(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Newport Beach conjures up images of mansions, yachts and upscale shopping malls, but what you may not know is that there are free activities and events going on for families every day around the city. From nature to museums, there’s plenty of things to do that won’t cost you anything!

Visit Balboa Village

(credit: Balboa Fun Zone)

Balboa Village
600 E Bay Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92661
(949) 675-8915

Newport Beach’s Balboa Village is a main attraction in Orange County for adults and kids alike. There are tons of activities to take part in here, including the free Balboa Car Show and other terrific playful activities. Some activities, including boat rentals, an arcade, a fun zone, water sports, whale watching, and much more do cost money, but it’s free to walk around and enjoy the sights and sounds.
Explore The Newport Beach Conservancy
(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center
Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
2301 University Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 923-2290

Built into the hillside, The Muth Interpretive Center is a 10,000 square foot educational facility that can be reached by a short walk from the parking lot. Surrounded by miles of walking trails with the occasional airplane flying low overhead toward John Wayne airport, the grounds offer sweeting views of the Bay. Explore the center from 10am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday with free parking and admission. The center is small with detailed exhibits about Newport Bay and a classroom in the back with live snake and frog exhibits and a puppet/play area. Outside there is a shaded area where families can eat their lunch and watch the planes fly overhead. Arrive early to beat the heat if you are walking the trails as there is no shade. If you are not hiking, it’s a quick, less than an hour visit.

Explore Nature
(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Environmental Nature Center
1601 E 16th St
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 645-8489

The Environmental Nature Center offers 15 California native plant communities ranging from desert, to oak woodland, fresh water marsh and more, as well as wildlife habitats, and plenty of walking trails. Open May through September, the Butterfly House offers scheduled programs where guests can get up close and personal to beautiful butterflies. There are also other hands-on activities and small reptiles in glass cages elsewhere. Outside, more than two miles of walking paths lead visitors through different California native plant communities. Much of the walking path is shaded with small streams and marshy areas – a nice respite on a hot day. Plan to spend one to two hours for a visit.

Walk The Newport Beach Pier

(credit: Kristi Marcelle)

Newport Beach Pier
70 Newport Pier
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 644-3309

When you live in Orange County, going to the beach and walking the pier is a right of passage. Luckily for O.C. and Southern California residents, taking a stroll on this terrific pier is free of charge and offers a great place to take in the breeze, and great views.

A Visit To The Museum

(Credit: Orange County Museum of Art)

Free Fridays At OCMA
Orange County Museum of Art
850 San Clemente Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 759-1122
While admission to the great Orange County Museum of Art is generally $10, there are exceptions. Every Friday, enjoy free admission to this storied museum. With a mission to enrich the lives of a diverse community with contemporary and modern artwork, OCMA offers plenty of great exhibits throughout the year.