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Date night done right: Romantic Balboa Island

February 12, 2019

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, there’s no denying that love is in the air. If you haven’t thought about what you’re doing yet, now’s the time to come up with a game plan. The cliche of booking a reservation at a fancy restaurant, overpriced flowers, and Godiva chocolates seems to be fading (as much as we love Godiva), and creative, more attainable Valentine’s dates are becoming the new norm. That being said, here’s our idea for a romantic Valentine’s date (or any date night, really) that’s as enjoyable as it is affordable – and you could even bring your pup along!

Start the evening early, say around 4pm, with a sunset stroll along Balboa Island. Admire the homes and their Valentine’s Day decor, watch the boats pass through the bay, and why not take the ferry over to the fun zone and back? At only $1/adult per way, it’s one of the best on-the-water deals in town – keep your eyes peeled for sea life!

Finish the loop around the island until you get to the shops and restaurants on Marine Avenue, and make your way to The Royal Hen. Its candlelit, cozy interior is perfect for an intimate date night. They don’t take reservations, so seating is first-come, first-serve – but we’ve never had a problem getting a table. If you’ve brought your dog along, ask to sit by their outdoor fire pit! This snug little nook is our favorite spot to sit, even if the weather is chilly. The fire will warm you right up – and it’s ideal for people watching!

From the extensive wine list, to the craft beer selection, to the contemporary gastropub menu, you truly can’t go wrong at The Royal Hen. A few of our favorite dishes are Brussels Sprout Caesar, the Craft Ale Fish & Chips, and the RH Burger (a local favorite). Take your time cuddling by the fire and sipping your drinks, but don’t let the night end there!

Cap the date off with one of the most iconic Newport Beach desserts in history – the famous Balboa Bar! Watch as they swirl the decadent chocolate and toppings of your choice onto the frozen ice cream bar, and don’t forget to take a cheers-ing photo before you dive in!

There you have it. Whether you recreate this date on Valentine’s Day, or any other day of the week, you’re bound to have a blast. And you’re bound to score some major points with your significant other, too! Happy dating!

Written by: The Traveling Newlyweds

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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