BALBOA ISLAND, Calif. — On this tiny man-made island, frozen bananas and Balboa Bars take center stage.
Sure, there’s beach life, jumping off docks into the water, stand-up paddling and riding along the harbor on a duffy boat or ferry, but you’ve gotta eat afterwards, right?
The main old-timey shopping district, Marine Avenue, has four eateries offering the “original” chocolate-covered banana and Balboa Bar. That would be the vanilla treat covered in chocolate, nuts, sprinkles and other good things. It’s like an Eskimo Pie, but covered with toppings.
If you’ve seen the TV show “Arrested Development” (now on Netflix), you know Balboa Island. The series takes place in Newport Beach, and the family runs a frozen banana stand, similar to real-life Sugar N’ Spice, which claims to have invented the frozen banana desert, while up the street, Dad’s Donuts says it came up with the Balboa Bar.
The island of Balboa (population 3,500) is a sliver of Newport (population 86,000), formed in the early 1900s as a getaway for the wealthy and Hollywood royalty. Waterfront homes sell for $2 million to $7 million, but in the summer, many homes are available on the water for weekly and nightly rentals, from $135 to $500 a night.
The island isn’t to be confused with the Balboa Peninsula, across the Newport Harbor, which is home to the Fun Zone and its giant Ferris wheel, which has been spinning since 1936 and touts great views of the harbor and Pacific Ocean.
Visitors to Balboa can take a ferry across the harbor for $1, or $2 if you bring along a car.
See the sights of Balboa Island in the gallery above, and check out other Southern California photo tours below.
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