Newport Beach, Calif.--Once a sand pit, Balboa Island is a man made island that
was dredged and filled right before World War I began. Skeptics and doubters
were unimpressed with developer plans to turn the newly formed land into
a community mapped out with streets and houses. Many later regretted missing
the chance that escaped them. Parcels which originally sold for around $250 now cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
Like Corona del Mar, Balboa Island retains its own identity
and character but is part of the City of Newport Beach. Cottages
and castles line bejeweled streets named after stones; Agate, Emerald,
Ruby and Sapphire are a few of Balboa's paved treasures. More precious
than rare stones is the pavement for parking your car on the little island,
especially on weekends and holidays. Hundreds of people drive to the Newport
Peninsula and park, then walk to the ferry boat, climbing aboard for a
5 minute ride across the bay. Manicured lawns with colorful flowers, private
boat docks, tiny sections of sand beach and stunning views of the Newport
Bay await those who take the ferry and walk to downtown Balboa Island shopping
district along Bayfront. Arriving at Marine Avenue, guests can browse through
gift and clothing shops, dine on gourmet meals or snacks and enjoy meeting
friendly people who love their island paradise.
Marine Avenue and surrounding streets
are filled with more than 70 gift shops, galleries and restaurants.
Unique items seen on house fronts and sold locally are known as "cottage
plates". Customized circular and oval ceramic designs are available in
numerous styles and can be shipped home as souvenir remembrances of your
island visit. From beachwear and fine clothing to
specialty boutiques, you can spend several hours shopping or browsing.
Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society
has a goal of preserving Island history and restoring the Old Balboa Fire
Station to its original glory. Efforts are underway to acquire the
historic building which you can see on Marine Avenue, not far from the
base of the bridge which leads to mainland Newport Beach and Pacific Coast
Highway. Information: 949-675-9019.
Balboa Island Parade is one of
California’s most charming seaside events. Balboa Island draws more
than 5,000 residents, merchants and community neighbors during its annual
parade down Marine Avenue. Shop in the quaint shops and unique boutiques in
the morning, then find a spot to watch the spirited procession of
star-spangled floats, festooned tricycles, live marching bands, antique cars
full of dignitaries, fire trucks, decked-out golf carts, be-dazzled dogs and
There are many fun activities going on
throughout the year on Balboa Island. For those seeking fun under the sun in
a small community atmosphere, take a trip to Balboa Island to enjoy a Balboa
frozen chocolate covered banana, some outrageously delicious seafood at
Amelia's restaurant or even great Chinese that will satisfy your hunger.
magnificent Christmas Boat Parade celebrated each year in December began
in 1908. Ceremoniously sailing around the bay, a gondolier named John Scarpa
organized eight canoes and his own gondola, all lighted with Japanese lanterns.
Nearly 100 years later, the tradition continues with residents lighting
their sailboats and yachts and parading them up and down the waterways.
Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Dick Powell, Shirley Temple, James Cagney,
Mae West and John Wayne are few of the famous celebrities who once owned
yachts in the Newport Harbor.
Visitor Information: (800)