About 30 people gathered at the base of the entrance road to The Resort at Pelican Hill, where Pence was to appear at the fundraiser, and waved signs and chanted slogans covering a range of issues, from disapproval of U.S. Rep.
Lara Horgan of Laguna Niguel, a member of Women for American Values and Ethics, was there to oppose the Republican tax plan.
Up the hill, Pence was at a fundraising luncheon that cost guests $2,700 a plate or $10,000 for a photo opportunity.
"We feel like that's the opposite of draining the swamp," Horgan said.
A shirtless man was arrested by Newport Beach police after a heated verbal exchange with the protesters.
Near the Pelican Grill restaurant, there was little evidence that the vice president was on the premises. Most of the visible activity was by people setting up for an unrelated charity function.
Alex Peykoff of Newport Beach said he learned about the high-profile visitor when he asked at the front desk after seeing the protesters. Peykoff, a lifelong Republican, expressed reservations about Trump, preferring Pence.
"I think Pence would be a better choice than the erraticness of our current president," Peykoff said.
Pence previously had planned to make his Newport appearance in September but rescheduled because of hurricane recovery efforts in Texas and Florida.