Long Beach Visitors Guide

Long Beach, just a half an hour from Los Angeles, is a beachfront gem you’ll want to add to your California itinerary. Long Beach offers beautiful beaches and marinas along with a dining and shopping scene that blends big city with beach town fun.

Tour the Queen Mary or relax with a drink in the ship’s Observation Bar. For unique accommodations, you can even stay overnight in one of the ship’s staterooms or suites. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, home to playful sea otters, Magellanic penguins, and a 350,000-gallon Tropical Reef Habitat, which holds thousands of colorful fish, coral, sea turtles, and sharks.

Whatever you’re looking for; a romantic weekend, a family reunion destination, or just a getaway with the kids, Long Beach has the food, fun, and sun for your next Southern California trip.  Continue reading our Long Beach visitor’s guide and start planning your vacation today! Looking for the perfect beach? Visit a complete list of southern California beaches here.

Weather – When to Visit Long Beach

In Long Beach, the summers are short, warm, arid, and clear and the winters are long, cool, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 48°F to 82°F and is rarely below 42°F or above 91°F.

Given California’s pleasant summer weather (with relatively low humidity), the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is high tourist season virtually everywhere — except for desert areas such as Palm Springs and Death Valley, where sizzling temperatures daunt all but the hardiest bargain hunters. Naturally, prices are highest at this time, and they can drop dramatically before and after that period. From late September to early December, crowds drop off, shoulder-season rates kick in, and winter rains have yet to start looming.

What Should You Pack?

When figuring out what to pack for the beach, there are two tips to keep in mind. First, forgetting an item isn’t the end of the world. Unless you’re heading for a remote, deserted island, chances are you can find a store where you can pick up the extras. Second, don’t stress out over making a packing list when there’s a stress-free beach travel essentials list for you below:

  • Sunglasses and hats offer much-needed sunscreen and flip flops are perfect for navigating hot, sandy beaches. Go pack them now so you’re not kicking yourself later.
  • What about those little items that make beach visits so much more enjoyable? For a little extra comfort on your trip, make sure you pack: Lip balmsunscreenbug spray.
  • Beach toys and goggles are a must for kids. Building sandcastles and viewing the underwater wonders are perennial favorites.
  • Take a first-aid kit with you. Hopefully you’ll only have to worry about a few minor scrapes from seashells, but having your own kit handy is a good precaution.
  • Beach Bag – Your beach bag will likely contain a few of the items mentioned above. For a well-rounded bag, consider tossing in sunscreenlip balmbug sprayfirst-aid kit and water-proof baggies.
  • Beach Gear – No matter who’s supplying the gear, look to have the following items on hand: beach bagbeach chairsbeach towelsbeach umbrella or tentbeach cart and a cooler.
  • Remember: Don’t wait until you’re parched to drink. When you’re out in the heat and sun, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking regularly. So take along a water bottle as well.

Long Beach Arrival Transfer

Avoid the hassle and headache of arrival and skip the public transportation with this LAX airport arrival transfer. Enjoy the ease of door-to-door service with a professional driver and comfortable minivan. Pre-purchase this shared transfer from the airport to your Long Beach or San Pedro hotel and kick your holiday or business trip off right. Read more about LAX Airport Shared Arrival Transfer to Long Beach or San Pedro

Long Beach Attractions

The Queen Mary

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Explore the World War II-era cruise ship the ‘Queen Mary’ while in Long Beach. Step aboard this floating museum and take your time learning about the ship’s history, from alleged onboard paranormal activity to the art deco design. Get an in-depth look at the ship’s design, mechanics and history; choose from several ticket options to suit your schedule and budget. Read more about The Queen Mary

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Aquarium of the Pacific

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Located along Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, the Aquarium of the Pacific is Southern California’s largest aquarium and a must-do Long Beach activity for all ages. Home to more than 11,000 animal exhibits, the aquarium explores three distinct waters of the Pacific Ocean.  Save with the Go Los Angeles Card.

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Boardwalk at Shoreline Village

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Shoreline Village’s boardwalk is dotted with funky shops, family-friendly attractions, restaurants, and bars, all along the Shoreline Marina. There is a carousel, an arcade, and rentals for powerboats, Jet skis, electric boats, kayaks, sailboats, and more can be arranged right from the marina. The village also hosts live music on most summer weekends and during the Christmas season.

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Naple’s Island

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Naples Island is comprised of three islands in Alamitos Bay in Long Beach. When most people talk about visiting Naples Island, they are referring to the inner island, which is accessible by car. The island has a walkway that takes visitors past million-dollar mansions, picturesque bridges, and grand yachts, creating a beautiful setting for a sunset walk.

