Destination Main Streets

Balboa Island (Newport Beach), California

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Balboa Island is a community of not one but three islands off the coast of Southern California featuring some of the most expensive real estate in the country. It wasn't always that way though. The three islands, Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island, and Collins Island, were man made, created through dredging and did not get off to an auspicious start. Flooding and other constructions issues caused enough problems to have the City of Newport Beach step in and annex the islands. Over time, as the area's cache rose, the island grew popular with tourists, yachters, and jet-setters. The original land lots remain, so you will find rows of large opulent houses packed in tight together within the residential neighborhoods.

Balboa Island's Main Street is Marine Avenue which runs north and south along the main island. Here you will find boutiques, restaurants, and other businesses that market to tourists who are visiting a town close to the beach. There is only one way to drive onto the island and that is from Jamboree Road, which connects to Marine Avenue itself. There is also a ferry which connects Balboa Peninsula to Balboa Island. Balboa Island is located in the city of Newport Beach, which is located in Orange County, California. Balboa Island is 45 miles south of Los Angeles and 86 miles north of San Diego. Other nearby Main Street areas in Newport Beach, include the Balboa Peninsula waterfront at McFadden Place and nearby Corona Del Mar along the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH. Other Main Street communities along the PCH in Orange County include Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and San Clemente. Further inland you have Old Towne in the City of Orange.

