Your Balboa Island vacation plans must include a stop on the Balboa Peninsula! Located a short ferry ride or drive away, the peninsula is full of personality and offers wide, sparkling beaches and countless activities for everyone.

The Balboa Island Ferry is located at Agate Avenue. Catch it in your car, on bikes or on foot. During the summer months, you may not want to give up your parking space on the island only to have to hunt for one on the peninsula. You’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time as you make the short crossing across the bay on the old-fashioned boat. And the prices will put a smile on your face ($1.00/adult, $.50/child over five, $1.25/adult on bikes, $.75/child on bikes, and $2.00/car, additional passengers extra.)

The ferry drops you off right at the Balboa Fun Zone, a bustling amusement area with arcades, souvenir shops, a Ferris wheel and water activities. ExplorOcean, an ocean education center filled with hands-on science experiments and exhibits, is also located here. Kids will love feeling sea stars, sea urchins and other ocean life inside the Touch Tank!

You will also find the historic Balboa Pavilion ( on the waterfront. This turn-of-the-century building once used for bowling, dances and beauty contests is just beautiful and is now a hub for water activities including sport fishing, whale watching and the Catalina Flyer ferry service to Catalina Island. The Harborside Restaurant ( is inside the Balboa Pavilion and is a wonderful stop for dinner or happy hour with stunning views.

Around the corner are donut shops, trinket stores and Newport Beach’s own Balboa Candy. You will have probably already visited the location on Balboa Island. Stop in for some salt water taffy and soda pop. So much to do and you haven’t even made it to the beach yet!

Cross Balboa Boulevard and you’ll arrive at Peninsula Point Park and the beach at Balboa Pier. This is a wide open beach with big waves, a perfect place to park your beach chair. Public restrooms, showers and a playground are conveniently placed at the base of the pier. There are designated surfing and boogie boarding areas, and plenty of nearby places to rent or buy gear.

The Balboa Pier itself is amazing! Any day of the year, you will find a variety of people – tourists, fishermen, surfers, moms with strollers, and lots of seagulls. The original Ruby’s Diner, a 1940’s style restaurant for burgers and milkshakes is at the very end of the pier. This Ruby’s has a rooftop deck with 360 degree views.

The Newport Balboa Bike Trail runs all along the oceanfront. It’s basically a small boardwalk taking you past homes, stores and restaurants. It’s perfect for walking, jogging and biking. Bike rental shops are easy to find near the Balboa Pier and along Balboa Boulevard. You may even see people on Segways!

Families with children will find many activities to enjoy – volleyball on the beach, flying kites and playing in the surf. Newport Elementary School on Balboa Boulevard has a fun playground with swings and blacktop right on the sand.

If you’re traveling with a group of friends, you might want to try doing a bar crawl on bikes! Stop at the Balboa Saloon, Cabo Cantina, Class of ’47 and Mutt Lynch’s. You can head up towards the Newport Pier and hit Blue Beet for some live music, and then finish with slices of pizza at Perry’s Pizza.

If you’re interested in sports bars, Rudy’s and Newport Beach Brewing Company are fun places to hang out and watch the big games.

There is no shortage of great places to eat – El Ranchito, Mama D’s and Crab Cooker are local and tourist favorites. For breakfast, Woody’s Diner and The Sliding Door Café and Bakery are good options.

Some excellent date places include Fly ‘N’Fish Oyster Bar, San Shi Go for sushi, The Dock and Woody’s Wharf. Sabatino’s Sausage Company is a fantastic out-of-the way local’s favorite. With its easy access to Balboa Island via the ferry or Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Boulevard, the Balboa Peninsula is the ideal place to spend some of your vacation time. There is something here for everyone!