1. This technically is named ANTHONY C. BEILENSON PARK but I think everyone still thinks of it as Balboa Park or Balboa Lake Park.  (not to be confused with the huge Balboa Park in San Diego).  It is in the northwest corner of the Balboa/Woodley Park Recreation area.

    This is the best or one of the best parks in all of the Valley.  Its definitely one of the largest.  It centerpiece is really the huge man-made reclaimed water lake.  On the lake you used to be able to fish, kayak, and paddle boat (Paddle Boat Operations I believe are still currently closed).

    There are the following activities there:

    • Bike Rentals
    • Kites and Model Rocket Areas
    • Fishing
    • Kayaks (you need a special permit)

    They have rules on everything including Pets, reservations, etc.  There is no swimming at all here at the park.  Here is an overall map of the Recreation Area.  You can see the Balboa Lake Park at B which is west of Woodley Lakes Golf Course.

    balboa lake encino map

    Golf. Besides the main lake area there are 2 golf courses which dominate the southern part of the Recreation Area.  Balboa and Encino Golf courses.  On the northern side of the recreation area directly east is Woodley Lakes Golf Course.  I’ll write something separate on these 3 golf courses.  They are some of the best or easily accessible public courses in LA and the Valley from my perspective.  (At least they are a lot better than playing a 7 hour round at Rancho Park.  They are flat and its slightly harder to lose too many balls.)

    Refreshments.  Typically there is some type of ice cream truck near the main children’s playground.

    Picnicking.  There are tons and tons of places throughout the lake area and other areas to park.

    Pavilions.  There are many Pavilions throughout the park you can reserve.  I went to a Birthday party this year at one and it was great.

    Wildlife.  There are geese, ducks, swans and other wildfowl throughout the lake.

    Running Trails.  Running trails go all throughout the park.  This is one of the better places to run if you want to run on a relatively flat area.  There is a 3 mile trail around the golf course.  There is a sidewalk trail and that is about 6 miles.  There is limited lighting in certain parts of the trails so just be careful if you go at night.

    Biking Trails.  These are the same as the running trails and really for basic biking.  This entire recreation area is flat and this is not sophisticated single track trails.

    Bike Rentals.  There is a bike rental service at the park named Wheel Fun Rentals – 6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys CA 91316.  Its open 7 Days a Week – 10 am – Sunset.  It has family options and a selection of bicycles including tandems, cruisers, Surreys, Choppers, Quad Sports, Deuce Coupes.  (Even though I’ve read at least one negative reviews on the customer service of the bike rentals.  I’ve never tried them since I live close enough to ride my bike.)

    Parking.  You can park for free in the regular park or the Golf Courses.  Parking near the main playground gets pretty crowded on weekends.  In that case its best to park in the huge dirt parking lot on the left when you enter from Balboa before you drive past the lake.


    • The park especially the lake area and playground area gets VERY BUSY on the weekends especially when its warm.  Its like the entire valley tries to come here and the real frustration is the parking since there still is a lot of space.
    • Park rangers are somewhat aggressive about throwing people out at closing time.

    Other Comments

    • Perfect park for children, family parties, picnics, biking.
    • Its gorgeous in the springtime with the cherry blossom trees.
    • Nice tiny waterfall
    • Huge jungle gym playground area.
    • Nice section for small kids as well.
    • Entire section devoted to flying model planes and helicopters.
    • Next to Woodley Park is the Japanese Garden 
    • Woodley Park next door has archery area and free archery courses.


    Official Address is:  6300 Balboa Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406 (easiest access is the entrance off Balboa which is north of Burbank Blvd.)

    Phone: (818) 756-9743
    Park Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
    Lifeguard Hours: 9:00 am to Dusk
    Fishing: During Park Hours

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