• The Billabong Guide to Newport Beach, CA

The Billabong Guide to Newport Beach, CA

The Billabong Guide to Newport Beach, CA

The City of Newport Beach is quite a unique little white-collar beach town. It’s part wealthy, trust fund baby families, part old school fishing town that has as much rich ocean history running through it as just about any other city up and down the coast.

Take for example the current Newport harbor entrance. It was the site of the first major surf competition on the mainland US. Duke Kahanomoku was there. In fact, Duke used to love to come hang in Newport with all of the celebrities that often migrated south from the Hollywood Hills to catch some rays and enjoy all that Newport had to offer. Newport’s surfing roots are deep.

Nowadays, things have changed quite a bit - like the structure of the harbor and the amount of million dollar boats that inhabit it. Not to mention the equally expensive houses lining what used to be empty hillsides. But, change is inevitable, and what Newport may have lost in undeveloped land, it has definitely gained in nightlife and a “never a dull moment” atmosphere anytime the sun’s out. Oh yeah, and the waves get good too!

Here are a few Billabong-approved tips on what a surfer should do when visiting Newport Beach.

Where to Eat: Without a doubt, no questions asked, Bear Flag Fish Company. It’s pretty baffling that it took so long for Newport to have an authentic fish market within its borders. The wait was worth it though. Owner Thoss Carson keeps his market supplied with the freshest, local fish he can get his hands on. Order the Bear Flag burrito, a half-pound of poke and a beer. Your taste buds will love you!

Where to Stay: That’s a funny one because the best hotels are extremely expensive and to get the full Newport experience you’re better off crashing on a friend’s couch or getting an Airbnb. If you need a hotel though we'd recommend the Balboa Inn. It’s a bit far down the peninsula but the bay and ocean are easily accessible and a bike on the boardwalk is all you’ll need for transportation.

Where to Mingle: If you’re looking to dance, Blue Beet is one of the only spots to do so. Wild Taco on 31st Street is a fine place for having dinner and drinks with plenty of young people around. Post-dinner you can always count on Malarky’s Bar and Grill to be holding with some crew. On a Friday or Saturday night it can get a bit “clubby” after 10, but maybe that’s your cup of tea. Cassidy’s Bar and Grill is a topnotch spot for a cold beer on a hot summer day. It's just off the beach, it’s old, it's got some pretty nefarious characters that frequent the place and has an amazing burger and an authentic feel that will keep you coming back for more.

Where to Meet Girls: Summer days on Newport’s peninsula can be like shooting fish in a bucket. Go to the beach, anywhere from the Wedge to River Jetties, post up and spit some game. Odds are you’ll be dancing at Blue Beet later that night with the same group of gals, sun burnt and having a great time.

Where to Surf: The most consistent stretch of beach and also the most crowded and competitive in Newport, is 54th Street aka “the hottest 100 yards”. Go there if you’re into paddle battling. There are more waves but they're ours and we're not blowing up our spot for everyone so you hit us up on Instagram or Twitter if you want to know where we surf.

Where Not to Surf: Don't surf The Wedge. Seriously, don't. It’s a closeout, no one surfs there and you’re better off watching idiots go over the falls or drive their jet ski onto the rocks with the rest of the crowd on the beach.

A Final Pro Tip: Newport Beach police have plenty of time on their hands and are looking for stuff to do. DON’T BE STUPID! But have a great time, and remember that what happens in Newport...will most likely end up on somebody’s Facebook feed.

Need some ideas for what to do when you're on your next strike mission to Bali, Hossegor or the North Shore? Read all of the Billabong Travel Guides here.