Summer Is Finally Here…So Let’s Explore!

Newport Beach offers 10 miles of pristine coastline, and is the quintessential place where I like to welcome summer with unabashed vigor. The June weddings and graduations seem a distant memory. I have replaced all that with bright sunshine, sparkling blue water and the excitement of a jam-packed calendar! Here are some activities that make me feel like I am somewhere far, far, away on a blissful vacation. And, somehow it works!

This town is just glistening with natural hidden gems. The following are four of my favorite spots to visit during summer. 
Crystal Cove–built as a movie set in the 1930’s, and all of the original cottages are still standing today. Twenty-one have been authentically restored. The Beachcomber Restaurant is just steps from the sand, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a full bar. Score! Amazing Tide Pools–two well-known spots for exploring the wonders of the sea are found at the southern tide pools of Crystal Cove and Little Corona Beach at Corona del Mar State Beach (near Poppy Street). Lookout Point–this is the perfect vantage point to capture a glistening sunset, perched high above the water in Corona del Mar at Ocean Blvd. and Heliotrope Ave. 
Back Bay Muth Interpretive Center and Estuary–this is a lovely educational facility built into the side of the bluffs overlooking the Back Bay, with 10 miles of walking/biking trails surrounding it.

With so many “iconic” spots, it’s hard to pick, but here are five unique activities that are always on my summer list (especially escorting out-of-town guests). Balboa Island and Ferry–established in the early 1900’s, this enthralling little village is home to a traditional main street (Marine Avenue). The now-famous ice cream Balboa Bar was invented here and has a perfect walking path for my dog Riley. And, who doesn’t like to ride a ferry? This one you can do by car, bike or on foot. The Ferry was established in 1919 and provides service between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula (with views of the Balboa Pavilion). Dock and Dine–we like to rent electric Duffy boats and cruise the harbor. We pull up dockside to any one of 12 different restaurants and call ahead with our “to-go” order to enjoy on-board. Paddle Board Night Glow Tours–Pirate Coast Paddle Company at Newport Dunes in the Back Bay has a very unique evening tour. The stand-up paddle boards have lights on them, so you can see the fish down below. Tours are offered Friday and Saturday nights all summer long. I book it online, and last year, I did a practice run during the daytime just to get my bearings. Great fun! 
Pedego Electric Bike Tour­–Pedego Corona del Mar offers bikes for rent and guided tours. My favorite is the bike path along Crystal Cove overlooking the coast. Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Jazz Festival–I adore listening to jazz under the stars in an outdoor venue and, all summer long, the Hyatt has an impressive line-up.

So there you have it! All my favorite summer haunts and hideaways here in town. Well, most of them. I have to save a few summer-time secrets, don’t I? Enjoy your summer. Let’s all get out there and explore!

Deirdre Michalski is a travel and culinary writer covering topics near and far. You can read more about her adventures on her web site