Newport Beach, California attracts vacationers from all over with its distinct maritime ambiance, great surf, eclectic shopping districts, and laid-back boat tours that depart from Newport Harbor. From stand-up paddle rentals to whale-watching cruises, you have plenty of options for entertainment when you stay at a beachfront Newport Beach vacation rental. Looking for an adrenaline rush? Take flight from the beach on a real jetpack. Want to kick back and relax? A gondola tour may be the perfect option. Whatever your vacation style, if you’re looking for fun things to do, here are some of the best activities and attractions in Newport Beach for your itinerary.

1. Check Out the Balboa Fun Zone

You can’t visit Balboa Island in Newport Beach without spending a few hours at the Fun Zone. Vacationers of all ages love playing the arcade games, riding thrill rides, and seeing the coastline from the Ferris wheel. Before you leave, remember to grab some cotton candy, funnel cakes, and other classic amusement park snacks to enjoy while walking along the harbor.

2. Visit the Orange County Museum of Art

When you’re not hitting the beach or relaxing at your vacation rental, stop by this eclectic art museum featuring a permanent collection of more than 3,000 pieces, many from California artists. The museum even offers public tours several days a week that deliver a more in-depth experience for art lovers.

3. Stop by the Environmental Nature Center

A family favorite, this educational center features a nature museum with things to do for kids, as well as an open area featuring 15 ecosystems of California. Be sure to check out the Butterfly House to see Orange County butterflies flutter amidst native plants.

4. Embark on a Boat Tour With Davey’s Locker

Explore the mansions and yachts of Newport Harbor and look for dolphins on the open Pacific with a relaxing cruise. Enjoy a harbor tour on a two-deck boat, or book a deep sea fishing tour with Davey’s Locker for an unforgettable angling experience.

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5. Strap on a Jetpack

Looking for something a little more extreme? Jetpack America offers action-packed flights over the water with a real jetpack, including options for kids and absolute beginners.

6. Enjoy a Gondola Ride

You don’t have to travel to Venice for a laid-back Gondola ride through quiet canals while gazing at the luxurious waterfront homes. Take a walk from your rental to Newport Harbor to step onto your craft alongside your gondolier from Gondola Adventures, Inc.

7. Set Sail in Search of Whales

Vessels shove off daily from Newport Beach to search for the spouts and flukes of migrating humpback and gray whales. Book a cruise with Newport Coastal Adventure to set out in search of whales and pods of dolphins with a small group of passengers for a more intimate whale-watching experience.

8. Take Surf Lessons

With choice surf spots such as the Wedge, Newport Beach is the perfect place to learn how to surf or just practice your wave-riding skills. Book a lesson and rent a few boards with Endless Sun Surf School to learn the ropes from an experienced instructor before heading back to rinse the salt from your hair and watch the sunset from your balcony.

9. Rent Stand-Up Paddle Boards

Take a walk from your vacation home to a rental shop such as Pirate Coast Paddle Company to rent a few boards for a laid-back stand-up paddle excursion. Keep an eye out for sea lions, dolphins, and harbor porpoises as you learn to balance on your board.

10. Walk Through Sherman Library and Gardens

Explore the vast collection of books detailing the rich history of the Pacific Southwest at Sherman Library before taking a stroll through more than two acres of carefully cultivated flora. If you visit on the weekends, stop by the Tea Garden Creperie to enjoy afternoon tea in the gardens.

11. Rent an Electric Boat

Explore the canals and calm marinas of Newport Beach from your own vessel with a charming boat from Electric Boat Rental in Lido Marina Village. Enjoy a relaxing family cruise from an open boat, or rent a canopy-covered vessel to stay cool beneath the California sun.

12. Step Into the Trapzone Escape Room

Catch the wave of the fun escape room trend with a trip to this family-friendly Newport Beach attraction that involves following clues and solving puzzles to make your way out. While you’re waiting for your turn, pick up one of the board games to play.

13. Enjoy a Bike Ride

Pick up your bike rentals from 20th Street Beach and Bikes, and cruise along the beach boardwalk to enjoy the beautiful sunset over the Pacific. Just remember to take a break for some ice cream.

14. See Balboa Island by Segway

Book an afternoon with Balboa Fun Tours to have a blast seeing the homes, shops, and beaches of Balboa Island while cruising the sidewalks on your Segway. Be sure to ask your guide to take a few pictures before you head back to your Newport Beach rental.

15. Check Out the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center

Vacationing families love stopping by this learning center to discover the flora and fauna of the Back Bay area. Watch the short film in the theater before seeing the reptile, fish, and amphibian displays. You can also enjoy a walk along the coastal marshes.

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