Biking is the most popular beach activity. A slower-paced alternative to driving, it allows you to enjoy the clean, fresh air and notice smaller details of these laid-back beach towns and harbors. The Newport Beach visitor center offers a free map of trails throughout the city and harbor. Bikes and equipment can be rented at Balboa Bikes N Beach Stuff, 601 Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach (tel. 949/723-1516), and at Laguna Beach Cyclery, 240 Thalia St. (tel. 949/494-1522; www.lagunabeachcyclery.net).
Many golf-course architects have used the geography of the Orange Coast to its full advantage, molding challenging and scenic courses from the rolling bluffs. Most courses are private, but a few outstanding ones are open to the public. Monarch Beach Golf Links, 50 Monarch Beach Resort Dr. N., Dana Point (tel. 949/240-8247; www.monarchbeachgolf.com), is particularly impressive. This hilly, challenging course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., offers great ocean views. Afternoon winds can sneak up, so accuracy is essential. Weekend morning greens fees are $165 to $195 ($145 to $175 weekdays). The rates after 1pm drop to $135 weekends and $115 weekdays.
Newport Harbor's six-mile long stretch of luxury homes and boats provides a picturesque backdrop for mood-setting romance aboard the Venetian-style boats of Gondola Adventures, 3101 West Coast Hwy., (tel.) 949/646-2067; www.gondola.com. Cozy couples can bundle up beneath blankets as they cruise the canals -- tradition dictates that you kiss under every bridge. If you're lucky, your gondolier will amplify the experience -- literally -- with song. Tip: Many a proposal has been accepted via the "message in a bottle" notes that your gondolier can plant for an additional fee. www.gondola.com
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.