9 fun things to do in Newport Beach on Balboa Island. Join me with co-host Jefferson Graham for a fun day’s worth of activities in Newport Beach, California. Balboa Island is one of my favorite places to take visitors in Orange County, California. Balboa Island is an idyllic seaside neighborhood with a sidewalk that rings the island and amazing homes with private boat docks.
1 – Walk around the island:
Walking around Balboa Island feels like a tour of the good life.
streets named after gemstones,
whimsical beach cottages that sell for millions of dollars
fly a flag for either USC or UCLA.
Consists of 3 man-made islands created in 1906.
2.7 miles around Balboa and Little Balboa
3000 Residents live on just 0.2 square miles (half a square kilometer). More dense than San Francsico.
1919, the mayor declared, “The island is a dump. It was sold by a lot of damn crooks to a lot of damn fools.”
But don’t bike or skateboard
2 – Explore the shops on Marine Ave
Not your typical set of cookie cutter shopping mall stores.
Some of the most interesting shops:
Art for the soul — visiting this store can be described a bit like falling down the rabbit hole
Cinnamon Roll Store
Need some groceries — Hersheys Market since 1949
Yes — there’s a starbucks too!
3 – Balboa Island Museum
Learn more about the history of the Island at this museum
In a historic 1945 cottage
Or visit them online
4 – Eat the local deserts:
The Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana.
The local sweet tooth treasures have been mainstays for nearly 75 years,
But they were made famous through the TV show Arrested Development
The tasty treats are dipped in chocolate and covered with a variety of coatings from nuts and sprinkles to cookie crumbs.
5 – Get a drink:
Balboa Island has only one bar… and it’s the Village Inn, which has been at the end of Marine Ave for over 80 years
6 – Go fish
Balboa Island has several public docks that you can fish for free (4 on the main island, 1 on the little island). Buy your bait from JDs Big Game Tackle next to the Balboa Island Ferry pier.
7 – Ride the Balboa Island Ferry:
Since 1919, Balboa Island Ferry has provided continuous between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula.
Crossings approximate 800 feet.
Driving around is 6 miles.
6:30 a.m. until 12:00 a.m. Sundays to Thursdays. Until 2am Fridays and Saturdays
A car plus a driver is $2
A motorcycle plus rider is $1.50
A bike plus a rider is $1.25
A passenger is $1
Kids — 50 cent discount
8 – Play at the Balboa Fun Zone
where a Ferris wheel, arcades and a nautical museum offers fun for the whole family
And just 3 more blocks and you’ll be at the ocean and the Balboa Pier.
You can take the “big” ferry to Catalina Island from here.
9 – Seasonal Activities
Christmas Lights & Boat Parade
Balboa Island has some of the most amazing Christmas lights displays
And even the boats join in… the boat parade is actually spread over 5 nights in mid December. This year, 2018 will be the boat parade’s 110th year.
The best trick-or-treating and halloween displays
Have your own private beach