Story & photos by Connie Young
Balboa is a unique close-to-shore island only several yards from the mainland in
Access to this enjoyable getaway can be either by a short bridge and walkway over a narrow waterway or by 2-car ferry from the Newport Peninsula on the opposite side of the island. Walk-ons can ride the ferry sitting on long benches that hug the hull of the ferry.
Traffic on the small island is intense year-round but summers are, as one would expect, really tough. Summer homes and holiday rentals crowd next to one another on Jewel named streets and parking places are rare. If youíre lucky, youíll find one in the single street downtown area because there are time limits.
But once you know the rules, Balboa is unique and fun. Eateries date back to the 1930s and boutique shops line both sides of the street. The views of the surrounding water are limited because itís really a sea of island homes. But you can paddle your way around on stand up boards, canoes or sailboats and enjoy the scenery.
Newport Peninsula has a terrific fun zone with all the trappings of a small Coney Island plus some good restaurants and every present souvenir shops. Take the fun car ferry from Balboa Island to get there.