It’s been a bit since we took our last trip, and I’ll admit after seeing so many beautiful photos of holiday travels I was feeling a little jealous. I started digging through the photos from our California trip and was reminiscent of our time spent in the O.C. and figured I was way overdue for sharing what we did while we were there!
We went down for a family wedding with my parents, so while we had an enjoyable trip, we did have to compromise so we could hang with my extended family too. We still were able to sneak in a few of our picks for food and activities, which is what I’ll be highlighting in photos and information about what we thought! And while the majority of these things to do ARE in Newport Beach, a few are destinations that you’re going to need a rental car for. We had a great experience renting through Enterprise, and it was incredibly reasonably priced for a weekend trip!
Things to Do in Newport Beach: A Travel Guide
Where We Stayed
The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach: This was the main hotel for the wedding party, and honestly I think it was a great choice! There was unlimited golf included in the stay as well as transportation to and from some of the nearby shopping destinations. We didn’t have much interest in any of the pools as it was fairly cold (in the low 70s) though they looked pretty! Overall would recommend this hotel for anyone wanting to stay in a central location in Newport Beach.
Where We Ate
In-n-Out: When in California, am I right?! This is one of our favorite stops though I must say that Dick’s Drive-In here in Seattle will always be my #1 fast food burger pick.
Old Vine Cafe: After landing, the first thing on the agenda was finding somewhere to eat! A little searching led me to Old Vine Cafe, which wasn’t terribly far from John Wayne Airport and was on the way to Newport Beach. It ended up being situated in a nice little outdoor shopping mall, and we enjoyed the (massive) breakfasts! Lots of interesting choices, anything from goat to a chipotle biscuits & gravy. Yum!
Pain du Monde: A fast food French cafe that was at Fashion Island Mall was our next breakfast pick when we got a bit of a late start on our second day. We sampled both the breakfast entrees, and later the boys went back to pick us up some pastries for an afternoon snack. I preferred the pastries over the entrees, to be perfectly honest, and would recommend stopping there for a snack instead of a meal.
Carmelita’s: We drove down to Laguna Beach for Mexican food. Initially, we were recommended Las Brisas, but after reading reviews found that most felt the view was better than the food. We were more interested in taste, so we opted for Carmelita’s which was rated very favorably by locals and tourists alike. We LOVED the rib appetizer, and all were pleased with our entrees and the Flan for dessert. One Flan is plenty for two to share!
What We Did
Balboa Island Pier: It was a beautiful day when we drove over to Balboa Island and walked along the beach. So, so pretty! The neighborhoods are filled with unique and interesting houses, and it was fun to walk some of the streets near the water to marvel at the fun architecture.
Shopping on Balboa Island: My mom and I popped back over to Balboa Island to go shopping while the boys were out playing golf at the hotel. There were a ton of cute boutiques, but Isabelle’s Cabinet was my absolute favorite and resonated the most with my personal style. I wanted everything! (I ended up taking home the dress I wore in my Day to Night post.)
Venice Beach: My dad hadn’t been to Venice Beach in many, many years, so we added this to our destination list. The drive felt like forever (since you know, California traffic. The struggle was real!) When we finally got there, we were greeted by some serious wind and chilly temps. Honestly, Venice Beach wasn’t our favorite. It was nice to walk on the beach and check it out, but the shops are tourist traps, and it’s not a particularly nice vibe.
Shopping at Fashion Island Mall: A pretty basic mall with a few exceptions: it has one of the only (if not the only) Urban Decay stores in the US! Plus, it’s all outdoors, so it’s fun to walk around, and it’s a nice one-stop shop since it also has an Ulta and Whole Foods connected to it. Win-win when you’re looking to find somewhere to buy sunscreen for finicky skin like mine!
Santa Monica Pier: After the bust of Venice Beach, we headed to Santa Monica Pier. It was still chilly, but the Pier was much more of what we were looking for in our LA-area visit. Unfortunately, a technical failure led me to lose my photos of Santa Monica, but it was beautiful, and I bet it’s even better to visit when the weather is warmer. ;)
The CAMP: We stumbled upon this outdoor mini shopping mall when we had breakfast at Old Vine Cafe right after we landed. My mom and I did a quick perusal of some of the shops, and we ended up returning to grab some baked goods for our flight from Blackmarket Bakery and back to Purre Boutique so I could pick up a couple of things. I ended up with the tunic and necklace that I wore in my Thanksgiving Outfits post!
