By J.C. Thomas
Newport Beach, one in a string of glorious beach towns along the coast of Orange County, has a reputation for being fancy. There’s no denying it’s a gilded playground of sorts, profuse with country clubs and yachts, high-end boutiques and such natural beauty to command an arm and a leg of anyone wishing to claim a little of it as their own. Yet there’s another side to Newport Beach’s charms. The city also offers a laid-back kind of luxury inspired by the sheer loveliness of its landscape. Such simple pleasures as playing on the beach with family and friends under year-round sunshine are accessible to all and entice visitors from near and far.
The guests at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina, which hosted my family of four for a recent one-night stay, span a wide range of pleasure seekers. For more than 60 years, the resort has welcomed the public and overnight guests to enjoy its beautiful mile-long stretch of Back Bay beachfront. Some come for the day, to dine at the award-winning Back Bay Bistro or claim a spot on the sand and dip into the warm, wave-free lagoon. You might book a private cabana or fire pit on the beach, or rent kayaks, pedal boats and stand-up paddle boards from the marina. Another major draw is the largest inflatable water park in Southern California, open from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.
For out-of-towners, an overnight stay at Newport Dunes allows maximum enjoyment of the family-friendly (and pet-friendly) property and its incredible facilities. These include two swimming pools and spas, a fitness center, playground, movies on the beach, weekly concerts and a packed schedule of kids’ activities. The resort is also a great base for trips to local attractions like Balboa Island with its old-fashioned amusements, Fashion Island and South Coast Plaza for shopping, and a little farther afield Disneyland, just 19 miles away.
Newport Dunes features an RV resort as well as cottages in three configurations. My family – my husband, myself and our 2- and 4-year-old boys – stayed in one of the resort’s 299-square-foot beach cottages. Each includes a master bedroom with a queen-size bed and large closet, a fully equipped kitchen with a dining area, a full bathroom and living room with a flat-screen television and sleeper sofa. The décor is bright and beachy, with high ceilings and an attractive color palette of seafoam and white.
Beach cottages sleep up to four or six and ours had ample space for all of us, with a loft area and private beach-facing terrace adding even more room. Between the cottages and private gates with direct access to the beach are large picnic tables, perfect for eating meals while enjoying the breezes and sunshine or sunset. Having a full kitchen in which to prepare meals is always a welcome option when you’re traveling with children. After working up an appetite swimming in the shallow, calm lagoon and making sandcastles in the sun, we feasted al fresco on spaghetti, waiting for the sun to go down and the evening’s movie (“Finding Dory”) to start on the big screen just steps away from the cottage.
Other available accommodations include large cottages and studio cottages, all with a kitchen and outdoor deck or terrace. Standard amenities include high-speed Wi-Fi and in-room coffee. The resort also offers a laundry room and marketplace open seven days. When you don’t feel like cooking, Moe B’s Munchies is open for casual fare, while the Back Bay Bistro with its waterfront terrace offers a more refined dining experience and award-winning brunch.
Name: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina
Address: 1131 Back Bay Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Disclaimer: California News Press and its contributors received goods, services and/or other professional courtesies to facilitate this review. All opinions are those of the author.