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Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

Texas
Level Contributor
643 posts
25 reviews
Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

We are going to be in Newport Beach this Sun to Thursday. Knowing that it is Memorial Day on Monday, and trying to plan to get in everything we can......need some advice on what and when to do. We are staying in Newport Beach, just off the Coast Hwy...I'll have 10/13 year old children.

We want to see surfing, apparently The Wedge is the best place for that, and earlier in the day? What time would we need to be there to see great waves and great surfing? Or is there a surfing contest somewhere on Monday? Is there another place we might see surfing also? I'm also going to arrange paddle board lessons for them at some point, maybe that will be a Tuesday event.

When I look at MapQuest, it seems The Wedge is on Balboa Island? So, I assume we take the ferry over to the Island? Can we see some surfing and then walk back to see some of the attractions on the Boardwalk? How far is that walk, it looks a long way?

We also want to go to Crystal Cove State Park. Could we likely see surfing Monday morning, then move over to Crystal Cove on Monday afternoon.....or will it be so crowded that we should just pick one beach area and plan to hang out for the day? Thanks for suggestions and directions.

4 replies to this topic
Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,633 posts
435 reviews
1. Re: Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

The Wedge is at the far end of the Balboa Peninsula. Whether or not it has waves depends on the direction of the swell that day. Not all beaches face the same direction, the coast curves and juts, etc so depending on which direction the swell is coming will determine the best beach for surfing that day.

Look at the map below.

https://goo.gl/maps/4ARHviybyjt

You can see an example of what I am talking about. Half the Peninsula beaches face more South. The Wedge is at the very end and the "wedge" is created by the breakwater at the harbor entrance.

The other half of the Peninsula is more West facing with the Newport Pier being where the bend of the coast happens. The two links below are for the Wedge and Blackie's at the Newport Pier. You can see where they describe the ideal swell direction for both. Even though they are only a couple of miles apart, they have very different characteristics.

I am also not enamored with Crystal Cove State Beach.I don't think it is a very good beach and it lacks good facilities. I would go to Huntington Beach and park as close as you can to the Huntington Beach Pier. You should see good surfing (assuming there is a swell, which is never a given), it is a big wide beach with lots of parking and you have good facilities with good shops and dining across the street from the beach.

https:/…5842041f4e65fad6a770882b

https:/…5a26dbfbfa245a001a43d45c

Texas
Level Contributor
643 posts
25 reviews
2. Re: Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

Hey, thanks! I am learning a lot trying to plan this last-minute trip! I will check surf cams and the forecast before we head out.

So, looking at the map, it seems that Newport Beach Pier is long and narrow, and a peninsula, and Balboa Island is a small round island? Where does the Balboa Ferry start/end? Is the boardwalk are actually around Newport Beach Pier, or is it on Balboa Island?

We were looking at Crystal Cove for the tide pools....would you still suggest Huntington over Crystal Cove?

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,633 posts
435 reviews
3. Re: Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

Last things first, for tide pools I'd go to Little Corona del Mar State Beach first, then the tide pools at Heisler Park just north of Main Beach Laguna second.

The Balboa Ferry goes between the Balboa Pavilion (and Balboa Pier) and Balboa Island, which is connected to the mainland by a bridge. See map below (and close the side panel so you can see the whole map).

https://goo.gl/maps/FkJGr1zbxQH2

You can see the points the ferry runs between, Little Corona Beach in the bottom right of the map and the Balboa Pier. The two piers are about two miles apart.

Balboa Island is really three Islands, Balboa, Little Balboa and Cagney Isle. There is a boardwalk around all of Balboa Island (1.7 miles) and the Little Island (.79 of a mile). The main street is Marine Ave and it has shops and restaurants.

If I was staying on Coast Highway in Newport I'd probably drive to Balboa Island first, use the ferry to cross to the Peninsula then go to the Wedge, or one of the two piers.

Because it is Memorial Day ALL the beaches will be crowded early. Hopping around a lot will not be your friend. If you can do tidepools another day I would.

I think the grandkids would find Main Beach Laguna or Main Street Huntington Beach infinitely more interesting than Crystal Cove. HB is the epitome of California surf culture.

Texas
Level Contributor
643 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Help planning for Memorial Day visit, please

Scott, that's exactly the guidelines I need! Thanks so much for your time and attention. I like to have a good plan so our time is efficient, and not stuck in traffic all day. Good info!!

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