LOUNGING ON WHAT IS essentially a floating sectional couch, I hold a cold beer in one hand and a cheese-laden cracker in the other as we chug quietly around a busy harbor in Newport Beach, California.
Passing a seal who has wedged himself onto the back of a buoyed boat to nap deeply — with no apparent regard for personal property or business hours — my boatmates’ conversation turns to a general admiration for the urban-seal lifestyle.
August 5, 2011 by mary We had a great time yesterday on a Duffy Boat, from Duffy Boats of Newport Beach!
Jen, an Orange County blogger at Tiny Oranges, recently went out on a Duffy Boat with her friends and kids.  They had a blast – even her 4 year old daughter! Where to Stay: The Knotta€™s Berry Farm Resort Hotel next to the park features an outdoor heated pool, a Snoopy-theme wing, and a childrena€™s activity area. Where to stay: If the onsite hotels are too pricey for your family, there are many family-friendly hotels near the park for every budget. Where to stay: The vibrant and hip Hotel Irvine, located only 15 minutes from the harbor, is not only kid-friendly a€“ babysitting, borrow-a-bike program, airport shuttle service and complimentary WiFi are among the available amenities, its friendly staff can also arrange an electric duffy boat excursion for you and your family. We are lucky to have our own paradise right in our backyard and don’t have to travel far to enjoy a beautiful seaside staycation. The kids could have spent the entire weekend playing at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach swimming pool, but I had a lot of exploring around the city of Newport Beach planned for the weekend. We returned to the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach for some much-needed rest before the exciting day we had planned in the morning. The Lighthouse Cafe far exceeded my expectations, and it was love at first bite from the moment that I tasted their incredible cuisine. After a tasty breakfast at The Lighthouse Cafe, our children ran over to Marina Park for some fun.
Once the kids were done releasing some of their morning energy, they still seemed to have a lot of energy to get out, so we took them on a short nature hike at the Environmental Nature Center. Since my daughter loves to bike ride, after our kayaking, I took her to the Pedego Electric Bike store in Corona del Mar for a fun bike tour around Newport Beach. The next morning, my younger son and I woke up early and checked out the bikes available at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. When we returned to the hotel, we had a light breakfast at the hotel cafe, checked out of our room, and took the Ferry over to the Balboa Peninsula. The staff at Balboa Boat Rentals shared with us a map of the harbor and walked us to our private Duffy Boat to use for the day.
Before heading home from our unforgettable staycation, the kids experienced the ExplorOcean workshop. The memories that we shared together in Newport Beach will last forever in the hearts of my children.
I took my sister and three of her children, and we spent two hours driving the boat through the Newport Harbor.
Locals and visitors alike will be happy to know that despite the lack of snow in this sunny destination, there are still plenty of merry offerings to make your Christmas as festive as ever. While Knotta€™s Berry Farm is one of SoCala€™s most popular theme parks, ita€™s also one of the most affordable, making it a fantastic option for families on the budget.
Going on its 107th year (the longest in the country), the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade attracts thousands of spectators to Newport Harbor to witness a dazzling display. Book the hotela€™s Holiday Cruisina€™ around Newport Harbor package, and youa€™ll enjoy round-trip transportation to and from the harbor, an hour-long boat ride and a $50 credit to spend on the onsite Marketplace for your boat picnic. At the Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa, the holidays are all about the familya€¦ and the kids.
The intimate, waterfront resort in Del Mar will be hosting a couple of complimentary festive, family-friendly events on December 6, 2015 to usher in the holiday season, starting with the Teddy Bear Tea in the Living Room, which invites guests (and their teddies) to attend the resorta€™s La€™Tea by the Sea program where they can enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and specialty tea from 3 to 5 pm. She is a travel writer based in Los Angeles and MiniTime's Head of Content, who spends her free time on adventures and film photography. Growing up in Newport Beach, it holds a special place in my heart, and is one of my favorite staycation destinations in Orange County. The resort is one of the oldest hotels in Newport Beach, and yet always stays updated with the current traveling trends. Our kids were relaxed during dinner and savored every bite of their freshly made cheeseburgers. As soon as the sun rose, our children jumped out of their beds excited to have breakfast at The Lighthouse Cafe.

