Newport Beach with Kids: Where to Stay and Play in 2024 (+ an itinerary)

Headed to Newport Beach with kids? Need details on the best places to stay and what to do while you’re there? I just got back, and I have all the info you need!

Newport Beach is a Southern California GEM. While I’ve spent many beach days there as a break from Disney (it’s like 30 minutes away), I was adamant that I needed to actually plan a trip there.

I’m so glad that I did. While it’s sandwiched in between LA and San Diego, it has it’s own unique feel. It has the SoCal swag, but a little more cool and collected.

So whether you’re driving down from Disney or planning a beach trip, I have everything you need to know to conquer Newport Beach with kids. I got kid-friendly hotels, fun things to do around town, and I end it with a 3-day itinerary.

(And if you need a Disneyland guide, check mine out!)

Keep reading for all the details you’ll need to plan an amazing trip to Newport Beach with kids.

Key Takeaways

  • Newport Beach is full of activities for all ages. The most popular activity is visiting the beach and boardwalk.
  • Other fun options for kids are taking a boat ride, riding the Ferris wheel at the Fun Zone, and visiting Balboa Island.  
  • There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in Newport Beach, Lido House and Newport Beach Hotel are two options that are beachside.
 

Table of Contents

beachfront hotels in newport beach

Family-Friendly Hotels

Newport Beach Hotel

If you want to stay in the middle of the action, this is your spot. It’s on the boardwalk, steps from the beach. It’s a charming boutique hotel, but it has family suites in addition to standard rooms. You’ll also get free bicycle and beach gear rentals AND complimentary breakfast.
NOTE: On their website, the hotel states that on-site parking is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis upon arrival for $30 per night for midsize cars only.  

➡️ View availability and book the Newport Beach Hotel by clicking here!

Lido House

If you want something within walking distance to the beach that’s upscale, try Lido House. Rooms range from standard guestrooms and suites to private cottages for families. There are restaurants, coffee shops, and bars on site, plus a pool, hot tub, roof top deck, and free bike rentals.
NOTE: Parking at the hotel is valet only, for $60 a night. 

➡️ View availability and book the Lido House by clicking here!

Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

If you don’t need a beachfront location, try a spacious resort like Hyatt Regency. Rooms range from standard guestrooms to family suites to multi-room villas. There are three pools and hot tubs, on-site restaurants, and sports on-site.
NOTE: Valet parking is $47/night and self-parking is $40/night. 

➡️ View availability and book the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach by clicking here!

10 Fun Things to Do in Newport Beach

1. Hit the Beach

 

Newport Beach Municipal Beach

The most popular beach in Newport Beach is Newport Beach Municipal Beach. It’s where the iconic pier and boardwalk are, it’s huge, and it offers plenty of activities like volleyball and water sports. It’s vibrant and bustling and it’s definitely the heart of the town.

 

Corona Del Mar State Beach

Living up to its name, “Crown of the Sea”, this beach offers a picture-perfect beach day. It’s framed by cliffs, lined with volleyball courts and fire pits, and has a laid-back atmosphere. It’s great for families because it’s protected by rock formations, so the waves are calm and perfect for safe splashing. And as a bonus, a short walk down the coast leads to Little Corona beach where you’ll see tidepools!

 

Crystal Cove State Beach

Crystal Cove State Park—which is referred to as a ‘little piece of heaven’ offers gorgeous beaches, hiking, mountain biking, tidepools and more offers up a few beaches to visit. Crystal Cove State Beach has a beautiful, natural landscape—but you’ll need to take a short hike (8-10 minutes) and down a flight of stairs to get to it (there’s also a shuttle option if you don’t mind waiting). Shake Shack and The Beachcomber are two excellent options to grab a bite too!

a trip to newport beach with kids has to include the beach!

2. Newport Beach Boardwalk

Right along the beach is a fun and lively boardwalk. Restaurants, dessert shops, boutiques, beach shops, and rentals line the beach. After our beach visit, we walked over and had lunch, got ice cream, and just enjoyed the stroll. It has such a cool vibe, so this is a must see when visiting Newport Beach.
Just note that parking can be limited so try to come early in the day to get a good spot. 

newport beach boardwalk

3. Marina Park Playground

Sometimes you just gotta get the kids energy out. It’s also nice that you can just relax for a bit without having to spend any money. (Or take some time to look through the 1,000 pics I’ve taken up until that point to clean out the camera roll, lol). That’s why, whenever I go to visit another city, I ALWAYS look for playgrounds.

Marina Park is within walking distance of the Newport Beach Municipal Beach, but on the bay side. The playground is nautically themed with a huge lighthouse play structure.  There’s also a lawn area and a sand bay to play in too. If you get hungry, there are restaurants in the area as well.

4. Fun Zone

A cute little amusement park right on the water, the Fun Zone has a few rides—one being a Ferris Wheel—an arcade, small shops, spots to eat, and a nautical museum. It’s also the spot to get on a harbor cruise, whale watching tour, or rent a duffy boat.   

You can take a short ferry ride (like 5 minutes) to Balboa Island from here too. There’s an auto ferry (first time I’ve ever seen one!)—where you sit in your car as it floats across to Balboa Island!

fun zone is a must when visiting newport beach with kids

5. Balboa Island + Ferry

Balboa Island is a charming island located right off of Newport Beach. There’s a footbridge you can drive or walk over, or you can get there by riding on the ferry from the Fun Zone.

The main drag is full of cool boutique shops, restaurants, and dessert shops—including their famous frozen banana stands (apparently there are two rival stands).

