One of two piers located in Newport Beach, Balboa Pier is located in the Balboa Peninsula area. Constructed as a sister project of the Balboa Pavilion in 1906, the pier is a popular fishing spot that is also home to a large population of starfish.
History of the Balboa Pier
When it was first developed along with the Balboa Pavilion, the goal was to attract lot buyers to the undeveloped Balboa Peninsula. The two structures were built to coincide with the opening of the southern terminus of the Pacific Electric Railway Red Car line, which spanned from Long Beach to the Balboa Peninsula. The plan was a success, as numerous beach lovers flocked to the area, with many purchasing lots.
Today, the pier remains a popular fishing pier with the fish most commonly caught being mackerel and flounder. The large population of starfish in the area regularly feed on the dense colonies of mussels that grow at the pier, all of which can be easily spotted at low tide. Fisherman can often be spotted catching the starfish by mistake.
In addition to being a great spot for fishing, the pier is also home to the first of the famous Ruby’s Diner restaurants. Opened at the pier in the 1980s, the 1940s nostalgia-themed restaurant has become an Orange County landmark.
Also referred to as simply “Balboa” or “the Peninsula,” Balboa Peninsula was named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa. Though the area is primarily residential, it does have some commercial areas as well. In addition to being home to the Balboa Pier, Balboa Peninsula is also home to a number of Orange County landmarks. Among these are the Balboa Fun Zone, the Balboa Island Ferry, the Balboa Pavilion, The Crab Cooker, the Dory Fishing Fleet, Lovell Beach House, Newport Elementary School, Newport Pier and The Wedge. The center of the Peninsula is known as Balboa Village while the end of the Peninsula is called Balboa Peninsula Point. Balboa Pier is near the Balboa Ferry in Balboa Village.
The Peninsula itself is connected from the land via Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), at Balboa Boulevard. It is also connected via Bridge at Newport Boulevard from PCH and from Via Lido via bridge to Lido Isle. The west end of the island connects via bridge to Collins Isle, while the east end connects via bridge over the Grand Canal to the Little Island.
Balboa Pier Amenities
The area surrounding Balboa Pier is a popular spot for enjoying the beach. In addition to fishing at the pier, the waters are a popular location for surfers. In addition to Ruby’s Diner on the pier, there are several other restaurants located near the intersection of Balboa Boulevard and Main Street. Peninsula Park, which offers a grassy area to relax or to toss a Frisbee, is located just south of the pier. Balboa Peninsula Beach is located further south of the park, while the paved Newport-Balboa Bike Trail runs in both directions from the pier. A large free parking lot can be found on the north side of Balboa Pier at the Palm Street entrance.