Goin’ Back to Cali: Balboa

The Balboa ferry, which connects the Big Island to the Peninsula. It lands right near the Pavilion.

As kids, we used to stand on the ferry landing, leaning on the rail, and tell cars driving aboard, “Good luck—the last one sank.”

When you get to the other side, it says “Welcome to Balboa.”

U-Drive boat rentals, right next to the ferry landing. Note the hair blowing in the wind and the huge wake churning up behind the boat. The speed limit in the harbor is 5 m.p.h. This sign is a favorite of my Mom’s.

The Pavilion by day. (It’s all lit up at night.) It once housed the Rendezvous Ballroom, back when you could reach Balboa by taking the Little Red Car (a tram) down from L.A.

From the Pavilion to the beach is a two-block walk.

Ruby’s, at the end of the Balboa Pier.

This just in, from a concerned reader (8 January 2002):


I like your site with it's history. But I must correct it. Teh Rendezvous Ballroom was never housed in the Pavilion. The Rendezvous Ballroom was on the other side of the ISL. a block or two from the Balboa Inn.

Thank you,

Burnie Gipson

A Balboa Swing Dance Fan

We stand corrected. —The Editors

And again, from the Everybody’s Gotta Be an Expert department
(21 February 2002):

Hi Guys!

Burnie is a bit off here! The Rendezvous Ballroom was on the other side (the Pacific Ocean side facing the Balboa Pier) of the Peninsula not the Island. It has nothing to do with the Island . Ditto with the Pavilion. It is on the Newport Bay side of the same Peninsula facing Balboa Island. Buddy Ebsen's house when he lived on the Island was directly across the bay from the Pavilion. I dated his daughter Cathy and I could see the Pavilion from every room on the bay side of his house. And the Rendezvous was where I danced to Dick Dale, the Righteous Brothers and many others in the mid 60's before it burned to the ground in 1966. Take a glance at my web page and you can see a couple pictures of the beach area under favorites!

I really loved your site!!!!

Barry S. Kazmer


Highway 127 . . . Desert . . . Town . . . Football
Balboa Island . . . Ferries and Pavilion . . . Beaches . . . Kim
New Year's . . . Bluesmobile . . . Whaling . . . The Prayer Wheel
Tall Ships . . . Santa Barbara Island Hop . . . Minding the Train

Cali Index

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