Explore Corona del Mar’s rich history, from its ranching roots to its surfing legends

Corona del Mar, which means “Crown of the Sea,” is a gorgeous little beach village located within Newport Beach, California. Known as CdM by the locals, it is one of the best places in the country to enjoy a day at the beach. Corona del Mar real estate consists of beautiful cottages and stunning modern homes alike, swanky boutiques, amazing restaurants, and top-notch bars—not to mention the incredible views of the Pacific, world-class surfing, and great diving. 

Along with all the wonderful things that Corona del Mar has to offer today, it also has a long and storied history. From beginning as a small ranching community to becoming home to some of the most famous movie stars of all time, here are four historical facts you probably didn’t know about Corona del Mar.

From Ranch to Riches

Corona del Mar was originally a part of the Irvine Ranch. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that the idea of CdM becoming a beach community was considered. In 1904, George Hart signed off on over 700 acres of land from the Irvine Ranch in order to build summer cottages. The people came, and they never left.

Humble Beginnings

Until the 1920s, Corona del Mar was nothing more than a small community that was rather difficult to get to. The only way to access the village was by boat at high tide or a muddy low tide road that left much to be desired. It wasn’t until the construction of the Pacific Coast Highway that Corona del Mar began to grow. 

Steeped in Surfing History

Corona del Mar has some incredible surfing and has long been a destination for the sport. In 1928, Corona del Mar hosted the Pacific Coast Surfboard Championship. The contest saw legends like Duke Kahanamoku bring international attention to Corona del Mar and the sport of surfing. In the 1930s, the jetties along the shore were extended, which led to the creation of The Wedge in Newport Beach, one of the most famous surf breaks in the world today.

Home to Hollywood Royalty

Corona del Mar was home to one of the most famous Americans ever to grace the silver screen: John Wayne. The Duke is buried in Corona del Mar, and the local airport bears his name. At the end of his life, Wayne could be seen piloting his yacht, The Wild Goose, through the waters along the coast of CdM. In fact, you can still take a cruise on The Wild Goose today.


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