Balboa Island + Newport Beach


Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. Since announcing my move back east I’ve been trying to check a lot off my to-do list. Moving is such a big undertaking. I’ll do a post talking about the most economical way to move in the future. I also owe you a post all about my northern road trip from LA to Portland and back. The trip was beautiful and we did it on a very tight budget. I swear all of this is coming soon.


In addition to moving, I’ve been trying to enjoy my last few weeks in LA. One place I’d been curious about seeing is Balboa Island, Newport Beach area. They talked about it a lot on Arrested Development. My friend Jamie and I made the trek down and it was the perfect day. It was 75 degrees, and sunny with a light breeze. We walked a full loop of the island, stopped in some cute shops on the main drag and enjoyed a yummy lunch before heading to Newport Beach. We walked the pier and boardwalk before sitting down and watching the sunset. It was such a gorgeous beach day.


San Clemente + Dunkin’ Donuts

This past Friday (Good Friday) was a holiday for me and several friends. We decided to hop in the car and head south of Los Angeles for a beach road trip to San Clemente!


We had really great intensions, but the weather was just not on board. It was gray the entire day. But we didn’t let it bring us down!


We started by walking around their cute little downtown strip and hoped that by the afternoon the sun would come out. Around 1pm we decided it was time for lunch and had previously read about The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar along the pier. The meal was delicious and I highly recommend this place.


We hoped that after lunch the sun would be out, but alas it stayed hidden behind the clouds. That didn’t stop us from walking the pier and along the beachside path.




I put my foot in the water and it wasn’t as chilly as it looked, although you still couldn’t pay me to go for a dip in the water.



As we finished our walk, we realized that a different adventure awaited us. We are from the East Coast where Dunkin’ Donuts are on every corner and yet there’s no Dunkin’ Donuts in LA. Not too long ago they opened up a Dunkin’ Donuts on Camp Pendelton’s base. This is the closest DD to Los Angeles and it also happens to be a short drive from San Clemente.


It’s a big joke, as we’ve talked about road tripping it down to this DD since it opened but it’s a long drive for coffee. We were all so excited to add this little adventure on to our road trip and happily enjoyed our coffee and donuts 🙂

Catalina Getaway

In addition to the Huntington Gardens, another great place to take visitors (or if you need a local getaway) is Catalina! The beautiful island is just an hour ride away, but it feels worlds away. Leave the smog behind and just relax at the fun beach town of Avalon. We recently took our parents visiting from out of town here, and had a great time.

For our Catalina getaway, we took the Catalina Express out of the Port of San Pedro. I’ve used them before and it’s an excellent line. They have parking (for a fee) and it’s not too far outside of Los Angeles. We also tend to take the ferry out early, which means avoiding rush hour traffic. This ferry just redid it’s offices and is now very luxurious, with clean bathrooms and food options. I highly recommend this company.

Anticipation building, as we get closer to our arrival.

Arriving at paradise.

Catalina has strict rules, making it difficult to bring a car out to the island. Golf carts are their form of transportation and you can rent them on the island. We didn’t really find this necessary, as we stayed within Avalon (the biggest town) the entire time.

The Pier.

This is a popular cruise ship stopping point, but that’s not why I included this picture. See that parasailing person high above the ship? That was us about two hours after this photo was taken. We got a good groupon deal for parasailing and our parents agreed. I don’t have photos from the boat (as I was worried about splashing and ruining my camera). But yes, this was my second time parasailing and my parents first time. We all really enjoyed it.

This reminds me so much of Hawaii. When packing for your trip to Catalina, be sure to include beach stuff, as well as water shoes (or at least flip flops) because the beaches are rocky. My feet were aching. We brought our own snorkeling gear and got to see many colorful and large fish. There are places to rent gear if you don’t already own the gear.

It’s hard to believe this paradise is only an hour ferry ride away!

It’s time to head back to Los Angeles, as our day-getaway came to an end.

Bye, bye Catalina!

This last photo was taken as we reached San Pedro. I find these vessels so fascinating. Each of those colorful boxes, when off loaded, becomes a giant truck. The coordination in must take to move and track each of these shipments is mind boggling to me. I really could spend all day watching how these companies work.