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Orange County Beaches

June 17, 2021
Best beaches in Orange County

With the weather heating up, it’s time to throw on your suit (and SPF) and head to the beach! With more than eight miles of coastline that stretches from the Santa Ana River jetty to Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach has some of the best Orange County beaches – perfect for some time on the sand. So whether you’re planning a beach day with the fam or you’re looking for a secluded spot to soak up the sun, we’ve got the details on all of Newport Beach beaches.

The Best Beaches in Orange County

Balboa Peninsula Beach

balboa peninsula beach

This long stretch of sandy beach is located south of the Balboa Pier and is perfect for all kinds of activities, from swimming and sunbathing on the sand to biking, walking or skating on the trail. Balboa Peninsula Beach is a scenic spot with typically fewer tourists. A few highlights include a paved sidewalk path, volleyball courts, lifeguards and free street parking.

Balboa Pier Beach

When it comes to a family beach day, Balboa Pier Beach is a popular spot with plenty of things to do. Take a stroll out on the pier and watch as the surfers catch waves below, then grab lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants. Other amenities include fire pits, picnic tables, public restrooms, a paved bike path, a kids play area and more!

Cameo Shores Beach

Situated below the Cameo Shores community in Corona del Mar sits Cameo Shores Beach. Getting here requires a trek along a rocky shoreline (bring durable shoes), but visitors can explore the colorful tide pools once there. Be sure to visit at low tide, and don’t forget to stop at Arch Rock on the way for some bird watching.

China Cove Beach

China Cove is a small, tucked away beach located at the bottom of Fernleaf Avenue on Cove Street. Perfect for escaping the large crowds, this sandy spot is surrounded by beautiful homes and is the ideal place for some sunbathing, boat-watching and a game of volleyball.

Corona Del Mar State Beach

A popular place for swimmers, surfers and families, this half-mile long beach is surrounded by scenic cliffs and a rock jetty. Guests can enjoy amenities like showers, BBQs, picnic tables, public restrooms, volleyball courts and fire pits—everything you need for a fun family beach day!

Crystal Cove State Park

Orange County beaches

Located just off bustling Pacific Coast Highway between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, Crystal Cove boasts rolling waves, 3.2 miles of sandy beach, tidepools and breathtaking rural spaces. Be sure to visit The Crystal Cove Historic District and grab a bite at The Beachcomber Cafe!

Lido Isle

In the middle of Newport Bay sits Lido Isle—an upscale housing community with some seriously gorgeous real estate. Most of Lido Isle is pretty private, but visitors can access its north-facing beach, which spans the waterfront in front of a handful of fancy homes. Take a dip in the bay by jumping off the small dock or watch swimmers pass by from one of the benches.

Little Corona Del Mar Beach

Little Corona Del Mar Beach

The path to this small but popular beach in Corona del Mar is paved, making it an easy place to set up a picnic! Flanked with rocky reefs on both sides, Little Corona also attracts local divers and snorkelers. Other amenities include public restrooms and showers, free street parking and access to tide pools.

Marina Park

This community and sailing center is situated on the Peninsula and offers a variety of things to do. From its nautical-themed playground for the kids to its outdoor fitness circuit, basketball courts and on-site café (Lighthouse Bayview Café), Marina Park is a beautiful place to relax and take in the beauty of Newport Beach.

Newport Dunes Beach

Perched on the beautiful Back Bay in Newport Beach, this 10-acre RV park and marina is home to a mile of beachfront property with a water park and playground for the kids. Newport Dunes is a great place to spend a weekend, as visitors can book a cottage, camp or reserve an RV space.

Newport Harbor

Stretching a whopping three miles, Newport Harbor is home to a myriad of residential properties, shops, restaurants, sandy beaches and activities. Popular activities here include sailing, rowing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more. You can even rent an electric boat for the afternoon from one of Newport’s many rental companies!

Newport Municipal Beach

Newport Municipal Beach is located on both sides of the Newport Beach Pier and is, therefore, a happening spot for locals and visitors. In terms of activities, this beach is great for surfing, fishing, walking, running, biking, skating, tanning, and a game of volleyball. If you’re looking for convenience Newport Municipal Beach has it all with restrooms, showers, lifeguards, nearby restaurants, and picnic tables.

North Star Beach

As one of the best access points to Newport Beach’s Back Bay, North Star is adjacent to the Newport Aquatic Center, so you and your crew can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. These are both great ways to explore the Back Bay’s serene waters and see some wildlife up close!

Pirates Cove Beach

Located on the west side of the parking lot at Corona Del Mar State Beach, Pirates Cove offers beachgoers a prime spot to swim with its calm waters. For those looking for a view, head up the stairs from the beach, and you’ll find Lookout Point Park, where you can snag a seat on one of the benches and enjoy the ocean view.

Santa Ana River Beach

At the north end of Newport is Santa Ana River Beach, which is divided by the Santa Ana River Channel. This is a popular surfing beach, and it also features a paved path—perfect for an afternoon stroll or sunset bike ride.

West Jetty View Beach

Better known as “The Wedge,” this beach is located at the end of the Balboa Peninsula and is famously flanked by a rocky jetty, which creates barrel waves that can get up to 30 feet high! Only expert surfers, bodysurfers, kneeboarders, and bodyboarders venture into the water, but The Wedge is just as entertaining for the on-shore viewers!

West Newport Beach

Skip the crowds and head to West Newport! This beach is vast and less populated than the beaches near the pier but still offers the same great amenities. Located at the western end of Newport Beach Municipal Beach, visitors of West Newport can take a dip in the water, lay out on the sand and even play a game of tennis, basketball, handball or volleyball at West Newport Park.

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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