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Best Beach Parking Orange County 2013 - Seashore Drive, West Newport Beach

When there is absolutely no parking near the beaches of Balboa and Huntington Beach, drive along Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, near the Surf City border, turn toward the ocean at Prospect Street, then quickly onto Seashore Drive, where you'll find city-metered lots at 58th Street (39 spaces) and 61st Street (21 spaces). The cost is $1.50 per hour (six hours maximum), and there are pay stations at each that take coins or credit cards. Thanks to fine sets that often break at the nearby beach, these lots can fill up fast. But if you keep heading west on Seashore and through the Orange Street intersection, you'll find two more less-popular metered lots at Seashore, Walnut and Grant streets. And if those are full or you just don't want to pay, keep driving west on Seashore; 99 times out of 100, you'll find free street parking up to and including the traffic circle near the Santa Ana River. Just keep in mind the river mouth spews polluted water, especially after it rains. If you are planning on going into the ocean, enter a couple of hundred yards east of the river mouth—and fight the current to remain there.

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