Wendy and I are lifelong residents of Orange County, CA and we love exploring in our own hometown. A beachside staycation is one of our favorite ways to spend a week in the summer. One of our favorite places to visit and vacation is Newport Harbor, and if you’re planning a trip to the OC this year, we’ve got the perfect Newport Harbor Scavenger Hunt for you and your family!
Fun Summer Activity: Duffy Boat Rentals
One of my favorite things to do while in Newport Beach is to take a Duffy Boat cruise through the harbor. Duffy Boats are small, electric boats, and on any given day you can see dozens cruising around the various islands in Newport Harbor. They’re popular for parties, date night, and family time on the water.
Because the Duffy boats have to stay within the harbor where the speed limit is 5 mph, a Duffy boat is a relaxing way to spend a couple of hours. (Wendy has a slightly less happy Duffy boat story, but we swear that was a freak accident. I’m a terrible driver and can safely navigate a Duffy boat with ease.)
Take our printable scavenger hunt along to make your time on the water even more interactive!
Viewing Newport Harbor From Land
If you prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, there are a few ways to see the harbor without boarding a boat. Drive onto Balboa island and walk all of the way to the water’s edge. You can walk the perimeter around the island while passing in front of beautiful waterfront homes as you go.
Or, visit the Balboa Fun Zone on the Balboa Peninsula. A ride on the Ferris Wheel will give you a great view of the harbor!
Fun Facts about Newport Harbor
- Newport Harbor is the largest recreational harbor on the west coast of the United States
- There are 8 islands within the harbor, although most Orange County residents can only name two!
- There are TWELVE yacht clubs within the harbor.
- Two types of boats always have the right of way in the harbor – sailboats and ferries. (There are a couple of small ferries that runs between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula)
- There are a handful of public docks that you can tie up to throughout the harbor, but there are also restaurants that offer waterside parking and Duffy valet, including The Cannery, Billy’s at the Beach, Sol Cucina, and Bluewater Grill
Duffy Boat Name Game
Many Duffy boat owners vie for the title of the best boat name – and the vast majority of them are a play on words since the boats are electric. You’ll see names like “Going Ohm” and “Watt’s Up!” See if you decide on the best name you see while on the water.