The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve is quite the tongue twister but what the locals call it today and I what I called it when I was a kid is simply, the Back Bay.
Many, many years ago it was designated as an area for speed boats and water skiing. It was far away from the mansions and homes in the main bay so the noise and wakes never affected any residents.
Back then, I remember seeing my first water-skier riding high behind the boat, holding on to the rope as if for dear life. I couldn’t figure out how they stayed up without sinking. I guess I was too young to understand physics. Still it was fun to watch as this part of the bay was filled with life.
Today, the drone of speedboat motors is long gone only to be replaced by the much quieter kayaks, stand up paddleboards , and outriggers.
The quietude is interrupted once in awhile when a low flying airline from John Wayne Airport takes off to who knows where. I was thinking what a bummer that these million dollar homes are right under a flight path.
Have Kayak will Travel
The Upper Newport Bay is a coastal wetland that encompasses 1,000 acres of small water-ways, a larger channel, reeds, and marsh. It is also home to hundreds of different species of birds.
A bird flies by with the Newport Aquatic Center in the background
On land, there is a ten mile loop for joggers, bicyclists, hikers, roller bladders, and for about 3 miles of it motor cars can join in on the road. On water, there are plenty of nooks and crannies for you to explore via kayak or SUP. If you don’t have your own, across the bay the Newport Aquatic Center has plenty of rentals.