Newport Dunes: A Glamorous Way To Camp

by | May 24, 2024 | Camping/Glamping, Destinations, Family Adventures, USA, West Coast

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There comes a time in many people’s lives when a great vacation involves a bed. Maybe not for everyone, but for this mom, even adventure has its limit. And by all this, I’m referring to camping. Camping is great, but glamping is better! 

Luckily, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina has this mom covered. Not only does the 110-acre resort have a bring-your-own-bed option featured in its 382 oversized RV sites, but it will even provide families with that bed if they stay in one of its 27 rentable cottages. 

Situated around a horseshoe-shaped bay bordered by a bike path and a sandy beach, the Newport Dunes resort is the gateway to the exploration of marshes, coves, and 200 species of birds that migrate and chill around the waterway. With a restaurant, pool, and plenty of perks, the best of camping meets the comfort and entertainment many families have come to expect during their family travels. Here’s what resort guests need to know before visiting this glamorous southern California RV park.




Newport Dunes Campsites

The Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina campgrounds are divided into three sections around the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve, known as the Back Bay. The sections are based on their location around that scenic Back Bay and their proximity to the Village Center. There are Standard, Deluxe, and Premium sites. After that, there are six rows of campsites and cottages rippling away from the water.



Courtesy of Newport Dunes


Not knowing what to expect during our first visit, we stayed in the fourth row of the Premium section. The Premium section is closest to the Village Center which has the on-site marketplace, outdoor pool, and Moe B’s patio dining. The other sections are just a little longer of a walk or bike ride from this central hub, but that shouldn’t be a huge deal unless your family is carting around little kids, and the distance makes the difference between a quick, smooth arrival and a melt-down marathon.

On our second visit, the resort hosted us in our travel trailer at a beachfront camp site, and we felt like we were basking in the French Riviera. The weather in Newport Beach is as close to perfect as possible. Our site came with a large grassy area separated from the bike path and beach by a white picket fence. This border is a great benefit for runaway kids like mine. Not having to constantly make sure the kids weren’t getting run over or about to drown makes for a more relaxing family vacation.


two ladies in chairs at the newport dunes resort

This is the life. © Howard Nehdar


Each campsite comes with a picnic table and full hookups. Some have a concrete platform for your RV and others have dirt lots. There are a few areas designated for tent camping, too.

Rates vary by section and season.


The Newport Dunes Cottages

Not so into staying in an RV or don’t have one but still want to experience all the benefits of camping? Check out one of the 27 cabins the resort offers. There are studio units and one-bedroom cottages. 

The studio cottages have bunk beds and a pull-out double-sized sleeper sofa. There’s a small table for dining. Guests must bring their own bedding, towels, and supplies. One parking space is allotted for each cabin.

The one-bedroom beach cottages have queen-sized beds and fun lofts—kids love lofts. They are equipped with all bathroom and kitchen essentials and also come with bedding. There is a picnic table, a deck, and a bistro table with chairs. One parking space is allotted for these cottages, and some are beachfront units.


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Other Sleeping Options

Cottages fill up fast, and if families are traveling with friends or other family members who don’t have an RV or want to sleep in one, there are options.

There are companies that rent RVs, classified ads from private parties, and a website called RVshare that facilitates rv rentals from private owners, with the option of buying insurance and including roadside assistance for that “just in case” moment. Many of these private parties will deliver the RV and have it all set up for a family’s arrival so all that needs to be done is to enjoy the experience.

The first time we stayed at the Newport Dunes resort, we camped with a family who didn’t own an RV so they rented from RVshare. It was easy because we had booked our sites right next to each other. So, when we arrived, our family spent about 45 minutes setting up and unpacking while our friends just chilled in the camp chairs the owners had left behind.

There are also hotels nearby. Check out this map to select the right one for your family’s needs.


What To Do At Newport Dunes


There is an onsite store at Newport Dunes that has everything you’ve forgotten to bring on your family trip. There is also a whole selection of things you didn’t know you needed. Plus, there are plenty of souvenirs to remind your family about your special trip.

There are snacks, wine, and coffee to go.

There is firewood and rentable fire pits. The security guards will deliver them to your site. No, the campsites don’t come with them, though there are some located on the beach, and those are first come, first served.

