Hot Orange County

Insider Tips for the Perfect Trip to Newport Beach with Kids

There is so much more than you realize for families to do on the Newport Coast with kids

I love the sea and Newport beach is my happy place. It is where I first tried my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream during a family vacation at the age of five. It is where my hubby and I spent many lazy days of summer as teenagers. Now, it is where I get to watch my children play and explore as they make beach memories that will last a lifetime.

Newport Beach may hold a special place in my heart, but it also attracts millions of visitors every year. It is also where a couple of the OC Housewives reside. Many associate Newport Beach with pomp and circumstance, but it is actually very relaxed and perfect for families.

Newport Beach offers something for everyone from the chic to the family-friendly. There are also some amazing Newport Beach Airbnb rental properties to choose from. Being a local, it’s a wonder I travel anywhere else! Without further adieu, here are some fun things to do in Newport Beach with kids.

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Kid-friendly Newport Beach Attractions

Things to do with kids on Newport Coast OC

Newport Beach Pier

70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CA 92663

You can walk the pier or just hangout on the beach. Have fun in the sun, sand and surf. Bring a nice blanket, some chairs and some toys and let the fun happen naturally. The kids have a blast just playing the sand and splashing in the waves. You never know what adventures will ensue. Plus at the base of the pier is a variety of shops and restaurants to enjoy.

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Balboa Fun Zone Rides

600 East Bay Ave. #R Newport Beach, CA 92661

A permanent beachside fair, Balboa Fun Zone has been a popular Newport Beach family attraction since WWII. At the fun zone, you can enjoy arcade games, rides, harbor cruises and whale watching cruises, the Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest, fun eats and more. A family favorite of ours is the Ferris wheel. This is the original 1936 Iconic Ferris wheel offering some of the best views in Newport! From here, you can even take the ferry to Balboa Village! See our full post, if you would like to know more about things to do at Balboa Fun Zone.

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Newport Back Bay Conservatory

600C Shellmaker Rd.Newport Beach, CA 92660

A natural estuary, the Newport Back Bay Conservatory consists of over 1,000-acres of wetlands, providing a special habitat for a variety of wildlife. When you visit the Newport Back Bay Conservatory you can partake in kayaking and boating activities or various walking, cycling and horse riding trails. It is a beautiful, tranquil place to take in coastal nature.

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Duffy Boat Rentals

2001 West Coast Highway Newport Beach, CA 92663

Be your captain as you cruise around the Newport Harbor in an electric Duffy Boat. These easy to operate boats can hold up to ten people and have a canopy cover with a window enclosure to keep you cool. You can pull up to enjoy the various restaurants on the harbor, bring your own food aboard, or even order a pre-made party platter with your reservation. It is a relaxing way to take in the scenery along Newport Harbor with your family.

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Pirate Coast Paddle Boarding

1131 Back Bay Drive Newport Beach, CA 92660

Paddle boarding is one of my favorite activities to do when in Newport Beach. I love that it is both relaxing and a great core workout. The kids love it too! There are no age restrictions, but children under 8 years old have to share a board with an adult. Paddle boarding anytime of day is great, but if you really want to try something exciting try the SUP Glow paddle boarding tour. This tour is a lighted night time paddle boarding experience. It looks really cool!

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Balboa Parasail

600 East Bay Rd Newport Beach, CA 92661

Soar high above Newport Beach taking in the breathtaking panoramic views with a parasailing tour. Balboa Parasail takes you up 800 ft for a 10 minute ride. Minimum age to fly is 5 years old. For those who want to go on the boat to see your family fly, but don’t want to fly yourself, you can ride for half price.

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Newport Landing Whale Watching

309 Palm St A, Newport Beach, CA 92661

Newport Beach is an ideal location for whale watching all year long. November through April you can view the Grey whale migration and May through December is the blue migration. In addition, you can spot dolphins, orcas, seals, sharks and more! Spending the day on the beautiful waters of the Newport Cost, whale watching makes for a great outdoor activity for the family all year long.

