Newport Beach, California is a very popular tourist destination for young families, college students, and retired couples. With the beach so close by, it’s easy to set up your chairs and let your kids run around. However, is living here year around a good idea? As someone with family members who live in Newport, here are 17 reasons why this move to the beachfront may not be the best fit for you.
Make sure to keep reading to find out more!
1. One of the Most Expensive Places to Live in the Country
Newport Beach is, quite literally, one of the most expensive cities in the US to live in. In one list, realtors found that Newport Beach, California was the most costly place to buy a 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home for the second year in a row.
What is expensive is relative to how much people in the community are making, but in Newport Beach, the numbers are truly crazy. The average rent for a studio apartment is $1,929. Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is a whopping $3,335, 2-bedroom apartments are $4,127, and 3-bedroom apartments are $5,660 per month on average
And those are just for apartments. The median price for homes at Newport Beach is $3,393,526. That number is quickly approaching $4 million for a median home purchase thanks to inflation and a rich population. Unfortunately, that number doesn’t account for gas, groceries, and other shopping that you will encounter in fancy shopping malls.
2. Lots of Tourists on the 4th of July
The 4th of July in Newport Beach is a hot spot for big families from Arizona and Utah. In fact, in 2012, more than 100,000 vacationers poured into Newport Beach during the 4th of July. To put this into perspective, there are about 85,000 year-round residents in Newport.
That means that in one day, there are about 200,000 people visiting these beaches! Imagine living here all the time, just to be evacuated from your home during the summer just to find some peace and quiet. And that can be expensive if you’re not staying with family! Additionally, most neighbors will rent out their homes during the summer, so there are no friends to watch the chaos of tourists anyways.
3. A Party Town for College Kids
Newport Beach has an interesting dynamic. On one hand, you have your big Latter-day Saint families coming to Newport Beach for east ocean access and doughnut stands. On the other hand, you have high school graduates or college kids coming to have an absolute party. This is cause for a lot of reckless behavior, drinking, yelling, and loud music at late hours of the night. Be wary of someone scratching the side of your car or stealing your bike!
4. Political Extremes
An influx of tourists brings with it conflicting ideals. While 53.5% of Orange County is Democrat, 44.4% of Orange County is Republican. In Newport Beach, both ideals are here. Trump flags are flown, USA shirts and “Make America Great Again” hats are often worn, gay pride flags are flown, and megaphones are used while people yell political remarks.
If you’re like me, you just want some peace and quiet when you go home. If you’re this way and want to steer clear of any political remarks or contention, I would not recommend moving to Newport Beach, California.
5. Not a Lot of Parking
To put it simply, there is not a lot of parking in Newport Beach. Parking is a nightmare during the summer months. You will become a master at parallel parking, whether you want to or not. Most parking in Downtown Newport Beach costs money, but there are some rare and free options. Because of all the safety issues that come from parking, in May of 2022, officials proposed a ban on overnight parking on Old Newport Boulevard. This is a pattern that may be repeated throughout Newport, limiting what little parking there is available even further.
6. Very Busy and Congested
While not all areas are touristy, almost all areas of Newport are crowded. The party scene is alive and well and so is the traffic on State Route 55. The intersection between 17th street, 19th street, and State Route 55 is one of the busiest sections in the county. To get off the peninsula usually can take about 30 minutes to only go a few miles around 7:30 am to 9:30 am and 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Needless to say, it is wild here in Newport Beach. Is the traffic worth the oceanfront?
7. Lots of Sand and Low-Quality Homes
As the name implies, Newport Beach is located on a beach, which sounds heavenly, but if you have not been around much of the ocean and suddenly start going often, you will find that there is sand everywhere. Beach houses get dirty quite easily because of the sand.
But once you get in the city, you will also find lower quality homes selling at high costs. And that is hard when you are paying over $3,000 a month just for renting a place to stay, only for your home to be of bad quality. Chipping paint and molding wood prove that most homes in Newport Beach are not of high quality.
8. The People and Lifestyle
The kind of crowd that is there in Newport is the rich and elite. With the rich and elite, there is a lot of gossiping and impulsive spending. Newport is costly not only in housing but in lifestyle. This means that when you buy a new shirt, chances are that if your neighbor sees you wearing it, they will buy it too. This community is very self-invested and fast-paced. Newport Beach is not exactly a surfer’s dream, but an elite family’s perfect drama.
