What: There’s so much more to Southern California than L.A. There are days when you just want to get away from the traffic, the smog, and the potholes on Sunset Boulevard. Follow this itinerary for a day in sunny, laid-back Newport Beach and surrounding O.C. (Orange County) areas.
Mode(s) of Transportation: feet, car, ferry
Price Point: $$
- Start: Breakfast at Plum’s Cafe (Costa Mesa)
- Drive to: Kayak or paddle board in Newport Bay with Wayward Captain Paddleboards (Newport Beach)
- Walk to: Walk around Balboa Fun Zone (Newport Beach)
- Ferry to: Take the Balboa Island Ferry to Balboa Island and shop around. Have a quick lunch or grab a chocolate-dipped frozen banana (Newport Beach)
- Ferry to: Head back to Balboa Fun Zone (Newport Beach)
- Drive to: Walk around Fashion Island (Newport Beach)
- Drive to: Catch the sunset at Corona Del Mar State Beach (Corona Del Mar, CA)
- Drive to: Dinner at Bandera, R&D Kitchen, or True Food Kitchen (Corona Del Mar / Newport Beach)
- Drive to: Drinks at Kitsch Bar, Commissary, or Mesa (Costa Mesa)
Plum’s Cafe & Catering: Awesome place for breakfast or brunch on the popular E 17th St. in Costa Mesa – right off of Newport Blvd, so it’s on the way from the freeway to the beach. Try their Dutch baby sprinkled with powdered sugar and a few drops of fresh lemon juice!
Wayward Captain Paddleboards: They’re cheaper than the rental place just twenty steps away, plus they offer a $20 for $30 deal for checking in on Yelp or Foursquare. The best thing about Wayward Captain, though, is the fact that the dudes (hey, it’s SoCal) operating the business are super friendly and chill (again, it’s SoCal). They even offer you sunblock and a waterproof watch to keep track of the time when you’re out on in the water.
Balboa Fun Zone: Ice cream, cheap arcades, candy stores, and pizza…the Balboa Island Fun Zone really takes you back to the old days. (This is where Wayward Captain is located.)
Balboa Island Ferry: $2 each way, cash only!
Balboa Island: Supposedly home of the “original” frozen banana. Not sure whether or not that’s a true claim, but they’re delicious, so it doesn’t matter. Walk along Marine Avenue and you’ll find cute shops, art galleries, an old-fashioned candy store, and a variety of restaurants.
Fashion Island: Outdoor California shopping at its finest!
Bandera: It’s owned by the Hillstone Restaurant Group, so you know it has to be good. I still dream about their cornbread…
R & D Kitchen: An upscale burgers-and-fries kind of place that tends to attract the wealthier Newport Beach crowd. (Also owned by the Hillstone Restaurant Group!)
True Food Kitchen: Despite its boring and generic name, True Food actually serves up some really flavorful food that just so happens to be good for you.