They climbed over the obstacle course, went down the lighthouse slide, and walked down to the seashore to dip their toes into the water. At the nature center, our children were able to get up close with nature while learning about the different plants from the educational plaques located throughout the center. My husband took the boys back to the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach to play at the pool while my daughter, and I walked next door to The Newport Dunes to go kayaking. We rode one of their electric tandem bikes, and the knowledgeable tour guide took us as far as Crystal Cove and the Newport Beach Jetty to watch the surfers.
Before dinner, we walked across the street to The Back Bay Bistro where we savored delicious appetizers and sipped on a glass of wine while watching the beautiful sunset over the Back Bay. We took the bikes for a ride along the Back Bay Trail and stopped mid-way to explore a small nature trail. We parked our car, and then walked over to The Trough Sandwich Kitchen to pick-up some mouthwatering sandwiches, and then checked in at Balboa Boat Rentals. We had brought a scavenger hunt of the Newport Beach harbor along with us that made the boat ride interactive for our children. Then we walked over to the pier to get a milkshake from Ruby’s Diner and then had an early dinner at Slapfish Seafood. When thinking about planning your next family staycation, bring the family to Newport Beach to share the same experience that we had with your family. Whether youa€™re in the mood for dining with Santa or watching a holiday ice show or simply watching a tree lighting ceremony, here are some of Southern Californiaa€™s most festive events.
This holiday season, the park lights up with holiday offerings and that old-fashioned, small-town twist. Instead, hea€™s helping families usher in the holiday season at LAa€™s favorite theme park. On top of Disneylanda€™s ongoing Diamond Celebration, Mickey and friends also have a plethora of wondrous attractions and events, from glittering parades to Christmas-themed rides and a Frozen snow slide.
An electric duffy boat is actually small and quite easy to handle (so easy that even your teenager can do it!), not to mention very comfortable.
Every year during the holiday season, boats of all sizes a€“ from yachts to canoes and kayaks a€“ light up and parade around the Harbor in an amazing and merry display. From December 12 through December 25, 2015, several yuletide events are available for families staying at the Dana Point resort.
After a busy couple of days in Mexico with my children, we refreshed, recharged, and reconnected by spending 36 hours in Newport Beach, and created memories that will last a lifetime. After checking into the hotel, we immediately went to the pool where my children giggled, splashed, and played for hours. My kids jumped across the stepping stones of the koi pond, smelled the flowers in the lush landscaping, and munched on a sweet treat from Baking Betty’s. The one thing that makes Hopdoddy Burger Bar stand out from the rest is their commitment to making high-quality food.
My kids were kept entertained throughout breakfast with old school Etch A Sketch’s provided by the restaurant. We have both been wanting to kayak around Back Bay for quite awhile, and since we were so close to Back Bay, we couldn’t resist going for a ride on a kayak. We got to see parts of Newport Beach that we never knew existed before and experienced the city in a fun new way with the Pedego Electric Bikes. The ambiance was beautiful yet family-friendly, and the pizza was some of the best that I have ever had, and even my Italian husband agreed. We laughed, raced our bikes, and made lots of stops along the way to look at the different birds. Do some shopping at the Christmas Crafts Village, sample some holiday goodies and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate at Santaa€™s Christmas Cabin before lining up for a photo opportunity with Santa, ride the Christmas on Engine 41 train, and share a quiet moment during Snow and Glow in Ghost Town. From December 5, 2015 through January 3, 2016, Universal Studios Hollywood is celebrating Grinchmas with a 60-foot Christmas tree, photo opportunities with The Grinch and Max, cookie Dec-Who-rating, and Grinchmas ornament decorating. Ride the quite impressiveHaunted Mansion Holiday showcase and the kid-favoritea€?ita€™s a small worlda€? Holiday to start. This year, the 3-hour event will run every night from December 16 through December 20, 2015, but securing a parking spot might be a tad difficult so grab a cab or see if your hotel can provide transportation. Meet, have breakfast and take photos with Santa on December 12 at Breakfast with Santa, where arts and crafts, face painting, cookie decorating and a holiday movie are also on the menu ($55 for adults, $35 for kids 5 through 12).