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Family Restaurants in Newport Beach

The Old Spaghetti Factory

2110 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

This is my favorite, because it is the only place I can get my Mizithra Cheese & Browned Butter. My mouth is watering already! Our family loves The Manager’s Favorite where you get to pair your two favorite sauces. For us, this always means meat sauce and mizithra. I recommend upgrading to the hearty portion, because it makes for a wonderful leftover or late night snack!

All meals come with bread, salad and ice cream which make this meal a great value for families. My kids LOVE the broccoli which is slathered in mizithra and browned butter. I order the large portion of broccoli for my son and he will eat the whole platter. They also offer whole wheat and gluten free noodles. The décor is unique with jewel colored velvet oversized chairs, dark rich woods, Tiffani light fixtures, stained glass and of course the signature red trolley. It is the perfect place to end the day and to satisfy that beach hunger.

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Crab Cooker

2200 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Serving Orange County since 1951, the Crab Cooker always has a line around the corner, so you know it is good. When you are at the beach, sometimes all you want is some really great seafood and Crab Cooker is known for having some of the best seafood around! They were even featured in Coastal Living Magazine. It has a great casual atmosphere that will make families feel super comfortable. For information on Crab Cooker and its history, see my full post.

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Charlie’s Chili

102 McFadden Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92663

This restaurant is located right off the pier and has been in this location for over 50 years! They have fantastic chili (duh) which is even better over fries, but I really love the chef salad and tuna melt. It is always our first stop before we hit the beach and usually where Papa hangs out while the kids play on the sand. They serve breakfast as well and I recommend the chili omelet.

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Harborside Restaurant and Ballroom

400 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661

Located inside the historic 1906 Balboa Pavilion, the Haborside Restaurant is one of our family’s favorite spots for casual waterfront dining. The bar has the longest happy hour in Orange County that runs from noon to 9:00pm Monday through Friday and until 5:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. That doesn’t just mean great drink specials for the adults, but it also means great menu specials! It is really fun to pop into Harborside with the family, order a bunch of small plates and enjoy the marina views. Kids will like watching the whale watching boats pulling in and out of the dock.

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Mama D’s Italian Kitchen

3012 Newport Blvd Newport Beach, CA 92663

Mama D’s is a very popular family-owned Newport Beach family restaurant that draws crowds nightly. Opened in 2005, they are known for great homemade Italian cuisine and lively friendly experiences. It is a great option if you love Italian food, hearty portions and good time.

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The Blue Beet

107 21st Place Newport Beach, CA 92663

This building once served as a blues, jazz, rock n’ roll club back in 1912 and is known as the oldest bar in Newport Beach. Now The Blue Beet is a fun Newport Beach family restaurant and happening live music venue. The Blue Beet features $6 lunch specials, daily dinner specials, happy hour and kid’s menu. Check the calendar for daily live music times and additional specials.

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Rockin Baja Lobster

2104 W Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Located right off the Newport Pier, Rockin Baja Lobster is a fun and casual place to pop in for lunch or dinner. Nothing screams beach vibes like a Big Baja Bucket of shrimp, lobster, crab and more! Come in off the sand and plant your booty on the patio with a cold beer and some yummy grub. For families, the buckets are fun as well as the platters.

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Avila’s El Ranchito

2800 Newport Blvd. Newport Beach, Ca

Opening in 1975, Avila’s El Ranchito is a popular family-owned Newport Beach restaurant known for their Taco Tuesday. They have fantastic Mexican cuisine, cocktails as well as breakfast served all day every day!

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Newport Beach Family Hotels

The Resort at Pelican Hill

22701 S Pelican Hill Rd, Newport Coast, CA 92657

Situated on over 500 acres of the Newport Coast, The Resort at Pelican Hill is a true family luxury escape. Families have the option of staying in private Villas or Bungalows with access to exciting resort activities. The Coliseum Pool is an amazing 136 feet diameter round pool overlooking the Pacific ocean. The pool is only three-feet deep throughout, so it is nice and safe of kids.

