Travel Guide: Newport Beach, California

This past week, I was blessed to spend a long weekend away with my best friend for Spring Break in Newport Beach, California! It was so much fun and quite the adventure. As two 18 year olds, we had never experienced travelling alone without another, well-established adult there with us, until this trip. It was such an amazing learning experience and such a fun adventure. Today I will be sharing with you some of the best food locations we stayed at, our first Airbnb experience, some pictures, and some pretty neat photo op locations!

First things first, out Airbnb experience was AMAZING!!! We were both kind of nervous since neither of us, and neither of our families had stayed in an Airbnb before. We stayed in a fantastic Airbnb with the best host we could have ever asked for! She was so kind and welcoming. Her home made us feel at home. She so graciously allowed us to use her kitchen, kayak, and bikes, which was such a blessing. Since we are only 18, we couldn’t rent a rental car, so bikes became our form of travel and saved us a ton of money. The location couldn’t be more perfect! We were a two minute walk away from the beach, a mile from downtown Newport, and three miles from Balboa Island. We only spend $78 a night too!! WHAT. A. STEAL!! From the cleanliness to the location, from the host to the amenities, this place was more than we could have ever asked for. I would go back any time! If you are interested in this Airbnb, click here.

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As someone who has traveled to California many times, I was expecting brown, dry land with palm trees, because that is all that I have ever seen when traveling there. HOWEVER, the Newport area was GREEN!! It was so beautiful and it blew me away. Not to say that the rest of California is ugly, because it isn’t, but this was definitely the prettiest part of California I had ever seen.

Newport’s beaches were BEAUTIFUL and clean. The area is relatively safe. Its high end priced homes and beautiful architecture add a great touch of character and charm to the area. This area is ideal for anyone searching for a long weekend getaway. Its food options were amazing as well! One morning, for breakfast, we stopped at Banzai Bowls (location: 114 22nd St, Newport Beach, CA 92663) for some INCREDIBLE acaí bowls. It was the best acaí bowl I had ever had and for a good price as well. I highly recommend. For lunch, we stopped at Il Gelato (location: 2110 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663), which serves gelato, pizza, pastas, paninis, and salads. My best friend got a slice of pizza and she claimed it was the best pizza she had ever had. I had the Caprese Panini and it was definitely a goodie! Again, I highly recommend this place. For a mid-afternoon treat, we stopped at Newport Coffee Company (location: 104 Mc Fadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663) for what we thought would be some tea and coffee, but their gelato caught our eye instead. Good thing it did, because it was some of the best gelato I have ever eaten. Dare I say I recommend this place? I dare. Lastly, we went to dinner at Il Farro (location: 111 21st Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663), which served DELICIOUS Italian foods. We were blown away by their tasty bread and pastas, as well as their incredibly friendly staff. We had the sweetest server. The pastas were great prices, but I’ve heard that with their great wine selection, it’s easy to raise up that bill price. Again, I highly recommend. I would be lying if I said Newport didn’t have some of the best food options.Processed with VSCO with e3 preset.Processed with VSCO with e3 preset

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Downtown Newport served as a great place for photo ops and just a great place to hang out. Some of our favorite photo ops included the pier, the sides of the restaurants, the Taco Bell mural, and the city center. It’s a great place to spend the day and bike around. I would highly recommend spending your time here during the day throughout the week though. As evening approached, especially nearing the weekend, I noticed the restaurants booming and more people crowding the area. With a very limited amount of parking, I would recommend choosing your times wisely. Downtown Newport is, also, an ideal location for those who fly into John Wayne Airport. It’s about a twenty minute drive away, which makes for a quick Uber ride. There are plenty bike rental places, for good prices, around the city as well. Although, if you’re planning on only staying in the main Newport area, you will not need a bike. Downtown is actually quite small. However, it isn’t a bad idea to bike to Balboa. It’s only a couple miles away and the boardwalk makes for a scenic bike ride.

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The beaches near and in Newport were absolutely gorgeous! They were clean, well kept, and safe. I was highly impressed. They also made for great places to watch the sunset and watch the stars (then again, what beach doesn’t?). If you’re lucky, you might even see some surfers getting down with the waves. I applaud those brave enough to stand that chilly water. The beaches are, also, pet friendly. We saw many dogs there playing around off leash. It was very fun to watch.
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Balboa Island was a beautiful place to visit. With its beautiful neighborhoods and character filled shops, it was such a delight to explore. The ferry ride to the island was only $1. It’s frequent ferries and short rides over made for a great experience (’cause who wants to be on a ferry all day when you want to explore?). Some of our favorite photo ops took place on Balboa Island. At the end of the shopping strip, there is a staircase next to a brick building. We took some of our FAVORITE pictures there. Also, if you look hard enough, there is a little children’s bookstore down a short alley. In that alley, you can find a small seating area, which is another great photo op!
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I am so thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to travel here with my friend. It was, again, such a fun experience and I hope to do it again sometime. If you’re planning a trip to Newport, or considering visiting this beautiful place, I really hope this travel guide was able to help you as you plan your trip. It truly is a beautiful place and a place I would gladly go back to any day. I hope you can enjoy your trip there as well!
xx Maddie
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