This is a locals guide to visiting Balboa Island. Specifically curated for mom’s and families, this detailed list will show you what to do, what not to miss and some our favorite things to do on the Island year around.
Balboa Island is a beach side community located in Newport Beach, California, It’s easily accessible to the public via bridge, ferry and several public docks. The community is surrounded by a paved concrete boardwalk where you’ll see locals and tourists alike. More often than not the boardwalk is filled with pet owners, dogs children and very friendly people.
Although traffic and parking gets congested during the summer months you can usually always find parking on one of the side streets. Parking is free too, just make sure you read the signs and parking rules.
10 things to do with kids on Balboa Island
1. Bring scooters and let them ride along the board walk. We like south bay front or the little island.
2. Get Doughnuts from Dad’s Doughnut’s
3. Bring sand toys and bathing suits for the kids and play on a small sandy beach along north bay front.
4. Grab lunch at picante martins. This small Mexican restaurant has been there as long as I can remember and they have amazing food and the chicken tortilla soup is to die for!
5. Walk over to fire station and see the fire trucks. Possibly the fireman too!
6. Ride the yellow horse in front of our gang general store. (Bring a few quarters)
7. Visit the candy store on the corner and get salt water taffy.
8. If you have a daughter, visit once upon an Island. Click here to read more
9. Ride the ferry across to the fun zone. Kids ride for free and adults are only $1.00
10. Visit the new museum! It’s super cute and you can learn so much about the Island!
Checkout the video below:
Shopping on Balboa Island
The shops are run by locals, and most of them have been here for years! They are welcoming and warm and I love supporting the local businesses here! Below is a list of my favorite shops, that are worth peeking inside.
Most popular and note worthy shopping on the Island
On the Island you’ll find a rad clothing store and if you are looking for SUP rentals head over to their second location called Paddle Board Newport Beach located on the Newport Peninsula.
This store is really a landmark and has been here as long as I can remember! This fun toy store has a great selection and a very friendly owner and staff. My kids love to visit!
Eating on the Island
Where to Eat
Most popular and note-able eats on Balboa Island
A very casual yet delicious Sunday breakfast favorite. Wilma’s is family friendly, affordable and easy!
The best chicken tortilla soup in Orange County is found right here! They also have catering options and make amazing trays for birthday parties and events.
A local watering hole, this is the vibing spot on Balboa Island. With live bands, great drinks and easy delicious food!
A nice date spot if you are staying on the Island and don’t want to leave. Also a great place for a conversation since the atmosphere is somewhat cozy and romantic.
French, gourmet cooking with really good food, and a great wine list. Not my favorite with kids, but a great date spot on the Island. My go to is the french onion soup with a glass of Sav. Blanc
Very cute Italian style decor, great food, I highly recommend if you are looking for a quiet place with great Italian food and pasta