#1. Newport Beach
Scoring the coveted No. 1 spot on our list of Best Places to Visit in 2018 is Newport Beach, a city that truly has it all: beautiful weather, outdoor adventure, golf, shopping, dining and cultural attractions galore.
With 10 miles of coastline and a year-round Mediterranean climate, the community lays claim to Newport Harbor, the largest recreational harbor on the west coast, along with some of the best southern California surf spots that draw professional surfers from as far away as Australia and Hawaii. According to Visit Newport Beach, the area’s most famous place to see spectacular surf is The Wedge, located at 2172 E. Oceanfront and featuring massive waves most certainly not suitable for novice surfers.
In addition, Newport Beach is home to Pelican Hill Golf Club, the No. 1 golf resort in the world as ranked by Condé Nast, as well as beautiful havens like Inspiration Point – locals say it’s the perfect place to catch a peaceful sunset. Another of Newport Beach’s must-visit outdoor attractions is Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, one of only a few remaining estuaries in southern California. It has approximately 1,000 acres of open space, including a 3.2-mile hiking loop, plus nearly 200 species of birds.
The city is also a shopper’s paradise with destinations like Fashion Island, an open-air lifestyle center with a mix of prestigious department stores and specialty boutiques, and the charming Lido Marina Village, which is located on Newport Harbor and offers waterside dining opportunities.
For some family-friendly fun, head to the Balboa Peninsula and take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel at the seaside Balboa Fun Zone, then grab a burger and a milkshake at the original Ruby’s Diner on the Balboa Pier. Be sure to also head further inland to visit the Orange County Museum of Art that’s filled with modern and contemporary creations.
“Newport Beach is a seaside holiday retreat beloved by millions of people around the world,” says Gary Sherwin, president and CEO of Newport Beach & Company. “A jewel of the southern California coastline, Newport Beach enjoys nearly year-round sunshine, which inspires an al fresco lifestyle of outdoor activities on the west coast’s largest recreational harbor, as well as dockside dining and shopping. With 10 unique and distinct neighborhoods and a calendar of special events, including the star-studded Newport Beach Film Festival, there is something for everyone.”