Photo Gallery Tour

We'll start our tour of Balboa Island's Marine Avenue by coming over the bridge onto the island.  Marine Avenue serves as Balboa Island's Main Street and runs north and south through the business district.  We will start on the north end of town and work our way south.
We'll start our tour of Balboa Island's Marine Avenue by coming over the bridge onto the island. Marine Avenue serves as Balboa Island's Main Street and runs north and south through the business district. We will start on the north end of town and work our way south.
Walking along Marine Avenue we find various businesses, including a mortgage office and an interior design firm.  Balboa Island sports some of the most expensive real estate in the country.  Small houses on the island can go for as much as several million dollars.
Walking along Marine Avenue we find various businesses, including a mortgage office and an interior design firm. Balboa Island sports some of the most expensive real estate in the country. Small houses on the island can go for as much as several million dollars.
A wide variety of signs let visitors know what's available and what's prohibited along this stretch of Balboa Island.
A wide variety of signs let visitors know what's available and what's prohibited along this stretch of Balboa Island.
Here is another view of the northern end of Marine Avenue on the northern end of Balboa Island.  One sign points out OC Couture.  Balboa Island is located in the city of Newport Beach, which is located in California's world famous Orange County.
Here is another view of the northern end of Marine Avenue on the northern end of Balboa Island. One sign points out OC Couture. Balboa Island is located in the city of Newport Beach, which is located in California's world famous Orange County.
More gift shops, boutiques, and businesses along Marine Avenue in Balboa Island.  Real Estate is a very lucrative business in this part of Newport Beach.
More gift shops, boutiques, and businesses along Marine Avenue in Balboa Island. Real Estate is a very lucrative business in this part of Newport Beach.
The Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society was founded in 2000 and contains memorabilia and classic photographs that depict the island's fascinating history.
The Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society was founded in 2000 and contains memorabilia and classic photographs that depict the island's fascinating history.
Shops and boutiques line Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in the city of Newport Beach.
Shops and boutiques line Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in the city of Newport Beach.
Another gift shop along Marine Avenue.  Balboa Island is actually made up of three man-made islands separated by canals.  These are Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island, and Collins Island.
Another gift shop along Marine Avenue. Balboa Island is actually made up of three man-made islands separated by canals. These are Balboa Island, Little Balboa Island, and Collins Island.
Some more gift shops and boutiques on Marine Avenue.  You'll find mostly unique specialty stores in the town, but as you see here, there are a few chains as well.
Some more gift shops and boutiques on Marine Avenue. You'll find mostly unique specialty stores in the town, but as you see here, there are a few chains as well.
Another view of the boutiques along Marine Avenue.  Balboa Island was founded during the Southern California land boom.  William S. Collins and C. A. Hanson used dredging to create artificial islands.  Initially flooding was an issue and the land had to be annexed by the city of Newport Beach in order to be saved.
Another view of the boutiques along Marine Avenue. Balboa Island was founded during the Southern California land boom. William S. Collins and C. A. Hanson used dredging to create artificial islands. Initially flooding was an issue and the land had to be annexed by the city of Newport Beach in order to be saved.
Some colorful restaurants here along with a business selling some treats Balboa is known for.  The frozen banana and also the Balboa Bar.  The Balboa Bar is vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and coated in your choice of topping, usually some form of candy.
Some colorful restaurants here along with a business selling some treats Balboa is known for. The frozen banana and also the Balboa Bar. The Balboa Bar is vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and coated in your choice of topping, usually some form of candy.
St. John Vianney Chapel is located right on Marine Avenue and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
St. John Vianney Chapel is located right on Marine Avenue and is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
As we continue heading south on Marine Avenue we find another location selling frozen bananas and Balboa Bars.  It is thought that both were invented on Balboa Island, but there is a dispute as to which location invented the delicacies.  This has been given some national notoriety due to the TV Show, Arrested Development, which featured a frozen banana stand on Balboa Island.
As we continue heading south on Marine Avenue we find another location selling frozen bananas and Balboa Bars. It is thought that both were invented on Balboa Island, but there is a dispute as to which location invented the delicacies. This has been given some national notoriety due to the TV Show, Arrested Development, which featured a frozen banana stand on Balboa Island.
Here is another view of folks lined up for frozen bananas and Balboa Bars.  Even some pigeons are trying to get in on the action.  Next door are some more boutiques and also a children's bookstore.
Here is another view of folks lined up for frozen bananas and Balboa Bars. Even some pigeons are trying to get in on the action. Next door are some more boutiques and also a children's bookstore.
Across the street are more boutiques and also a Real Estate office.  If you want to have some fun, check out the property listings in the window of the Real Estate offices along Marine Avenue.  It's fun to dream!
Across the street are more boutiques and also a Real Estate office. If you want to have some fun, check out the property listings in the window of the Real Estate offices along Marine Avenue. It's fun to dream!
We continue heading south on Marine Avenue.  Shoppers stroll past various boutiques and gift shops.
We continue heading south on Marine Avenue. Shoppers stroll past various boutiques and gift shops.
More gift shops and salons along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in the city of Newport Beach, California.
More gift shops and salons along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in the city of Newport Beach, California.
A salon and even a gift shop with a beach focus since you aren't that far from the beach after all.
A salon and even a gift shop with a beach focus since you aren't that far from the beach after all.
A variety of delicacies as we make our way down Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
A variety of delicacies as we make our way down Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
We have reached the intersection of Marine Avenue and Balboa Avenue and see some more shops and other businesses.  It's worth taking some time to stroll around the island to see some of the houses in the area.  The original island was laid out with very small and tight lot sizes but the architecture and homes are quite beautiful.
We have reached the intersection of Marine Avenue and Balboa Avenue and see some more shops and other businesses. It's worth taking some time to stroll around the island to see some of the houses in the area. The original island was laid out with very small and tight lot sizes but the architecture and homes are quite beautiful.
A bakery, gift shop, and juice bar along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
A bakery, gift shop, and juice bar along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
And as we head further south on Marine Avenue, we find a gift shop selling seashells of all things.  That would be expected this close to the beach.
And as we head further south on Marine Avenue, we find a gift shop selling seashells of all things. That would be expected this close to the beach.
Some of the architecture along Marine Avenue is pretty interesting, including the building which serves as the home for this clothing boutique.
Some of the architecture along Marine Avenue is pretty interesting, including the building which serves as the home for this clothing boutique.
And next door on Marine Avenue is this Italian restaurant.  The Balboa area includes not just Balboa Island but nearby Balboa Peninsula as well, which features beach front access to the Pacific Ocean.
And next door on Marine Avenue is this Italian restaurant. The Balboa area includes not just Balboa Island but nearby Balboa Peninsula as well, which features beach front access to the Pacific Ocean.
Here's a salon with an interesting arched gateway along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
Here's a salon with an interesting arched gateway along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
An interesting fact about Balboa Island is that there is only one bridge connecting the island to the mainland.  However there is also a ferry connecting Balboa Island to nearby Balboa Peninsula.
An interesting fact about Balboa Island is that there is only one bridge connecting the island to the mainland. However there is also a ferry connecting Balboa Island to nearby Balboa Peninsula.
More shops and businesses along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
More shops and businesses along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California.
Balboa Island, 92662.  Although located in the city of Newport Beach, Balboa Island has its own zip code and post office.
Balboa Island, 92662. Although located in the city of Newport Beach, Balboa Island has its own zip code and post office.
A colorful collection of shops and restaurants along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island.  The Balboa area was named after the Spanish explorer, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.
A colorful collection of shops and restaurants along Marine Avenue on Balboa Island. The Balboa area was named after the Spanish explorer, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.
Another boutique with a summery feel along Marine Avenue.  An interesting bike decor is found in the planter to the left.
Another boutique with a summery feel along Marine Avenue. An interesting bike decor is found in the planter to the left.
Some more shops, restaurants, and other businesses along Marine Avenue.  You can even get another look at that bike decoration from before.
Some more shops, restaurants, and other businesses along Marine Avenue. You can even get another look at that bike decoration from before.
We make it to the corner of Marine Avenue and Park Avenue.  This is Hershey's Market and as the sign says, it was established in 1929.  The family has been in Orange County since the 1920s.
We make it to the corner of Marine Avenue and Park Avenue. This is Hershey's Market and as the sign says, it was established in 1929. The family has been in Orange County since the 1920s.
Across the street is a location of the Newport Beach Fire Station.  It's a nice looking building.  But even more important, you'll find public restrooms inside.
Across the street is a location of the Newport Beach Fire Station. It's a nice looking building. But even more important, you'll find public restrooms inside.
Also on the corner of Marine Avenue and Park Avenue is The Village Inn.  This is the southern end of our tour of Marine Avenue, but there is still plenty to do on Balboa Island and in Newport Beach as well.
Also on the corner of Marine Avenue and Park Avenue is The Village Inn. This is the southern end of our tour of Marine Avenue, but there is still plenty to do on Balboa Island and in Newport Beach as well.

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