Known for its many unique shopping and dining choices, Balboa Island is a mecca for tourists and locals alike. Many flock to the man-made island during the summer months to take in sandcastle building competitions, enjoy a ferry ride or water sports, or just to stroll along the storefront-filled avenues, enjoying the boutiques and eateries.
An ideal spot for waterfront activities, Balboa Island provides a variety of choices for every adventure seeker. Visitors can go on whale watching tours or take Hollywood-themed cruises to view old movie stars’ seaside retreats. Parasailing, water-skiing and stand-up paddle boarding are also popular island activities. The chic coastal shops of Marine Avenue offer a break from the beach and a chance to buy one-of-a-kind souvenirs. A short, scenic ferry ride across the harbor leads to neighboring Balboa Village & Fun Zone, where a Ferris wheel, arcades and a nautical museum offers fun for the whole family.
No trip to Balboa Island is complete without indulging in a famous frozen banana or Balboa bar at Sugar ‘n’ Spice, which also offers sundaes, shakes, and other treats. Ciao Italian Restaurant is known for simple and delicious comfort food while Wilma’s Patio Restaurant is classic American beach vacation food, complete with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For something a little more elegant, Pas.Tu features international fare with a French and Mediterranean twist. The Village Inn, the island’s only bar, offers a lively happy hour and nightly live entertainment.
There are no hotels on Balboa Island but plenty of lodging options nearby. Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa is located within easy access to SoCal beaches and offers shuttle service to Balboa Island and other popular nearby attractions. Directly on Newport Beach’s waterfront, the luxurious Balboa Bay Resort boasts a prime view of the harbor. An easy walk from the Balboa Island Ferry, the Balboa Inn and Resort is steps from the beach on Balboa Peninsula.
With a quaint hometown feel, friendly locals, fresh seafood, and close proximity to upscale Newport Beach, Balboa Island has something for everyone. Whether by foot, bike, ferry or car, Balboa Island offers a laid-back destination with a uniquely SoCal vibe.