Cruise California's Newport Harbor

Ice cream bars and boat tours signal the height of summer along this boardwalk. Here's where to go, shop, and eat

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Newport Harbor

Balboa Island’s Ferris wheel

Gina Sabatella

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Info: Newport Beach is about 15 miles southwest of Anaheim, at the western end of State 55. 800/942-6278.

It'd be difficult to find a more fitting salute to summer than a day along the water in Newport Beach, California, which celebrates its centennial this year.

Stroll the boardwalk to the ferry and hop aboard for a ride to nearby Balboa Island. Kids squeal on the Ferris wheel and beg their parents to buy them Balboa Bars ― slabs of vanilla ice cream dipped in warm chocolate and rolled in sprinkles and nuts ― while hawkers promote hourly harbor cruises to spot sea lions, grand yachts, and bayside mansions.

Across the way, the ornate 100-year-old Victorian cupola of the Balboa Pavilion, the grande dame of Newport Harbor, towers over the water.

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