On the Balboa Peninsula lies the famous pier of Newport Beach. For those who have seen the series of the same name, you know what I mean :) We took the ferry to get here, and spent a good part of the afternoon in front of the pier, among the sexy girls, playboys and families with large coolers full of refreshments!
Balboa Island is a little "American Saint Tropez". Indeed, the resemblance is striking, with small houses along the water and boats docked on small private jetties. There are also streets with shops, and small beaches where children play while adults go stand up paddling (a sport that involves standing on a surfboard and paddling it to move). The houses were all very ornate and decorated during my visit to Newport Beach as the U.S. national holiday of Independence Day would take place a few days after! I can tell you that we saw a lot of American flags and "god bless america" signs ;) But even at another time of year, Balboa Island is a great place to discover.
After a long trip around Balboa Island, we wanted to go see the famous pier in Newport Beach! But for that we had to cross the marina. Not easy with the car ... Fortunately, there is a ferry that runs between the two small islands. For only three dollars, we crossed the water to Balboa Peninsula. Not bad, is it?
The Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve is a great area to be one with nature. It’s open from 7am to sunset every day and is free to visit. Even parking is free! The preserve is a nearly 1,000-acre space that contains an interpretive center and three sensitive species: two birds and the San Diego Cactus Wren. It’s an ideal place to go bird watching, enjoy beautiful scenery and go walking, jogging or biking. It’s a nice place to take photos here, too. When visiting, parking is located on University Avenue, close to the intersection of University Avenue and Irvine Avenue. Look for a triangular sign reading “Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve Interpretive Center.” The preserve is close to the John Wayne Airport, so sometimes you’ll hear planes flying overhead, but it shouldn’t deter you from checking it out. It’s also just 10 minutes away from Newport Beach, which is an option to visit afterward.