Balboa - Newport Beach - Corona del Mar

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Named after the Spanish explorer, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, this manmade harbor formed from a natural estuary created by the Santa Ana River delta. In the early 20th Century Balboa grew as a popular 40 mile day trip from Los Angeles with the extension of the Pacific Electric “Red Car” to the center of the Balboa Peninsula. The Balboa Pavilion became the visitor destination for a day at the beach and an evening of dancing.

Balboa Island is a man made island that was dredged and filled right before World War I began by William Collins. Skeptics and doubters were unimpressed with developer plans to turn the newly formed land into a community mapped out with streets and houses. Many later regretted missing the chance that escaped them. Parcels which originally sold for around $250 now cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.

Like Corona del Mar, Balboa Island retains its own identity and character but is part of the City of Newport Beach. Cottages and castles line bejeweled streets named after stones; Agate, Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire are a few of Balboa's paved treasures. More precious than rare stones is the pavement for parking your car on the little island, especially on weekends and holidays. Hundreds of people drive to the Balboa Peninsula by taking the Balboa Ferry for a 5 minute ride across the bay from Balboa Island.

Today, Balboa aka Newport Beach belongs to manicured lawns with colorful flowers, private boat docks, tiny sections of sand beach and stunning views of the Newport Bay await those who take the ferry and walk to downtown Balboa Island shopping district along Bayfront. A quaint paradise exists for those that are historically minded. One of the best recourses for discovering historic “Balboa” can be found at Corona Del Mar’s Sherman Library and Gardens.

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