I hope you don’t mind so many beach posts but it is summer and where else would you want to hang out on a hot day but the coast. I wanted to post about one of my favorite hangouts- Balboa Island and Peninsula. I love both of these places but I must warn you – it gets very crowded in the summer. The last time we headed there we started off in the Peninsula. We parked in the Public Parking lot off Balboa blvd and palm. Make sure to bring plenty of coins and dollar bills. I usually take out my stroller and head over to Balboa Fun zone. It usually takes a while because we stop at the little shops along the way and of course to people watch. The kids love this. There are a couple of great little pizza shops, snack vendors and gift shops along the way. We have brought bread to feed the pigeons in the little plaza-but beware there are many and are not shy. Once we’ve looked around or have taken a ride on the Merry Go Round we love taking one of the Harbor cruises. You can either choose a 45 minute or 90 minute cruise. When I’ve been with the little ones we take the 45 minute cruise. We try to take the sea lion cruise – make sure you choose this one because the kiddos really enjoy it. The kids really get a kick of seeing the sea lions close up. Once we are done with this we continue our nautical adventure with a ferry ride across to Balboa Island and head over for some shopping and dinner. The ferry ride is usually a blast. It only takes a couple of minutes but let’s say you don’t have the time to do a harbor cruise- well then do the next best thing and take a quick ferry ride. They leave every couple of minutes and your kids will love riding the ferry. The best part is that children 5 and under are free.
Once we’ve landed on the Island we just take our time strolling through all of the fun shops on Marine Avenue. You have to make a spit stop on one of the shops that offer frozen bananas or Balboa Bars. They are the best and worth the wait. There are so many shops that trust me your kids will enjoy their stroller ride with all the many people walking around and all of the dogs. I’ve eaten at a couple of the restaurants there but I would say that one of my favorites is the Shanghai Pine Garden. They have great Chinese food and great service- One other things their prices are very reasonable- only a couple of dollars more than fast food. Usually after all this excitement the kids will usually fall asleep on the trek to the car. Trust me you and your kids will enjoy a fun filled day.