Newport Beach Photo Spots
Sitting between the Santa Ana mountains, the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles, and San Diego, Orange County is California dreamin’ at its best! The variety of open spaces, beautiful beaches, and natural greenery makes the region a hotspot for surfing and biking. Still, O.C., as locals affectionately call it, also has bustling towns with plenty of entertainment — most by the oceanfront. 🐚 One of them is Newport Beach, only a short drive from Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Beach. With its sandy beaches, beautiful harbour, and iconic boardwalks, this place is packed with magnificent views of the ocean and, of course, beautiful photo locations. Not sure where to start? Well, we’re here to help. This blog will show the top 5 places to take photos in Newport Beach.
California, here we come. 🎶
1. Newport Beach Pier
As the city’s oldest pier, Newport Beach Pier is more than a Newport site; it is a true Southern California landmark and one of the most popular attractions in the Balboa Peninsula.
As you walk along its 314 meters, you’ll have the perfect scenery for a great California photo session featuring stunning vistas of the Newport Coast with its vibrant beach life. Count on surfers riding the waves to compose the shot and, of course, large pelicans and loud seagulls that fly around the area. Another excellent idea for some pics is to go underneath the pier and capture the sea in the background, framed by the sturdy pillars.
To the right side of the pier’s entrance sits another local institution, the legendary Dory Fishing Fleet and Market, a seafood dock and market operating in the same spot since 1891. The scent of fresh seafood might not be the most pleasant, but the boardwalks and wooden boats make this spot incredibly picturesque and simply a lovely place to take photos in Newport Beach. 📸
2. Balboa Pier
Another great spot to soak in the oceanfront vibe is Balboa Pier. Since 1906, this iconic pier has been an important fishing spot for the city. 🎣
Today, anglers can still be seen, but the pier has become more of a community and leisure space, especially popular for sunsets. Walking along its old-fashioned,rustic structure and observing the fishers catching their mackerel is a delightful experience — and you might as well take some pics since you’re there.
Walk to the very tip of the pier, and you’ll find another photogenic spot, the 1940s nostalgia-themed County’s Ruby’s Diner. First opened in 1982, this was the first of the chain that later expanded to other US cities. The interior has a funky retro decor that will make you feel you’re in the good old days.
Prefer the ocean breeze outside? You can always grab and go from their pick-up window and eat your burger and fries on a bench facing the ocean. Just watch out for the seagulls; they love fries. 🍟
Besides the pier, the area also has a beautiful beachfront boardwalk that’s great for biking and jogging and where you’ll find more charming restaurants. Balboa Peninsula Park is also a stone’s throw from the pier, offering water fountains and picnic tables. Of course, you can also go for a dip in the sea and enjoy the California sun on the sand.
3. Balboa Fun Zone
Across from Balboa Pier sits the colourful Balboa Fun Zone, one of the oldest oceanfront amusement parks in California. It has more fabulous photo ops and retro vibes for you. As the name suggests, the park is all about fun, and you can explore it without a charge; you only pay for the rides. Whether in the arcade game room, riding a merry-go-round, or jumping on the happy swing, kids will be in heaven, and grown-ups won’t resist reviving their early years.
Undeniably, the biggest attraction of Balboa Fun Zone is its charming Ferris Wheel. 🎡 The ride is smooth and enjoyable, but the best part is the fantastic panoramic views of the ocean, Balboa Peninsula, and Newport Harbor. Can you imagine taking a cool selfie from up there? Just don’t drop your camera! For couples, the best rides are certainly during sunset when the whole scenery is tinted gold, making it a very romantic moment. 💕
If you don’t want to spend the entire day at the park, there’s much more to do around it, including many options of water activities such as stand-up paddling, parasailing, and even whale-watching. You can also take the vintage ferry to Balboa Island, stroll its vibrant boardwalk for more photo ops or check out Marine Avenue’s trendy boutiques and shops.
Do you feel like you’re in The O.C. series already? We do. 📺
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4. Victoria Beach
While in Orange County, we highly recommend you take day trips and explore more cities in the region, like Santa Ana, Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Anaheim. Most of them sit only half an hour from Newport, and the last is home to California’s Disneyland Resort. Besides, driving along the California coastline is a delight in itself.
Laguna Beach, however, is one of O.C’s prettiest cities, and a definite must-see.When you reach it, head to Victoria Beach on the Coast Highway, a hidden beach gem on the foot of a cliff boasting dramatic ocean views. The beach has beautiful sea caves and a long stretch of white sand.
You can’t miss Pirate Tower, a medieval-looking tower next to the cliff and a traveller’s fave for photographs. Even though the structure is not medieval, it is old. It was built over a hundred years ago as the staircase to a beach house on top of the cliff. Getting close to it is possible if the tide is low, but be careful because the terrain is pretty rocky.
When the water level drains out to the sea in Victoria Beach, you’ll get to see delightful tide pools. If they have enough seawater, you can swim amongst small fish; otherwise, it’s fun to look for the anemones and barnacles if they’re dry. 😮
5. Treasure Island Park
While in Laguna, another gorgeous place to visit is Treasure Island Park, one of the most pristine beaches in SoCal. The city maintains the park in partnership with a luxury resort facing Treasure Island Beach, but you don’t need to be a guest to enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of the place.
Up on the cliff, there’s an expansive open space with a lawn, lots of greenery, and beautiful flowers, all framing the stunning views of the Pacific waters. This spot is perfect for picnics and one of the best places to take photos in Newport Beach, especially when the cotton candy clouds of summer appear. 🌤️
Go down the scenic path, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by blue waters and golden sand — besides being a feast for the eye, the scenery is perfect for beach photoshoots.
Treasure Island Beach also has tide pools and is lovely for snorkelling. Spend enough time in this California paradise, and you’ll understand why they call it Treasure Island.
Capturing memories in Newport Beach
A visit to Newport Beach is a one-of-a-kind experience filled with all the joy of California, and there’s certainly much more to see.
Some extra honourable mentions go to Crystal Cove State Park with its stunning beaches, coves, and hiking trails; Back Bay with its preserved and pristine wetlands; Corona del Mar Beach and Little Corona del Mar, both beaches of turquoise waters and gentle waves; the Sherman Library & Botanical Garden, also in Corona del Mar. Finally, we know shopaholics will love the open malls of Fashion Island and Lido Marina Village, both full of great boutiques, bars, restaurants, and fun events happening throughout the year. 🛍️
For more travel tips, check out these brilliant suggestions by our community of travellers. To make the best of your experience, book one of our local Flytographers and let them capture remarkable photos of what will be an unforgettable trip.
“Candace was amazing! This was our first Flytographer experience and it by far exceeded my expectations. Candace set up a custom route to perfectly capture our vacation experience. She was wonderful with my littles, too. I highly recommend Candace and can’t wait for our next Newport Beach vacation so we can get more wonderful pictures!”
“I reached out to Jackie the second I got the photos because I truly was OBSESSED with every single photo. We have done multiple photo shoots in the past with different photographers but the experience with Jackie blew me out of the water. From the start she makes the shoot so much fun you forget you are taking photos. Once you get your photos back you will feel the love behind every photo you receive. If you get the opportunity to book with Jackie this is your sign to book immediately you won’t regret it.”
“My husband and I had such an amazing experience during our maternity photoshoot in California! Candace was so friendly and made us feel comfortable right away! The pictures all came out beautiful and I couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect to always have and cherish this special moment in our lives. Thank you Flytographer and Candace! ”