Balboa Island is absolutely adorable. The island, which is 50 miles south of Los Angeles, just off of Newport Beach, is dotted with quaint homes, sailboats bobbing in the bay and an old-fashioned main street with lots of cute little shops, boutiques and restaurants.

Balboa Island was the setting for an annual reunion I have with my good friend Gina, who was once an expat with me in Holland. We both have roots in Southern California, and since our summer visits to our respective families usually coincide, we meet with our little ladies (she also has two daughters close in age to Miss P and Miss V and they’ve all known each others at of their lives) and spend the day on Balboa Island.

We started our day on Marine Avenue, the island’s version of Main Street, and had lunch at the Italian restaurant Ciao. With a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra playing in the background, we dished between dishes and caught up on each others lives between courses.

Next we went to hang out at the beach, where the enterprising little ladies made sand balls and gave passers-by the pleasure of throwing said balls – for fee. Several people partook in this activity, netting the budding business women a nice chunk of change. Gina and I decided next year we’re going to sell air.

After the last sand ball had been sold, we took what may be the world’s shortest ferry ride over to Balboa Village and the Balboa Fun Zone. Anchored by the Ferris wheel that’s been around since 1936, the fun zone also has an arcade, bungee jumping, a merry-go-round, and arcade.

Since you can’t go to Balboa Island without indulging the island’s famous treats, our final activity of the day was to go the family-owned Balboa Candy to choose from its large selection of salt water taffy and then to Sugar ‘n’ Spice for Frozen Bananas and Balboa Bars.

It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Do you have a travel tradition with your friends?