My family traveled to Newport, California for spring break. We flew into the John Wayne Airport, rented a car, and stayed at the gorgeous Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa. The concierge floor level is a must and still only about $199 per night plus gives you access to three food presentations per day, unlimited beverages, and free assistance in planning your trip.
If you or your children watched “The OC” on TV, then Newport is a perfect vacation destination. Although only small parts of the show were filmed here, we found the highlights in a local magazine where you can still visit sights from your favorite scenes, including the Ferris Wheel, the Diner, the Bait Shop, and Harbor High School. Near the Ferris Wheel, at the Balboa Fun Zone area, we boarded a boat for a sea lion and harbor tour. During our tour, we saw many celebrity homes and boats, our favorite belonging to Nicholas Cage. Some of the lots we saw sold for around $10 million, only to be dozed over and have huge new mansions built on its land.
Other Activities Close to Newport Beach
If you can afford a splurge, go to Disneyland, which is about thirty minutes away in Anaheim, California. For a bit of an up charge, you can visit two parks at the same time because Disneyland and California Adventures are across the street from each other. Although Disneyland is very small and average compared to Disney World, California Adventure has its own niche, and we enjoyed everything about this park. Our favorite ride was Soarin Over California, which takes you on a virtual travel that delights your sight and senses through different parts of California. It includes smells of the redwood forest and orange groves as well as splashes of water as you dip your toes in the ocean. This majorly popular ride has now branched out to Epcot at Disneyworld in Florida as well.
Great restaurants include The Arches, The Cannery, Morton’s, or for the kids, Ruby’s Diner.
A must see is the mega mall at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa; my favorite shopping mall in the United States. It is located about ten minutes away and has a total of nearly 300 stores, including Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, Versace, John Varvatos, and Crate & Barrel. Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, is an aesthetically pleasing outdoor mall near the Marriott, has upscale stores such as Prada, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.
(Several people have asked me if I have ever written for anything prior to blogging. The answer is yes. I had submitted several travel articles to the Charleston Sunday Gazette-WV which were published. This is a modified version of one of those articles.)
Check out my other articles about California: