The City of Newport Beach can be divided into three geographic areas:
- A low elevation area comprised of West Newport, Balboa Peninsula, and Newport Bay,
- Elevated marine terrace areas that include Newport Heights and Westcliff, and
- High relief terrain of the San Joaquin Hills in the eastern portion of the City (these geographic areas are shown on above).
The low elevation and terrace areas are generally drained by urbanized and relatively low relief streams that empty into Newport Bay. In contrast, rugged natural streams with steeper gradients drain the Newport Ridge and Newport Coast areas.