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Long Beach, California Travel Guide

April 8, 2022

California

California, North America, USA

Long Beach, California is about 45 minutes south of Los Angeles, right on the coast, and in the heart of Southern California, making it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. It’s famous for being the home to the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Grand Prix of Long Beach, and the retired Queen Mary, but there is so much to more to see and do and eat in Long Beach. Whether you’re planning a staycation, a family weekend getaway, or a stop on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip, Long Beach is the perfect destination to soak in the California sunshine. If you’re looking for fun things to do, the best places to eat, or where to stay in Long Beach, here is our ultimate guide to Long Beach, California:

long beach travel guide:

What to do:

Aquarium of the Pacific:

Aquarium of the Pacific is one of the most popular things to do in Long Beach and for good reason. It’s the only aquarium in the world that’s dedicated to the Pacific Ocean, and it’s the largest aquarium in Southern California. There are so many hands on activities, including touch tanks and animal experiences. There are over 100 exhibits featuring thousands of different types of fish, penguins, sea otters, sharks, and more. It’s the perfect spot for both kids and adults to learn and explore under the sea. Reservations are currently required for weekends and holidays, so be sure to book your tickets in advance. 

Rancho Los Alamitos:

Rancho Los Alamitos is a historic ranch house. The history of Rancho Los Alamitos plays a major role in California history and the history of the surrounding area of Long Beach. Rancho Los Alamitos has a historic barnyard with farm animals like horses and chicken, a working blacksmith shop, and four acres of absolutely stunning gardens. You can take a tour of the Ranch House that was originally built in the early 1800s and the gardens that were planted starting in the early 1900s. Rancho Los Alamitos is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Shoreline Village:

Shoreline Village is a charming shopping center right on the harbor in Long Beach. There are restaurants where you can eat right on the water and enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather, cute shops, and delicious stands offering ice cream, funnel cake, churros, and more delicious treats. There’s even an arcade in the village that is honestly so fun! Ryan and I spent a few hours playing arcade games, and it was the best date night activity. Shoreline Village is the perfect place to spend the evening with kids in Long Beach.

 

Watch Sunset on the Beach:

Long Beach is right on the beach (hence the name), so there are a number of beaches to choose from, including Rosie’s Dog Beach, a dog-friendly beach if you’re traveling with a pup. We went to Belmont Shore Beach and there was easy parking and a great view of the city. In our opinion, you can’t go to a beach destination without watching the sun set over the ocean.

Shoreline Aquatic Park:

The Lions Lighthouse is an iconic part of the Long Beach skyline, and the Shoreline Aquatic Park is a cute park that lets you see it up close and personal and walk all around it. The park has lots of green space to sit and enjoy a picnic with a view and a trail that makes it stroller-friendly. We loved coming here with our daughter and walking around. It’s very family-friendly, and it has incredible views of Shoreline Village, the harbor, and Queen Mary.

Belmont Shore:

Belmont Shore is a trendy area that has lots of local shops and restaurants. We went to Shop Sweet Threads, which is a children’s store, and everything was darling! We definitely couldn’t leave empty handed, so we bought a few things for our daughter. Belmont Shore is a very walkable area and close to the beach, so it’s a great spot to spend the afternoon before you go to watch sunset on the beach. There is also a calm lagoon here, which makes for a perfect baby beach.

Swan Boat Rental:

Wheel Fun Rentals offers Swan Boat Pedal Boat rentals at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach. It’s such a fun and unique activity here in Long Beach, and it’s a great way to get outside and enjoy being on the water. It is right by the Hyatt Regency, so if you’re staying there it’s really easy to get to. They also light up at night, so it’s a fun summer night activity or date night experience too. Wheel Fun Rentals also has bike and surrey rentals as well. 

Rancho Los Cerritos:

Rancho Los Cerritos is another historic house in Long Beach. The history of the land goes all the way back to 2000 BC. The house was built in the mid-1800s, and remodeled in the early 1900s by the Bixby Family. You can take a tour and learn all about the history and what life would have been like living there in the early 1900s. The guides do a great job catering to kids and making sure it’s interesting no matter what age they are, which is really incredible to experience. Rancho Los Cerritos is also a wedding venue and the gardens are beautiful. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Where to EAt:

Salud Juice:

You know I can’t go anywhere without giving you a smoothie bowl recommendation, and Salud Juice in Belmont Shore has delicious smoothies, açãi bowls, and juices. It’s the perfect spot for a refreshing healthy treat.

The Breakfast Bar:

If you’re looking for the best brunch spot in Long Beach, look no further. The Breakfast Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy a brunch full of delicious comfort foods and Bloody Mary’s. If you’re into sweet breakfast foods, be sure to get Dad’s Favorite Lemon Cake Pancake. It is absolutely delicious. I’m already trying to figure out how to recreate it at home. My biggest regret is that we didn’t order two. 

Roe Seafood:

From the fresh seafood to the ambiance and the service, everything at Roe Seafood is top notch. Don’t go to Long Beach without making a reservation for dinner here. Everything we ordered was incredible, but I got the Organic Italian Fusilloni with chicken as my entree and I’m still dreaming about it, it was so good!

Lola’s Mexican Cuisine:

In my opinion, there are few things better than a delicious Mexican restaurant, and Lola’s Mexican Cuisine definitely matches that description. The chips, salsa, and guacamole were the perfect start to a modern, contemporary Mexican experience. Go for Taco Tuesday, Happy Hour, or anytime really. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Where to stay:

Hyatt Regency Long Beach:

Hyatt Regency Long Beach is right on the waterfront in Rainbow Lagoon and the perfect place to stay right in the heart of Downtown Long Beach. It is walking distance from the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Convention Center, The Pike Outlets, and Shoreline Village. The rooms are spacious and updated with modern decor and feel very clean and cozy. And our room had a beautiful view of the harbor, the lighthouse, and Shoreline Village. There’s a marketplace and place to grab quick bites in the lobby, which is very convenient for when you want to grab something on your way out or on your way back to your room. And there’s an outdoor pool, fire pit, and 24-hour fitness center. We loved our stay and would definitely stay there again on our next visit to Long Beach.

Book your stay at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach here!

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*This post was sponsored by Visit Long Beach, but as always, all opinions are our own.

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