Newport Dunes
Newport Dunes features events all weekend long to celebrate Memorial Day.

From festivals and beach parties to ceremonies, marathons and more, see our list of top places to celebrate Memorial Day weekend in Orange County.

By Laura Okey

Memorial Day Yacht Party
May 29. Make the most of your Memorial Day by hopping on board a three-hour luxury yacht cruise through Newport Harbor. Indulge on gourmet American food (sliders, fried chicken, bacon-wrapped hotdogs and more) while sipping summertime cocktails and listening to high energy Top 40 beats from a mix master DJ. Tickets include four cocktails and unlimited finger foods. 21 and over. 1-4 p.m. $69. Royal Princess Yacht, 2901 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 714.485.6543.



Laguna Hills Memorial Day Run
May 29. Celebrate our nation’s heroes with the City of Laguna Hills 19th annual Memorial Day run, honoring the United States Marine Corps Dark Horse Battalion. Participants can choose between a kids run, 5K, 10K or half-marathon. Runners and walkers of all levels are invited to come out and enjoy the Memorial Day festivities. After the race enjoy food from local food trucks, a beer garden and DJ tunes. 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Register online. El Toro Road & I-5 Freeway, 24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Laguna Hills, 949.975.8506.


Fairhaven Memorial Park’s Annual Memorial Day Service
May 29. Honor our heroes as more than 3,500 people gather to listen to inspirational speeches from veterans, among many other activities. Enjoy a National Anthem performance from Santa Margarita High School freshman Isabelle Freeman, see an aerial flyover of World War II-era planes and enjoy live music afterwards along with a white dove release. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Free. Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 E. Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana.



Memorial Day San Clemente
May 29. Observe Memorial Day with keynote military speaker Lt. Col. Luke McConnell and Mayor Kathy Ward, among other activities at the San Clemente Community Center. See color guard teams dressed in authentic uniforms, enjoy patriotic music and live entertainment from bag pipers and tap buglers, and watch a presentation of wreaths and flowers. This event is by the local chapter of VFW, South Coast Detachment, Marine Corps League, Orange County Sheriff Department, MOWW and many civic organizations and volunteers. Noon. Free. City of San Clemente Community Center,



Garden Grove Strawberry Festival
May 26-29. Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend at the 59th annual Garden Grove Strawberry Festival. Festivities include a giant strawberry cake cutting ceremony, a Strawberry Stomp 5K Run, a VIP Celebrity Breakfast and much more. A parade will feature floats, bands, equestrians and characters like Knott’s Berry Farm’s Snoopy. Enjoy over 35 carnival rides, contests, games and more. See website for full schedule of events. F 1-10 p.m., Sa-Su 10 a.m.-10 p.m., M 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Free. Rides from $1. Village Green between Main Street and Euclid Ave., Downtown Garden Grove, 714.638.0981.



Boots on the Beach: Nashville Meets Newport
May 28. Grab your cowboy hats and dancing boots for the 2nd annual country fest at The Newport Dunes. Enjoy craft beer tasting and BBQ all evening long and listen to live music from PicklebackShine, Southern California’s premier top 40 country cover band. The Kelley Boys will be teaching you all the right moves—learn to line dance, the Electric Slide, The Two Step, the Cowboy Cha Cha and more. 5-10 p.m. Free. $10 parking. 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 800.765.7661.


KSBR Birthday Bash Jazz Festival
May 28. See some of the biggest stars in contemporary jazz at KSBR 88.5 FM’s Birthday Bash Jazz Festival. The line-up includes Jackiem Joyner, David Benoit, music director Tony Guerrero and guest MC Kate Flannery and many more. See a pre-bash set by Chase Huna and a few surprises that will not be revealed until showtime. Enjoy gourmet food choices, a full bar and luxury seating options. See website for schedule. Tickets start at $45. City National Grove of Anaheim, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 949.582.4051.



Knott’s Berry Farm Military Days and Memorial Sunday Fireworks
May 28.
Enjoy Memorial Day weekend with family and friends at Knott’s Berry Farm. All active, veteran and retired US Military personnel will be honored and celebrated with complimentary admission. Up to six tickets may be purchased for family and friends at a discounted rate. End your day of fun with a spectacular fireworks show that will light up the night sky on Sunday at 9:45 p.m. Call for details. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714.220.5200.



Water Recreation at Newport Dunes
May 27-28. Beginning Memorial Day weekend and available throughout the summer, Moe B.’s Watersports offers an inflatable water park in the Back Bay in addition to rentable kayaks, pedal boats, windsurfing, sail boats, electric boats and other fun beach toys. Stand up paddle boards are also available for rent courtesy of Pirate Coast Paddle. For those looking to relax, enjoy private beachside cabanas between dips in the calm waters of the gorgeous Upper Newport Bay. See website for availability and rental prices. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.279.4507.



Scottish Fest USA
May 27-28. Experience Southern California’s largest Scottish and Celtic festival. Indulge your senses to the sounds of bagpipes and drums, the flavors and smells of authentic Celtic foods and the sights of traditional kilts, dancing competitions and more. Take the opportunity this Memorial Day weekend to honor and give thanks to the men and women of the military with a memorial service on Sunday morning. All ages welcome. See website for schedule of events. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Order tickets online. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.1500.



Newport Beach Wine Festival
May 26-28. Sip your way through Memorial Day weekend at the 14th annual Newport Beach Wine Festival. The festival will take place at Balboa Bay Resort with multiple events each day. This beautiful waterfront setting is ideal for sipping fine wines, savoring delicious entrees, tasting craft beers and more. Learn how to cook a wine-themed meal or take the opportunity to expand your knowledge on wine characteristics and blending. See website for complete schedule of events. Balboa Bay Resort, 1221 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 949.630.4146.



Newport Beach Beerfest
May 27. Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with unlimited tastes of more than 150 of the best craft beer, wine and spirits available. Find more than 60 participating breweries on hand, including Stone Brewing Co., Bootlegger’s Brewery, Hangar 24, Valiant Brewing Company and Left Coast Brewing Co. Beyond unlimited tastes of craft beer, wine and spirits, enjoy a food truck tasting village featuring 15 local food trucks including Bacon Nation, Rain Cajun, Mess Hall, Eat em Up and Mexico Calbi to name a few. Enjoy live entertainment by The Black Eyed Tease paying tribute to The Black Eyed Peas with chart-topping hits, No Duh, the renowned No Doubt tribute band and Bass Punks spinning the ultimate party mix to get you on the dance floor. General admission 7-10 p.m., $35; VIP 6 p.m. entry, $50. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.729.3863.



Movies on the Beach
May 26. Start your weekend of festivities with a family movie night at the beach! Bring your own blankets, chairs and jackets and cuddle up for The Secret Life of Pets on the big screen. Arrive early and stop by the all new Bay Café on the beach for a new summertime menu of summer bites and refreshments. Movie starts at dusk. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949.729.3863.


Sign up for FREE to receive our exclusive Weekend Roundup!

Get the best things to do in our favorite SoCal spots delivered to your inbox every week

Los Angeles

Orange County

San Diego