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The Pleasures of Newport Beach Harbor
by Laura Eggers

The largest small craft harbor in the United States, Newport Beach Harbor in Newport Beach, California is not only picturesque, but also full of recreational boating opportunities, from taking a harbor cruise to renting a kayak. It's even enjoyable from land, whether strolling around Balboa Island or along the bayside of the peninsula. Newport Harbor is in the lower section of Newport Bay in Newport Beach, California. It is about 4 miles long, running parallel to the Balboa Peninsula and the ocean. The harbor is filled with everything from pedal boats to large ocean vessels. There are over 9000 boats berthed here.

Within Newport Beach Harbor there are 7 islands, mostly filled with lovely houses and flowery porches. The boater can leisurely take a self-guided tour of these homes from the water.

On the other side of PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) the Newport Back Bay and Upper Bay extend well inland.


The biggest island is Balboa, accessible by bridge from Jamboree Road and Pacific Coast Highway, or by car ferry from the Balboa Peninsula near the Balboa Fun Zone. This charming little beach community has a scenic walkway that encircles the island, with the picturesque homes on one side and small sandy beaches and boating slips on the waterside. Boutique shops, restaurants, and two stands famous for their balboa bars and frozen bananas (both dipped in chocolate and rolled in the topping of your choice) line Marine Avenue.

The other islands consist of Lido Island, Little Balboa Island, Linda Isle, Collins Island, Harbor Island and Bay Island.

The other major island for visitors is Lido Island. Here you'll find Lido Marina Village, with shops, art galleries, boutiques and boardwalk cafes.


This historic little area on the peninsula side of the bay offers a small Ferris wheel, carousel, arcade and even bungee jumping. The Balboa Pavilion, which used to be a Big Band showcase is a restored local landmark dating from 1905. Today it houses special events and wedding functions. Catalina boats leave from here daily (less in winter). Call 800-830-7744 or 949-673-5245.


Whether you are renting a boat or visiting with your own yacht, the following information may be of use. The speed limit within the harbor is 5 m.p.h.. Fuel docks can be found next to both ferry landings on either side of the bay. A boating launch ramp is located at in the Back Bay.

There is a Harbor Department guest anchorage dock near the Harbor Patrol and Coast Guard Base. For marine weather updates, including surf and water reports, call 949-673-3371.


For dining in Newport Beach Harbor, there are several restaurants on Lido Island. More can be found near the ferry landing on the Balboa Peninsula. Balboa Island has restaurants on Marine Ave. (which are not on the water). For waterfront restaurants with outstanding views, check out the area of Pacific Coast Highway that lines the inland side of the harbor. This section is sometimes referred to as Mariner's Mile.


Located in the Balboa Marina off of Pacific Coast Highway, the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum is located on a riverboat. It features artwork and exhibits, which pertain to all things maritime. Many of the exhibits are interactive and there is a touch tank. They also have hundreds of ship models to peruse.

The tall ship Lynx docks here and gives tours as well. The museum's address is 151 East Coast Highway, Newport Beach. There is a store and restaurant to enjoy after your visit. Their phone number is 949-673-3377

Description: Newport Beach Harbor. Discover all the scenic pleasures Newport Beach Harbor has to offer, whether from a boat on the water or strolling around Balboa Island or the peninsula.


Every December, Newport Beach Harbor hosts a Christmas Parade of Lights. This is a great family event. Boaters and homeowners alike go all out in decorating their houses and/or boats. Viewers stroll or sit along the bay front on Balboa Island, enjoying the show of passing lights reflecting off the water.

Special tip: you can grab a hot cocoa or café mocha at the local Starbucks on Marine Avenue to keep your hands and innards warm, as December nights can be quite cool by the bay. For more information, call 949-494-3030.

A vacation in Newport Beach means more than just the beach; you have the Newport Beach Harbor to enjoy as well.

About the Author
Laura Eggers is a beach lover with a website. offers visitors a plethora of information about the different beach areas to help with planning their beach vacation in sunny Southern California.