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5 Fun Summer Activities On Balboa Island & Peninsula

Summer is almost here! For a lot of people, Memorial Day Weekend signals the unofficial start to everything sunny, relaxing, and in our case in LA, beach-related. We had to work this weekend, but were lucky enough to have some days off earlier in the week to jet down to the OC. Here’s my list of 5 Fun Summer Activities On Balboa Island & Peninsula.

5 Fun Summer Activities On Balboa Island & Peninsula



1.  Frozen Banana Stands

If you’ve ever watched Arrested Development, you’ve probably heard of the these. There are 2 stands that I saw when on Marine Ave. Sugar n’ Spice claims they were the first in 1945. There’s also Dad’s Donut & Bakery Shop which claims origins on the Balboa Bar–basically a deluxe Klondike Bar on a stick with your choice of toppings.

Great timing for us cause we’re on the Whole 30. Luckily, we can drive down anytime and try these magical frozen treats in the future. We opted for a juice down the street at Juice Crafters. It’s a cute little juice shack with grab n’ go juices or they can make one on the spot.



2. Balboa Fun Zone

If you’re on Balboa Island, it’s almost mandatory to hop on the ferry for a short ride to the Peninsula. It’s only $1 for adults and the whole ride lasts about 2 minutes. There’s room for up to 3 vehicles aboard, so you can also opt to drive.

Balboa Fun Zone is right at the dock when you make land. There’s a Ferris Wheel and games to play alongside the boardwalk. Since there’s no admission, you can walk around and play whatever you like.

3. Whale Watching

Newport Landing offers daily whale watching tours year round. May through November brings the giant blue whales and finback whales. If you want to witness the California Gray Whale annual migration, it’s best to go in late December through April. Check out all the prices and times here.

4. Harbor Cruises

The Fun Boat Company offers daily harbor cruises that are about 45 minutes. You can always opt for a longer 90 minute cruise too. They offer 4 main cruises during the day including a sunset cruise. Tour #1 is a cruise out to the harbor entrance to spot California Sea Lions. Tour #2 is a narrated “Celebrity Homes and Yachts Tour”. They’re been offering this for over 59 years and it features Newport Bay’s multi-million dollar homes and their celebrity owners. Tour #3 is the extended 90 minute cruise that views the whole harbor. This tour includes all of the sights and sounds of the bay including the Seven Islands of Newport Bay.

For more details on the cruises, times, and prices, click here.

Since we left our car on Balboa Island we had to return within 2 hours. Now that we know about all the fun harbor cruises, we’ll probably drive down the Balboa Peninsula side and find parking there.


5. Balboa Pier

A trip to the ocean isn’t complete without stepping foot in the sand…or water! After playing around in Peninsula Park, we took a stroll down the pier. It’s a classic, simple pier, nothing crazy like Santa Monica. Still, there are benches and plenty of places to fish. At the end of the pier is a Ruby’s Diner–talk about good patio seating!

Today marks day 12 of the Whole 30 program! I’m really proud of us for resisting treats, hamburgers, and happy hours on our recent trip to Balboa. It definitely requires more creativity to find things to do. As an adult, it’s really easy to meet up for drinks or go to lunch. Restructuring my diet has been an improvement for not only my body, but my time and energy. I’m recommitting to bettering my whole self!

As part of that, I’ve been touching up my teeth again with my Smile Brilliant teeth whitening kit. I figure, I’m not drinking cocktails, wine or nearly as much coffee right now, so it’s the perfect time! The folks at Smile Brilliant were kind enough to offer $25 off whitening kits with promo code pearldiverlamd25 (I don’t get any commission off this, it’s just a discount for you). 

Our trip was a good refresher on all the fun things to do on Balboa Island and the surrounding areas. I hope you found it helpful. We have to come back for those frozen bananas!

Watch Our Trip In My Video Below:

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