Top Orange County Scenic & Fun Bicycle Rides
California has great places for scenic driving, but there are a few locations where you’re better off to park the car and get on a bicycle.
Newport Beach is one of those areas.
PubClub.com took a long loop around Newport with a long-time local and here’s where we went, which serves as a perfect guide to anyone wanting to bike through a nature preserve, over bridges, along the beach, on a ferry and, of course, stopping into a a few of Newport Beach’s legendary bars.
The Newport Beach Back Bay
Behind PCH sits a nature preserve that’s like being in the wilderness when in reality cars are zooming along the highway less than a mile away from you – and Fashion Island is just over a high ridge. The Back Bay has a bicycle loop around a small lake (bird watchers flock here) and there are also beaches. It’s gorgeous and it’s peaceful.
A good place to stop for food and drink – especially for its weekend buffet brunch – is the Back Bay Bistro.
Back Bay Bistro Address: 1131 Back Bay Dr, Newport Beach, CA
The second you cross the bridge onto Balboa Island you may suddenly stop and think you’ve arrived in a New England town off Martha’s Vineyard. It just has that look about it, especially when you get on the Balboa Ferry.
To reach the ferry, cross the bridge (the Newport Yacht Club will be on your right), go through the little village and turn right; it’s about half a mile to the ferry.
Balboa Island & Peninsula Map: Balboa Island, CA
The Balboa Ferry
A small car, pedestrian and bike ferry chugs across the bay from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula, making for a unique experience in L.A.
Cost: $1.50 with a bike.
The Balboa Peninsula
This is the heartbeat of Newport Beach. There’s an incredibly wide beach and a bike path (a too-narrow bike path, quite frankly) that runs along the summer rental homes.
Off the ferry, go to the left and you’ll be at the famous surfing spot known as The Wedge. (Stern warning, unless you know what you are doing, stay out of the water here.)
Go to the right and in about a mile you’ll you’ll run into the Newport Beach Pier, which is the the hub of Newport’s Beach shopping, activity and nightlife.
Newport Beach’s Legendary Bars
Okay, we’re right in the PubClub.com wheelhouse now. At the Newport Pier, there’s a number of legendary watering holes. The Beach Ball opens at 6:30 a.m.! Next to it is the long-time locals’ popular dive Blackie’s By The Sea.
The Stag is a big basic bar and across from it is Sharkeez, a beach-sports-hangout bar that’s the mecca of the youthful residents of Newport and the surrounding Orange County areas.
Across W. Balboa Blvd., right on the water, is the legendary singles haunt, Woody’s Wharf. And next to it – with the best patio view in all of Newport – is the two-level American Junkie. Best time to be at the latter from a party perspective is for its $5 all-you-can-eat tacos on Tuesday nights.
Tip: Don’t drink and bike unless you are a biking veteran. And even then, be smart about it.