See the Sights and Ease Travel With the Balboa Peninsula Trolley
Gorgeous beaches, palm-tree lined pedestrian/biking paths, delectable restaurants, and quaint neighborhood shops make Newport Beach a vacationer’s paradise. No wonder millions of visitors each year make it their favorite summer destination. But with the influx of guests, driving and parking can feel hectic. Why not bypass the bustle on Newport’s complimentary Balboa Peninsula Trolley?
Featuring 22 stops with trolleys running every 15 minutes between 9:30 am and 9:30 pm, it’s efficient, convenient, and free. What’s more, the Balboa Peninsula Trolley was made by beachgoers for beachgoers. So, bring your bikes, surfboards (under six feet), and beach gear. While the trolley gains you access to the entire Balboa Peninsula, here are some must-see highlights.
Stops Four and 18: Balboa and 20th
Stops four and 18 take you to the heart of Newport Beach at Balboa and 20th. With miles of sand and surf, give yourself ample time to stroll the palm-tree-lined walkways. Whether you sunbathe or surf, your ocean adventure’s waiting here. Don’t forget to check out the stunning views from Newport Beach Pier and lively McFadden Square with its commemorative statue of lifeguard Ben Carlson.
Just steps from the pier, Seaside Donuts Bakery produces some of the best baked treats in Southern California. Just ask locals whose loyalties remain divided between Seaside’s fresh-baked donuts and croissant sandwiches. Both feature rich, housemade dough cooked to light, fluffy perfection. The bakery offers smoothies, muffins, and sandwiches, too.
If you’re looking for a local food and brew hotspot with spectacular Pacific Ocean views, make Dory Deli your next stop. From hearty breakfasts to post-surfing snacks, Dory Deli has you covered. They feature locally roasted coffee, sandwiches crafted using the finest ingredients, an abundance of fresh produce, and innovative craft beers and cocktails. One of their house specialties? The vegan Buffalo Mary. Imagine crispy cauliflower tossed in house-made buffalo sauce and served atop a freshly baked sub roll with vegan ranch. Even die-hard carnivores will devour it.
Stops Five and 17: Marina Park
For kid-friendly activities your whole family will enjoy, look no further than Marina Park. This ten-acre space includes the nautically-themed Lighthouse Park playground with its red-and-white striped lighthouse. The playground includes a giant slide, climbing obstacle courses, a wooden dock, sand for castle building, and more. Marina Park also provides ready access to sandy expanses of beach for seashell hunting, a pedestrian/cyclist path, and plenty of picnic tables.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, head next door to the Lighthouse Bayview Café, which serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and multi-course weekend brunches with bottomless mimosas. The marine-chic ambiance makes it a great spot to take a break from the sun and surf. You’ll enjoy innovative takes on California cuisine and waterfront dining. Weekdays from 3 pm to 6 pm, check out their delicious happy hour deals.
Stops 10 and 12: Balboa and Adams
Stops 10 and 12 on the Balboa Peninsula Trolley bring you to the small-town atmosphere of Balboa Village. Here, you’ll find endless beaches, mouthwatering restaurants, quaint shopping, and chic art galleries. Depending on the season, prepare to whale watch, participate in water sports, or go sportfishing. No matter the time of year, give the Fun Zone a whirl.
The Fun Zone at Balboa Village will occupy you and your family for hours. From narrated harbor cruises to Ferris wheel rides, you’ll find something for everyone. The Fun Zone also offers skee-ball, arcade games, an ocean motion attraction, and interactive activities at the Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest.
Just a short ferry ride away, Balboa Island sits steeped in the fragrance of countless blossoms, picturesque scenery, and one-of-a-kind shopping and dining. If you’re in the mood for fine Italian cuisine, give Mr. G’s a try. The homemade pasta and exceptional wine list will satisfy even the most discerning foodies. Or, if you’d prefer to head straight for desert, check out the island’s famed Balboa Bars and frozen bananas at Sugar ‘n Spice. Both treats are dipped in your choice of sauce and toppings.
The Balboa Peninsula Trolley
The Balboa Peninsula Trolley gives you effortless access to the best destinations in Newport Beach. The ferry service offers complimentary parking near its first stop at the Avon Street Parking Lot near the intersection of Tustin Avenue and Avon Street. So, bring your beach gear and bicycles and plan to make a day of exploring Newport Beach. Want to plan a few of your own stops? Click here for more information.
Written By: Engrid Barnett