Lido Island is primarily
residential. While traffic moves at a good little clip on the
island's "in & out" roads, boats take slower paces, lazily mooring
and relaxing in this charmed location.
In the sunset photo above, there's a great contrast of deep browns, orange and
blue the boats take on from the cast shadows that surround the boats and luxury
yachts. Lido Isle is a residential community and not really a tourist
destination. The way it is configured, you can take a drive down the strip but
mostly what you'll see are the backs of houses that face the ocean on both sides
of this island.
Lido Island in Newport Beach, was no more than a swamp, sandbar or mudhole at one time.
But that was nearly 100 years back, and now, that swampland is gold (to put it
mildly). On a recent search of home prices, we discovered a home in Lido Island
on Via Lido Soud listed for sale with an asking price of a cool $15,995,000 give
or take a few thousand.
Blame Henry Huntington and partner William Collins for creating this
paradise. When Huntington agreed to lay his rail line through
Huntington Beach, he got the town named after him in 1904. When he
agreed to continue the railroad further south to Newport, among the
offerings was a muddy bog just flat enough to dredge and turn into
something. It went by several names before it was finally fashioned
into Lido Isle in during the 1920's. Names ranged from Electric,
Pacific Electric, and Huntington Island. You'll see remnants of that
early legacy of "electric" along this section of coast from Seal
Beach on the north through Sunset Beach and ending in Newport where
the train route stopped near the Balboa Pavilion.
The fully residential community with a homeowner association that
collects assessment fees, grants island homeowners (just under
2,000) membership in Lido Isle Yacht Club. There are other yacht
clubs in Newport Beach (the oldest is said to be Balboa Yacht Club),
and plenty of passion for boating.
Lido Island, one of a handful of islands that comprise Newport
Beach's harbor area, is connected by a bridge from Lido Village
where automobile and foot traffic pass and gain access. With nearly everyone on the
island geared toward boats and yachts, most residents own some sort of seafaring
vessel or even just a kayak for boating the bay in addition to their
While driving along Lido Isle with its limited public parks and tiny beaches,
the most enjoyable part of the journey is the views, looking across several bays to see
familiar sights. Restaurants along Pacific Coast Highway are visible from one side of the channel. Lido Village
and Balboa peninsula can
be seen the other direction.
Lido does contain some limited or "no view" residential properties,
with the finest lots sporting water frontage and boat docks.
Homeowners with the west facing water views enjoy sunsets that are
breathtaking, as shown above. The vision to re-create the Italian
lifestyle was seen throughout Southern California during the early
1900's. Venice, Naples and Lido were played out realities of that
concept. In Lido, it was developer W. K. Parkinson who created this
Mediterranean paradise where tall palm trees sway ever so gently in
the afternoon breeze.
If everything seems almost
perfect in lot layout, again you can thank or blame fantasy island
creator Parkinson, who purchased the land and built his dream in
1923 after paying $45,000 for the property. Credited with designing
a master-planned community (so prominent today in the surrounding
neighborhoods of Irvine and South Orange County), the
visionary spent money on esthetics by adding underground wiring.
In stark comparison, take a drive to nearby Balboa Island to see
what effect the utility poles have on the appearance of a similarly
formed island that features a variety of home styles. Compared to
Lido Island's uniform Mediterranean Revival Style architecture, some
prefer the character and ambience of the latter, which grew into a
tourist destination for day-trippers (there are not hotels on Balboa
Island, but there are shops and restaurants.)
For tourists, there's not much going on and Lido doesn't necessarily rank as a
place to visit. Your
best views of
Lido Island will likely be seen from the air on a jet
that flies into or out of Orange County Airport located a few miles east in Santa
Ana. The aerial images often confuse, as many mistake this island for the more
touristy, popular Balboa Island.
Lido Island Newport Beach OC Beaches
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