There are rental shops for water activities like paddle boarding, or you can head to one of the beaches (the North Bay Front is better for swimming and overall beach activities). There’s also a small playground, Balboa Island Park, on Agate and S Bay Front.

6. Lido Marina Village

Lido Village is a chic outdoor shopping center on the marina. It’s so picturesque it feels like you’re in Europe! It has classy boutiques, coffee shops, dining options and some right on the water. They range from casual fish shops to fancy Nobu.

We had dinner there and then found delicious gelato that we enjoyed while sitting at one of tables overlooking the marina. We watched boats pass by and watched the sunset. It was such a great vibe there, we loved it.

lido village

7. Fashion Island

Fashion Island isn’t your typical mall. This sophisticated spot offers a great collection of shopping options, from top designer brands to trendy boutiques. You’ll find everything you’d expect in a top-tier mall, but al fresco. And if you get hungry, there are a number of delicious dining options.

Fashion Island offers kid-friendly activities too. For the little ones, there’s a koi pond that will get their attention, an IMAX movie theater for rainy days, and a variety of casual and fast-food restaurants and dessert shops to keep everyone happy.

8. Sherman Library and Gardens

Technically in Corona del Mar, but it’s close enough! If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, then head over to the oasis that is Sherman Library and Gardens.

It’s a 2-acre botanical garden full of palms, begonias, orchids, a succulent garden, a tea garden, plus a koi pond and fountains. There are tours to guide you through it too. The library specializes in the history of the Pacific Southwest.

The library also hosts a weekly story time for kids, plus classes and QAs throughout the month for kids and adults both

9. Get on a Boat

No California beach trip is complete without exploring the water!

This 2-3 hour whale-watching tour earned a Badge of Excellence—riders loved the scenic views, tour commentary, and the views of the whales (and sometimes, dolphins!) Check availability and prices here.

If you’d rather a private tour, try this Private Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour—but hurry, it sells out fast.

If you want to get on the water while enjoying a delicious meal, try this Premier Brunch Cruise from Newport Beach. You’ll sail around for 2 hours, enjoying a 5-course brunch buffet and sipping on bottomless sparkling wine. Check availability and prices here.

10. Newport Dunes

Newport Dunes is a resort and marina on the lagoon beachfront. , but also has offers so many fun activities on top of that. If you’d like to do water activities, there are paddleboard, kayak, and Duffy and pedal boat rentals. There’s a pool and a lagoon beach to relax at too.

During the summer, they open up an inflatable water park that includes a giant iceberg, slides, a jungle gym, trampoline (and life jackets are included). There are also plenty of fun events through the year too.

How to Get To Newport Beach

There are three airports that serve Orange County.

SNA (John Wayne Airport) is in Santa Ana and is about 8 miles and roughly 15 minutes away from Newport Beach. This is the closest airport and it’s also small so it’s simple to get in and out of.

LGB (Long Beach Airport) is in Long Beach and is 24 miles and roughly 30 minutes away from Newport Beach. A little further out but it’s also easy to get in and out of. 

LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is in El Segundo and is about 47 miles and roughly one hour (no traffic) away from Newport Beach. If you can’t find a direct flight into the other two, you can fly into LAX but it’s huge and there’s always traffic. Know it’ll be a long travel day from LAX, but it’s manageable if it’s the only option.

⚠️ First time flying with kids?

Read over my best tips on how to fly with kids here!

fun zone

3-Day Newport Beach Itinerary

Day One

Make your first stop the Newport Beach Municipal Beach. After some fun in the sun, walk over to the boardwalk for lunch and dessert. Before calling it a day, head over to Marina Park playground to get the last wiggles out.

After relaxing at your resort, have dinner and gelato at Lido Marina Village.

 

Day Two

Head to Balboa Island for a delicious breakfast, then try out the famous frozen banana. Stroll the streets, hit the playground, then take the ferry to the Fun Zone. When you’re there, get on a whale watching tour or rent a Duffy boat.  

Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening enjoying your resort.

 

Day Three

Start your last morning off at Sherman Library and Gardens then head over to Fashion Island for lunch, dessert, and some shopping.

If you still have some time before you head out, drive over to Crystal Cove State Beach for beautiful views, and a milkshake at Shake Shack.

beach boardwalk

FAQs: Newport Beach for Families

What is there to do for kids in Newport Beach?

Newport Beach is filled with kid activities! There’s the beach, the boardwalk, the Fun Zone, local playgrounds, Sherman Library, and all kinds of water activities!

 

Does Newport Beach have a boardwalk?

Yes, Newport Beach has a boardwalk and it’s a great one! It goes on for miles and is filled with all sorts of dining options, dessert shops, gift shops, and beach rentals.

 

How do I spend a day in Newport Beach?

Spending one day in Newport Beach would have to include visiting the beach, eating and getting treats on the boardwalk, having some fun at the Fun Zone, then taking the ferry to Balboa Island for dinner and a stroll.

Wrapping Up: Newport Beach for Families

Whether you crave relaxing beach days, exciting water adventures, or charming shopping excursions, Newport Beach offers an unforgettable California escape for families. You’re all set to create lasting memories in this sun-soaked paradise!

besa at beaches and babies

MEET BESA

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.

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Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

Need Help Booking Your Trip?
Use My Favorite Resources!

FLIGHTS
Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites for the lowest prices plus the flexible calendar tells you which days are the cheapest to fly.

LODGING
booking.com is easy to use and gives options for all types of lodging. When I know I want a big rental house, I use VRBO.

RENTAL CARS
rentalcars.com scans multiple agencies at your destination to give you the best price.

ACTIVITIES
Viator lets you search for a specific activity at your destination or scroll all available.

Read over my full list of the best sites to book with on my Resources page.