We pass Sunset Ridge Park in Newport Beach all the time while driving on Coast Highway between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Do you know where the Jack in the Box is at the corner of Coast Highway and where you turn onto the Newport Peninsula at Balboa Blvd? Well, diagonally across that huge intersection is a hill covered with drought tolerant plants. It almost look like a vacant lot from the street. The only clue that a park sits above this spot is this sign — and some stairs off Superior and a walking ramp off Coast Highway.
But even in my wildest dreams, I didn’t imagine the park treasure that sits on the bluff overlooking the ocean. The sheer scale of it is awesome. At the high point on the east side of the park, a beautiful butterfly garden complete with pavers in the shape of a monarch. Then gaze across an expanse of lawn and see the playground and picnic area sitting at the west end of the park.
Location of Sunset Ridge Park in Newport Beach: The park is at the corner of Coast Highway and Superior/Balboa Blvd (Superior turns into Balboa Blvd as it crosses Coast Highway). You’ll want to approach the park from Coast Highway, because the parking is actually off the northbound side of Superior. You will need to park in the pay lot and walk across the crosswalk at Superior to climb the stairs or take the ramp up to the park. (Address: 4850 Coast Hwy W, Newport Beach) MAP TO SUNSET RIDGE PARK IN NEWPORT BEACH
- I like that it’s almost a “secret park” — it’s not visible from the street and I haven’t heard many people talk about it
- There’s a path that winds all the way around the park and up through a beautiful butterfly garden
- Did I mention views of the ocean? Well, there’s views of the ocean and a nice ocean breeze!
- I’m a sucker for the realistic-looking climb-on lizard and frog – not to mention the tree tunnels (how fun are these for kids?)
- The playground is very near the picnic and restroom area
- Wooden log slides and pretty fast green tunnel slide (although it’s not too steep)
- Rocks, ladders, and logs for climbing and a bridge on the main part of the playground
- Nice shade covers over the picnic area and to a lesser extent of coverage over the playground
- Follow the footprints around the playground for pretend
- 2 bench swings and 1 baby swing
- The reason why you plant native plants is so that native wildlife has a habitat. I saw this in action near the butterfly garden. I saw all sorts of small birds and other wildlife at this end of the park.
- Pay parking lot
- It’s a bit of a hike to get to this park – and a pain if you forget something in the car. You need to pay to park in the Superior lot and then walk across a very busy street (WATCH those drivers turning right). Then you must walk uphill or upstairs into the park. The ramp makes it possible for strollers.
- Because it’s near the beach, it can be cooler than inland locations so make sure you bring a jacket if you think you’ll get cold
- Recycled rubber and sand play surface
- Parking lot is up Superior a half a block from Coast Highway – if you sign up for the Park Mobile app at home it’s easy to pay as you go.
- Restrooms appear to be locked (and probably are at night) but you don’t need a code to get in – they are open during the day
- Drinking fountains and water bottle refill stations at restroom building and in butterfly garden
- Soccer field
- Baseball diamond
- 2 charcoal grills
- Picnic area sits just above the playground
- Easy access to beach bike trails
- Convenient restaurants at the corner of Balboa Blvd and Coast Highway near Jack in the Box — Al Cappuccino Coffee House, a donut shop that serves MUCH more (think breakfast sandwiches and avocado omelettes), Chronic Tacos breakfasts.
- Official City of Newport Beach web page for Sunset Ridge Park
- Nearest public libraries: Newport Beach Public Library branches
Parks nearby Sunset Ridge Park in Newport Beach:
- West Newport Park in Newport Beach
- 38th Street Park
- Balboa Pier and Peninsula Park Playground
- Marina Park