Running shoes? Double-knotted. Earbuds? In place. Water? Check. Phone? Always. You’re ready to run, but the question is, where?
There’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery around Newport, and Balboa Island’s central location makes it ideal for your workout. Whether you’re training for a half marathon or just jogging for fun, the island is a great way to work some flat terrain and spectacular views into your plan:
Around the Islands – 2.5 miles
If you are a beginner or want to avoid hills, take a lap around Balboa Island. The charming homes and picturesque bay views will help even the most unmotivated jogger get going.
Start at any point on Bay Front and make a full circle, crossing onto Little Balboa Island. The perimeter is 2.5 miles around (1.7 miles around the big island and 0.8 around the little island). The area is stroller-friendly and has public restrooms at the fire station and ferry crossing. It’s easy to warm up, get your exercise and cool down. And of course there are plenty of post-workout refueling options – Starbucks, Juice Crafters and Dad’s.
Corona del Mar to Balboa Island – 6 miles
Inspiration Point is a good starting point for a longer run with some challenging hills. It’s located at Ocean Boulevard and Orchid Avenue in Corona del Mar. The majestic cliff views are just incredible, and you can see the famous Wedge surf break on Balboa Peninsula.
Head north on Ocean, make a right on Fernleaf and turn left on Bayside. Stay in the bike lane on Bayside and head toward Balboa Island. This is a good place to turn down your tunes so you can really pay attention to traffic. Turn left onto Marine Avenue, follow it down to Bay Front, turn right and make your way around the island. When you reach the bridge at Marine, turn left and head back the way you came. This fun, but tough, run is just under six miles.
If you’d like to add some boot camp elements to your training, detour down to Big Corona State Beach off of Ocean. There is a massive hill, high stairs, low walls and benches that are perfect for step-ups, lunges and additional cardio.
Balboa Peninsula – 6 miles
This nice, flat run begins from the Balboa Ferry and comes with fantastic people-watching and ocean vistas.
Jump on the ferry ($1.00 each way for pedestrians) and come straight off onto Palm Avenue when you exit. Turn left when you hit the boardwalk, which is technically the Newport Balboa Bike Trail. Run down to the point where it dead-ends, then turn around and head all the way down until it ends at 36th Street. You will pass the Balboa and Newport Piers, which are great places to take a break if you want to walk out or use the restroom facilities. Come back the way you came, making a left onto Palm to go back towards the ferry. This run is about six miles long.
Back Bay Drive to Balboa Island – 9 miles
This gorgeous long run has just a few hills and panoramic views of the Back Bay. Depending on the time of day, you can see wildlife and rare birds, as well as glorious sunsets. It’s also fun to check out the RVs and cottages at the Dunes as you pass behind the resort.
Begin at Vista Point, where Back Bay Drive meets Eastbluff Drive in Newport Beach. Head down the hill and follow the road towards the ocean. Stay in the bike lane, but watch for groups of bikers – they ride at high speeds. This is a popular route for walkers, runners and riders, but it never seems too crowded. Take Back Bay Drive past the Dunes Resort and turn right onto the bike trail. It will take you behind the Dunes, and you’ll make a left onto Bayside Drive. Cross Pacific Coast Highway at the light and follow Bayside to Marine Avenue and over the bridge to the island. Come back the way you came and you’re done! This course is approximately nine miles.
Some people run to burn calories, get in shape or just for mental therapy. Visit Newport Beach and you’ll understand why you see so many people out exercising. And there’s no better place to do it than on Balboa Island!