Balboa Peninsula

ORANGE COUNTY, SIGHTSEEING RIDE, BALBOA PENINSULA The Balboa Peninsula is a three mile spit of land that protects Newport Harbor and Balboa Island from the Pacific Ocean. Although most of the peninsula is residential, the areas around the Newport and Balboa piers are bustling centers of activity with enough interesting things to do to make this relatively short bike ride an all-day outing. Virtually car-free, this is an excellent family ride or for any new to riding. This bike ride begins in front of the Newport Pier and starts out westward, towards the peninsula’s end. Boardwalk Sports is located here and rents bikes. Also located here are a number of eateries, from upscale fish houses to local watering holes to family restaurants. Across the street from the parking lot is the Crab Cooker, a Newport institution since 1951. Expect crowds and a wait, but their Manhattan clam chowder is delightful. At the pier plaza, pedestrian traffic can be dense and posted signs indicate you must dismount and walk bikes. On weekends this is strictly enforced. At 1.73 miles you will reach the Balboa Pier. There are a number of places through here where the access roads to parking lots cross the path, so stay alert. Originally built to coincide with the construction of the southern terminus of Pacific Electric Railway’s, this has long been a destination for beach goers and on weekends and the entire summer expect large crowds. Across from the pier is the Balboa Fun Zone, a miniature amusement park. The Balboa Ferry is also located here and will take you to Balboa Island and is a fun way to get a view of Newport Harbor. Harbor and sports fishing cruises can also be booked here. At 2.17 miles the boardwalk bike path ends and for this ride you will turn around. It is not, however, the end of the peninsula. For those looking to ride the entire length, turn off the path at E Street, then turn right onto Balboa Boulevard which is not an official bike path, although traffic along here is generally sedate. Ride past posh, colorful beach homes until the road ends at Jetty View Park. Pause at this charming little green space and enjoy the sight of boats sailing in to or out of Newport Harbor. Once you return to Newport Pier, ride through the adjacent parking lot where the bike path resumes. At 5.05 miles the bike path ends and you will turn right onto 36th Street, then a quick left onto Seashore Drive where you will find an on-street bike lane. Although less picturesque, this section of the ride will connect you to the Santa Ana River Trail as well as Huntington Beach, which means miles of car-free riding. FOOD AND DRINK There are countless dining options on this ride. Try the Crab Cooker near the ride’s start if you enjoy seafood, especially shellfish. Both the piers along this route have restaurants at the end with fabulous views. Kids will likely prefer Ruby’s Diner on the Balboa Pier. ACCESS By bus, OCTA bus 71 makes multiple stops along this route. By car, take CA-55, Costa Mesa Freeway southbound until it turns into Newport Boulevard. After 0.9 miles, continue straight onto Balboa Boulevard before turning right into Newport Pier parking lot.
Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Kid friendly
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Beginner (Green)
Ride Duration: options
Fitness Level: Low
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance: 15.0
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
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