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Long Beach, CA Travel Guide

Your best daycation is waiting.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
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For a lot of people, a California beach vacation means heading straight to the sands of LA or Orange County. But here’s the thing. Next time, do your sand-loving self a favor and set a course about 25 miles south for Long Beach instead.

Are the waves and sunsets any less stunning there? Nope. In fact, you’ll soak up almost the same beautiful Pacific panoramas for half the price, none of the Hollywood attitude, and way fewer people knocking over your beach umbrella for the sake of a morning jog or paparazzi pic. Trust us, those Muscle Beach photoshoots get old fast when you’re the one dodging flying elbows all day from “Rocky” impersonators. Talk about a beach body buzzkill.

But don’t worry, Long Beach brings plenty to shore beyond its comparatively peaceful waterfront. We’re talking museums, an epic aquarium, retiree ocean liners, fusion eats, indie boutiques…you name it, this eclectic beach community captures the essence of quintessential Cali, no acting required. And with this guide’s inside scoop on Long Beach’s best beaches, sights, bites and vibes, you’ll be chilling in old-school California style faster than you can spell s-u-r-f-b-o-a-r-d.

So grab those flip-flops and live your best beach life in Long Beach like the locals do! Once you dig your toes in the sand here, you’ll never want to deal with Hollywood beach crowds again.

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About Long Beach

Long Beach, California
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If you want to explore a coastal city in Southern California, visit Long Beach. You’ll find a variety of attractions and museums in the city, including the RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner now converted into a museum ship. Another popular attraction is the Aquarium of the Pacific, which features touch tanks and a shark lagoon. There are also museums devoted to Latin American art and modern art. If you’re interested in art history, you might want to visit Rancho Los Cerritos, a 19th-century adobe house and museum set in expansive gardens.

For news, Long Beach has several newspapers, including the Long Beach Press-Telegram. This local newspaper is distributed throughout Long Beach and the South Bay areas. The newspaper is part of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, which consists of several newspapers in Southern California that share resources. Another notable news outlet in Long Beach is the Cal State Long Beach student newspaper, the LBDU-C, which publishes four times a week.

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Why Go to Long Beach

Skyscrapers of Long Beach skyline with palm tress, CA
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If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation in Southern California, look no further than Long Beach. This pristine coastal city has everything you’re looking for, including a bustling shopping and dining scene. You can experience a little bit of beach town charm and urban sophistication in a city filled with eclectic boutiques and local shops.

Long Beach is home to many great shopping areas, including Shoreline Village, Pike Outlets, and Marina Pacifica Mall. You’ll also find unique vintage finds in places like Retro Row. The waterfront city also has a bustling thrifting scene where you can find great items at low prices.

The city is a walkable city and has plenty of bike-friendly trails for cyclists. There is even a bike share program, which means you’ll be able to ride your own bike and explore the city. Alternatively, you can catch the Passport bus to downtown Long Beach and its major attractions.

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Best Time to Go

Long Beach Downtown District
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Summer in Long Beach is one of the best times to visit the city. The days are warm and sunny, and the water is not too crowded. The city also hosts many events and festivals, including one of the largest pride parades in the state. However, the city can also be quite crowded during this time, and hotel rates can rise. If you plan to visit during this time, you should also be aware that the weather in Long Beach can be overcast.

Long Beach is a great choice for families, as it offers plenty of activities for everyone in the family. There are plenty of restaurants, golf courses, nature trails, and more. Kids and pets are welcome, and there is something for everyone, no matter what your interests are. You can also spend a relaxing day in the sun by taking a dip in the ocean.

Another great thing about Long Beach is that it is a bike-friendly city. Many of the city’s attractions are within walking distance. Downtown Long Beach is also a popular place to bike around. If you aren’t comfortable biking, there are many options for public transportation. While the city is mostly bikeable, some things require a car.

The weather in Long Beach is moderate during the rest of the year. Temperatures are comfortable during the winter months and rise to the seventies in the spring. During the wetter months, there’s a chance of rain. Typically, there is no rain in Long Beach during September, but rain is possible in July.

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How to Get Around

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Getting around Long Beach is relatively easy, and there are numerous public transportation options. You can even bike, especially if you want to see things near the beach. There are also several walking areas in the city, including Belmont Shore and 2nd Street. However, if you want to do things further afield, you may want to rent a car. Public transportation is also available, including buses.

