The Newport Dunes Christmas lights in Newport Beach might be the most under-appreciated holiday light display around. My husband and I were in the area and wanted to check it out to see if it was worth bringing our kids back and/or recommending to you.
We drove around all angles from outside the grounds of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. We could see the lights, but couldn’t get a clear view for photos or to really enjoy the display.
We really didn’t want to pay, but decided to go through the gates and ask the attendant about our options.
How much does it cost to see the Newport Dunes Christmas lights?
Well, it was FREE to park for up to 30 minutes! What? FREE.
Plenty of time to see the lights, but once the sands of the hourglass tip even a second past 30 minutes it costs $10 for parking up to 2 hours. What a deal! Seriously.
I think this Christmas light display is easily worth $10.
Also free parking if you are getting your tree from the on-site tree lot.
Why are the Newport Dunes Christmas lights worth a visit?
- It’s breathtaking! We came on a still night and the reflections of the lights on the dark water were just amazing.
- We had the place ALL to ourselves. It was a Friday night during the holidays and there was NO ONE there to enjoy the lights, except us.
- It would be worth taking a stroll from the entrance area all the way to the footbridge that goes over the bay. That’s what would make this visit take more than 30 minutes.
- You can get a hot drink and snack from the market and enjoy it while looking at the lights.
- As long as there is not a private party, you can enjoy a meal at the Back Bay Bistro restaurant in conjunction with a visit to the lights. They have an award-winning seafood chowder that I’m pretty fond of eating. They also have a small plates and happy hour menu from Tues-Sun at the bar from 3pm-Close.
If you have little ones who like airplanes, the flight path from the airport went goes right over this area, so we got to see/hear planes taking off over our heads.
When can you see the Newport Dunes Christmas lights?
The Lighting of the Bay kickoff event usually happens the day after Thanksgiving. So mark your calendars to check the website for next year.
The lights are then turned on each night at dusk through the holiday season.
The parking lot closes at 10pm.
So if you want to get a full 2 hours out of your $10, make sure you make it there by 8pm at the latest. But since it gets dark around 5pm, you can go earlier and make it an early night.
The lights are on from the day after Thanksgiving through January 1st.
You can even get your Christmas tree at Newport Dunes Tree Lot!
Newport Dunes has a tree lot by the entrance. They receive their trees from Salem, Oregon in weekly deliveries through December 23. The best looking, healthiest trees are handpicked and delivered within 16 hours of being cut, given a second cut upon arrival and immediately placed in stands with fresh water. You can browse trees, as well as fresh wreaths, garlands, and poinsettias.
How to Get to Newport Dunes and Official Information
- OFFICIAL Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort website
- Here’s a PDF Property Map so you can orient yourself – we parked right next to the swingset at the Pirate Park playground (too dark for nighttime play, but would be fun during the day)
- Directions: Newport Dunes is basically where Jamboree Road meets Coast Highway in Newport Beach. You’ll just turn right past the Hyatt Newport onto Back Bay Drive and make an immediate left into the parking lot. It is well-lit with kiosks.
- Address: Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach
- Tip: If you walk out on the beach, your shoes will get sandy. If you are bothered by sand in your car, make sure you bring towels or something to wipe feet!
- Be Aware: This is in the vicinity of Newport Harbor and it may be impacted by road traffic from the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade on boat parade nights. You will NOT be able to see any boats from this location. For 2018, the boat parade is December 19th-23rd.
Other Holiday Lights posts on my blog: