You can easily spend a day at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, which is part of the "Back Bay".
There are plenty of walking and/or hiking trails, and...dogs are allowed on the trails as long as they are on a leash.
Being locals, we like to get on our bikes and go for a ride around the Back Bay. It takes about an hour...or less depending upon how hard you pedal. If you feel you have shed too many calories, you may want to stop by the Back Bay Bistro. You'll be riding right past it..over by the "Dunes" area!!
Another interesting place to visit is The Interpretive Center. If you ride your bike around the Back Bay, you almost can't miss it. If you go by car, cross streets are Irvine and University, but remember that only by foot or bike can you follow the Back Bay all the way around.
A wonderful place to visit in the Back Bay is the Newport Aquatic Center. It is home to all kinds of high level water sports. You can rent a kayak there and see the Back Bay and/or the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve from an entirely new dimension.
Highly recommend....when visiting Newport Beach.
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