Located only 45 minutes from West Los Angeles, Newport Beach is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city living with its picturesque beaches, harbors, restaurants and shops.
It’s the kind of place where you feel your shoulder relax the moment you step out of the car. And you instinctively think to yourself, why didn’t we plan a longer trip? Because no one ever wants to leave Newport Beach!
What makes this beach town unlike most others on the West Coast is that it seamlessly blends elements of the surf, brah and party culture with the sophistication of most of its residents whose levels of wealth equal those found in the top zip codes in the country. This blend creates a unique town that is stunningly gorgeous, extremely well-maintained, boasts some of the top restaurants and hotels in California, and creates that sophisticated beach town vibe and style.
Newport Beach is at its heart, a beach town, but elevated with glamour, with style and sophistication.
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach, a large property situated on many acres and abuts one of the many harbors. The grounds feature shuffleboard, several pools, a slide, tennis, family-friendly bike rentals, golf, giant chess and more.
Balboa Fun Zone
On our first afternoon, we spent it enjoying fun activities that everyone from kids to grown-ups will surely love. We started at the entrance to the Balboa Fun Zone, which is also where you get on your Duffy Boat for a cruise around the Harbor. The Harbors are huge and contain 8 separate islands, all of them containing gorgeous homes ranging from New England style but quaint to opulent homes that heads of companies flock to.
A Duffy is a little boat that is covered on all sides, so there is no wind blowing in your hair. It’s the perfect way to explore without having to worry about little kids getting sea sick or falling over the railing. They only go 5 miles an hour, create little wake, and are very easy to drive.
We shared our Duffy experience with Kelly Fondot’s family, who spent most of our time with on this fun trip. They also have a Greyson (with an “e” instead of an “a”) who also loves video games, star wars and minecraft. They could be the same kid, except big Grey is 3 years older than Little Gray. Or as they said, Gray A and Gray B.
After the Duffy ride, it was time to play at Balboa Fun Zone!
Balboa Fun Zone
Harper and I rode the Ferris Wheel and a few other rides while Grayson played video and arcade games with Kelly’s family. Gray figured out some cool tricks to earn lots of tickets. Tickets can be used to buy cool things at the store.
Harper and I LOVED the rides. At the top of the Ferris Wheel you had the best view in town. Although it was a tad scary, it was also so fun!
Later that evening, we all bonded over delicious salads and gluten-free pizza at a restaurant that has all of the games on for the day (my husband always appreciates that!) and tons of fun games for the kids to play like Jenga. I love restaurants that go out of their way to make sure the kids (and thus the parents) have amazing experience.
The next morning we went to Fashion Island, a luxurious, massive shopping center situated mostly outdoors among Palm Trees and beautiful So Cal style decor. We rode the wooden trolley, which was such fun! And then we shopped until we dropped!
We found many of our favorite stores like Kendra Scott and Lush Cosmetics. But the highlight was a local toy shop called Engine Ears Toys with the most amazing selection and even better employees who could direct you to the exact perfect toy to buy.
Another favorite store was Gary’s who sells fine menswear. They basically took the things I love about the Nordstrom Menswear Department and only focused on those while adding so much more! This store is my husband’s shopping mecca. We found him pants, shoes, shirts, and one he liked so much he wore out of the store.
When in Newport Beach, you must go to Gary’s. We had lunch at Lemonade, and I tried their new poke bar bowls. They are good. I complimented it with an Asian salad (no soy on anything for me). It was soooo yummy!
We also got to see the holiday decor going up, Christmas at Fashion Island is going to be incredible! The Santa House is so unique and has way shorter lines than the Grove!
Crystal Cove State Beach
We spent an amazing hour at Crystal Cove State Beach, and I never wanted to leave. I went to college on the cliffs over looking Black’s Beach, and it has the same feel and sense of purpose yet calm.
The kids absolutely love beach play days, and from the moment their feet hit the sand, they are ready to hit the waves. Their excitement builds and morphs into this fun beach energy that sucks up everyone around them, and puts them in an instantly good mood!
This was before the clothes came off. The littles were soon splashing and playing in the water, looking in the tidepools for crabs, turtles, and other sea creatures. Building castles and letting their imaginations run wild.
It was the perfect afternoon and I never wanted to leave.
The walk down is a bit steep, I recommend taking the stairs if you are worried. I was used to the walk down to Black’s beach which is much longer and steeper, so I was fine.
The best part is, as the path crosses the “s” curve, there is an area to shower off the sand and salt, and change into warmer clothes. I cannot tell you how amazing this is! It’s the difference of cold, wet, cranky kids and happy, exciting kids who just had a great day and are now feeling pretty tranquil!
More sunset shots, they are all spectacular in Newport Beach!
Beachcomber Sunset Dinner
Next we went to Beachcomber for a bonfire with smores and a campfire bbq dinner. We made hamburgers and hot dogs (I had both of mine gluten free, of course!), fruit and lots of smores!
It was such a unique and fun experience. The kids played in the water as the sun continued to set, and with a few balls we brought for them. After dinner, it was pitch black except for the fire, so we made a lot of smores!
It was such a special and fun day!
Our last day featured brunch on the Harbor and then a park playdate at an amazing park called Marina Park, Newport Beach. This park featured so many unique physical challenges for kids to help them develop gross motor skills, problem solving and more.
The location cannot be beat, with views looking over the Harbor, a giant Light tower that kids can climb on and featuring a tall slide, and tons of parking.
Then we finally had some time to relax and enjoy the gorgeous grounds of the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach.
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach is such a thoughtful hotel. With a coffee bar in the morning (with everything you would see at Starbucks, even almond milk!) and later turns into a normal bar.
It’s only about a 20 minute drive to Disneyland also!
The pool areas were designed for family fun with slides, ping-pong tables, cornhole, lots of toys for the kids to play with and even swim vests for guests to use.
We had such a wonderful time in Newport Beach, and I have already been back once to shop at Fashion Island. For me living in West LA, it takes LESS time to drive to Fashion Island than to go to the Grove in West Hollywood, with traffic. And that parking there, ughhhh.
This time we spent just a few hours in Newport Beach, but we still got that same relaxed vibe while doing tons of shopping. When are you going to head to the beach?
*This post was sponsored, however all views, stories, photos and ideas reflected herein are my own.