Five Essentials to Experience in Newport Beach

As featured in my YA novel According to Audrey! Check out what Dove likes to do~

Newport Peninsula + Balboa Pier 

Jutting out along the coastline like a protective arm of sandy beach, the Balboa Peninsula separates the calm waters of Newport Bay from the Pacific Ocean. This small strip of land is less than a half-mile wide but jam-packed with restaurants, bars, bike rentals, and plenty of surfers and sunbathers. On one side, flat sandy beaches sprawl out for four miles, the ocean waves crashing along its shore. Here, the Balboa Pier stretches out into the ocean on its huge pylons, with Ruby's Diner perched at the end - a fun stop for burgers and shakes. On the opposite bay side, boats dock along the bay front water alongside the historic Balboa Pavilion building, and the Fun Zone has a Ferris wheel, arcade games, and classic beach eats.


The Crab Cooker

The Crab Cooker on the Peninsula is one of Newport's oldest and best-loved places to grab a bite. The bright red restaurant with its green striped awning has been a favorite for both locals and tourists since 1951. Fresh seafood is what's for lunch and dinner, and the nautical decor and no-frills recycled plastic utensils just add to its relaxed, beachy vibe.


The Balboa Ferry

The Balboa Ferry has been carrying people across the short 800 feet distance from Balboa Island to the Peninsula and back again since 1919. The double-ended wooden boats of today were introduced in the 1950s, and each one can comfortably transport three cars, along with pedestrians and bicyclists, for its brief but peaceful ride across the water. It's a perfect, easy way to enjoy a little saltwater breeze while taking in the sights of Newport Bay.


Balboa Bars + Frozen Bananas

Quite possibly two of the best desserts ever invented, chocolate-covered Balboa Bars and frozen bananas are the quintessential Newport Beach treats. The frozen refreshment - vanilla ice cream or frosty banana - is dipped in melted chocolate and then covered in nuts or candy sprinkles of your choice. It's like summer fun on a stick, all year round.

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Crystal Cove State Beach

Tucked away off the beaten path along Pacific Coast Highway's route toward Laguna lies one of the best beaches in Orange County. If you're willing to park and make the short trek down the trail, under the eucalyptus trees, and through the sandy tunnel, you'll be rewarded with the charming sight of the Beachcomber Cafe nestled at the bottom of the coastal cliffs. Delightful little rental cottages line the shore, and sprawling tide pools cap both ends of this wide expanse of sandy beach. On the cliffs above, the wooden benches at the roadside Shake Shack are the perfect place to sip a chocolate malt while taking in the sunset.