My wife and I were in California last month, our annual trip to San Clemente. Usually we spend a half day up in Newport just to change things up a bit. Newport is lovely. their beaches have plenty of sandy, clear water, and plenty of shops close to the beach. We spent the day close to the beach, walking the pier, getting an Ice Cream, and taking plenty of selfies. San Clemente beaches have got pretty bad, pathetic even, with the lack of sand. So seeing Newport was shocking in a good way, and made us a bit jealous.
It can get crowded and parking can be very difficult if you don't have a hotel or home right on the beach, so plan accordingly if you do plan to visit.