Your Guide to the Best Trip to the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

No vacation is complete without doing a bit of exploring the area around your stay. Yes, you may want to be a beach bum for the whole week or a few days, but you will miss out on some of the best places to golf, have a drink, and get out and about. One of the best places to add to your itinerary for biking and hiking is the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve! 

When you’re ready to start planning your day of adventure and exploring the preserve, be sure to request our free vacation guide! 

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What You Need to Know 

The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is a combination of the preserve and Ecological Reserve that totals around 1,000 acres. The preserve itself is about 135 acres, while the reserve is approximately 752 acres. Both areas are known for their protected animals that inhabit the area such as the Light-Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Belding’s Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail, Peregrine Falcon, and the California Least Tern. At the bluffs, you can catch a glimpse of the California Gnatcatcher, San Diego Cactus Wren, and the Burrowing Owl. 

When you go to the preserve, you want to make sure that you bring a few items along with you. You’ll want to be sure that you have: 

  • Sunscreen 
  • Comfortable shoes 
  • Water 
  • Bikes, binoculars, or other equipment you want to use 

You also want to make sure that you plan accordingly in terms of time. You want to get to the preserve early to ensure you have enough time for all the activities you may want to do, whether that’s using the bike trails, hiking trails, birdwatching, kayaking, or even taking part in one of the many events held in the preserve’s classrooms and conference center.  


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Biking Trails 

The bike trails along the preserve are on the eastern side where Back Bay Drive is located. While you’re biking, you will come across two scenic spots. The public access gate is on the southern side of the preserve. You can also use the main public entrance on the northwestern side of the preserve. You can check out the map for the trails and important spots to plan your trip. If you’re an active, biking family, you won’t want to miss out on this slice of nature and beauty while you’re in the Newport area.  

Hiking Trails 

The hiking trails are mixed in throughout the area. You can choose to hike to the bluffs, or you can walk your dogs around the preserve. For this, you will want to use the main entrance on the northwestern side. It will give you the best access to the trails and areas to walk and explore. Many people use the hiking trails to get outdoors and enjoy nature. You don’t want to miss out! 


Thousands of people come to the nature preserve and marshes each year to watch the birds. An estimated 35,000 birds migrate to this area each year, which makes it one of the best birdwatching spots in North America! Add in the birds already mentioned that call the preserve home and you have a unique experience in Orange County. You can see birds that you normally wouldn’t see where you’re from or even if you’re local to Newport Beach. These once-a-year and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities don’t come often! 

Great Ways to Unwind After a Day at the Preserve 

After a day out at the preserve, you will want to unwind a bit. Nearby are plenty of places to shop, eat, and grab a drink. You can head over to one of these great Newport Beach spas or even relax on the water with one of these great boat charters in Newport!  

You can golf at Newport Beach Golf Club. The course is an 18-hole executive golf course complete with a practice range and plenty of new add-ons to the course. It is located just behind John Wayne Airport and between highways 55 and 73. The course is very affordable and offers two distinctly different experiences, between the front nine being easier and the back nine being much more challenging.  

If golf isn’t your thing, you can unwind from your day at the nearby breweries. With the preserve’s proximity to Costa Mesa, you will find an abundance of family-friendly breweries and pubs to relax, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy a hand-crafted beer or cocktail. 

Book Your Trip with Burr White 

115 39th Street BYou now know how to spend your time at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, so where will you stay? Here at Burr White, we offer many accommodations to fit your needs and budget. You can choose from oceanside, oceanfront, or bayfront properties. You can select the perfect rental for your family! 

We would love to have you, so book your stay today! 

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