If you’ve spent any time in Newport or Balboa recently then you may have noticed the gorgeous new park that just opened between Newport Beach and Balboa Peninsula. It may surprise you, however, to learn that Marina Park actually sits right on Balboa Bay and is an ideal spot to take babies, toddlers, and big kids for a day at the beach!
- Nautical-themed playground equipment.
- Lighthouse slide with gorgeous views of the bay from the top. There was a sea lion swimming around the day we were there.
- Educational information about the ocean and the role that humans play incorporated into the play structures.
- The playground is right on the water so kids can easily divide their time between the water and playground.
- Super calm water that is perfect for little ones that may be afraid of waves at other beaches. We spoke with the employees at the Community Center and they assured us that the water in the bay is clean and safe for kids.
- There are four shaded picnic tables, two unshaded picnic tables, and a few benches around the playground. Or you can eat on the beach like we did!
- Kids and adults can play basketball or participate in the fitness circuit around the Community Center.
- Eat at the the Lighthouse Cafe in the community center for breakfast or lunch. The menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, and other delicious entrees.
Know before you go:
- There are clean public bathrooms located in the lighthouse.
- There is a shower right next to the lighthouse to rinse the sand off your kiddos.
- Even if you don’t plan on having your kids go in the water bring a change of clothes… we saw a few kids run into the water fully clothed. It’s just so tempting!
- Make sure you watch your children carefully… there are no lifeguards and little ones can make their way to the water quickly!
- Bring towels, beach toys, beach chairs, and an umbrella because the park is right on the beach.
- If you are looking for more of a “traditional beach” with waves you can walk across Balboa Blvd. and find a great one by the pier.
- There’s a ton of construction happening in the area so be prepared for additional traffic on top of the typical beach traffic.
- Plenty of nearby parking. There’s a large paid parking lot at the Community Center at Balboa Blvd. and 16th Street, a small lot on W. Balboa Blvd and 18th Street, additional parking around the corner on 18th Street along the bay. Parking at these locations is $1.75 per hour and you may not pay for fractions of an hour. The pay stations require you to input your license plate (or part of your VIN) and they do accept credit cards (including Amex).
- Free street parking is available in areas along W. Balboa Blvd or smaller streets in the area. Depending on how much stuff you’re carrying you may be more or less motivated to pay for parking!
About the Author
Kelly and her husband have two little boys, ages 3 and 5. She loves taking her boys on adventures around Southern California that focus on learning, getting their wiggles out, and having fun! When she isn’t fulfilling her mommy duties she teaches at a local community college and is an educational consultant.