This Newport Bay paddle starts on the local secret (for parking!) of Lido Island in Newport Beach California & goes through Newport Bay to circumnavigate Balboa Island. This paddles offers some of the best views of palms, yachts, & some of the most beautiful houses that Southern California has to offer. Since this paddle is in a protected bay, it is a great paddle for beginner & intermediate paddlers who aren’t quite ready for open ocean paddles, but want to begin taking longer paddles. Since Newport Beach & Balboa Island parking is scarce, this paddle’s put in starts on Lido Island with the best time for paddling being early morning or evening. The best part of this paddle is that it is easy to make the paddle shorter or longer depending on the needs of the paddler.
Paddling Trail Specs
No matter if you are are coming from the PCH or the 55 freeway, Lido Island is the first left at the light (street is named Via Lido) after going over the PCH when you are going into Newport Beach. Once over the bridge, begin looking for parking & a public put in.
Approximate Address for GPS: 338 Via Lido Nord, Newport Beach, CA 92663
If you plan on following this guide by starting from Lido Island, all the parking is free. But, it will will most likely be difficult to find parking after noon. There are a lot of specific signs for street cleaners & the signs change regularly, so make sure you check where you are parking since they can change from street to street. Also, there are numerous docks that are for Lido Island residents only. Please respect those signs and go to the few scattered public docks. So, before picking a parking spot, make sure you find a public dock. If you do end up parking in Newport or Balboa Island, there is often meters (they accept credit cards).
There aren’t any stores on Lido Island itself. However right over the bridge in Newport, there are tons of stores, breweries, restaurants, & grocery stores that have bathrooms.
The conditions for paddling Newport Bay are fairly consistent with the most important factor before going on the paddle being wind speeds. Even at low tide, this paddle is great & muck free. There are a lot of boats in the harbor so always abide by the “yield right of way” rule. Basically, always stay to the right of incoming vessels. If a boat is coming up on you from behind, maintain your course. This also applies the many rowers that also practice here often. Although the conditions of this paddle are usually easy, it is a long paddle.
Tips & Tricks
- If you live in the area, check out The Board Club. For a reasonable fee, you become a member where you can borrow surfboards & SUPs. They have over 200+ surfboards & SUPs (all local made) & have unlimited exchanges. Even if you’re not necessarily interested in membership, they have a lot cool artwork around the shop that are worth checking out.
- Early in the morning there are a lot of rowers practicing here (particularly on the weekend).
- There is a Balboa Island Ferry that runs between Balboa Island & Balboa (right before the Balboa Pavilion) that you may need to yield to.
- If you want to extend your paddle, try going around Harbor Island and Linda Island.
- The Grand Canal through Balboa Island is not accessible to through traffic.
Don’t forget to leave me a comment with your experience or knowledge below on the Newport Bay paddle! If you have a question, write it here or write it in a comment below!