While Newport Harbor is known for multi-million dollar homes, Upper Newport Bay is an important home to birds. Over 30,000 birds can be found here on a typical winter day. The summer isn’t bereft of birds, either, as many birds migrate from the south to nest here, including some endangered species.
The 135-acre Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve surrounds an estuary that extends for approximately 1000 acres. Multi-use paved paths dotted with benches and interpretive panels run the perimeter of the wetlands. While the park entrance at the Nature Preserve has the most amenities, the estuary can also be accessed from various roads around the marsh. The Nature Preserve manages a network of trails on the bluffs surrounding the bay.
Getting out on the water is one of the best ways to experience Upper Newport Bay. Newport Bay Conservancy offers naturalist-guided kayak tours in partnership with the Newport Aquatic Center, which also offers non-guided hourly rentals of stand-up paddleboards or kayaks.
The Mountain to Sea Trail, which travels 22 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, starts here.