Newport Beach is a coastal city in Orange County, California, United States. Newport Beach is known for good surfing and sandy beaches. Newport Harbor once supported maritime industries but today it is used mostly for recreation. Balboa Island draws visitors with a waterfront path easy access from the ferry to the shops and restaurants.
Beachgoers have flocked to Newport Beach since the Pacific Electric Railway started bringing them in 1905. Attractions include the city beaches from the Santa Ana River to the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, Corona del Mar State Beach, and the beaches at Crystal Cove State Park. Newport Beach is known for good surfing, especially between Newport Pier and the Santa Ana River. At the tip of the Balboa Peninsula, The Wedge offers world-class bodyboarding and bodysurfing. Newport Pier and Balboa Pier draw fishermen and sightseers. Newport Harbor is the largest recreational boat harbor on the U.S. west coast, and a popular destination for all boating activities, including sailing, fishing, rowing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Competitive sailing, rowing, and paddling events are common. The annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race is the largest sailboat race in the world.On the Balboa Peninsula, the historic Balboa Pavilion and Balboa Island Ferry are the city's most famous landmarks. Balboa Island village draws many visitors. A waterfront path around the island attracts walkers and joggers, and provides easy access from the ferry to the shops and restaurants.
The Upper Bay of Newport is a canyon, which was carved by steam in the Pleistocene period. The lower bay of Newport was formed much later by sand, brought along by ocean currents, constructed the offshore beach, now recognized as the Balboa Peninsula of Newport Beach. Before settlers reached the coasts of California, the Newport area and surrounding areas were very prominent Indian lands. Indian shells and relics can still be found today scattered throughout the area. Though, throughout the 1800s, settlers began to settle the area due to the availability of land. The State of California sold acre-plots of land for $1 a piece in the Newport area. Anglo-American civilization in Newport grew substantially when in 1870 a 105-ton steamer named The Vaquero, captained by Captain Samuel S. Dunnells, against warnings posted by surveyors, safely steered through the lower and upper bay of Newport where it unloaded its cargo. James Irvine, after hearing the astonishing news, quickly traveled from his home in San Francisco to the San Joaquin Ranch. Meeting in Irvine's ranch house near current day UC Irvine with his brother, Robert Irvine, and friend James McFadden, they all agreed that the newly found port should be named simply, "Newport" thus where Newport Beach gets its name.
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