Balboa Pier and Peninsula Park in Newport Beach make me think of the good ‘ole days at the beach. There are always families wandering around the shops and restaurants, kids riding bikes, and tourists visiting from out of town. On the summer day we visited, Junior Lifeguards were there, in force.
Location: There are two piers on the Newport Peninsula: the Newport Pier and the Balboa Pier. The Balboa Pier is the furthest towards the end of the Peninsula. From Interstate 405, take the 55 Freeway towards the beach and it will take you right onto the peninsula on Newport Blvd. (eventually turning into Balboa Blvd.). You’ll travel past all the numbered streets to the lettered streets. Get there early to get a spot in the lots off Palm Street or B Street (turn right to get to the lots). Pay at the machines by the hour or by the day. MAP TO BALBOA PIER AND PENINSULA PARK IN NEWPORT BEACH
- Lots to do here besides the beach and playground!
- Playground is on the sand at the base of the pier
- The BIG spiderweb climber is no longer there, but there is a smaller set of climbing platforms for horizontal movement
- Huge bank of swings! (4 bench swings, 4 baby swings)
- Play equipment appropriate for 5-12 year olds
- Peninsula Park has a huge lawn area appropriate for kite flying or soccer games, plus gazebo for bands or entertainment
- Balboa Fun Zone
- Ride bikes on the Newport Balboa Bike Trail along the peninsula
- Take the Balboa Ferry to Balboa Island for a stroll
- Eat at the original Ruby’s on the pier
- The Peninsula can get extremely busy on weekends and holidays, especially because there’s only one way out (back the way you came)!
- Get there early to grab a parking spot and stay for the whole day. Or during the summer, take the Balboa Penisula Summer Trolley.
- The beach can have big waves and I noticed a pretty sizeable drop-off (where it gets deep very fast on the south side of the pier). However, the north side looked good. I always talk to the lifeguards before I take a dip at a new beach, they always seem happy to give me pointers on any hazards BEFORE I get in!
- Fee for parking
- Parking in dedicated lots ($1.30-$1.90 per hour with a max of $19.80/day). Click here for up-to-date parking info from Newport Beach. (I find it helps to create a ParkMobile account ahead of time – where you enter your license plate and credit card number. Then, when you get to the beach, all you have to do is enter the parking lot number on your phone app. It will send you reminders about when your meter will run out and you can re-load directly from the app.)
- The Balboa Peninsula Summer Trolley is set to run again for Summer 2018 starting Memorial Day Weekend. You can read my post about our fantastic experience on the Balboa Peninsula Summer Trolley during Summer 2017. New hours for 2018 will be 9:30am to 9:30pm.
- Play surface: Sand
- Restrooms right next door to the playground
- Nice to have lifeguards nearby in summer, in case a need for first aid arises
- Picnic on the beach or find a nearby restaurant
- Bring bikes if you want to ride the trail (also available to rent)
- 31 fire rings (about half designated for wood burning and about half designated for charcoal only) available from 6am-10pm on first-come, first-serve basis (consult Newport Beach’s fire ring page for details and charcoal recommendations)
- Official Newport Beach website
- Nearest public library branch: Balboa Branch of the Newport Beach Public Library system
Would you like to play at other beach playgrounds in Orange County?
- Marina Park in Newport Beach
- Eisenhower Park at Seal Beach Pier
- All Inclusive Beach Playground in Huntington Beach
- Main Beach Playground in Laguna Beach
- Aliso Beach Playground in Laguna Beach
- North Beach Playground in San Clemente + swings near San Clemente Pier
Originally posted August 2011.