Corona del Mar State Beach is a great family beach and a popular place for swimmers. Also known as "Big Corona Beach", this is a half-mile long sandy beach framed by cliffs and a rock jetty that forms the east entrance to Newport Harbor. The beach is also popular with surfers, divers, volleyball players and sunbathers. Corona del Mar offers beautiful sandy beaches and coves that look like they came right off of a movie set. You actually may have seen these beaches in movie and television productions such as Gilligan's Island and current "made for TV" productions from Disney. On the hills above the beaches stand houses and windy roads and a lookout point to enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and bay. The sunsets here are incredible, so bring a picnic and enjoy! Corona del Mar held the first major surf competition in Mainland America: the Pacific Coast Surf Riding Championships in 1928. Organized by Tom Blake through the Surfboard Club, the contest involved paddling and surfing skills. From 1934 to 1936, in order to make the entrance navigable for boaters, the harbor entrance was dredged to 25 feet and over 200,000 tons of rocks were dropped at the entrance to extend the West and East Jetties. The East Jetty grew to its current 1,673 feet and, along with the removal of the entrance sand bar, killed the easy waves that had become so popular.