California attracts visitors from all over the world. From the redwood forests in Northern California to coastal cities in Southern California, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For those who want to savor the beaches and ocean, California has islands all along the coast that each offers a unique experience. Whether you want a romantic getaway, an adventurous day trip or a family vacation, these islands will deliver.
Balboa Island consists of three small islands connected by bridges. It is in the city of Newport Beach in Orange County, California. This island is small but offers a lot of family fun and relaxation. You can easily make a day trip to the islands, or vacation longer by staying at one of Balboa Island vacation rentals. Balboa is the perfect place to rent a bicycle and explore. There is a paved boardwalk that wraps around the whole island, only two and a half miles long. You can visit the many shops and waterfront restaurants. Or, take the kids to Balboa Fun Zone for a ride on the Ferris wheel. If you visit in the winter, you can catch the spectacular Christmas Boat Parade, where you’ll see everything from yachts to canoes decorated for the holidays cruise through Newport Harbor.
If you are staying in San Fransico and want to get away from the crowds to enjoy nature, then take a short ferry ride to Angel Island. Angel Island is part of the California State Park Service and offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay. Here, you can hike, bike and kayak around the island for the day or set up camp for the night. It is also home to historic buildings from the Civil War period, including the Immigration Station where self-guided tours are available. You can grab lunch at Angel Island Cafe and Cantina, then hike up to the peak of Mount Livermore to enjoy the rest of your day.
When you step onto Catalina Island, just southwest of Los Angeles, you will feel like you are in the Mediterranean. European-style homes dot the landscape, along with outstanding restaurants and shops. This island was the secret paradise of film stars in the 1920s, and you can still feel that old Hollywood glamor. Most people explore the island on bicycles or golf carts because the number of cars is limited. Catalina Island is the perfect place to relax by the water and watch bald eagles, dolphins and whales in their natural habitat. You can also kayak, zip line or take a ride on a glass-bottom boat.