We all know the old adage about real estate: location, location, location.
But when it comes to waterfront property, it’s not that simple—there’s location, and then there’s location.
 And even within a particular location, there are
sub-locations and…you get the idea. Here’s a look at the two types of waterfront
property in Newport Beach—oceanfront and bayfront.
ocean front non boardwalk ocean front - boardwalk bayfront

Peninsula Point, which runs from F Street down to the Wedge, is considered the most desirable area (and the prices reflect that). It is a neighborhood of year-round owners, with few rentals. Oceanfront homes are right on the beach, with sand dunes outside the front door. Some homes expand their front area (with city lease agreements) out into the sand with gardens. Jetty Park, featuring the world-famous body-surfing spot, The Wedge, is in Peninsula Point.

Many people ask about the commute from Peninsula Point, but this is mainly an issue during the summer, particularly during the prime beachgoing hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Otherwise, this is a quiet, spectacular location, with a variety of ocean, bay and city light views.

West Newport extends from the Santa Ana River jetty near the Newport Beach-Huntington Beach border up to 36th Street. The area features the advantage of proximity to the Coast Highway—turn off the highway and you can be home in just a couple minutes, with the surf practically right at your door. There are more duplexes in this area.

Balboa Pier and Balboa: The area between 13th Street and the end of the Boardwalk at F Street includes a variety of unique features: You’re close to the ferry that takes you to Balboa Island, there’s a large recreational grassy area where bands often play during the summer, and this is the only place on the entire Peninsula where you can have a barbecue right on the beach—with plenty of parking for your guests. There are more vacation properties here, and the beaches are wider in this part of the peninsula.

Newport Pier: Affectionately known by residents as “Party Central,” this lively area in the heart of the Peninsula has the highest concentration of winter and summer rentals, and is where most people come to play. (Understandably, there’s a premium for properties with parking and garage space.) It’s great for people-watching, and is very convenient to the 55 Freeway. This is also where you’ll find the least expensive oceanfront property—the same house will cost less here than on Peninsula Point, for example.


The two D’s of bayfront properties are “direction” and “docks”: which direction does the home face, and does it have a boat dock?

First, direction. There’s always a premium on properties facing west—after all, who wouldn’t want to watch the sunset? In addition, some of the most highly valued properties have views of the turning basin, the large open area of harbor where boats head out to lower Newport Bay or Lido Channel or Beacon Bay. The turning basin is the place to be during the Christmastime boat parade: the parade starts right here.

Properties on Balboa Island and Little Island face the smaller turning basin at the confluence of the entrance channel and Newport Bay. This is a great scenic-view area. (Speaking of islands, don’t forget another rule of thumb: the smaller the island, the fewer the homes, the higher the price.)

Not all bayfront properties have docks. On Lido Island, for example, some homes have sandy beaches but no docks. And not all docks are created equal. There are large ones and small ones. Some bayfront homes have double-sided docks, with two properties sharing one dock. Other homes have no docks, but instead have mooring cans. In other words, if you’re moving to Newport and bringing a boat, you’ll need to look for a house with the type of dock you need.

And if you do have a boat, you’ll also want to consider motoring times. Motoring from the end of the channel to the end of the jetty can take about 45 minutes—if you’re abiding by the 5-knot rule!

There are other bayfront homes farther from the main harbor.The Balboa Coves and Upper Newport Bay areas each require boating under a bridge, so if you have a sailboat, you have to be able to step the mast. Upper Newport Bay has some beautiful city light views, great views of Back Bay, the Upper Bay areas and the lights of Fashion Island.