Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Newport Beach Family Fun

Riverboat docked in the waters of Newport Bay near the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, California

NEWPORT BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE! Get ready for some Southern California Christmas fun!The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade makes a 5-night run in Mid-December, 2008. This year, this popular boat parade marks its 100-year anniversary--a whole century of family Christmas fun!

Newport Beach, California is world-famous for its beautiful yacht harbors and wide, sandy beaches.Despite Newport's good beaches and other fun attractions, Newport Beach, California can be a daunting place for a first-time tourist who's just out for an ocean swim. Visitors can encounter traffic problems close to the beach, and the parking situation can be difficult---there are often many more beach-goers than there are parking spots. (Huntington Beach in Orange County, and the Santa Monica beaches in Los Angeles county can offer you the same sand and ocean...while also providing you with a place to park so you can get in and out with a minimum of hassle.)
On the other hand, if you've enjoyed the surf 'n' sand at other beaches & are ready to move on to new adventures, Newport Beach can offer you some new and distinct fun. You'll be able to take an enjoyablecruise in Newport Harbor. You and the kids can have some fun at the Balboa Fun Zone boardwalk area.You can catch a boat for Catalina Island, arrange for a sport fishing expedition, or buy fish so fresh that it just came off the fishing boat.
The geography of Newport Beach is unique---most of the beach area is on a peninsula which juts off of the mainland like a finger. You'll want to study a map of Newport Beach before you head you'll understand the peculiar lay of the land and won't get lost. Note how the Balboa Peninsula veers away from Pacific Coast Highway; if you'll be heading for beaches near either the Newport Pier or the Balboa Pier, you'll be heading out onto that peninsula! You may use the following link to view a Google map of Newport Beach, California and the areas which surround it. 

The Balboa Fun Zone of Newport Beach

Horses on the carousel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, CaliforniaThe Balboa Fun Zone is a traditional-style "beach boardwalk" amusement area where you can have some fun with the kids. Your toddlers and preschoolers will love taking a ride on the beautiful carousel...and you'll enjoy the stunning view of Newport Harbor as you ride along with them!
You'll also be able to ride a waterfront Ferris wheel, which has great views of Newport Bay.

Ferris Wheel at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, CaliforniaThere are shops where you can hunt for souvenirs, and places to grab some fast food. You'll find a sidewalk lining the harbor's edge where you can take a stroll. It's a beautiful walk along the harbor. You'll see numerous sailboats and yachts plying the harbor's stunning blue water.
Parking? The Balboa Fun Zone has several private lots across the street, plus a limited amount of metered on-street parking is available (if you're lucky!)
For further information on planning your visit to the Balboa Fun Zone of Newport Beach, you may use the following link to visit the Balboa Fun Zone official website.

Balboa Fun Zone bumber cars at Newport Beach

In the picture to your left, you can see the now-defunct bumper car ride which was at the Balboa Fun Zone. Though it's gone now, the photo is here on this page for the nostalgia of the many people who have enjoyed this fun attraction in the past.

Newport Beach Fun -- Newport Harbor Tours

Sailboat skims over the waters of Newport Harbor in Newport Beach, CaliforniaPerhaps the very best reason to visit the Balboa Fun Zone area is to take a tour of beautiful Newport Harbor. In all of Los Angeles and Orange counties, I would recommend the Newport Harbor tour as the ONE boat tour to take if that's all your time allows. The Newport Harbor tours simply offer you the best views.Actually, the Newport Harbor tour is broken into 2 segments, and you can take one or both of these segments. The "inner harbor" tour stays within the calm waters of the harbor. You'll float past yachts and homes...while hearing an interesting narrative about harbor facts and famous residents of the area.

Newport Harbor tour boat returns to the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach, California
If you take the "outer harbor" tour, you'll actually leave the shelter of the harbor for a short while, and visit a sea lion colony in the waters of the Pacific. This tour plies through rougher waters than the inner harbor tour. It's even possible to feel a bit least, I did.
During the winter months, it's even possible to take a"whale watching" tour. California's Pacific Coast is right on the migration path of whales heading south for the winter. You'll get out into rougher waters yet, however.

