Balboa Village in Newport Beach, Orange County!
If you read my previous blog about Balboa Island, then you probably remember reading about The Balboa Fun Zone in Balboa Village. Balboa Village is located in Newport Beach, in Orange County and is just a quick and inexpensive ferry ride over from Balboa Island.
The ferry boat ride is just about a 5-10 minute ride across to the “mainland” and you can take it on foot, by car, bicycle, or even golf cart. It has an amazing view of the harbor and honestly, it’s half the fun.
It’s best to plan your day before you arrive, especially if you’re only staying for a day or you plan on renting a duffy or want go for a ride on a jet ski. That’s only because there’s so much to do, you can find yourself wandering around trying to figure out how to fit it all in.
So, what exactly is there to do after disembarking the ferry? Here you go!
Rent Some Fun!
- Rent a bike and explore– There’s plenty to see on a bike in Newport Beach. Take a ride to the beach, to the Balboa Pier on the peninsula, ride the oceanfront boardwalk or roam to wherever catches your fancy. Check out Balboa Beach & Bicycle for all your bike rental needs. You can order ahead online, so it’s there waiting for you. They have many bike sizes and even have bike seats and trailers for the kiddos or your pooch!
- Hit the beach– No need to worry about draggin all the big stuff with you. You can rent most everything you need from Balboa Beach & Bicycle as well. They have everything from body boards, surf boards, wetsuits, chairs, umbrella’s and more!
- Rent a Jet Ski, Wave Runner or Sea Doo– Our older kids had a blast roaming around in the ocean on their Sea Doo’s from Balboa Water Sports & Sea Doo Rentals. You sign all of your forms etc. at the same location as Balboa Beach & Cycles, which made it convenient for us land lovers, who just wanted to plant it on the beach. Then they made their way to the loading zone, which is right off the dock where the ferry lets off. You have to motor slowly through the harbor, but once you get out into the ocean, you get to have some real fun. Or, you can also just take a scenic tour through Newport Beach Harbor if you like to take it slow. I’ll be checking that out on our next visit, because it’s not just for kids! You’ll want to book these ahead of time as well, especially during the summer months.
- Rent a Duffy Boat– This will be on our to-do list for next trip, as we ran out of time. They have 8 and 12 seat party boats to slowly roam about and enjoy the scenery of Newport Beach Harbor. You can even have a fun celebration on the boat. Check out Voyagers Boat Rentals for more information.
Play & Shop!
The Balboa Fun Zone has been around for 80+ years! When I was a kid, one of my favorite parts of my vacation, besides taking the ferry, was going to the arcade at the Fun Zone. The arcade is under new ownership and is getting quite the makeover. There are also a lot of cute little gift shops in the village where you can buy souvenirs and other goodies you probably don’t need, but buy anyway since you’re on vacation, right?
- The Arcade– I’ll be honest… the arcade looks exactly the way it did when I went in the early 80’s and personally I didn’t mind at all. Skee Ball was always my favorite! They have an array of arcade games that will be fun for kids of any age!
- The Ferris Wheel– Take a spin on the iconic ferris wheel and see all of Newport Bay. You won’t be disappointed! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page in this link and read about the history of the ferris wheel. So interesting!
- The Coconut Climb– Take your monkey’s on a fun climb to the top of the coconut tree. Last one up is a rotten egg! Haha!
- The Happy Swing– Need I say more?
- Ocean in Motion– Bounce as high as the sky on this extra large trampoline. This has always been my daughter’s fave, as she likes to practice her gymnastics skills in a controlled setting.
Eat, Eat & Eat some more!
There is so much to eat in Balboa Village. We made two trips, so we were able to try out all the amazing carnival food, but we also had an amazing sit down meal at Harborside.
- Jane’s Corndogs– The day we ate here was by far the most glutinous day of my vacation and I don’t even care one bit! I had the best corn dog with a fresh made lemonade. After we went to the beach, I conveniently had plenty of room for a funnel cake, which was absolutely amazing as well. Just go! Throw your diet out the window and eat all you can! LOL!
- Pizza Pete’s– My kid loves pizza and will try just about any kind. I’m not sure if he was just starving from not eating all day long, but he devoured the pizza here. It looked and smelled pretty darn good to me! It was also a great place to get out of the hot sun and we enjoyed some water and soda’s while we waited for the “big kids” to get back from their jet ski excursion.
- Harborside Restaurant– We decided we needed to make one more trip back to the village before we left and had a pretty amazing lunch here. We had a quiet corner table, at least until we got there, which overlooked the harbor, so the ambiance was impeccable . Our service was also great, which must be pretty difficult when there are 8 of us knuckleheads trying to figure out what we want to eat and drink. Our server was extremely patient, let’s just say that. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meals and the appetizers were spot-on. You can tell I enjoyed my meal, because somehow I only took a picture of the appetizers and demolished my meal in no time. I can imagine the scenery at night is exquisite, so if you’d like to try it out at night, I would suggest arriving early or calling ahead to see if they take reservations.
Places we Would have loved to try, but ran out of time
There were so many cool places we wanted to try, but we either ran out of time or we had the kids with us, so it just wasn’t feasible. But we’re going to ditch them next time and have a nice, adults night out! Here they are:
- Class of ’47– Looks like a good old fashion dive bar with pool tables and dollar bills on the ceiling! Right up our alley.
- Balboa Saloon– Again, looked a little bit dive-y, but fun. Definitely 21 and over here!
- Balboa BBQ– The food in here smelled amazing, but it was jam packed, so we didn’t make it in.
- Ruby’s– This is located at the end of the Balboa Pier, which we also didn’t make it to. If you don’t know about Ruby’s, it’s an old classic diner with red booths, great burgers and classic shakes and malts. It’s a bit of a walk from Balboa Village, so we didn’t make the walk this trip. But next time!
If you’re a Southern Californian and you haven’t at least taken a day trip here, it’s a must do! It’s fun for all ages and the beach is pristine. There are plenty of things to do to relax or stay active if you chose to do so. And did I mention the food?