The city is home to several accomplished colleges and universities. For example, California State University, Long Beach is a four-year public university with nearly 32,000 full-time students and 95 academic programs. Notable alumni from the university include Steve Martin and Stephen Spielburg. The city is also home to Long Beach City College and DeVry University.

Long Beach has an extensive bus system. FlixBus has eight routes to Long Beach and tickets start at $4.99 depending on your departure city and time. The bus service is convenient and inexpensive, and can take you anywhere in the city center. You can purchase tickets in advance online or at a ticket kiosk. You can also pay with cash if you prefer.

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Best Restaurants

Restaurant view of Claire's
Long Beach Museum of Art

When dining in Long Beach, CA, you’ll want to make sure you try out some local favorites. One such Long Beach favorite is Claire’s at the Museum. Located inside of the Long Beach Museum of Art, this restaurant offers views of the Queen Mary and Catalina Island. The interior is decorated with house plants, and the menu offers a mix of Mediterranean and Southern classics. Highlights include gyro plates, lamb chops, and a spicy garlic lemon chicken special. The restaurant also offers happy hour Monday through Friday, with discounts on food.

The Reef Restaurant is another Long Beach favorite. This long-standing restaurant has been serving delicious food to locals for over six decades. The casual atmosphere, excellent service, and breathtaking views of the harbor make for a memorable Long Beach dining experience. Founded as a small shack for locals, the Reef has evolved into a vibrant force in the Long Beach restaurant scene. It is a great location for weddings and large gatherings, and the restaurant offers a prix-fixe menu.

Long Beach is home to several award-winning restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a Cambodian noodle joint or a classic diner, Long Beach has something for every taste. The city also has a wide range of international cuisines, from Thai to Cambodian. Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a meal with a view of the beach or a view of downtown Long Beach, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

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Things to Do

Little girl swimming near Naples Long Beach, CA
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Long Beach offers many different things to do, from shopping to visiting theme parks. The city’s beaches are also a great place to relax. You can also check out the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Convention Center, which all charge a small entrance fee. The waterfront is home to many cafes, restaurants, and bars and is a great place to watch people go by. In addition, the city’s Japanese garden is a free, fun place to explore.

Shopping is a great option for those looking for unique souvenirs. There are many fantastic shopping centers in the area, including Shoreline Village and Pike Outlets. Long Beach is also home to Marina Pacifica Mall, which is a huge outdoor mall. The Thursday Night Market is another popular spot, which is family-friendly and open from 5 PM until 9 PM. Visitors can find unique pieces of jewelry and clothing, as well as pottery and baked goods.

If you’re looking for something more educational, you can check out the Aquarium of the Pacific. It’s the largest aquarium in Southern California, and the exhibits showcase different species in different habitats. You can also check out the whale parade depending on when you visit.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Boats and houses along a canal in Naples, Long Beach, California
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Long Beach is a coastal city in Southern California with an extensive list of attractions and amenities. Highlights include the RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner now a museum ship. It’s also home to the Aquarium of the Pacific, which features touch tanks and a shark lagoon. Modern art is also on display at the Museum of Latin American Art. You can also visit Rancho Los Cerritos, a 19th-century adobe home that’s now a museum set in beautiful gardens.

The East Village Arts District is a thriving center for the arts, and it’s one of the neighborhoods to know in Long Beach. With numerous art galleries, eclectic restaurants, and quirky shops, the East Village is a neighborhood full of energy and character. Plus, it’s extremely walkable, making it an ideal place to live, work, and play.

A popular destination for college students, the East Village offers a vibrant cultural scene, including international cuisine. Known for its diverse population, this neighborhood is also home to Cambodia Town, a vibrant Cambodian community. In fact, this neighborhood has the highest concentration of Cambodians outside of their native Cambodia.

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Weather

Long Beach Harbor with skyline and water reflections, CA
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When looking up the weather in Long Beach, California, it is helpful to note that not all weather stations update at the same time. Luckily, you can find a Long Beach weather report that will give you the most accurate information about the weather on a given day. The Long Beach weather report will even include weather reports from ships that are in the area.

The monthly rainfall in Long Beach varies considerably. The wettest months of the year are February and July. During this time, Long Beach experiences at least 0.5 inches of rainfall every 31 days. In contrast, the driest months of the year are September and October, with only a few inches of rain each month.

Despite the relatively dry climate in Long Beach, temperatures are generally warm and comfortable throughout the year. Only 11 days of the year experience temperatures below 60°F. Extreme heat is uncommon in Long Beach, however, as the majority of nights remain in the 50°F range.

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