and rocky coves sheltering lush undersea environments. Outdoor enthusiasts also will love the area’s miles of hiking trails. A local favorite is Crystal Cove State Park, which offers more than 3 miles of bluff-lined beaches in the Crystal Cove Historic District and 2,000-plus acres of undeveloped woodland via El Moro Canyon. While at Crystal Cove, be sure to explore the vintage beach-front cottages (one used in the filming of the Bette Midler movie “Beaches”); have a bite to eat at The Shake Shack; and imbibe in a happy-hour cocktail at The Beachcomber, which raises its martini flag daily at 5 p.m. In addition to hiking, Newport Beach is the perfect spot to rent a bicycle (from a surrey to a Pedego electric bike) or even a Segway, to take surfing or standup paddleboard lessons, and to even hover above the water using a water-powered jetpack. Don’t feel like participating? Watch the action at the Wedge, a wave that rises high above the sand when a large swell hits the rock jetty. The result is a 20-foot shore break of a wave that only the most experienced bodysurfers and surfers risk riding.
2) Check out Both Balboas
Board the historic auto ferry for a one-of-a-kind ride back and forth between two of the area’s most popular attractions: Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula. At Balboa Island, you can stroll the charming tree-lined main drag of Marine Avenue filled with numerous shops offering unique nautical designs, stylish beach fashions, art and jewelry; intriguing art galleries; and homey restaurants dishing out a variety of selections ranging from local fresh seafood to Italian fare. Got a sweet tooth? Don’t even think about leaving the Island without trying one of the community’s two famous desserts — the Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana — both dipped in chocolate and covered with coatings from nuts to cookie crumbs. Just across the way at the Balboa Peninsula, have a blast at Balboa Village—featuring a Fun Zone with a Ferris wheel, arcade, nautical museum, shops and restaurants. You’ll also want to be sure and seek out the Balboa and Newport piers and boardwalks and take advantage of the plentiful outdoor activities, from surf and standup paddleboard lessons to whale watching.
3) Take in a Concert
If you’re in town from July through October, why not make your way to the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach’s Back Bay Amphitheater for the Bank of the West Summer Concert Series. This year’s season kicked off July 29 with Allen Stone and continues through Oct. 14 with Boney James at the Hyatt’s Back Bay Amphitheater — with everyone from Kenny Loggins to Sheila E. in between. Or visit the intimate setting of the rose garden at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa every Wednesday night from July-September for the Sunset Jazz at Newport series, showcasing world-class jazz artists the likes of The Four Freshman, Ernie Andrews and more.
4) Chow Down at a Local Hot Spot
Partake in everything from seafood to burgers and shakes at one of Newport Beach’s al fresco cafes and restaurants. Some popular waterfront spots include Balboa Bay Resort’s Waterline Newport Beach; The Beachcomber Café; The Cannery; Back Bay Tavern; Woody’s Wharf; The Dock; Harborside Restaurant; Bluewater Grill; Newport Landing; SOL Cocina; Billy’s at the Beach; and Ruby’s Diner at the end of the Balboa Pier. Or maybe you’re in the mood for a beach picnic? Stop off at one of the area’s numerous restaurants (like the popular Ruby’s Shake Shack, on the bluff above the Crystal Cove Historic District) or visit one of the local grocery stores (from Whole Foods in Fashion Island to Trader Joe’s in Newport Coast) and pick up some barbecue, hot dogs, hamburgers or any other tasty tidbit your heart desires. Then hit one of Newport’s many beautiful beaches, spread out a blanket and enjoy your feast. Still hungry? Wait for the sun to go down and toast up some s’mores over one of the cozy fire pits.
5) Shop ‘Til you Drop
This world-class coastal resort city has become a mecca for its one-of-a‐kind mix of big-name designers, emerging fashion talents, unique home décor boutiques and artisan gift stores that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. Among the top destinations is Fashion Island, situated in a lovely outdoor setting with gardens, fountains and ocean views and featuring top-rated restaurants and some of the world’s most popular shops for men, women and children including O.C.’s largest Anthropolgie and new stores like Blink Inc. and The Celect. Yet other fun shopping locales include the newly opened Lido Marina Village, along with longtime favorites such as Mariner’s Mile, Westcliff, Corona del Mar Plaza, Corona del Mar Village, Cannery Village and Crystal Cove Shopping Center.
6) Enjoy a Cruise
Don’t even forget about leaving Newport Beach without a cruise through the harbor on an electric Duffy boat. One of the best ways to explore Newport Harbor — known as the world’s largest small-yacht harbor — is on an easy-to-operate Duffy electric boat. Pick up drinks and a to-go meal (or tie up and dine at one of about a dozen waterfront restaurants), and then head out for a beautiful and relaxing afternoon or evening cruise as captain of one of these pleasurable canopied boats. As honeymooners, you’re likely in the mood for a touch of romance. Newport Beach has you covered with a gondola imported from Italy, complete with a private serenade delivered by your very own crooning gondolier, as well as any number of sunset harbor excursions available via Hornblower Cruises & Events. Want to cruise your way through Newport Beach via a set of wheels? Head to Beverly Hills Rent A Car and cruise up and down the Coast in style.
