Blessed with favorable weather year-round, Southern California’s Newport Beach is a dream destination for groups that want to add a splash of outdoor activities to their agenda.
“In addition to having miles of sandy, gorgeous coastline, you have oceanfront activities here such as surf lessons, sand volleyball and watersports,” says Amanda Kliem, director of sales for Visit Newport Beach.
Serving the local yachting and sailboat crowd are a number of waterfront fine-dining restaurants that circle the harbor, which can be enjoyed strictly by land or accessed by sea via the destination’s iconic Duffy Boats, easy-to-navigate small vessels that will get your group out on the harbor.
“I call them a floating limousine, because they can accommodate a group of eight to 10 in luxurious fashion,” Kliem says. “It’s electric powered, like a golf cart, so if you can drive a golf cart you can pilot a Duffy Boat.”
Groups can take to the harbor on a Duffy Boat and add a twist to the dine-around concept by having cocktails on the Duffys and then dock at one of the harbor restaurants. A “dock-and-dine-around,” if you will.
The vessels can also be used for teambuilding, such as scavenger hunts that stop at the Fun Zone area, a carnival setting where attendees can compete at skee ball and visit various restaurants for F&B.
Off-harbor options include Newport Beach Winery and Vineyard, which features an event-ready wine cave and grounds brimming with eclectic art, or a cruise—or helicopter flight—to Catalina Island aboard the Catalina Flyer.
Given the stellar location of Newport Beach an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego, a constellation of theme parks and attractions are a relatively short ride away.
Group hotels include two Marriotts, a Fairmont and a Hyatt, and independent properties Island Newport Beach and the Balboa Bay Resort, which just wrapped a massive renovation.