9. Hard to Get Around
Some say that the best way to get around Newport Beach is by bicycle. The truth is, it’s difficult to get around even with a bike. Bike traffic has gotten quicker and more difficult to maneuver over the years thanks to a growing population. Even Californians that move away because of the crowds come back to visit friends and families in the summer, contributing to the overall tourist predicament and overpopulation. So, unfortunately, bicycles are not the best way to get around. Nothing is!
10. Potential Flooding
Newport Beach is one of the cities that faces the greatest risk of flooding. The abrupt change in climate means warmer temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns, and even stronger storms. Based on these factors and previous projections, Newport Beach faces a great risk of flooding over the next 30 years. In fact, about 4.561 properties in Newport Beach are likely to be severely affected by flooding within the next 30 years.
11. Crowded Restaurants and Subpar Food
If you live in Newport Beach, you are most likely lucky enough to walk around anywhere, especially to restaurants. But, you need to be really early or extremely lucky to get a seat at a restaurant. Once you get settled in, the food you want is often out of stock or is simply not well done.
Tourists may be okay to wait 1.5 hours to grab a seat, but this makes life and date nights difficult for the locals. The restaurants and even the streets of Newport Beach are going to be extremely crowded, and that is something you would definitely have to get used to!
12. Short-Term Rentals Means Less Sense of Community
A large part of the population use homes at Newport Beach as vacation homes, or places to escape to throughout the year. Because everyone is coming and going so often, it’s hard to establish a sense of community. Life for the locals throughout the year is quieter than in the summer, but this means that those quiet months are hard on small businesses that thrive on tourists. It’s a give-and-take for such a bipolar and overly populated city.
13. Not Great for Families
With floods of college students coming in during summer break and retired couples spending late nights at their beach houses with friends, there really are not a lot of family-friendly events. The bicycle roads, foot traffic, and busy drivers mean that it is not an amazingly safe place to let your kids play outdoors. There is an emphasis on nightlife, drinking, and clubbing, which are activities that are not fit for the young and growing family.
There is an elementary school at Newport Beach, which unironically is across from the beach, which could be dangerous for children. It is also tempting for the kids to ditch school and go surfing, so if education is first priority in your household, Newport Beach may not be for you. Additionally, California’s school system is not the best.
14. Lots of People Walking and Riding Bicycles
If you’re here to commute every day to work, Newport Beach traffic will prove difficult on your daily drive. This is the case not only for the cars but for all the bikers who are rushing to where they need to be. Those who do not have road rage before moving to Newport Beach certainly will have it when they move away. Dealing with that many people and that many aggressive and clueless pedestrians and bikes will get to you over the years!
While the idea of walking everywhere you need to go sounds romantic and classic, it is frustrating when you are in a rush, and California is always in a rush. Keep an eye out for those who may dart across the street to get to the nearest doughnut shop or big tourist families taking their kids on a bike ride to Huntington Beach.
15. No Big Box Grocery Shopping
While California is known for its impeccable shopping options, big box grocery stores such as Target or Trader Joe’s don’t exist within the boundaries of Newport Beach. To get to traditional or “Big Box” grocery stores, you will need to travel out of the city. This proves to be a bummer for those with big families who need to bring food to the table rather quickly and want to skip out on the heavy traffic and possible car accidents.
16. Everyone Is Always Busy
There is a “Go! Go! Go!” kind of vibe here at Newport Beach. When people aren’t preoccupied with the latest drama on the street or shopping, they’re on to the next thing. This can be quite stressful for those who are looking for subdued beach life. Newport Beach is not the place to be if you are wanting a peaceful and quiet retirement home.
Even though the beach is quite literally at your door, there isn’t a “Go with the flow attitude.” This can be a reason to stay away from Newport Beach if you are looking for a sleepy and relaxed surfing town. In fact, you probably don’t want to surf at Newport Beach anyway because of all the tourists in the way of your waves. There is “The Wedge” at the end of the Peninsula, but those tides are meant for big-wave surfers, not beginner surfers.
17. Child Safety
Living on the beachfront means that there is a risk of drowning. I had a good friend who was visiting the beach on the 4th of July when a woman asked him to help her find her son who went missing. They frantically looked around the beach, only to find that he fell into a sand hole. My friend was able to save the boy, but many stories like this one do not end happily. If you have young children, a beachfront home might not be best until your children are older and are strong swimmers.
California is busy, and there are many environmental dangers in Newport Beach. Parents that are overly concerned with their children’s whereabouts or potential threats will fare well for a week’s trip to Newport Beach if prepared, but this kind of lifestyle every day will get to parents, causing them to turn their home into a vacation home or move away altogether.