Overall we had a lot of fun in our long-weekend trip to Newport Beach, California! I wish we had a bit more time as a few girls on Instagram wanted to do a little blogger meetup, but with working around family plans, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. We hope to visit Calfornia again soon (we’re thinking San Francisco this year!) so let me know if there’s anything we must do when we’re back in CA!
What was the last trip you took? Have you visited Newport Beach? I’d love to hear about your favorite things to do there in the comments if you’ve been!
Newport beach just got added to my list of places to travel! I’ve never been to CA, and this looks like so much fun! You have great tips and places to go, I’m dying to try In-N-Out as well as that french fast food place! Food is almost always my favorite part of a trip!
Mine too! We ate some really great food in California. Hope you’re able to visit soon! :)
Beautiful photos and awesome advice. I would love to travel there some day. In and out burger is such a treat! I’ve been there twice when traveling in Arizona.
Thanks so much Michaela! Glad you’ve been able to have In-n-Out when you’ve traveled to Arizona, it’s so good! :)
Good read! I live here and hadn’t even heard of half of these places. About Venice beach, yuck. Definitely too far and not worth it, wish I could have warned you!
Ha, that’s okay! It was one of those places we all wanted to see (even if just once!) Now we know better. ;)
Such an awesome guide! I’ve been dying to try In-n-Out!
Thanks Ashley! Hope you’re able to try some In-N-Out soon! :)
So bummed our meetup didn’t pan out!
If you’re ever in LA again, there’s a rooftop restaurant here thats a must!
That sounds amazing! Next time for sure!
Wow, this looks great! I’ve always wanted to visit California. I love staying at the Hyatt Regency when I travel :)
The Hyatt was fabulous! Hope you get to visit California soon, Cristina!
I have been to California twice, but both times were transit stops in LAX, so they don’t count at all! I plan on visiting the west coast sometime this year, so this guide will come in very handy! Thank you for sharing this with us!
Of course! How fun you get to visit the West Coast, I hope you have a great trip!
Oh man, it looks like you had an amazing time! I love reading about all the different places to eat and things to do; it helps me plan out where I want to go next on our vacation!
Thanks Chelsie! I do too, it really is fun seeing where people go and what they do! :)
Ahh Newport Beach is so nice! I’ve been there but I’ve never been to Balboa Island! I must go! :) Last trip I stayed at Hyatt Regency Jeju Island in Korea. Very beautiful with many palm trees too! :)
Oh I bet that was beautiful in Korea! Balboa Island is such a fun little place, you’ll definitely have to check it out. :)
Newport Beach was at the top of my list along with Laguna in high school (thanks to MTV) :) I haven’t thought much about going more recently, but I might need to re-add it to my list!
Ha, right?! Mine too! It was fun to get to drive through Laguna and see the infamous beach and the cliffs I recognized from the show so many years ago!
These pictures look like so much fun!!! :) i’m glad you had a good trip!
Thanks so much Hannah!
I’ve never been to Newport beach but it seriously looks gorgeous. Take me with you next time please! (:
Ha, if you can fit into my suitcase! ;)
Your pictures make Newport Beach look absolutely stunning! I’ve always wanted to go to California, I think that the food and the beaches would just make for a perfect trip :)
The Southern Stylista
Thanks so much! California beaches are beautiful and the food we had there was amazing! Hope you get to go soon. :)
You know how I feel about In N Out. :)
I’m so glad you had fun in Newport! It’s insanely gorgeous out there!!
Thanks Ashten! Haha, the In N Out love runs deep. There’s a place here that opened called Caliburger that’s supposed to be just like it… maybe I won’t have to travel far for my next fix! ;)
Love this! Even though I’ve lived in California I’ve never been to Newport Beach. Trip Planning is def. in order! And yes, In-n-out is an essential on every California visit, and always double double animal style ;)
Yum! You’re making me hungry. ;) You’ll definitely have to hit Newport Beach, so beautiful!
I love Newport so much! I lived about 20 minutes away when I was in college and tried to go at least once a month. I miss it!
I bet! It’s so beautiful there I can see why you miss it!