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Welcome to Dream Vacation Villa’s official travel and tourism lifestyle column, curated and written by your resident expert in vacationing in luxury, Denise Mayer. Weekly, I’ll be bringing you highlights from the industry, spotlighting luxury villas and must-do activities for you and your loved ones. This week’s article highlights Newport Beach, California and offers families a great way to see the best in the area in seven days. Feel free to modify this 7-day Newport Beach, California itinerary to add in your favourite activities and let us know how you would change it.

Newport Beach Basics

Newport Beach, California is south of Los Angeles and is considered a beautiful coastal vacation hub for families. The area hosts excellent beaches, Disneyland, a ferry to Catalina Island and much more. If you plan on flying in, LAX, LA’s main international airport is less than an hour’s drive. You could also fly direct into Orange County via the John Wayne International Airport (SNA) also known as the Santa Anna airport. The area has tons of great accommodations both ocean-side and inland. Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas overlooking the Pacific Ocean may be your best opportunity for luxury amidst beauty.

Arrival Day

If you are driving in for the week at Newport Beach, I’d suggest arriving as early as possible to take advantage of your stay on the Pacific coast. There is so much to offer that maximizing your family’s time will make a difference. The resort’s concierge will gladly store your luggage early, while you start your exploration of the area to get acquainted.

Of course, if you are flying in, the option to arrive early depends on where you are visiting from, but the advice is the same. Head straight to the resort, check-in your bags and start your vacation immediately. In either case, you can request early check-in and may even get your suite on arrival.

After you have checked your luggage or settled into your suite, now is a great time to divide and conquer. Feel free to take the kids to the Vista Laguna Beach, the original since 1927, if you get in early enough or head off to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, both within a 10-minute drive. Alternatively, if you’re like my family, while we love to have some home-cooked meals while we are away, we also love the convenience of ready-made meals from Costco Wholesale, only a 15-minute drive away.

Finally, end the day by taking a family walk through the property, and the gorgeous manicured Pelican Hills Golf Club, across the Pacific Coast Highway 1, crossing the highway at Newport Coast Drive and walking over to Vista Point at Pelican Point for a fantastic view of the sun setting over the Pacific from high atop the Pelican bluffs. This 30-minute round trip walk offers a great view of the ocean and acquaints you with the beautiful Marriot’s property.

Day 2 – Beach Bliss

Newport Vacation Beach Bliss

The first full day of your vacation should be a day spent exploring the local beaches and getting acquainted with the area. Laguna Beach is one of the best-hidden gems of southern California, but don’t forget the infamous Huntington Beach Pier, the beaches of Crystal Cove State Park (the first-night walk), and the beaches between Newport and Balboa Piers. You can find more information about these beaches in our article “Want the Best of California Without the Bustle of LA?” After time at the beach, stroll the piers or go shopping at Fashion Island, a mecca for trendy clothes.


Day 3 – Disneyland!

Disneyland from Newport CA

Now that you are well-rested and have that all-important base-tan, your children, like mine are probably anxious to head to Disneyland. Alternately, you could head to Universal Studios, although it’s over an hour’s drive, while Disney is 25 minutes away.


Day 4 – Watersports Day

Watersport Activities in Newport CA

There are plenty of water activities that can have the entire family enjoying another day in the sun, on the water or diving in the cool and relaxing Pacific Ocean waters. Here are just a few of the water-sports you could try:

  • Jet ski rentals
  • Boat rentals
  • Paddle boarding
  • Water bikes
  • Surfing
  • Gondola rides

Check out Balboa Watersports, Island Paddleboard, and Newport Beach Boat Rentals for local rentals.



Day 5 – San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

If you do not live in California, this is a must-see. The world-class San Diego Zoo and Safari Park is a world leader in endangered species conservation and research, and by visiting the park you can help their mission of ending extinction. The park is just over an hour’s drive from Newport Beach.


Day 6 – Knott’s Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm, Newport CA vacation

A seminal California experience, Knott’s Berry Farm has something for everyone. The original theme park in California, before Disneyland, Knott’s has excelled at providing a unique family experience. Its name is misleading. It started as a humble berry farm, but has grown into 160-acre family fun destination and is less than 30 minutes from Newport Beach.

Not sure you want to spend another day a theme park? Head out to the beaches one last time, visiting one of the spots mentioned above, that you surely did not get time to see on Day 2.




Day 7 – Balboa or Catalina Island

Balboa or Catalina Island Newport vacation

Heading to Catalina Island for the day is a right-of-passage for Californians, and if you’re visiting The Golden State, you would be remiss if you did not take this pilgrimage. Santa Catalina is known for its incredible ocean vistas and trails, watersports, wild roaming buffalos, oceanfront shopping in Avalon and its highly regarded local cuisine.





Departure – One Last Swim

Hopefully, you booked an afternoon flight home, because it would be a shame not to take one last swim before you leave. Just be sure to leave extra time to get to LAX, as LA highway traffic can be quite congested and slow your trip to the airport considerably.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions about Newport Beach or are looking for a magnificent Marriott Newport Coast Vacation Villa with ocean views.


Tags: 7-day itinerary, Newport Beach, California, Marriott Villas, Beach vacation, oceanside luxury villas, Disneyland