Things to Do in Newport Beach with Kids to Explore and Learn

Newport Beach is a fantastic place to be a kid – or a grown-up raising kids! There is so much to do, explore, and learn in Newport Beach, whether you are a local or a visitor from out of town. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite things to do in Newport Beach with kids for you to check out and try with your little ones. Take a look!

5 Things to Do in Newport Beach with Kids for Unforgettable Fun in the Sun

Centennial Farm

girl in orange county petting a goat

It’s important that our kids know how our food grows. Centennial Farm at OC Fair & Event Center is a fabulous way to give them an interactive look at the world of farming! With over 3 acres of working farmland, Centennial Farm educates visitors of all ages about agriculture and its importance to daily life. They offer two youth educational tour programs, Discovery Days and Junior Farmer Tours. Still, they are also open year-round daily so that the public can visit the farm for free! 

You and your little ones will see animals like oxen, peacocks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and pigs up close and learn about the work and dedication that goes into caring for livestock daily. Additionally, take the time to explore their fruit and vegetable gardens and learn about nutrition and agriculture and how our food makes its way from rich Southern California farms to the familiar produce shelves of our local grocery stores.

The Balboa Fun Zone

The Balboa Fun Zone has been a destination for joy for over 80 years. While its property has undergone several major renovations throughout the past almost decade, it’s always been the place to go for epic beach entertainment. Today, a local family is lovingly restoring the iconic Newport Beach landmark for new generations to enjoy. 

The vibrant atmosphere of The Balboa Fun Zone is full of summery nostalgia, with lots of amusement park rides, charming shops, and delicious treats like ice cream, pizza, BBQ, and corn dogs. The Balboa Ferris Wheel gives riders a spectacular view of the beach and water and an aerial view of the entire boardwalk. 

Visit the arcade for some flashy fun, or challenge your friends and family to a rousing round of laser tag. The adventurists and water lovers in your life will love visiting the marina for exhilarating parasailing or renting a ski-doo for a refreshing excursion. The Balboa Fun Zone is the perfect way to pass a day at the beach – just remember your sunscreen and plenty of water to stay hydrated! 

Once Upon An Island

Whoever said mermaids aren’t real clearly hasn’t visited Once Upon an Island on Balboa Island. If you have a little one who loves all things princesses, sparkles, and mermaids, then Once Upon an Island is a must-see! Their Mermaid Grotto is open daily for visitors of all ages to engage with beautiful mermaids (and sometimes even pirates!). The Jellyfish Salon is the perfect spot for little ones to transform into real mermaids, princesses, and pirates. 

Whether visiting for a Story Time Event, hosting a private luxury birthday party, or attending a special event, your little ones will love Once Upon an Island’s magic and colorful intrigue. For a dream-come-true experience, your child can also attend Mermaid Academy. This 3-hour camp transforms them from a legged human princess into a mermaid princess, complete with a tail and a dip in the water! Their fairy tale characters bring magic to life in unique, interactive ways for an experience they’ll never forget!

Newport Beach woman on the beach holding her daughter.

Newport Beach Surf Camp

Surf’s up, dude! Southern California is synonymous with the image of surfers riding exhilarating ocean waves along the coast. Now your kid can learn how to fulfill that aquatic experience safely. Their team of highly experienced coaches will train students how to catch waves like a pro, whether they’re new to surfing and excited about hitting the water on a surfboard or are looking to improve techniques as more experienced surfers. 

They have an idyllic beachfront location in Newport Beach that offers ideal surf conditions for all skill levels. Surf students will learn about wave dynamics, ocean safety, and proper board handling techniques. In addition to learning important surfing skills, attendees will have plenty of opportunities to experience nature in its purest form, learning the importance of conservation and appreciating its true beauty. Have a kid who is intimidated by learning to surf in a group? Newport Beach Surf Camp also offers private lessons for one-on-one instruction!


Crystal Cove State Park

maternity photographer newport beach

Southern California’s natural beauty is one of the things that makes raising a family here so rewarding. Crystal Cove State Park exemplifies many of our area’s environmental beauty and resources, including plenty of open space and a natural seashore. Pack your beach towels, sandcastle-building tools, and a picnic for a gorgeous beach day, splashing in crystal-clear water waves. 

If you’re open to a historical exploration of the area, you can visit the Historic District with its 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930s. State Park staff and docents offer tours of the Historic District year-round, too, so you can really dive into the area’s story! If your family loves hiking, the inland portion of Crystal Cove State Park includes the Moro Canyon, views of Moro Ridge, and a 2.5-mile paved path trail that runs along the bluff tops, ideal for hiking and biking. 

Plus, leashed dogs are welcome, so it’s an outdoor activity the entire family can enjoy! Check out Crystal Cove State Park’s website and calendar for unique events and activities, like tidepool and nature walks, bird walks, and even whale watching!

Things to Do in Newport Beach with Kids

These are some of my favorite things to do in Newport Beach with kids, but there are so many other activities and unique places to visit, too. Let me know if you have another great activity to add to the list! 

I’m always looking for places to share with the families I photograph right here in Orange County. While you’re here, look around and check out some of my favorite photos in the blog links below. It would be my pleasure to add your family’s pictures to my list of favorites!

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