This car ferry fun with small children as part of a day trip. I suggest parking car on either side and riding the ferry as passengers or with bikes. Trip is only a few minutes but there are nice walks on either side. One the western end, the Balboa Penninsula, there is the gorgeous ocean beach, a few dippy rides, snack bars, boat rentals, etc. On the Balboa Island side are waterfront walks along the bayfront promenade which circles the island. Stop off on Marine Ave for restaurants, shops, souvenirs, toys, and for kids- the fire station where the friendly firefighters often park the truck outside for viewing and maybe a chance to sit in it. There's a restored antique firetruck on view inside. Also a nice restaurant one block from the ferry on Balboa Island- Park Ave cafe. Outdoor tables, inexpensive, very nice people, they let dogs sit on patio with you.
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