Neighborhood Guide: Balboa Peninsula
Buzzing with things to do, The Balboa Peninsula is a scenic three-mile stretch with the harbor on one side and sandy beaches on the other. From waterfront restaurants and local surf shops to some of the best nightlife in Newport Beach, it’s easy to see why this area offers a little fun for everyone. Here’s a list of our favorite hotels, restaurants, shops and activities on The Balboa Peninsula.
With several boutique, hyper-local hotels, The Peninsula has plenty of places to stay for every type of traveler. Doryman’s Oceanfront Inn transports its guests back in time with its Victorian design and romantic influences, while the Bay Shores Peninsula Hotel, situated just a few blocks from the Newport Beach Pier, offers a beachy retreat for those who want to be close to the action. Little Inn by the Bay (think cozy beach cottage vibes) and Balboa Inn Resort (a quaint Mediterranean-style retreat) are also good options.
Foodies can rejoice—The Peninsula is chock-full of delicious eateries. Start with brunch at Shorebird, Lighthouse Cafe or Balboa Lily’s. Once lunch rolls around, head to The Crab Cooker for a bowl of their famous red chowder or Helmsman Ale House for a brew and some pub grub. You can also snag a delectable sandwich from Dory Deli—we love the vegan Buffalo Mary! And once the sun begins to set, sit down to a romantic dinner at 21 Oceanfront to catch the sunset, then head to Stag Bar + Kitchen for drinks and dancing.
Scattered throughout The Balboa Peninsula is a collection of noteworthy stores, like Little Shop by the Sea—a curated boutique with natural skincare, home goods and eco-friendly gifts. No Rest for Bridget is also a great women’s boutique with everything from casual dresses to denim jackets. Wave-riders, on the other hand, will love 15th St. Surf Shop, which has remained a staple since 1961. But let’s say you want to play tourist for the day. Balboa Village is home to several souvenir shops where you can find something to remember your trip.
The Balboa Peninsula has not one but two piers: the Newport Beach Pier and the Balboa Pier. Take a walk to the end of either and watch the surfers do their thing, or head to the bay side of The Peninsula for a Ferris wheel ride at the Balboa Fun Zone. Another popular activity is renting bikes from Seaside Bike Rentals for a breezy ride down The Peninsula. You can also rent a Moke (the most adorable electric car) from Newport Beach Moke Rental to zip around town.
In case you didn’t know, The Wedge, located at the end of The Balboa Peninsula, is known for its barrelling, pyramid-shaped waves. Find a spot on the sand and watch as the bodysurfers and board-riders jockey for position!
Written by: Kaylin Waizinger