Pacific Coast Highway at Warner Ave.
Situated in the city's northwest corner, Huntington Harbor encompasses five man-made islands, connected by a network of navigable channels, and the land surrounding them. The waterways are lined with contemporary multi-million dollar homes, private docks and luxury yachts. There are multiple marinas that capture the feeling of seaside resort, with restaurants, boutiques, boat rentals, and services for boaters. This is a great place to try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking in calm waters and there are a number of rental places along Pacific Coast Highway, in Sunset Beach, that can provide you with gear for a great experience on the water. Huntington Harbour is only 15 minutes from the open water of the Pacific Ocean. It connects with Anaheim Bay via a waterway that passes under a bridge on Pacific Coast Highway and passes the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and Anaheim Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Marinas include: Peter's Landing Marina (guest slips, charter boats, and electric boat rentals), Huntington Harbour Marina, and Sunset Aquatic Marina Regional Park, that features a boat ramp and guest slips. This harbor hosts a festive boat parade during the holidays.
With over 9,000 boats, Newport Harbor is one of the finest and most scenic small boat harbors in the world. Take a harbor cruise and enjoy a waterside view of the luxury homes and yachts that line the shore. Or take things at your own speed--rent a kayak, stand-up paddleboard, sailboat, or Duffy Boat (invented in OC) for a fun afternoon on the water. Other adventures, including charter fishing boats, whale watching boats and the Catalina Flyer, depart from the historic Balboa Pavilion. The harbor extends inland to Newport Dunes, a favorite gathering place for water-oriented family fun. RV camping is available at the Dunes, along with a calm water beach that is great for sunbathing and swimming with the kids. Newport Harbor hosts multiple events during the year, including the famed Newport-Ensenada Race, the Christmas Boat parade and multiple regattas.
Upper Newport Bay
On the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway lies one of the largest coastal wetlands in Southern California. The quiet wilderness of Upper Newport Bay presents a pristine estuary where fresh and salt water mingle. Throughout the nearly 1,000 open acres that make up Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, hundreds of species can be found resting on the banks or swooping in for a catch in the calm waters. Many will be gone as soon as the warmer, longer days of spring arrive. It's a terrific place to kayak, bicycle and bird watch.
Dana Point Harbor
This attractive harbor accommodates 2,500 boats and shops and restaurants line the wharf. In Dana Point Harbor, you can catch a charter fishing boat, a whale watching boat, or hop the Catalina Express for a fun day or weekend on Catalina Island. Boat and kayak rental facilities are also available. The Ocean Institute is on the far end of the harbor, at the foot of the Dana Point headlands; be sure to check out their marine exhibits and their two tall ships, or join an ocean-going expedition to see local marine life. The harbor area is the site for many community events and celebrations, including the Festival of Whales (March) and the Tall Ships Festival (September.)