“Total rookie mistake bringing the car on this ferry.” I said shaking my my head staring at the shoreline.
Jamie and I love to take day trips. We have both recently entered into the next steps in our careers and trying to line up our schedules has been less than perfect. I spend more time with our dog than with her some days. Luckily we had the opportunity to take some time off together around this past holiday season.
We got up one morning, lazily, had a pot of coffee and started bouncing ideas around. Laguna Beach? A bit far. Santa Ana? What is even there? Burbank? Santa Barbara? Can we bring the dog? As we surfed the internet for “best places to visit in - insert SoCal town name here - we came across Newport Beach, CA. It look adorable and not too far. Kind of a New England feel to it. We found out there was a ‘Fun Zone’ with arcade games, ferris wheel and shore snacks…and who doesn’t love corn dogs, funnel cake and other deep friend delicacies. It has beautiful beaches from the pictures we saw and Balboa Island. Which we weren’t really sure what was there but you had to take a ferry (with car, totaled $3…where the hell can you find anything that cheap in Southern California?) which seemed fun enough for a day trip.
We jumped in the car and 40 minutes later we were reading ‘Welcome to Newport Beach’. As we pulled on to the main strip it reminded us of our vacations with family in Outer Banks, NC. Sleepy, quaint, beach-bum vibe that made us feel relaxed. Beach on both sides of us as we pulled up to the Balboa Island Ferry…which only allows 3 cars at a time. I can imagine during there peak season this might be a nightmare but I guess we went on an off day and pulled right on. The ferry took off across the bay and we got out of the car. “Man, is that were we are going? That island is tiny as hell.” I said to Jamie as she shrugged and nodded yes. We stepped out of the car to take a selfie and we were there. The ferry ride took less than 4 minutes. “Welp. Let’s get back in the car.” I said feeling very much like Clark Griswald.
***BALBOA ISLAND TIP - If you are just heading over there to walk around, sit on the beach or meet up with a friend…YOU DO NOT NEED YOUR CAR. The streets are narrow, parking was hell and it could take upwards of an hour to get back off the island on the ferry. We walked the perimeter of Balboa Island in under 20 minutes. I am not talking about speed walking either. We stopped to take photos, see Christmas displays on the neighborhood lawns and walked an entire dock.
We visited Newport Beach on a perfect day. No clouds in the sky and 60 degrees. Just the right kind of weather to were a sweater or hoodie-vest combo. Which is a fantastic break from anyone who has been living without rain in 75 degree weather for the last year…not that I am complaining. We hitched a ride back on the ferry to see what else Newport had for us. The ferry is located right next to Fun Zone and we found street parking one block way. Told you it was a perfect day. Jamie and I immediately went for the arcade to play as much Skeeball as we could. We grabbed some lunch at Newport Landing conveniently located a on the water near Fun Zone with and upstairs porch to eat on. The food wasn’t that great but the wait wasn’t long and the views made up for it. Their outside seating is a great place to grab a drink, people watch (one of our favorite things to do), look at the beautiful California coast and share a warm conversation.
It’s rare that we get time together, especially for a day trip, but if your in the area or looking for a quick easy place to spend an afternoon with your love give Newport Beach a try. We loved it…just leave your car.