Newport Beach, incorporated in 1906, is an affluent city in Orange County, California, 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Santa Ana. The population was 85,287 at the 2010 census. Newport Beach is also home to Newport Harbor.
The city's median family income and property values consistently place high in national rankings. The Daily Pilot, a newspaper published in the neighboring city of Costa Mesa but which serves the greater Newport-Mesa community, reported in 2010 that more than a quarter of households have an income greater than $200,000, and the median value for homes is approximately $1 million.
The Upper Bay of Newport is a canyon, which was carved by steam in the Pleistocene period. The lower bay of Newport was formed much later by sand, brought along by ocean currents, constructed the offshore beach, now recognized as the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach. Before settlers reached the coasts of California, the Newport area and surrounding areas were very prominent Indian lands. Indian shells and relics can still be found today scattered throughout the area.
Newport Harbor and Newport Bay
Newport Harbor is a semi-artificial harbor that was formed by dredging an estuary during the early 1900s. Several artificial islands were built, which are now covered with private homes: Newport Island, Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island, Collins Island, Bay Island, Harbor Island, Lido Isle and Linda Isle.
Newport Harbor once supported maritime industries such as boatbuilding, shipbuilding, and commercial fishing, but today it is used mostly for recreation. Its shores are occupied mostly by private homes and private docks. With approximately 9,000 boats, Newport Harbor is one of the largest recreational boat harbors on the U.S. west coast. It's a popular destination for all boating activities, including sailing, fishing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
Beaches and Surfing
Beachgoers have flocked to Newport Beach since the Pacific Electric Railway started bringing them in 1905.Attractions include the city beaches from the Santa Ana River to the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, Corona del Mar State Beach, and the beaches at Crystal Cove State Park.
Newport Beach is renowned for good surfing, especially between Newport Pier and the Santa Ana River. At the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, The Wedge offers World-class bodyboarding and bodysurfing.Newport Pier and Balboa Pier draw fishermen and sightseers.A boardwalk (actually a concrete path) runs 2.9 miles (4.7 km) from 36th Street in West Newport, past Newport Pier and Balboa Pier, to between E and F Streets on the Balboa Peninsula.
Harbor and Boating
Newport Harbor is the largest recreational boat harbor on the U.S. west coast, and a popular destination for all boating activities, including sailing, fishing, rowing, kayaking,and paddleboarding. The annual Christmas Boat Parade dates back to 1908. The New York Times has called it, "One of the top ten holiday happenings in the nation."
Competitive sailing, rowing, and paddling events occur almost every weekend, and weekdays during summer. The annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is the largest sailboat race in the world.Boating activities are organized by five private yacht clubs, along with Orange Coast College, UC Irvine, and the Sea Scouts, all of which have sailing, rowing, and water activity bases on the harbor. The Newport Aquatic Center allows open public participation in competitive rowing, canoeing, kayaking, and outrigger canoe racing.The Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship offers recreational and professional sailing and mariners' courses and certifications, including United States Coast Guard licensing.
On the Balboa Peninsula, the historic Balboa Pavilion and Balboa Island Ferry are the city's most famous landmarks. Adjacent to the Pavilion, the 500 passenger Catalina Flyer provides daily transportation to and from Avalon, located on Santa Catalina Island. In the same vicinity, the Balboa Fun Zone offers a merry-go-round and ferris wheel, bungee jumping, arcade games, souvenir shops and eateries, boat rentals, and harbor tour boat rides; and is also home to the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.
Balboa Island's village charm draws many visitors. A waterfront path around the island attracts walkers and joggers, and provides easy access from the ferry to the shops and restaurants on Marine Ave.
Outdoors and Nature
Upper Newport Bay, or the Back Bay, is ringed by Back Bay Drive and a network of trails and paths that attract bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, and walkers.Bird watchers and nature lovers are drawn to the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve and Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center; and to Crystal Cove State Park, which features tide pools at the beach, and backcountry hiking and mountain biking trails.
Camping is available at Crystal Cove State Park, and at the Newport Dunes RV Park Resort and Marina.Whale watching is also popular, with both scheduled and charter boats leaving from Newport Harbor.Fishing is also extremely popular in Newport Bay, off the coast of Newport, and along the Newport Bay Jetty. In the bay there are multiple locations to purchase bait for convenience.
The boardwalk is a natural draw for bicyclists. Beach cruiser bikes can be rented at several places on the Balboa Peninsula. Bicyclists are also drawn to Back Bay Drive and the bike paths around Upper Newport Bay; the hilly roads winding through Newport Coast and the San Joaquin Hills; and the mountain biking trails in the San Joaquin Hills and Crystal Cove State Park. Pacific Coast Highway provides access to these areas and is a major bicycle route through the region, despite being shared with heavy motor vehicle traffic.
Many neighborhoods in Newport Beach are amenable to bicycling. Locals are inclined to use bicycles for short trips, especially to get through summer beach traffic and avoid motor vehicle parking shortages.
The Pelican Hill area has two golf courses, both of which reopened in November 2007 after design enhancements were completed, as well as the construction of a new resort and clubhouse. Both courses rank among the Golf Digest America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses.
Culture and Nightlife
Fashion Island at Newport Center is a popular regional shopping and entertainment destination. Also at Newport Center, the Orange County Museum of Art exhibits modern and contemporary art, with emphasis on the work of Californian artists.The Newport Theater Arts Center presents high quality live theater in a 90-seat venue with low ticket prices.
The bars and restaurants within a few blocks of Newport Pier are a regional nightlife destination. Newport Beach also features numerous clubs including the popular Ten Nightclub. Many college students and young adults flock to Newport Beach on the weekends for entertainment. Also, many musical groups come and play at these clubs and venues.
The village areas of Corona Del Mar and Balboa Island are ideal for walking to explore the shops and restaurants; as are the Balboa Village area between the ferry and the pier, and the area encompassing Newport Pier, McFadden Square, Cannery Village and Lido Village. Farmers' markets
Newport Beach has two farmers' markets: Saturday mornings in Corona Del Mar, at the corner of Marguerite and Pacific Coast Highway; and Sunday mornings in Lido Village, where Via Oporto is closed to traffic. The Farmers Market at Via Oporto has great ratings and provides great food through around 15 vendors. It is also tremondously beautiful scenery with redbrick roads hidden from the constant traffic congestion of Newport.