Fifty-seven years after its inception, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina now boasts 450 boat slips, a Village Square—which includes a sizeable market for RV supplies and other sundries—a swimming pool, and club houses located at both the RV and marina sections of the resort. The on-site restaurant, Back Bay Bistro, reaps the benefits of a $1.5 million renovation in 2008, now featuring a waterfront patio with 15-foot panoramic windows and a retractable roof. And Newport Dunes’ boat launch ramp—the recipient of a $500,000 renovation in 2006—is one of just three such facilities in Orange County open to the public.
Soak up the last few days of summer at Newport Dunes, which continues to entertain with an ever-growing list of seasonal activities and festivals.
Morning (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Perhaps the highlight of the expansive property is Mother’s Beach, a 10-acre stretch of sand that offers rentable cabanas, kayaks, hydro bikes and 14-foot catamarans. Watersports equipment, including pedal boats, kayaks and canoes, are available to rent by the hour or in four-hour increments.
Families staying at the resort can partake in the eco-kayak tour, which offers the chance to explore the surrounding 750-acre national wildlife reserve and discover the Back Bay’s nearly 200 species of birds and rare plant life. Visitors can also rent bikes, golf carts and surreys for their land travels.
Afternoon (1-5 p.m.)
Take it easy with pingpong tournaments, bocce ball or scavenger hunts. Children can play in Moe B.’s game room, where they’ll enjoy arcade games and pool tables.
The Moe B. Dunes Aquatic Park floats atop the adjacent lagoon, open seven days a week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. “We have an oversized slide that can accommodate up to five kids sliding down together,” says marketplace and watersports manager Sherri Basta. “[It also has] 14-foot and 7-foot climbable [icebergs], a six-person teeter-totter, a circular spinner/Saturn, two trampolines (one stand-alone) and a circuit with a huge climbable mountain, second trampoline, small cliff and slide.”
Other ways to relax include crafting bracelets on a rainbow loom, playing Wii Sports or jamming on Guitar Hero. Every Friday in August, the resort hosts an ice cream social at 3 p.m.
Evening (5-10 p.m.)
Though the sun may set, the fun never stops. There are board games, dance socials, pizza parties, Moe B.’s BBQ Fridays and Movies on the Beach to entertain night owls.
Back Bay Bistro, which recently received an interior upgrade and new courtyard, opens for happy hour Tuesday through Sunday at 4 p.m.; until 7 p.m., enjoy discounts on bottled beer, wine by the glass and well drinks, as well as small plates. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. and offers fresh, farm-to-table fare from Executive Chef Bruno Massuger. Starters include options such as a hand-cut ahi tuna tower with avocado and tomato, steamed clams and several other signature seafood dishes.
—Written by Peter A. Balaskas