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Belmont Shore

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Every beach town has a main drag, and in Long Beach, that’s Second Street in Belmont Shore. This vibrant stretch is lined with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and small boutiques overlooking the beach. Belmont Shore hosts a number of events throughout the year including a chocolate festival, a sidewalk chalk art festival, a pre-Grand Prix event, the Haute Dog Howl’oween Pet Parade, and a Christmas Parade.

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Things to do in Long Beach

Whale & Dolphin Watching Cruise

Watch for whales and dolphins off Newport Beach aboard a double-decker catamaran with bow seating and 360-degree views. A diverse array of marine wildlife thrives in the protected area just outside Newport Bay, and you’ll have the chance to see humpbacks, gray whales, finback whales, blue whales, seals, and several species of dolphins. The boat has a 96% success rate spotting whales or dolphins, making this a great way to explore California wildlife in a gorgeous natural environment. Read more about Newport Beach Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

City Tour of Los Angeles From Long Beach

Spend the day sightseeing in Los Angeles during this guided tour from Long Beach. With an expert local guide and a small group of fourteen people or less, see LA landmarks like the Hollywood Sign, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Follow your guide to filming locations of famous movies, explore Hollywood Boulevard and see one of the biggest ports in the US. This tour includes a balanced mix of guided tours and free time and includes round-trip transportation from Long Beach hotels. Read more about Small-Group Tour of Los Angeles from Long Beach and San Pedro

Catalina Island Helicopter Flight

Take in unforgettable views of Catalina Island on a 15-minute helicopter flight from Long Beach, and watch for whales and dolphins as you fly across the Pacific Ocean. Watch the island’s sheer cliffs appear on the horizon as your pilot narrates the changing scenery, capture aerial images of Catalina’s ocean side communities, then end your flight by touching down at the centrally-located Pebbly Beach Heliport. Read more about Catalina Helicopter Flight

Newport Beach Sunset Cruise

Watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean on an evening cruise from Newport Beach, skimming across Newport Bay in a double-decker catamaran that makes for a smoother, more comfortable ride. The departure time is tailored to the sunset so you’ll see the California coast at its most scenic, as you pass the yachts and sailing ships that come out to catch the evening light. Buy a drink from the full-service bar, or simply enjoy views of Newport’s waterfront estates and glittering bay before returning to shore. Read more about Newport Beach Sunset Cruise

Downtown Long Beach Food Walking Tour

Enjoy the culinary delights of downtown Long Beach during this tasting tour. Sample a variety of the city’s best eats as you experience seven or more tastings (and sips) of foods like Greek ‘saganaki’ (flaming cheese), cold-pressed juice, and much more. All tastings and a ‘Long Beach Booklet’ with maps and coupons are included. An upgrade with additional alcohol pairings is also available. Read more about Downtown Long Beach Food Walking Tour

Go Los Angeles Card

Save $1,000 or more on dozens of top Southern California attractions, activities, eateries and stores with the Go Los Angeles™ Card. Use your Go Card in Los Angeles to save up to 55% on a variety of great activities and businesses, allowing you to explore at your own pace. You can purchase cards valid for between one and seven days. Read more about Go Los Angeles Card, with Access To Over 26 Top LA Attractions

Best Restaurants in Long Beach

Sura $11 – 30

Long Beach only has one real Korean restaurant, and it lucked out with Sura. Whether you want glossy-sweet grilled pork, spicy tofu soup in a gurgling stone pot or a rainbow of pickled banchan, Sura abides. A fusion menu added by the owner’s millennial children includes vegan tacos, bulgogi fries and more — all the better to help the pitchers of beer flow more freely. Telephone: 562-495-7872 Web: Sura

Roe Seafood $11 – 30

When a Oaxacan-German chef spends years cooking steak and seafood, you get Roe Restaurant, the Long Beach answer to Connie & Ted’s; come for chef Art Gonzalez’s sustainable seafood creations, stay for some of the best desserts in the city. Telephone: 562-546-7110 Web: Roe Seafood

Ellie’s $31 – 50

Chef Jason Witzl opened this corner bistro dedicated to handmade pastas, charred vegetables, and other Cal-Italian creations. Start with the $25 quarterie menu, which gives you three courses based around your choice of pasta. This is one chef you’ll want to trust. Telephone: 562-437-4837 Web: Ellie’s

