Newport Beach vs. Santa Monica: A Visitor’s Guide to Choosing the Best City

Are you planning a trip to Southern California? This region of the United States is known for its beautiful shoreline, global cuisine, and luxurious shopping and lodging options. It’s the ideal destination for travelers who are seeking relaxation and luxury at its finest. You have options when it comes to which Southern California city to visit. Can’t decide? Take some time to explore Newport Beach vs. Santa Monica 

When you’re ready to start planning your trip, request our free Newport Beach Vacation Guide. This planning tool contains insight into the best activities, accommodations, and more in Orange County! 

Request Your Newport Beach Vacation Guide 

Your Guide to Newport Beach vs. Santa Monica 

Annual Visitors 

About one million more travelers visit Santa Monica than Newport Beach annually. While both cities are popular vacation destinations, Newport Beach tends to be a bit quieter than Santa Monica, especially during the summer, when tourism is at its peak.  


According to Champion Traveler, it costs $1,961 for a solo traveler to take a 7-day vacation to Newport Beach. Alternatively, it costs $2,174 for one person to visit Santa Monica for seven days. While there’s not much cost difference between visiting the two cities, it may be a few hundred dollars cheaper to visit Newport Beach overall.  

Travelers visiting via plane should also consider the cost of getting from the airport to the city they’re visiting. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the closest airport to Santa Monica, about 10 miles from the city. While some Newport Beach visitors fly into LAX, others route to John Wayne Airport, just 8 miles from Newport Beach. Be sure to compare flight and rental car prices at both airports before planning your trip! 


No trip to the Southern California coast would be complete without a visit to the beach. Santa Monica beaches span 3.5 miles, whereas there are 8 miles of public beaches in Newport Beach. If you like spending quiet days on the beach, you’re more likely to find that in Newport Beach. Our city is also home to some of the best surfing in America at The Wedge 


Santa Monica and Newport Beach boast similar activities. The weather is consistently sunny and 75°, so going to the beach is a must! The main difference between the two cities is that Santa Monica’s downtown district feels more big-city than Newport Beach’s. Still, Newport Beach is home to some fantastic shops and restaurants 

Stay in Newport Beach 


After weighing the pros and cons of Newport Beach vs. Santa Monica, it’s time to decide where you’ll visit. If you want fewer crowds, more coastline, and luxurious vacation rentals, look no further than Newport Beach! Burr White Realty can help you find the vacation home of your dreams. We offer a wide selection of Newport Beach rental properties, so you can find one that fits your style and budget.  

Browse a complete catalog of our Newport Beach rental homes to start planning your trip!