As lifelong locals of Newport Beach, we’re experts on where to rent gear and book tours for any water activity you can think of! And because our town is made up of more than 50% water, there are tons of fun water activities for you to try – on the bay & on the ocean!
Learn How to Surf!
Next to Waikiki, Newport Beach is one of the best spots for learning how to surf! The waves are tame and the ocean floor is all sand (aka no rocks or reef!). Endless Sun Surf School is our hands-down favorite surf school. They have the nicest, most knowledgeable instructors and they are based right at the Newport Pier, where the waves are perfect for beginners of all ages. Surf boards and wetsuits are provided, and you can join group classes or book private lessons 365 days of the year! You’ll be hanging ten in no time!
Explore the Harbor on Kayak or Stand-up Paddle Board
Our favorite alternative to a beach day is kayaking or stand-up paddling on the Newport Harbor. The water here is flat and peaceful with tons of inlets, canals, and channels to explore! We recommend renting kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at Marina Park. It’s centrally located on the peninsula and their team helps you take off & land right from the sands of the park – it couldn’t be easier! (If you’ve never stand-up paddled before, we recommend wearing a bathing suit, since it’s common to fall in the water during your first few attempts). Because these rentals are run through the city, prices are cheaper than other competitors at $20/hr. Can’t beat that deal!
Hours: M-F 9:00-4:30, Sat-Sun 9:00-5:30
In a Beach Gear Bind?
Couldn’t pack your boogie board and cooler on your trip to Newport Beach? Rent any of your beach day needs (body boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, canopy tents, soft top surfboards, and beach cruisers) through Beachview Bikes! A shameless plug for our own business – we know! – but we are the only gig in town that delivers your gear straight to your door, free of charge! It’s tough to recommend other companies when we offer a sweet service like that!
Renting an Electric Boat is Watts Up
It couldn’t be more gorgeous, carefree, and relaxing to cruise your way through the Newport Harbor by electric boat. Our advice? You and your crew get yourselves a charcuterie board to snack on, some phone storage for a barrage of photos, a bluetooth speaker, and you’ve got yourself a fabulous afternoon! Luckily, there are plenty of places in town that rent electric boats. Prices are pretty comparable, so we recommend booking through whichever company has availability (because harbor cruises are pretty popular in these parts!).
Colorful Boats & Convenient Lido Marina Village Location: Vision Electric Boat Rental
Cheapest: Voyager Rentals
OG Electric Boat Rental: Duffy Electric Boats
Conveniently Located at the Fun Zone: Newport Harbor Boat Rentals
Learn How to Sail!
If learning how to sail is on your bucket list, what are you waiting for?! The City of Newport has partnered with a local city college to offer affordable sailing classes for kids and adults. Most classes happen over the course of 4 days for $180. The time commitment, we think, is 100% worth it, especially because you’ll be learning in perfect water conditions! The mellow waters of the bay paired with the gentle ocean breeze won’t intimidate even the most fearful of youngsters, making this the perfect family activity!
Grab Your Dramamine & Go Deep Sea Fishing!
Ready to reel in the big one? Head out into the deep blue to catch dinner! (You’ll never taste a better fish than the one you’ve caught that day!). The waters outside Newport are home to an array of fish including yellowtail, sea bass, calico bass, and barracuda. Depending on how much you want to pay for your fishing adventure, we have two local fishing companies we highly recommend. If you prefer a private charter, book with Bongos! Half day charters are $1500; full days are around $2400. If you don’t want to drop that much coin on fish, Davey’s Locker offers fantastic group fishing trips that will only cost you $35-60. Because these boats carry 50-80 people, you won’t cover as much ground – or, well, sea – but the team knows how to show their passengers a great time!
Behold Whales in their Natural Habitat
Like fishing expeditions, you have the option of whale watching with a small private charter or a large group boat. Because we’re ocean fanatics, we prefer booking a small zodiac inflatable boat with Newport Coastal Tours and getting up close and personal with the sea life! We love Newport Coastal Adventure because their boats are fast and their crew is staggeringly knowledgeable about local sea life. Simply put: it’s Sea World on steroids! If you prefer a larger and therefore sturdier boat, consider booking through Newport Landing. Their fleet of boats is diverse in size and pricing, so you can customize your trip to your preferences. No matter who you book with, we recommend booking an early morning expedition to guarantee smoother ocean conditions. Also, check out Newport Landing’s handy whale and sea life guide to know which months which type of wildlife!
Catalina Island Makes for the Perfect Day Trip
Can you believe this scene sit 30 miles off our coast? It’s like the coast of Italy without the 12 hour flight. From our very own harbor, hop aboard the Catalina Flyer and in one hour, you’ll land in Avalon, the island’s idyllic central town. There’s snorkeling, submarine rides, boat and jet ski rentals, bison expeditions, ziplining, not to mention idyllic shops and cafes all easily accessible on foot from the town’s waterfront promenade. Best of all, you’ll be back in Newport by 5:45pm to make it to your dinner reservation. How’s that for a full day of vacation?
Catalina Flyer fare: $78 round trip for adults/$61 roundtrip for kids under 12.
Take a Joy Ride on a Jet Ski
There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as zipping across the water on a jet ski. In Newport Beach, there’s only one place in town to rent one: Balboa Water Sports. Conveniently located at the Fun Zone, Balboa Water Sports rents sea doos for $155/hour. Because you’ll be launching out of the harbor (which has a zero wake policy), you get a bonus half hour to navigate to and from the wide open ocean! Each sea doo fits up to two people, so you can hoot and holler with your buddy as you zig and zag down the coastline!
Parasail Above the California Coastline
We love parasailing because it’s equal parts thrilling and peaceful. Floating 800 feet above the water is no small thing, but once you’re up in the clouds, the world gets wonderfully quiet and serene. California Parasail is the purveyor of all things parasailing in Newport Beach. Their team is made up of the friendliest people who will take you along the coastline for an unbelievable bird’s eye view of the Newport Beach peninsula (with Catalina Island in the distance!). Perhaps the best thing about parasailing is the fact that you can do it all without getting wet! However, if you prefer a thrill, the captain will be happy to oblige by letting your parachute float towards the water until you’re waist deep in ocean, before cranking the engine to get you back up to 800 feet! Talk about an unforgettable afternoon!