Playa Amor $11 – 30

Critically acclaimed chef Thomas Ortega offers a sophisticated, playa-inspired menu of contemporary pocho and modern-Mexican cuisine with Baja-inspired classics like Puerto Nuevo lobster and grilled octopus get prepared with better ingredients and local diners in mind. Telephone: 562-430-2667 Web: Playa Amor

Robert Earl’s BBQ $11 – 30

Robert Earl started tossing meats into his homemade smoker and selling the results at the local farmers market a half-decade back. Robert Earls BBQ has exactly what you need. With award winning brisket, ridiculously tender ribs, and extraordinary macaroni & cheese Robert Earls BBQ makes for an unforgettable meal that will have you coming back for more every time. Telephone: 562-726-1116 Web: Robert Earl’s BBQ

Best Nightlife in Long Beach

Belmont Brewing Company

Only in Long Beach would Southern California’s oldest operating brewpub also be the city’s best oceanfront bar. Brewmaster Blackwell has been cranking out stellar craft beers since the mid-’90s and regulars always come in droves for BBC’s happy hour, where cheap pitchers and pizzas accompany sunset views. Telephone: 562-433-3891 Web: Belmont Brewing Company

Stache Bar

Here you’ll find a Dodgers bar with a not-so-secret stock of top-shelf liquors at middle-shelf prices and bartenders who know how to use them in your new favorite drink. Alternately, you can order a PBR tall boy or Jack and Coke, and no one will bat an eye. Telephone: 562-606-2529 Web: Stache Bar

Shannon’s Bayshore Saloon

Shannon’s is an old-school Long Beach classic. It’s the bar that inspired the intro recording to the Sublime song “Badfish” and it continues to attract locals to its narrow wooden embrace, where the house drink, called “Shoot the Root”, includes a shot of root beer schnapps dropped into a tumbler of Coors Light. Telephone: 562-433-5901 Web: Shannon’s Bayshore Saloon

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

When you feel like elevating your beer game, head to Beachwood BBQ and Brewing, which was most recently named Best Brewpub in the World. The brewery stocks dozens of its own award-winning beers along with guest taps that would make any beer bar weep. Telephone: 562-436-4020 Web: Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Haskell’s Prospector

By day, Prospector is a windowless steakhouse with creepy exterior paintings of miners and their wenches. By night, though, the kitchen closes down and it becomes a windowless steakhouse with creepy exterior paintings of miners and their wenches AND a dive bar that specializes in two things: cheap drinks and local music. Telephone: 562-438-3839 Web: Haskell’s Prospector

Best Long Beach Hotels

The Varden Hotel

As you enter the “Historic-Chic” Varden Hotel of today, you will experience a European style boutique hotel full of history and contemporary design. Guest rooms all boast 9-foot ceilings, custom-made glass shelves and desks, flat screen HDTVs, designer lighting and furniture, and state of the art individual climate controlled heat and air conditioning. The Varden Hotel is the first European style downtown Long Beach boutique hotel, and it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

The Queen Mary

Board the Queen Mary Hotel for an experience unlike any other. With its impressive history and tradition of excellence, the ship is more than just a place to rest one’s head. It’s also a place where you can take historic tours, see paranormal attractions, browse shops, enjoy a massage at the full-service spa, relax on the spacious sun deck or enjoy fresh seafood at Chelsea Chowder House & Bar.

Hotel Maya DoubleTree Hilton

The newly renovated Hotel Maya – a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel offers spacious guest rooms with a private balcony. Enjoy plush down pillows, pillow top mattresses, a 37-inch HDTV, and luxurious aromatherapy bath products. Relax in the deluxe swimming pool, where floating cabanas and fire pits emphasize the exotic design of the hotel.

Hyatt Regency Long Beach

Offering breathtaking water, harbor, or city views, these stylish guestrooms and Long Beach suites feature chic ultra-modern décor with a comfortable residential feel. Sleep peacefully on our signature Hyatt Grand Beds® with crisp sheets, plush pillows, and down duvets. Enjoy the conveniences of home with large flat-screen TVs, iHome stereo with iPod® docking station, and a coffeemaker. Stay connected and productive at the oversized ergonomic work area with a Hyatt Plug Panel™.

Hyatt Centric The Pike

Their 138 spacious guestrooms and suites in Long Beach, CA are bright, modern and welcoming, with big windows, clean lines and contemporary furnishings. Designed to feel like a home away from home, all accommodations come with plush beds and crisp linens, a Cuisinart® coffeemaker, MP3 docking station, and a spacious work area. Flat-screen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi ensure that you stay connected, productive, and entertained.