Picture: Kayaking in Newport Harbor, a fun way to tour this interesting area
1.) You'll find the Newport Harbor tours available no matter what time of the year you visit, and they're quite reasonably priced. Several companies offer the harbor tours. Use the following link to view the Fun Zone Boat Company tour list and price sheet.

2.) Another boat offering Newport Harbor Tours is the Pavilion Paddy. Use the next link if you'd like to view thePavilion Paddy harbor tour website.

3.) Kayak Tours of Newport Harbor: If you're looking for a unique experience, taking a kayak tour of Newport Harbor is something you'll probably remember long after your vacation has ended! To learn more about this interesting tour, given by China Cove Kayak Tours, you may visit theChina Cove Kayak Tours official website. Just looking at the pictures will show you what fun the guests have! Or, contact the China Cove Kayak Tours (phone number 949/632-4694) and talk to owner Mike Hogan about arranging a personal tour for your family or group.

Newport Beach Fun -- Balboa Pavilion

Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach, CaliforniaYou'll notice the stately, historic Balboa Pavilion when you're in the Balboa Fun Zone area. The Balboa Pavilion holds a fine-dining restaurant, where you can enjoy a fresh seafood dinner while enjoying beautiful harbor views as you eat.
Also, the Balboa Pavilion is the place you'll want to head if you'd like to catch a boat bound for Catalina Isle, or if you'd like torange for a sport fishing tour out in the waters of the Pacific.
On the streets surrounding the Balboa Pavilion, you'll find a"cutesy strolling area," where you can saunter along looking at stores selling swimwear and souvenirs.
Another interesting activity in this same area is taking a ferry boat! Unlike Seattle or San Francisco, greater Los Angeles is not noted for its ferry boat system. On the little jaunt you can make to Balboa Island, you'll barely have time to settle in before you arrive at your destination. The trip is short, and Balboa Island can easily be reached by car. Still...for residents of this area, and visitors with no opportunity to ride a ferry boat "back home," it's an activity that can provide some variety to your day. (What's over at Balboa Island? A cutesy strolling area, snack shops, and fine dining restaurants.)
To learn more about the Balboa Pavilion and the attractions it has to offer you, please use the following link to see the Balboa Pavilion official website. 

Newport Beach Fun -- Newport Pier

Get your fresh fish here!

Houses line the beach near the Newport Pier in Newport Beach, CaliforniaNewport Beach actually has 2 piers---the Balboa Pier, which we've already discussed, and the Newport Pier.The Newport Pier is difficult to enjoy. The parking is inadequate...and without parking, there's no way to enjoy the pier.
There is a small lot with meters by the Newport Pier. The city of Newport Beach installed a special metering system here. When one car pulls out of a spot, the meter resets to 0. That is, if the guy ahead of you paid for time on his meter, but didn't use it all...that time simply vanishes when he leaves the parking spot. When you pull in to take his place, the meter will be empty again, and you'll have to feed it. The city of Newport Beach was so darned proud of itself when it installed this special system; just another reason to avoid the Newport Pier area.

The Newport Pier, Newport Beach, CaliforniaOn the other hand, there's one irreplaceable delight at the Newport Pier---the freshest-of-the-fresh fish market. You'll have to be an early bird to catch this attraction, because the fish market winds up around noon. But, the story is this...every day before dawn, theDoryman's Fishing Fleet goes out to haul in a catch. When it returns, the day's catch fills this outdoor market at the base of the pier...the fish sitting on beds of ice. It's quite unique for city dwellers (used to seeing their fish sitting in a grocery case) to behold!
For more information about the daily fish market beside the Newport Pier, use the following link to visit the official website of the Dory Fleet of fishermen.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade!

Newport Beach Christmas Boat ParadeTo your left, you're viewing a picture of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
The Newport Beach Boat Parade is an annual Christmas tradition. It features colorful, beautifully-lit "floats"...which are actually decorated yachts!
Why not make plans to view the Newport Beach boat parade in person during the upcoming Christmas season?
To discover details about this fun family activity...and see more pictures of the decorated boats, too...please visit the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade page of this website. 

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