Breakfast on Balboa Island: A Beginner's Guide to Your Best Quick Visit

Find yourself in Newport Beach, California? Be sure to visit adorable Balboa Island, a quaint, man-made oasis rich with history, downtown shopping, and a whole lotta bananas.

A long weekend in Newport Beach? Um yes, please! Since we were in town to help celebrate the engagement of two local friends, I knew I would be pretty busy, but I made sure to carve out a little extra time to explore beautiful Balboa Island. And (shocker) we had a fantastic time. Here are our favorite discoveries that I recommend you do not miss!

Arrive By Ferry

The island sits tucked within the arc of the Balboa Peninsula. It is accessible by car from the mainland or by ferry from the peninsula. Take the ferry! It's $1.25 per pedestrian each way, and a fun and scenic way to approach this historic island.

Explore Downtown So many great shops, restaurants, and boutiques here. The area reminds me of other quaint, charming places like Key West, Catalina Island, or Coronado Island, but it definitely has its own feel. And I am always a sucker for a historic post office!

Learn It's Past and Present

Consider yourself a history buff? Balboa Island will keep you happy because it has a ton! It was established in 1905 "with a dredger and a dream", as they say, and over the years, many celebrities have had homes here, kept their boats or yachts here, or simply vacationed on this conveniently-located little island. It's no surprise - it's proximity to the mainland makes it a super convenient little getaway.

Back in the day, Shirley Temple used to spend summers here, and John Wayne had a home here for years.

Credit: Orange County Register, O.C. ties: Happy birthday, Shirley Temple. T. Walker. April 22, 2013

Today it's as attractive as ever for a quiet weekend, so you never know what familiar face you may run into as you walk around town. The island is just 0.2 square miles, and approximately 3,000 residents live here. Yes, that's a lot! In fact, it's population density is 17,621 person per square mile—higher than that of San Francisco.

Crocker's Abundant Table

For me, nothing starts a busy Exploring Day better than a hearty Cholula-covered breakfast! Throw in a great atmosphere, outdoor seating, and some people watching, and Crocker's totally fits the bill for me. But, oh wait, there's more - this time also throw in a pitcher of mimosas for two, please!!