Guests can also rent golf carts there to ride around the campground.


Outdoor Pools/Hot Tub

There are two pools, a large one to swim laps or play around in and a shallow wading pool for little kids to enjoy so parents don’t have to stress (much).


boys in newport dunes pool

Geronimo! © Rina Nehdar


Our boys enjoyed cooling off in the clean, warm water and meeting new friends during impromptu games of Marco Polo. We enjoyed watching them in the surrounding lounge chairs. There are two hot tubs for extra relaxation.


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There are four rentable cabanas for various sized parties. They include padded lounge chairs, and the deluxe one has a living room-like setup. There are also rentable padded lounge chairs.


Water Sports Rentals

Open to campers and the public, a little shack on the north side of the bay rents stand-up-paddles boards, pedle boats, kayaks and duffy boats (covered electric boats).


water sports rentals at newport dunes

All the fun wet stuff! © Rina Nehdar


We rented kayaks, SUPs, and pedal boats. The pedal boat was great because the boys were young and loved getting so far into the water.


boys on SUP at newport dunes

Boy Time. © Rina Nehdar


I loved the kayak because it gave me some breathing room from the 99 boys we had brought. The area around the water has wildlife and feels more remote than it actually is, with the city of Newport Beach just beyond it.

Water equipment rentals are available Friday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm.


Pirates Playground

An adventurous playground sitting bayside on the sand awaits young adventurers. These are the structures that saved our lives when the kids were little and we saw young families enjoying them.


Bay Loop Trail

The concrete path around the Back Bay is 10.5 long and is perfect for walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading. There’s even a bridge that goes over the water. Rent golf carts or peddle carts from the Marketplace for an extra special experience.


Moe B’s Restaurant

Not every meal has to be cooked over the campfire or in your portable kitchen. Treat the kids to a burger or pizza at the onsite patio restaurant, Moe B’s. Adults can also enjoy a cocktail by the water.


Special Events

There is a roster of daily activities and special events for families to enjoy. Don’t miss There’s a kid’s club and seasonal events like Movies on the Beach, which is free on Friday and Saturday nights and open to the public. There is also Tunes At the Dunes and a 4th of July Fireworks Show.


Inflatable Water Park

The summer season brings SoCal’s largest inflatable water park to the Back Bay, where kids and adults can climb, jump, bounce, and slide down a circuit of fun. Newport Dunes provides a floating fantasy land beginning on Memorial Day weekend and continuing until the end of sunny September.

Our boys swam out to this liquid playground and proceeded to try and stay upright and not fall in the water as they navigated around the different areas. It was super funny to watch and they loved it. 


boys floating on SUP at Newport Dunes

Chilling like the villains. © Rina Nehdar


I rented a kayak with my friend and we enjoyed some quiet mommy time.


moms in kayak at newport dunes

Maybe not the Riviera, but close! © Rina Nehdar


Newport Beach

Being so close to Newport Beach and the Pacific Coast Highway, guests can take a break from the campground and visit local restaurants, grocery stores, and even hiking and biking trails only a few miles away.


dog on beach by newport dunes

Woof. © Rina Nehdar


We visited Little Corona Del Mar Beach which has a cave to explore, tide pools, and plenty of happy dogs for our Norman to play with.  We also enjoyed a lunch on Newport Pier, which was also dog-friendly.



boys in cave near newport dunes

The best of beach days. © Rina Nehdar


For families who want a beach resort vacation but don’t want to pay beach resort prices, the Newport Dunes is a great option. Plus, kids will get to do things here that are exclusive to the outdoor lifestyle not available in most resorts. I’m looking at you campfire and s’mores!


boy at campfire in newport dunes

The best of camping. © Rina Nehdar


Camping or glamping at Newport Dunes is an easy weekend getaway or part of a winter, spring or summer break for the whole family.


When You Go



Getting To Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina

Families who want to experience Newport Dunes for themselves can find this great place in the heart of Newport Beach in Orange County. This laid-back lux resort is only 78 miles from our Los Angeles home. This usually translates to a couple-hour drive, depending on traffic and where a family starts. Set your traffic smartphone app for: 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660



Families coming from a flight away will want to fly into either Los Angeles International Airport LAX) or Orange County’s John Wayne International Airport (JWA).