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Help me out with Balboa Island

Phoenix, Arizona
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Help me out with Balboa Island

Starting in 1987 we have spent a summer week at Newport Beach 12 times. We have always stayed in rentals on the peninsula, always on the boardwalk. We are going to do it again next month. 4 of those times we have been in the 1400 block of W. Oceanfront, which we will do again this time. That is the block between the Stuft Surfer and the elementary school. At least once a trip we end up down at the Balboa Pier area and go to the Fun Zone, etc. Sometimes we take the ferry over to Balboa Island. We typically walk around a little and then get on the ferry and head back. We walk down some nice streets and see some nice looking homes, some of which are quaint and/or charming. That's about it.

There are people who post here who really like Balboa Island, which makes me wonder what I am missing. Are there sights to see or activities that we are missing? Interesting cafes or restaurants? Any suggestions would be appreciated. We do usually have access to bikes if that makes it easier.

Edited: 12 June 2014, 17:33
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Newport Beach
Newport Beach
Orange County, CA
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Newport Beach, CA
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1. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

When you venture over to Balboa Island, head south off of the ferry to Marine, which is the commercial street. There are lots of cute shops, some restaurants, and places to get Balboa Bars and frozen bananas. Dad's has the best Balboa Bars, as far as I know, as that's the only place I've gotten them over 50 years. It won't take you a day to stroll up and down Marine, but you can spend a few hours doing that. You can either walk on the Balboa Island boardwalk or bike through the alleys or down the street. Bikes aren't allowed on the BI boardwalk. Other than Marine Ave, you are right that the island is pretty much all charming homes and views of the bay. Have a great week in Newport!

M D
Irvine, California
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2. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

Most of what makes balboa island appealing is the same as what makes the peninsula appealing. They are very similar and someone who appreciates one should appreciate the other- even if they have a favorite. The island is quieter, has more homeowners and fewer renters, and has a more family friendly atmosphere.

As the poster above said, its not clear if you made it down to marine ave. You do need to do that, the part of island by the ferry is just houses. You also need the park the bikes and walk along the bayfront.

Corona del Mar, CA
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3. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

People love Balboa Island because it has the feeling of a real community/village and is very family oriented. There are local gossip papers, people feel safe with their kids roaming the island, it has nice beaches, good restaurants and shops, a nice little grocery store and isn't as busy as the peninsula because it is smaller. The Little Island is even nicer.

Abrams Coastal Properties is a great resource for rentals on the island.

http://www.abramscoastalproperties.com/

Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

Thanks to all for the input. Marine Ave. sounds like it is what I have been missing. I know that I wouldn't want to rent on the island but wanted to give it a few hours to see why people seemed to like it so much.

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5. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

We've been renting a beautiful home on the canal...coming from east coast it is so unique and charming we love it...how did you miss the town? I like the peninsula but wouldn't rent there because its too busy but liove going there...I like the balboa pier and fun zone and you should take the harbor cruise it's fantastic.

Phoenix, Arizona
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6. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

We actually like the activity on the boardwalk, love watching the world go by. Having the ocean beach right outside our door is a huge attraction. It is typically 110° at home in July. Walking on the beach first thing in the morning (or after the sun goes down) is heaven. I really wouldn't like having several city streets and a ferry in between me and the ocean. To each his own I guess. But I am going to check out Marine Ave. on the island.

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7. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

I like the boardwalk scene also we rode bikes between piers...balboa aso has a boardwalk but it is surrounded by bay and boats and spectacular houses to gawk at...a different scene

San Diego...
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8. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

You can take a google walk on Marine Ave.

http://goo.gl/maps/c4Km0

When I lived in Newport I used to love going to Balboa Is for breakfast or lunch. Then walk along the boardwalk and/ or the Little Island. It's a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours. But it is mostly residential and a family community.

Phoenix, Arizona
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9. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

So on Monday 7/7 we drove to the Balboa Pier area, parked in the metered lot and walked to the Fun Zone. At that time the surf and had been really active. The lifeguard stations had their red flags up and sadly on Sunday 7/6 a lifeguard died in a rescue attempt. Some years ago we had seen the Fun Zone flooded and were concerned that this might be the case again, but it was not. We took the ferry to the island and along Bayfront to Marine Ave. We spent an hour or so checking out the shops and enjoyed doing so. I wanted a frozen banana and the choice appeared to be Dad's or Sugar 'N' Spice. Sugar 'N' Spice seemed to be doing the most business so I bought one there and it was great. (I had forgotten the above Dad's recommendation.) We walked back along Park Ave. and checked out some of the houses. Overall it was a pleasant experience and we now know more about what Balboa Island is about. Thanks for the input.

Overall our stay was a good one. Had breakfast at Charlie's Chili one morning. Rode bikes to the Huntington Pier and back. Had a little less beach time due to the violent surf. Went to Legoland with our granddaughters (don't need to do THAT again). Sad to see that the sea shell store at the Newport Pier is gone and replaced by a coffee shop. Took a ton of pictures.

Edited: 14 July 2014, 02:06
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10. Re: Help me out with Balboa Island

Glad you finally made it to the little business area of Balboa Island. It's a pleasant place to spend a couple of hours.

Charlie's Chili - it's still there??? I remember many, many moons ago we'd go there after a night of dancing and drinking. In the off-season when it was quiet I liked to have breakfast there and then walk along the beach.

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