The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in secrecy. We know Saint Valentine is actually associated with two Christians who were martyred under the Roman Empire. The saints were honored on February 14th. So what does this have to do with love and courtship? Nothing, except that this date also happened to coincide with a Roman festival called Lupercalia which included courtship rituals. As with many Christian holidays, as time passed the traditions merged.

Although the history of the holiday is fascinating, you can’t come home with a history lesson and expect to be met with adoration. If you’re looking for a fresh way to spend Valentine’s Day or a romantic getaway, there’s no better place than Balboa Island. There’s little argument the island’s inherent charm and breathtaking views naturally lend itself to romance but did you know there are a variety of wonderful activities for couples.



Explore the island by taking a leisurely walk. Couples can stroll along the ocean front, sit on the wall and watch the boats float by while they enjoy a delicious cappuccino or decadent Balboa Bar. Engage in that long overdue conversation as you watch the sun, or moon, dance off the water.



Enjoy the native foliage found on the island during the month of February. Trumpet creepers, hydrangea and a variety of roses can be found gracing the fronts of many homes on the island. Now you can literally take time to stop and smell the roses.



There are two delicious and very romantic dining options available on the island. The first is Amelia’s. This landmark is one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in Orange County. For over 45 years this Marine Ave. restaurant offers delectable Italian and seafood dishes in a warm and cozy setting.

The second is Basilic Restaurant, also located on Marine Avenue. Basilic first opened its doors in February 1997 by chef/owner Bernard Althaus. The intimate and romantic 24-seat restaurant continues to prove that good things do come in small packages. Chef Bernard cooks each dish on his menu to order with special attention to detail for each and every guest to enjoy.



Shopping on Balboa Island is as unique as the island itself. Take a leisurely stroll down Marine Avenue and enjoy a variety of beautiful shops. Each store seems to have its own personality — most filled with one-of-a-kind items that you cannot find anywhere else on the island. No matter what your personal style, there’s a store on the island sure to fit your taste and personality. Commemorate your love for one another by purchasing a unique piece of art or keepsake that you can enjoy for years to come.



Grab the ferry and head over to the Fun Zone. This is where you and your sweetheart can take a ride on the iconic Ferris wheel. Is there anything more romantic than seeing the beautiful views atop the Ferris wheel while smelling the crisp, ocean air? Spend the afternoon playing games at the arcade then stroll down the boardwalk and grab a hot slice of pizza or delicious confection. Let the cares of the world wash away as you spend a few hours together in peaceful bliss.