A Very Merry Holiday Newport Beach Family Vacation
Tis the season to travel with your family! Swap your skis for seas this December and experience the magic of a seaside getaway. With 50 days of festive fun, Newport Beach comes to life, offering a myriad of activities for people of all ages. Unpack your bags at VEA Newport Beach, where Mom and Dad can sip holiday cocktails at the hotel’s Holiday Hideout Speakeasy. Take the kids down to the harbor for the 115th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, snap some photos with Santa at Fashion Island, and enjoy outdoor ice skating by the Back Bay at Newport Dunes’ Fire & Ice Festival. There are so many ways to be merry in our seaside city, and to make your vacation easier than ever, we’ve put together the most magical holiday-inspired itinerary for a winter family vacation!
STAY: VEA Newport Beach
Kickstart your festive family getaway at VEA Newport Beach, an exquisitely reimagined haven nestled in the heart of all the excitement. This destination hotel, situated just steps away from the elite shops and gourmet restaurants at Fashion Island, offers an unparalleled vacation experience—especially during the holiday season. Immerse yourself in the comfort of a spacious suite, complete with coastal views, ample living space and amenities like Molton Brown bath products, flat-screen TVs, Frette robes and Nespresso machines. Beyond the suite life, the hotel’s pool deck, adorned with chic cabanas and a vibrant bar, is the ideal spot for basking in the sun, making a splash and enjoying a craft cocktail. And when the little ones go to sleep, pop down to VEA’s Holiday Hideout Speakeasy, where you can indulge in holiday-inspired libations and seasonal small plates in a winter wonderland setting.
DINE: Five Crowns
Like every year, Five Crowns brings the holiday cheer and pulls out all the stops! This old-school English restaurant transforms into a haven of holiday enchantment, complete with nightly performances by handbell carolers from Dec. 1-30. As you dine, you’ll be serenaded by the sounds of classic holiday jingles, adding a touch of nostalgic charm to your family evening out. The restaurant’s cozy dining room and heated courtyard patio will be adorned with twinkling lights and seasonal decor, creating the perfect setting for a festive holiday meal. For an extra dose of cheer, settle into Shakespeare’s Lounge to watch the captivating live performance of “A Christmas Carol!”
A cherished Newport Beach tradition for over a century, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade features a dazzling spectacle of lights and holiday cheer that’s perfect for a family night out. As yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes cruise along Newport Harbor, they create a mesmerizing display of twinkling lights! This beloved annual event, a hallmark of the holiday season in our seaside city, invites families to gather along the shoreline, cozy up with hot cocoa, and embrace the magic of December. The parade will run from Dec. 13-17 this year and will commence each night at 6:30 p.m.! To view the map of the parade and find the perfect viewing spot for your family, click here.
SHOP: Fashion Island
‘Tis the season for some shopping! When it comes to buying gifts for everyone on your list, Fashion Island is your one-stop shop. This outdoor lifestyle center comes to life with red, green and gold holiday decor and features nightly carolers and snowfall! After you’ve done a little Christmas shopping (there are over 100 retailers here!), don’t miss the nightly tree lighting, which takes place in the Neiman Marcus – Bloomingdale’s Courtyard every half hour from 5:30-8 p.m. Families can also snap photos with Santa through Dec. 24 at Santa’s Coastal Cottage located on the Atrium Lawn.
For a festive family outing, visit the all-new Fire & Ice Festival at Newport Dunes! Witness the transformation of this bayside retreat into a magical winter wonderland, complete with one of Orange County’s most picturesque outdoor ice skating rinks. Glide across the ice together and watch as the Back Bay illuminates during the Lighting of the Bay, a spectacular display where over 50 glowing Christmas trees float serenely on the calm waters. Beyond skating, the festival offers a myriad of holiday activities: indulge in the simple pleasure of roasting s’mores, pen heartfelt letters to Santa, and pick out the perfect pine at the Christmas tree lot. This enchanting event runs through Jan. 1 and promises an unforgettable holiday experience for the entire family.
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger