Newport Beach - Santa Ana River to 8th St.
Balboa Beach - Island Ave. to mouth of Newport Bay
Newport Beach, CA
Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM
Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Newport Beach webcams:
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Newport Beach and Balboa Beach run together with an 8 mile swatch of sand and waves known for fabulous surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and strolling along the shore. Two piers jut out into the ocean, providing scenic views of the coast, fishing, and opportunities for photographing surfers.
A Boardwalk runs along the edge of the sand, a favorite for walkers, joggers, bikers, and skaters. The concrete Boardwalk reaches from 38th Street 3 miles south along the Balboa Peninsula.
Two main beach parking lots are located near the foot of the Newport Pier - Ocean Front Lot and McFadden Lot. Access to the lots is off West Balboa Boulevard at several places between 23rd Street and 21st Place. Rates at the metered parking lot are $1.50 per hour. Credit cards are accepted at the meters.
Parking can also be found along Balboa Boulevard and several other city streets. See Newport Beach's Interactive Parking Map for a detailed view of parking near the beach.
Five small metered parking lots at West Newport Park are spread along the length of the park. Rates are $1.50 per hour with a maximum of 6 hours. Credit cards are accepted.
The Balboa Pier Parking Lot and Balboa Pier Metered Lot are located at the foot of the Balboa Pier. The Pier Lot is always open. It has 614 metered parking spaces at $1.50 per hour or a maximum of $15 for 24 hours. Credit cards are accepted. You may park at this lot for up to 7 days, convenient for those headed out for an extended stay on Catalina Island. On major summer holidays parking is a flat rate of $25 per day. The adjacent Balboa Pier Metered Lot has 93 spaces at $1.50 per hour for a maximum of 6 hours.
At Peninsula Park on the south side of the pier are the A Street Lot and the B Street Lot. Rates are $1.50 per hour for a maximum of 6 hours. Credit cards accepted.
Limited parking can also be found along Balboa Boulevard and two other small lots several blocks inland. See Newport Beach's Interactive Parking Map for a detailed view of parking near the beach.
Limited parking is found at Jetty View Park at the end of the Balboa Peninsula.
Watchful visitors to Newport Beach are often rewarded with sightings a variety of marine creatures. Most commonly seen are gray whales, humpback whales, several kinds of seals. Harbor seals often poke their heads up in the shallows around the piers. Once in a while beach-goers catch a lucky sighting of a blue whale. Schools of dolphins can be seen at times.
Shore birds are abundant. Sightings include snowy plovers, sanderlings, whimbrels, brown pelicans, gulls, and black turnstones.
The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve spread over a thousand acres of the wetlands and surrounding bluffs northeast of the harbor. The area is popular for viewing wildlife. Among the sensitive species found in the bluff region are the Burrowing Owl, the San Diego Cactus Wren, and the California Gnatcatcher. Thousands of birds visit or live in the wetlands, including Peregrine Falcons, California Least Terns, and brown pelicans.
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
Newport Beach offers many amenities for beach-goers, most of them clustered around the pier. A small picnic area is found near the foot of the Newport Pier. A restroom oasis is located on the beach south of the pier at 15th Street and another at the pier. Newport Beach Lifeguards' headquarters is situated at the foot of Newport Pier. The 1,035-foot Newport Pier is a popular spot for fishing and sight-seeing.
The Dory Fishing Fleet is based on the beach next to the Newport Pier. The beachside cooperative sells the day's catch right there around 9 AM every day. Many local restaurants buy fish from the market. The cooperative was established in 1891 and is registered as a historical landmark.
West Newport Park stretches along the edge of the beach near the Santa Ana River. Facilities there include restrooms, tennis courts, a handball court, picnic tables, BBQs, playground equipment, and benches.
Balboa Beach is spread along the Balboa Peninsula from Island Avenue to the mouth of Newport Harbor. It is a favorite with families and sun bathers. Restrooms and outdoor showers are located near the foot of the pier. Volleyball nets are set up on the sand. In the summer surfing is not allowed from 11 AM to 6 PM. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours. A number of paved paths extend from street areas out onto the sand allowing wheelchair access to areas closer to the surf.
Adjacent to the beach near the foot of the pier, Peninsula Park has broad areas often used for soccer and a smaller section of grass with nearby picnic tables and BBQs. A children's playground is set up on the sand next to the park.
At the southern end of Balboa Peninsula, little Jetty View Park is a nice place to sit on benches and watch the boats passing in and out of Newport Harbor.
The Balboa Pier was constructed in 1906 and has been popular for sight-seeing and fishing ever since. Ruby's Diner is located at the end of the pier. Pets are not allowed on the pier.
The famous Balboa Pavilion was erected at the same time as the pier, both intended to attract visitors and investors to the area. The Pavilion is situated on the harbor side of the Balboa Peninsula, directly opposite the pier and near the popular Balboa Fun Zone. The Balboa Pavilion was originally used as a bath house. Today it serves as a marine recreation facility and terminal for boats headed across to Catalina Island. Upstairs is the Harborside Restaurant and the Grand Ballroom.
California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety