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Your Six-Stop Itinerary for a SoCal Road Trip

July 7, 2022

Roll your windows down and turn the radio up—we’re going on a road trip! Southern California is home to an abundance of charming coastal communities, world-class entertainment and, of course, lots of sunshine. Newport Beach is the ideal home base for a SoCal road trip adventure. Let us be your guide as you travel from Newport Beach to San Diego and beyond. Here’s the perfect six-day itinerary for those craving a summer staycation!


DAY 1: The Balboa Peninsula + Lido Isle

Kickstart your first day in Newport Beach with an ocean-view breakfast at Lighthouse Cafe. This waterfront restaurant faces the harbor and serves up all the a.m. classics. After you’ve filled your belly, stroll on over to Lido Marina Village, where you’ll find quaint pathways, bayside restaurants and white brick storefronts. To end the day, stop by Vision Electric Boat Rental and pick out your very own colorful vessel to cruise the bay in. 

DAY 2: The Back Bay

Lace up your hiking shoes for day two! The Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve, or as locals call it, “The Back Bay,” is home to 1,000 acres of preserved wetlands and paved pathways. Get your steps in with a walk along the Back Bay Loop, then, to cool off, stop by Pirate Coast Paddle Company to rent everything from stand-up paddle boards to kayaks. End your second day with some leisurely shopping and dining at Newport Beach’s shopping mecca, Fashion Island.

DAY 3: Corona del Mar + Crystal Cove

Saunter south for a final day in Corona del Mar. This quaint neighborhood plays host to a variety of street side shops and restaurants, including Summer House—a local American eatery that resembles a beach cottage. Enjoy a bite to eat in this open-air restaurant, then prepare for some time on the sand in Crystal Cove. This breathtaking state park encompasses 3.2 miles of protected shoreline, making it the perfect place to pop open an umbrella and go for a swim. After you’ve had enough vitamin D for the day, walk up to The Beachcomber for a sunset dinner on the beach.


DAY 4: Anaheim 

No trip to SoCal is complete without a day at Disneyland. And lucky for Newport Beach dwellers, “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is only a 30-minute drive away. So whether you’re staying at the all-new VEA Newport Beach or in a beach bungalow at Lido House, you’ll be a stone’s throw away. Spend a magical day with Mickey and friends, and don’t forget to check out the new Avengers Campus and, of course, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

DAY 5: Santa Monica

For day five, head up the coast to the bustling city of Santa Monica. This hoppin’ seaside community offers the urban amenities of the city without the claustrophobic feeling. Spend a few hours at the Pacific Park amusement area on the Santa Monica Pier, then visit the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market for fresh coffee and other goods. End your day with a walk down 3rd Street Promenade, where you’ll stumble across a handful of lively restaurants and bars. 

DAY 6: Downtown San Diego

For the final day of your SoCal road trip, head south to San Diego, a city famed for its tasty tacos and stellar swells. And while this region is home to several neighborhoods worth exploring, we recommend heading downtown for some fun. Start by exploring Seaport Village, which is home to fourteen acres of shops, galleries and eateries, then catch a San Diego Padres baseball game at Petco Park. And when the mood for food strikes, get a bite to eat at one of Little Italy’s renowned restaurants—we love Kettner Exchange, Craft & Commerce and Herb & Wood.

Written by: Kaylin Waizinger

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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