Like many cities that sit on the water, Newport Beach sees a lull in
visitors in the winter months. But this town has something special that
insulates it -- literally -- from reduced appeal in the winter months.
Because most water recreation here takes place in a harbor sheltered
from some winds and cold, Newport Beach has a leg up on tourist
destinations along the relatively harsher coasts.
"We have fantastic year-round features for the tourist market," said
John Cassady of the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau. "I like
to say that 66% of the time in the winter you can find the temperature to
be 66 degrees in Newport Beach. There are some good hotel values around
this time. The weather remains very attractive year-round. . . . Look at
the Balboa Bay Club, which is on the harbor and has a harbor-side bar and
a pool: In the winter months people are in the pool."
Most notable, though, is the city's tour boat and yacht charter
businesses, Cassady said. Because Newport Harbor is inland from winter
ocean winds, visitors here keep the tour boats sailing all through the
"Hornblower Cruises, Adventures at Sea, American Yacht Charters, Duffy
-- all of them have cruises; especially right around the holidays is
sometimes their best times," Cassady said. "Some even have those fully
enclosed boats. They're quite cozy."
Of course, winter is markedly different from summer. But even this
fact has a special Newport Beach twist. Hotels surely fill with two-week
vacationers here to enjoy the city's natural assets. But it's the
long-term, die-hard summer lovers who transform the town.
Historically, the city's population swells by about a third as
apartments on the water and throughout the peninsula and other areas fill
up with fun lovers. In 2000, the most recent year for which figures were
available, the city's 75,627 population grew by more than 26,000.
"It's a significant difference," Cassady said.