Escape to Paradise: Balboa Island, California

A weekend getaway to Balboa Island, California is a true escape from the ordinary. The island’s charm, picturesque surroundings, and relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal destination for a quick retreat. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or leisurely strolls along the waterfront, Balboa Island has it all. It’s a place where time slows down, and the beauty of California’s coast shines through. If you’re looking for a hidden gem to explore, Balboa Island should definitely be on your list!

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The best time to visit Balboa Island, California, largely depends on your preferences and what you’re looking to experience. Balboa Island enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means it generally has mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Here are some considerations for each season:

Spring (March to May)

  • Spring is a lovely time to visit. The weather is mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit (about 18-24°C).
  • The island’s gardens and flowers are in full bloom during this season, creating a colorful backdrop for your visit.
  • It’s a quieter time compared to the peak summer season, making it great for a relaxing getaway and lower costs.

Summer (June to August):

  • Summer is the peak tourist season on Balboa, and for good reason. The weather is warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (about 24-30°C).
  • The island comes alive with activities, including water sports, outdoor dining, and various events.
  • Be prepared for larger crowds and higher accommodation prices, especially in July and August.

Fall (September to November):

  • Fall is another excellent time to visit. The weather remains pleasant, with temperatures gradually cooling down from the mid-70s to the mid-60s Fahrenheit (about 24-18°C).
  • The summer crowds start to thin out, so you can enjoy a quieter experience while still enjoying the island’s attractions.
  • September can be particularly nice for those looking to avoid the summer rush.

Winter (December to February):

  • Balboa Island experiences a mild winter compared to many other parts of the country. Daytime temperatures usually range from the mid-50s to the low 60s Fahrenheit (about 12-17°C).
  • While it’s not the ideal time for swimming or water activities, it’s perfect for a peaceful, less crowded visit.
  • Some holiday events and decorations can add a festive touch to your winter visit.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Balboa Island depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy warm weather and a bustling atmosphere, summer might be your preferred choice. On the other hand, if you prefer milder temperatures and a quieter experience, spring and fall are great options. Balboa Island has something to offer year-round, so you can plan your visit based on the experience you desire.

Balboa Island


Balboa Island is a relatively small and charming community with limited accommodation options directly on the island itself. Most visitors choose to stay in nearby Newport Beach, which offers a wider range of lodging options, including hotels, vacation rentals, and beachfront properties. However, I HIGHLY recommend staying on the island to have a more relaxing and secluded stay. Here are some recommendations for where to stay when visiting Balboa Island:

Newport Beach Hotels: Newport Beach has several hotels that offer comfortable accommodations with easy access to Balboa Island. Some popular choices include:

  • Balboa Bay Resort: This luxurious waterfront resort is just a short drive from Balboa Island and offers stunning views of Newport Harbor.
  • Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa: Located near the Fashion Island shopping center, this upscale hotel provides a convenient base for exploring Balboa Island.
  • Hyatt Regency Newport Beach: Situated in a lush, sprawling setting, this hotel offers a relaxing atmosphere and is a short drive from Balboa Island.

Balboa Island Rentals: While there are limited accommodations directly on Balboa Island, some cottages and guesthouses are available for short-term rentals. These can provide an authentic island experience, but they tend to book up quickly, so it’s essential to plan well in advance. Websites like or VRBO offer a variety of options to suit your needs.

We stayed at this Darling Balboa Getaway, I loved the sunny terrace and views of the bay.


Stroll Along Marine Avenue

Marine Avenue is the heart of Balboa Island. It’s lined with unique boutiques, art galleries, and charming cafes. Spend time leisurely strolling along the avenue, popping in and out of shops. Low Tide and Lemon Pie is my personal favorite. If you pop in, make sure you tell them that Mel’s Scene referred you! Everyone who works there is so kind, plus the shop is filled with so many fun and unique things.

