Newport Beach has long been a quiet seaside hideaway for the fantastically wealthy looking to escape the flashbulbs of Los Angeles.
Bungalows at The Resort at Pelican Hill have 18-foot-tall wood-beam ceilings and large patios with glass partitions to ensure uninhibited views of the ocean.
Hulking yachts bob in the harbor, often occupied by barking seals hoping to catch some rays. Cotton-candy sunsets abound. Fresh fish practically leap from the ocean onto the plate at local restaurants. It is largely undiscovered for destination travelers and a bit more private than San Diego. The Resort at Pelican Hill (pelicanhill.com) is a favorite for its exclusive, tranquil bungalows (from $495 per night) with vast views of the shores. Two- to four-bedroom villas (from $695 per night) offer access to exclusive clubhouse amenities and ample room for an entourage. Nearby Crystal Cove is primed for seaside strolls on its 3.2-mile stretch of coastline, where pedestrians can gaze upon historic cottages, one of which appeared in the 1988 film Beaches. Rent a Duffy electric boat (from $199 for two hours) for a private or guided joyride around yacht-flanked Newport Harbor to admire not only the tremendous coastal architecture, but also the rich population of industry titans and celebrity homeowners. Taste is paramount in Newport, with plenty of spots to dock the boat for a sumptuous lunch and a glass of wine; shop like a high roller at Fashion Island; or dine on a decadent French-inspired dinner at Marché Moderne (marchemoderne.net) in the swanky neighborhood of Newport Coast. With the median income exceeding six figures in this coastal town, it’s no wonder it is rapidly becoming a getaway for first-class jet-setters.