Regis Monarch Beach, arguably one of the most beautiful and kid-friendly resorts in California.
The La€™Tea by the Sea program is available on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Yeara€™s Eve, and every Saturday and Sunday in December.
The resort features two pools with one of the pools having the only resort waterslide in Newport Beach.
After walking around the beautiful Fashion Island, we went to the newest dining destination at Fashion Island, Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Their burgers are made with beef from humanely raised cows that have never been given growth hormones or antibiotics.
Lighthouse Park) in the past, and I had been eager to try the new popular culinary destination. While kayaking, were able to see the beautiful marshland, birds, and even witnessed a fish jump out of the water in front of our kayak.
Holiday shows are also on the menu a€“ A Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi, Calico Saloon Christmas Show, kid-favorite Christmas Time is Here, Charlie Brown, and the splendid Merry Christmas, Snoopy!
Kids can sit down for story time with Cindy-Lou Who, while carolers and the Who Dolls keep the holiday spirit alive with carol singing and musical shows.
Then see the a€?A Christmas Fantasya€? parade, and let the kids play in the snow at a€?Olafa€™s Snow Fest.a€? And in preparation for the latest Star Wars installation and the forthcoming Star Wars Land, Star Wars fans young and old will also have a chance to visit the Star Wars Launch Bay where guests can meet their favorite characters from the movies and play interactive video games, get caught in a space battle on Hyperspace Mountain, and bring home a loot of Star Wars merchandise!
If youa€™re looking for a unique holiday activity for the family this Christmas, this is the way to go.
The complimentary Sa€™mores and Stories are also on hand on December 12 and December 19 for families who want to enjoy a holiday movie in their pajamas (popcorn, drinks and breakfast the day after are included). With the resorta€™s Winter Sandy-land Package, which starts at $245 ppn, youa€™ll enjoy a sunny Christmas getaway at the resorta€™s private beach where you and your kids can build your own sand snowman using the kit included in your merry package.
The second event, a€?Santa by the Seaa€? Del Mar Tree Lighting, runs from 3 through 6 pm and will offer families photo opportunities with Santa, carol singing, tree lighting at 5 pm, arts and crafts, and mulled cider, holiday cake pops and squash soup shooters prepared by Executive Chef Nathan Lingle. Their fries are hand-cut, and their burger buns are made from scratch and baked fresh daily. At CityWalk, kids will adore the photo opportunities with Santa and evening snow falls, even at 50F. Dona€™t miss out on the Diamond Celebration offerings as well a€“ a€?Paint the Nighta€? Parade and the a€?Disneyland Forevera€? fireworks are the particular crowd favorites. Take the family on a relaxing, one to three-hour scenic cruise around Newport Harbor at twilight, and feast your eyes on the waterfront housesa€™ and establishmentsa€™ lovely displays of Christmas lights and decorations. Therea€™s also the Christmas Eve dinner and the four-course Christmas Day dinner ($95 per person) that include a childrena€™s menu for families looking to dine at the resort. Also included are accommodations in a lovely Signature Guestroom, recently renovated to now feature bright and beachy hues, nightly milk-and-cookies turndown amenity delivered by your very own St. The resorta€™s Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa and Sa€™more Station is also available at the onsite Bleu Bar every weekend from 3 to 7 pm. Parents can have comfort in knowing that their children are eating food made with all-natural and highest quality ingredients available at Hopdoddy Burger Bar. Each boat has a full canopy top, full window enclosures and a great sounding CD player with iPod hookup.
Last but not least, families will also get a chance to pay it forward to a child in need through the a€?Grow Your Heart 3 Sizesa€? campaign. Then find a quiet spot, put that boat on neutral and have a nice family picnic on the water. Regis butler, complimentary daily breakfast for two adults, and complimentary daily meals for the kids. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, and we think this would make a great “special event” activity for a birthday, or even a small baby shower!

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