Scenic Balboa Peninsula and Island is a perfect destination for relaxing family fun. With great beaches, whale watching, bike rentals and a Fun Zone designed for the entire family, visitors will never be bored and will have a story to tell for years to come! Located in Newport Beach, California, and only accessible by ferry, dock or bridge, Balboa Peninsula and Island actually consists of three small islands and was man made in the early 1900s.
It became part of Newport beach in 1916 and celebrated its centennial with fanfare in 2016. It is currently one of the most expensive real estate areas in the US, next to Manhattan. It also was the one of the sites of the comedy Arrested Development. Balboa Island currently is home to around 3000 full time residents.
The Fun Zone - One of the best-known attractions at the Balboa Peninsula is the Fun Zone. One of Southern California’s longest lasting amusement parks, it features a Ferris wheel that has been there for over 80 years, Ocean Quest (see below), and an arcade. The Fun Zone has offerings for children and adults of all ages and is fun for the whole family.
Ocean Quest - Run by Discovery Cube, the Ocean Quest attraction is meant to inspire children through fun, interactive, STEM related engaging activities to bring out their curious and explorational side.
Bike rentals - Guests should check out the bike rentals, located seaside. Bikes for all ages, built for both men and women, as well as surreys, pedegos, and tandem bikes. Every bike offered is newer and come with both a free helmet and bike lock.
Balboa ferry - Offering shuttle service between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula, the famous Balboa ferry runs this 1/5th mile constantly between 6:30am and midnight, going until 2am on the weekends and summer. There is an additional cost, but it can also ferry automobiles and bikes, as well as pedestrian traffic.
Whale Watching - Visit Davey’s Locker to see whales up close and personally! See giant blue whales in their natural habitat during the summer and fall months, and grey whales during the spring and winter months. Whale watching has a 95% success rate in terms of being able to view whales.
Fishing - There are many fishing opportunities for guests while visiting the peninsula. Some guests have even claimed to have caught hundreds of fish on a single expedition. Choose from a half day or full day fishing trip on the deep sea, with over two dozen different game fish possible (tuna, giant yellowtail, halibut, etc.). Visit the website for additional information.
Museum - For visitors who want to learn a little bit about the history of the island and peninsula while visiting, there is the museum and historical society. Open Wednesdays and weekends (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) from 10am to 4pm, this museum provides guests with a little bit of learning to break up a day of fun in the sun.
There are so many special events on the peninsula that in can be difficult to keep track of them all, so visitors should make sure to check the website prior to their visit to see if there are any going on during their trip. Below are just a sample of the many offerings!
Farmers Market - At nearby Newport Beach, this weekly farmer’s market (held on Sundays from 9a to 1p, no matter if it is rain or shine), features a wide variety and selection of locally grown produce. Some of the produce even makes its way into local restaurants!
Tree lighting - If visiting during the holiday season, make sure to see the annual tree lighting ceremony, held in early December (see the website for exact dates). With live holiday music, thousands of twinkling holiday lights, and a visit from none other than Santa Claus himself, the tree lighting ceremony is not to be missed. Bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots too!
Shopping and Dining
There are so many options for shopping and dining on the peninsula that guests could spend days and not eat or shop at the same place twice! Check out Crab Cooker for great, fresh seafood, or Ruby’s Diner for a more traditional lunch or dinner. There’s also sushi, Italian, and other cuisine options! There are also many shops on the peninsula with a variety of different shopping options - gifts, apparel, fishing gear, etc.
Balboa Peninsula, 100 Main St, Newport Beach, CA, 92661, Phone: 855-639-1618