7) Enjoy the Sunsets
Two Corona del Mar spots have become big favorites among the locals when it comes to watching the sunset. Grab your spouse and head to Ocean Avenue, and hidden away once you pass through a residential area, you’ll discover two points that should be high on your list. Snag one of the benches or a spot on the grassy area at Lookout Point, (overlooking the Newport Harbor entrance at Heliotrope), where you not only can watch the glorious sunset but also get a stunning view of the ocean, cliffs, harbor and Catalina Island as well. There’s even a telescope for a closer look. You may even want to keep your eyes peeled for a whale sighting! Nearby, Inspiration Point (at Ocean Boulevard and Narcissus Avenue) is aptly named for its inspiring panoramic ocean views of the Newport Beach channel, ocean and rocky cliffs below. Stay up top, where you’ll find grass and benches, or take the “Disappearing Path” to a lower level sporting rocks, benches and small stone bleachers for seating. Feeling adventurous? Continue on down the path to the beach. Itching for dinner with a side of sunset? Capture some of the best vistas of the coast and the sun setting over the Pacific at spots including the Andrea Ristorante, bar and ocean-view terrace at The Resort at Pelican Hill; The Beachcomber at Crystal Cove; the Rusty Pelican and Billy’s at the Beach along Restaurant Row; and Ruby’s Diner at the end of the Balboa Pier.
8) Spend the Day at Newport Dunes
This top-notch recreational area’s 386-site state-of-the-art RV park, 450-slip marina, and a private waveless beach and playground has been a site of enjoyment since 1958. Newport Dunes also houses 24 mobile rental cottages and an on-site restaurant, the Back Bay Bistro, a critically acclaimed and highly sought-after dining spot thanks to its eclectic menu and stunning water views. Once the sun goes down, enjoy the resort’s newly launched nighttime paddleboard rides. Moe B’s Radiant Rides are held on select Fridays and Saturdays during the summer and feature standup paddleboards and kayaks adorned with LED lights. To liven things up a bit, Newport Dunes even plans to offer periodic scavenger hunts and one-hour guided SUP excursions of marine life only visible at night.
9) Visit an Attraction
Newport Beach is definitely not lacking when it comes to visual and performing arts activities. Among these are the Orange County Museum of Art, home to modern and contemporary works and Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society, preserving the island’s historic photographs and artifacts. You also might want to explore one of our well-known gardens. Both in Corona del Mar, Roger’s Gardens is a destination home and garden store known for its extraordinary seasonal displays, expert seminars, impressive art gallery and stunning floral studio; while Sherman Library & Gardens is a great place to see living plants displayed amid a setting of pristine gardens, patios and conservatories.
10) Enjoy Luxurious Accommodations
A visit to one of Newport Beach’s top hotels offers more than a place to lay your head for the night. It also provides the chance to hit the property’s grounds and relax, exercise, dine, be entertained, and enjoy the abundant flora and wildlife. Year round, SoCal’s ideal weather and sunny skies beckon guests to enjoy a dip in the pool or to peruse through lush gardens. Two properties rife for such endeavors are the Island Hotel Newport Beach (offering a 3,000-square-foot heated pool and whirlpool spa surrounded by tropical gardens) and the Carlton Hotel Newport Beach (with its tropical gardens and heated pool and spa). The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach sits on 26 acres of lush landscape and has something for everyone —from intimate patios with fire features, to a nine-hole executive golf course and much more. Golf isn’t your thing? The hotel also offers a sand volleyball court; shuffleboard; life-sized chessboard; three pools; putt-putt; and ping pong. The Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa features 12 acres of landscaped grounds boasting seasonal plants and flowers and three pools (one a private saltwater pool at Pure Blu Spa). At the Newport Beach Marriott Bayview, you can venture out to the trails of the nearby Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve (approximately 1,000 acres of open space surrounding the Back Bay, open daily from 7 a.m. to sunset) to walk, jog and bike. Tucked away from the main property grounds, the The Duke Hotel Newport Beach’s beautiful outdoor garden gazebo is surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. The active set also can enjoy the hotel’s horseshoe pit, tennis courts, and rooftop pool and cabanas. A stunning waterfront location is the hallmark of the Balboa Bay Resort. This hotel even has its own marina and dock — perfect for checking out the million-dollar yachts lined up out front — and also offers water-centered activities like Duffy, kayak and paddle board rentals. The Resort at Pelican Hill is set on 504 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There you can find three 18-hole ocean-view golf courses designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio, a bocce ball court, The Coliseum Pool (one of the world’s largest circular pools) and extensive gardens, as well as more than 50,000 acres of permanently protected, natural open space, parks and trails nearby. It’s also the place to be for plentiful seasonal activities and events.
Of course, we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to enjoyable and romantic activities in Newport Beach. For even more information on everything to see and do, log on to visitnewportbeach.com