There are three restaurants and two quick service cafes located on the property of Pelican Hill Resort. Andrea serves up North Italian cuisine while Pelican Grill celebrates California Coastal fare. For casual poolside eats, the Coliseum Pool & Grill has pizzas, pastas and salads as you overlook the pool, golf courses and sea! Check the events calendar for resort and kids’ activities.

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Little Inn By The Bay

2627 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Little Inn By The Bay is that it is located within walking distance from Newport’s beach and pier, which makes it super convenient for families. Not only is Little Inn By The Bay in a great location, it is budget friendly, which can be hard to find in a city like Newport Beach. They even offer complimentary bike rentals and beach equipment, like beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, towels and more. The Beach Family Guest Room offers two queen beds, microwave, refrigerator as well as other amenities to help families feel comfortable during their stay.

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Lido House Hotel

3300 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Dream about the ultimate beach house experience while staying with your family Newport, but love the amenities of a hotel? I suggest the Lido House Hotel, located on the Newport Peninsula within the Mariner’s Village. What was once the former city hall, The Lido House is an adorable Cape Cod-style hotel that is also walking distances for great restaurants and shopping along the Newport Harbor. They offer large accommodations, which is perfect for large families, including two queen guest rooms to large two bedroom cottages. In addition, they have an on-site restaurant, a rooftop bar and a large outdoor pool.

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Beach House Rentals

Another great option is beach house rentals. It is great for large families and an easy way to keep the cost in check with meals at home. The more people you have the cheaper the financial burden on each individual adult. Plus it is a casual way to make Newport Beach feel like home. There are options for rentals all over Newport, with several right on the beachfront. This is perfect if you want to hangout on the patio while the kids play in the sand.

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Newport Dunes Resort guide for visiting

Newport Dunes RV Resort

1131 Back Bay Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

You don’t have to have an RV to enjoy a stay at the family-friendly Newport Dunes RV Resort. In addition to several amazing RV lots, they have cozy beach cottages for rent. The rates are the highest during the summer, but Newport Beach has beautiful weather all year long, so I suggest booking during off-season for best rates. We stay in March every year and have great weather every time. What is great about the Newport Dunes RV Resort is that it is located on the Back Bay with calm, waveless waters, perfect for kids, paddle-boarders and kayakers.

There is a walking/biking trail that encircles the property, which makes for a lovely family stroll around the beach, to the playground, the pool, the convenient store, or one of the two dining options. Mobby B’s is a beachside quick-service dining option that serves up pizzas, burgers, hot dogs and more. Back Bay Bistro is the lovely waterfront dine-in option that has a great happy hour, yummy food and great views of the bay. Several water activities and rentals are available for right on the beach, so if you stay here, there is no need to go anywhere else. If you would like to see what staying at the Newport Dunes is like, click to see our full guide on RVing at Newport Dunes and our vlogs featuring drone footage and things to do at Newport Dunes.

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That’s a Wrap!

If you aren’t a fan of marathon days on the beach, like me, no worries. Luckily, Newport Beach is in Orange County and in close proximity to fantastic attractions such as Anaheim, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Old Towne Orange, Fashion Island, etc. So be sure to check out all your options before you plan you visit and have fun visiting Newport!

Newport Beach is rather large with nine different neighborhoods to explore, but the coast is a great place to start. The weather is rarely bad and the fun never stops. So pack up the kids, pack up the sunscreen and get ready for a wonderful beach vacation in Newport Beach with kids.

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Things to do in Newport Beach with Kids

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".


  1. Living in Australia, Newport always looks so glamorous as it is depicted in TV shows like the “OC”.
    Lovely to see a more down to earth family friendly version.

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  3. Pingback: Travel Blog | Camping at Newport Dunes with Beautiful Drone Footage – BookMyHotels

  4. Pingback: Things to do in Anaheim - Family Friendly Activities - HotMamaTravel

  5. Pingback: Hot RVing at the Newport Dunes Resort - HotMamaTravel

  6. Pingback: Best Beaches Near Anaheim - HotMamaTravel

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