Balboa Island beaches seen in photos above are part of Newport Beach. And like Corona del Mar
beaches, Balboa Island beaches retain a separate identity.
They overlook the
Newport bay and historic Balboa Pavilion, built in the early 1900's. Balboa's beaches are small--they consist primarily of narrow shelves of sand
that softly slope into the bay. Many of the residences on the island have
private docks to moor their seaworthy vessels, and those docks do break up
the narrow strips of beach. But for those who feel like relaxing, it's OK to
sit on the seawall along South Bayfront sidewalk and climb over onto the
public beaches. Mindful of the tethered boats and private docks, you can
take a book and read or just sit and enjoy the sunshine along this area. The
majority of tourists who use these beaches are visitors staying in the
houses, but still, you can enjoy the narrow lots of sand if you so chose.
Balboa Island is not known for its
beaches, however. Its better known for its name, its lovely houses,
gingerbread neighborhoods, nautical focus and shopping along Marine Avenue.
Also known for the Newport - Balboa Ferry, thousands of tourists hop aboard
the ferries daily for pleasure rides between Balboa Island and Newport
peninsula. You can board it on foot, bring your bike, or drive a car. Car
rides cost more and do not usually offer the fastest mode of transportation
to access the mainland such as Fashion Island shopping center nearby.
There are no hotels offering
accommodations for tourists on Balboa Island. While it would make a
fantastic location for hotel resorts, houses that fill this treasured gem
with street names Amethyst, Diamond, Pearl and Emerald, are worth millions
of dollars and in today's market, it would require re-zoning and tons of
money to turn this little residential mecca into a tourist vacation resort.