Tips for a Low-Hassle Summer

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Yes Newport, it’s almost here – summertime!

We all know what summer in Newport means, and that’s why I’m here to help.  Consider this my unofficial guide and checklist to prepare you for the summer of 2011 and get you to the beach as hassle-free as possible.  The crowds, the heat, and outright frustration are all serious obstacles to overcome during Newport Beach summers, so, let’s take this step by step to make it as simple as possible.

First, you have to get there right?

If you don’t have one already, make sure you head over to City Hall and get yourself a blue meter pass.  These passes let you park in all of the blue parking meter spots all over Newport Beach, and believe me, there are tons!  The pass is $100 for the year, but if you can wait until the calendar flips to June, it will only be $50.

Once you have your pass, don’t begin your trek down to the beach at 12:15 p.m. on a Saturday, this will only cause road rage.  Instead, get down there around 10 a.m. to avoid the crowds.

Now that you’re down there you need to pick out a good spot to enjoy your day.  Obviously the most popular spot is by the Newport Pier, but there are miles of beach out there so take your time to explore.  There are shore-break beaches at the end, and rolling waist-high waves as you move off the Peninsula.

Regardless of where you set up, make sure you have the following: cold water, sunscreen, towels, and beach games.  Optional inventory includes umbrellas, chairs, snacks, and children.  Personally, I don’t have the latter, but you might.

So what do you do now that you’re there?

I’ve written tirelessly about my favorite beach games and activities, but you probably have your own.  The most hilarious game I’ve ever played is called dead seal, and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.  You float out in the ocean among the waves and flop around like a dead seal – first one to use their hands or stand up loses!

Another thing to attend to now is what you are going to need with you at all times.  My car is always stocked with an extra pair of trunks (for pool parties), golf clubs, golf shoes, and an extra polo shirt (for when the Peninsula is just too much and I have to get out of there), and my GPS is permanently set to navigate to Vegas when all of the above just doesn’t work.

If you only take one tip away from this column, remember this – please don’t ever drive through the loop at the base of the pier.  Starting June 1 through October 1 that thing is an automobile graveyard.  Simply turning in there can be a 30-minute excursion that will leave your ears bleeding and your steering wheel bruised from the pounding.  Just don’t do it. You know better.

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