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Newport Coast Parks: Binoculars NOT Optional at Canyon Watch and Harbor Watch Pocket Parks

Newport Coast Parks: Binoculars NOT Optional at Canyon Watch and Harbor Watch Pocket Parks

My favorite Newport Coast parks are called Canyon Watch and Harbor Watch. These separate, but similar parks, sit along San Joaquin Hills Drive looking like nothing more than a scenic viewpoint from the street. Take the time to stop and stroll. You’ll see incredible views of the canyon and Newport Harbor. You’ll see Catalina Island. You’ll hear songbirds and feel a soft sea breeze.

Location: Heading from Newport Beach up to Newport Coast on San Joaquin Hills. It’s the small pull-out off to your right before you hit the retail shopping and Newport Coast Drive.  MAP to Canyon Watch and Harbor Watch Parks


  • Excellent sunset watching spots!
  • Park your car at Canyon Watch Park and stroll out to the viewpoint. You’ll enjoy native plants and see bunnies and lizards scurrying across the paved path.  I liked spotting the gigantic sycamore at the bottom of the canyon and seeing the massive estates across the canyon.  There’s a bank of 3 picnic tables for an enjoyable noontime or sunset excursion.
  • Don’t forget walk down the hill to the even more scenic Harbor Watch Park.  No picnic tables here, but nice benches with an interpretive sign about the history of the area.
  • You must bring binoculars to see the spectacular views and for bird watching. We saw hummingbirds, finches and even a HUGE turkey vulture on our visit.
  • If you want to get a good walk in – park down the hill at Roger’s Gardens or Gelson’s and walk up the hill.  You can go all the way up to the retail at the top near Newport Coast and do a loop.

Be Aware:

  • NO playground and NO restrooms (more of a natural park with views)
  • NO smoking – high fire danger
  • Unprotected drop-offs to the canyon below, especially on the walk from Canyon Watch to Harbor Watch.


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Tuesday 2nd of February 2010

Please provide me directions. I'm coming from Buena Park. Thank you!

Harrison K. Long

Monday 18th of January 2010

Thanks for this nice article about Orange County parks and Newport Coast, description of highlights, warnings, and sharing your photo images. My wife and I live in Turtle Rock at Irvine and always enjoy Newport Coast, fresh air and hiking trails. Best wishes.

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