Cruise California's Newport Harbor

Gina Sabatella
Balboa Island’s Ferris wheel
Ice cream bars and boat tours signal the height of summer along this boardwalk. Here's where to go, shop, and eat

Info: Newport Beach is about 15 miles southwest of Anaheim, at the western end of State 55. 800/942-6278.

It'd be difficult to find a more fitting salute to summer than a day along the water in Newport Beach, California, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Stroll the boardwalk to the ferry and hop aboard for a ride to nearby Balboa Island. Kids squeal on the Ferris wheel and beg their parents to buy them Balboa Bars ― slabs of vanilla ice cream dipped in warm chocolate and rolled in sprinkles and nuts ― while hawkers promote hourly harbor cruises to spot sea lions, grand yachts, and bayside mansions.



What: Canopy-topped electric boats for up to 12 people; pilot around the harbor and up narrow channels lined with multimillion-dollar homes.
When: Open daily.
How much: $95 per hour.
Where: 2001 W. Coast Hwy. (State 1); 949/645-6812.


What: A guided tour of Newport Harbor in brightly colored sit-on-top kayaks, with a stop for a swim at one of Newport's best beaches, Pirates Cove, where Gilligan's Island was filmed.
When: Open daily; reservations required.
How much: From $39.
Where: Meet at the harbor, or arrange to have the tour operator pick you up; 949/632-4694.


What: Paintings of harbor scenes ― the Balboa Pavilion, Crystal Cove, and Catalina Island's Avalon ― by local artists.
When: Open Fri-Mon.
Where: 229 Marine Ave., Balboa Island; 949/723-6171.



What: A popular hangout at the foot of Newport Pier that's perfect for people-watching. True to the name, the chili burgers and chili fries are both great.
When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
How much: $.
Where: 102 McFadden Place, near Newport Pier; 949/675-7991.


What: Classic American steakhouse with thick cuts of meat and jet-fresh seafood in an elegant setting.
When: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.
How much: $$$$.
Where: In Marriott Hotel & Spa, 900 Newport Center Dr.; 949/729-6900.

DownComment IconEmail IconFacebook IconGoogle Plus IconGrid IconInstagram IconLinkedin IconList IconMenu IconMinus IconPinterest IconPlus IconRss IconSave IconSearch IconShare IconShopping Cart IconSpeech BubbleSnapchat IconTumblr IconTwitter IconWhatsapp IconYoutube Icon