Just before the summer sun dips behind the horizon, a photo-worthy moment occurs. Most call it “golden hour,” and some call it “magic hour,” but we think it falls somewhere in between. And whether you’re a Newport Beach local or out-of-town visitor, this mystical hour is one you don’t want to miss. So snag a seat, uncork that bottle of wine and watch as the Newport sky paints a stunning picture with hues of blue and strokes of pink, yellow and orange. Here are the six best spots in Newport Beach to relish the beauty of this last hour of daylight.
This stunner of a spot in Corona del Mar sits atop a bluff, offering panoramic views of the Newport Coast and pier. Grab a seat on one of the benches and gaze out at the horizon as it slowly changes colors. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the “disappearing path” down and discover more benches and small stone bleachers, perfect for private viewing. If you prefer to throw down a blanket on the sand, wander down the path even more, which will eventually lead you to Pirate’s Cove, Little Corona and Big Corona beaches. No matter where you decide to set up shop, golden hour at Inspiration Point will not disappoint.
Nothing beats a warm summer night in Newport Beach. Whether you’re biking down the boardwalk trail at sunset or cozying up for a bonfire at the beach, there’s something about those last minutes of daylight that give us all the feels. But if you’re an Orange County local, you know how crowded the coast gets in the summer months. So if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and embark on a peaceful sunset stroll, head to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Reserve! This protected ecological reserve, commonly known as “The Back Bay,” boasts over 1,000 acres of preserved wetlands for you to explore. Start your golden hour journey on the Back Bay Loop and enjoy a serene walk through miles of natural beauty.
Perched atop a cliff in the heart of Crystal Cove sits Pelican Point, a popular place to catch a sunset. Walk out to the circular platform, grab a seat on one of the benches and enjoy 180-degree views of the untouched Newport coastline. To get to this prime viewing spot, walk as far north as you can on the paved path and keep right until you reach the small viewpoint area on your left. Once you’ve arrived, take a seat and let the sky do the rest…
Known for its pristine beaches and acres of protected wilderness, it’s no wonder Crystal Cove State Park is a popular place for hiking, swimming, and exploring. The park encompasses 3.2 miles of sandy shoreline, including Little Treasure Cove, Pelican Point Beach, Los Trancos Beach and Treasure Cove Beach. Arrive a few hours before sundown and spend some time exploring the tide pools, rocky reefs and sandy coves! Then, when golden hour strikes, throw down a blanket and revel in the beauty of an iconic Newport Beach sunset.
Possibly one of the most popular spots to catch a summer sunset, the famed Newport Beach Pier juts off the Balboa Peninsula, creating the ideal lookout point. Take a walk down the pier to watch the surfers catch their final waves of the day and take in dreamy views of the sweeping shoreline. And if you’d like to continue the golden hour festivities, zip on over to 21 Oceanfront Restaurant on the Peninsula for fresh seafood, seasonal cocktails and an elegant waterfront ambiance.
While elevated lookout points are typically ideal for sunset viewing, few things compare to actually being on the water. If you’re looking for an all-out golden hour experience, rent your very own electric boat! Newport Beach features a variety of rental companies like Lido Marina Village Electric Boat Rental, Duffy Electric Boat Rentals, Newport Beach Boat Rentals and more. These seafaring vessels not only offer a fun way to explore the harbor with friends, but they also give you the opportunity to choose your own viewing spot! Pull up dockside to dine at one of the city’s bayside restaurants or throw it in cruise control as you sip back, relax and enjoy the horizon’s beauty.
Written By: Kaylin Waizinger