Balboa Bars

Treat yourself to the famous Balboa Bar or Frozen Banana, these are a local specialty. These delicious bars are dipped in chocolate and various toppings, allowing you to create your own custom treat. I tried both Dad’s and Sugar ‘n Spice. Personally, to me, Sugar ‘n Spice was WAY better. Try both and comment below which one was your favorite!

Rent a Duffy Boat & Cruise Around the Marina

Duffy boats are electric-powered vessels, known for their quiet operation and ease of use, making them perfect for a tranquil cruise. There are several rental companies on and around Balboa Island that offer Duffy boat rentals. Some of the popular ones include Duffy of Newport Beach, and Voyagers.

Walk Bay Loop

This 2.7-mile loop takes you around the perimeter of Balboa Island, allowing you to enjoy the sights of Newport Harbor and the stunning homes.

Try a Chocolate Covered Strawberry at Balboa Island Berries

Celebrating over 20 years on Balboa. Balboa Berries serves local fruit, vegetables and their famous chocolate-dipped strawberries. Balboa Island Berries is located right next to the ferry.

Rent Bikes

Bike rentals are a popular way to explore Balboa and the surrounding areas. They offer a fun and active way to take in the scenic beauty of Newport Beach. While Balboa Island itself is relatively small and walkable, renting a bike allows you to explore nearby attractions and coastal paths. Rent bikes through Beach View Bikes. The bikes will be delivered and picked up at your accommodation!

Watch Sunset

As the sun dips towards the horizon, head to the west side of the island. The sight of colorful boats bobbing in the harbor, the warm hues of the sunset, and the laughter of families all around create an unforgettable atmosphere.

Rent Kayaks or SUP

The best part about staying on the island, is the tranquility of the water. This makes Balboa a great place to kayak or paddle board. While on the water, you can explore the harbor’s hidden nooks and crannies as well as spot some wildlife. Rent your water toys from SportRents. SportRents is located directly on the island, making it the perfect place to get Kayaks or Paddleboards from.

Relax on the Beach

Balboa Island has a beautiful, family-friendly beach where you can relax, swim, or build sandcastles. If you are looking for bigger waves, take the ferry to Balboa Beach!

Things to do on Balboa

Balboa Fun Zone

No visit to Balboa is complete without a trip to the Balboa Fun Zone. Let your inner child come out and play arcade games. Don’t forget to take a spin on the Ferris wheel!

Fun Zone Balboa

Visit the Balboa Pier

Walk out on the Pier and enjoy beautiful views of the vast ocean.



  • Wilma’s Patio Restaurant: This family-owned restaurant is a Balboa Island institution. They serve classic American comfort food in a cozy atmosphere.
  • Basilic: Small, quaint French-Swiss eatery with a seasonal menu & nightly fish & other specials. Make reservations in advance!
  • Snipe Island Craft House: Serving freshly oven roasted pizza, signature burgers, and other delicious entrees with craft beer & wine.
  • Royal Hen: For a more upscale dining experience, check out Royal Hen. This gastropub offers a menu of elevated pub fare and a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails.
  • Ciao Italian: If you’re craving Italian cuisine, Ciao is a great choice. They serve a variety of pasta dishes, pizzas, and Italian classics in a casual setting.
  • Todos Santos: Serving an authentic Baja style Mexican food with a modern twist.
  • Crockers: If you’re in the mood for gourmet hot dogs and sausages, Crocker’s is the place to go. They offer a range of creative toppings and unique flavor combinations.
  • Balboa Island Baking Company: Freshly baked goods are made here daily! Make sure to try OC’s famous cinnamon roll.

I hope this blog post helps you plan your serene getaway, and inspires you to add Balboa Island to your travel bucket list!

Want to visit other islands in California? Check out my guide to Catalina Island.

If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. Which VRBO did you end up staying in? Tell me in the comments below!

Meet Mel

I started Mel’s Scene to showcase my trips and offer my personalized itineraries to other global wanderers. I have never cared for material things, I care more so for the experiences and memories that each travel destination has given me.


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