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The Best California Beaches

October 4, 2013

Newport Beach is an idyllic paradise with miles of white pristine sand, perfect for surfers, sunbathers, couples and families, and those looking for an active adventure or a relaxing getaway.

Offering more than 10 miles of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, and another several miles of island and bay coastline in Newport Harbor and along Upper Newport Bay, Newport Beach offers spots popular for locals and tourists, as well as secret hideaways, perfect for that couple seeking seclusion in the sun.

Visitors can have peace of mind knowing that Newport Beach offers the cleanest coastline in California. A coastal jewel, Newport Beach is proud to have earned top marks for “cleanest beaches” and “safest water quality” from both the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Heal the Bay organizations.

Here are some top picks:

The Newport Peninsula

Newport Beach begins where the Santa Ana River flows into the Pacific, just south of Huntington Beach, and runs down to the Wedge. Favorite hot spots where surfers await the big swells include the beginning of the peninsula at 44th street, 32nd street, and down by the Newport Beach Pier at 21st street. Nearly two miles south is the Balboa Pier with tons of sand and isolated spots to enjoy the waves and the ray. The southernmost spot on the peninsula is where the biggest surf can be found, the Wedge.

Newport Beach Peninsula

Pictured: Stretch of sand on the Peninsula

The Wedge

The Wedge is one of the most famous surf spots in the world. With waves that can reach 30 feet high, the Wedge is the ultimate spot to take some great photographs of massive waves. But surfers beware, the hot surf spot is more known for body boarding because of the harsh shore-breaking waves.

Many people have gotten hurt riding the waves, and perhaps the most famous was John Wayne. Wayne was a USC football star in the 1920’s when he broke his collarbone body surfing. The injury derailed his football career, but helped launch the rugged Newport Beach local into a career in movies.

The Wedge
Pictured: Big Waves at The Wedge

Big and Little Corona State Beaches

Big Corona features surf, cliffs, a jetty, and a variety of activity from surfing and skim boarding to volleyball. Surfing enthusiasts can see the waves once carved up by surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, the area’s first recognized surfer.
This is a great place to sit on the jetty and watch the sunset before starting a fire in one of the fire rings. The beachside fires are a tradition that have spanned decades, as families, friends, and groups get together to roast hot dogs and make s’mores while enjoying the mild evening climate.
Little Corona is a quiet little paradise, offering a more tranquil and relaxing environment. The greatest attraction here is the tide pool, where an up-close adventure with sea life can be found.

If you enjoy an active lifestyle, Corona del Mar’s beaches provide the perfect backdrop for jogging, ocean swims, stair climbing, or if you’re brave enough, one of the many beach boot camps offered on the sand.
Regardless of how you spend your day in Corona del Mar, the community’s Inspiration and Lookout Points are two of the most magnificent places to catch the stunning Newport Beach sunsets.

Big Corona   Little Corona

Pictured: First Image: Big Corona, Photo Credit Kevin Steele; Second Image: Little Corona, Photo Credit Kate Houlihan

Crystal Cove

For a throwback in charm and a secluded slide of this coastal oasis, visit Crystal Cove State Park where there are 3 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland.   Some of the hottest accommodations in the community are the cottages at Crystal Cove.  This cluster of quaint oceanfront bungalows retains the scale and ambiance of a 1930s beach resort.   You don’t have to be a guest at the cottages to enjoy this precious piece of coastline.  Many locals visit the Beachcomber café for a meal on the sand, and at 5 p.m. or sunset, for the raising of the martini flag.

Crystal Cove

Pictured: Beach Cottage at Crystal Cove

In Newport Beach, every spot on the sand is a treasure.  The toughest part is picking the place to lay down your blankets or towels.   But don’t take too long; the sun doesn’t stay up forever.


Written by Visit Newport Beach

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