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28 Comments

  1. Isaac

    Thank you so much for this awesome guide! 

    The weather could really be a problem for me thanks for mentioning that right away, I am someone that can get extremely sensitive based on what kind of weather I am in.

    And out of all the awesome attraction you mentioned, I think I am going to go with The  Queen Mary…Why?

    CRUISE SHIP! hahah, Thanks for the guide!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ok the Queen Mary is the place you can’t miss in Long Beach.  Staying there, taking the tour and eating there are all a must!  Go during the winter maybe?  Climate will still be okay for you I think.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my Long Beach Visitor’s Guide.

      Reply
  2. Eden

    Your article has such great information and I really enjoyed the video!

    I am so excited about visiting the area, looking to visit LA and this is very close.

    I especially liked the list of what I need to pack as I am sure I would not have had a clue what I needed.

    I am looking forward to my visit to the USA and of course California!

    Thanks, Leahrae.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Eden, Please let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply
  3. Henry

    Hi! It’s wonderful to have Long Beach such a short distance away from busy and noisy Los Angeles. When I was growing up I lived in an area close to the beach. And on vacations we would even spend a complete month in the beach in a home where all my extended family got together. I have good memories from those days. So I really appreciate how close Long Beach is.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Must be nice to  be so close!  But then I am less than  4 miles from the beach, and I love it!  Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Owillz

    Hmmmmmmmmm Long Beach is obviously amazing. So many wonderful areas to explore with family n loved ones. I really love the way you took your time to explain every detail about the beach. And even going as far as helping prospective tourists and fun seekers with essential details details on how to get ready. I must say this beach has amazing views  even from the pictures. Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome.  Glad you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  5. Chris

    I have been lucky enough to visit Los Angeles twice in my life so far, but I’ve never got around to visiting Long Beach (although I have heard of it on numerous occasions!). 

    I’m thinking the weather is pretty nice there year round.  When is going to be the cheapest time to visit Long Beach?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Chris and great question.  April is a great time to visit with warm weather and hotel prices are going to be less than visiting right in the middle of summer.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  6. Nate MC

    In my opinion, Long Beach is one of the coolest places in Cali, and I highly recommend checking out Belmont Shore. Besides shopping and eating out, I think people should rent a bike and do a bit of cycling! Belmont Shore is one of the best places to do it at.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I totally agree Nate!  It is a great place and going by bike is awesome!  Thanks for the visit.

      Reply
  7. tman61

    wow your site is awesome i should be the one to be asking you advise. every one of your pages want me to run and book some place with a nice warm beach. the ads are nicely placed. Wonderful website, great information!  My bucket list is now super long after going thru your site!

    Tman61

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Tman, glad you enjoyed visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  8. Dancinscot

    Goodness, I took Long Beach for granted for many years. From Los Angeles, one hears about it from those always dreadful traffic reports.
    I had no idea of the many activities this city offers. The brightness of the sky, sun and sand is dazzling.
    For a family, a week could pass by quickly visiting this city.
    You have certainly presented many inviting reasons for including Long Beach as a stop for good experiences.
    I will have to take this urban-coastal location seriously next time I’m down that way!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes you will!  Worth a stop for sure!

      Reply
  9. Pentrental

    Great photo to start things off, makes one want to visit instantly! Very well written. Like how you referenced links and a video to keep the reader engaged. The outlay and the thoroughness of this post is particularly well done. These are some great attractions. Like how you included pricing as well. Great post and keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much!  I am glad you enjoyed reading my Long Beach visitors guide.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  10. Mark

    Awesome! I’ve been to Long Beach only once and it was back in my trucking days. Unfortunately, I didn’t have very much time and wasn’t able to enjoy it properly. It’s nice to see all the wonderful things one can do out there. I don’t drive trucks anymore, so the next time I make it out to Southern California, I will hopefully be in an RV and have a lot more time on my hands. I’d love to hit Long Beach again and enjoy it properly. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Mark!  Glad you enjoyed my Long Beach visitors guide 🙂

      Reply
  11. John

    I Have been to Los Angeles several times and never visited Long Beach. Your information makes me want to visit this area again and see some of the sits you have in your article.
    I like the idea of spending a night on the Queen Mary, it would be better that taking a long cruise and you still get the feeling of a luxury cruise.
    The Second Street in Belmont Shore looks like a place that I cannot miss when traveling to this area. I will have to look at the schedule of events for this area.
    Is there a time of the year if you go whale watching that you have a better chance of seeing more than one.
    John

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi John, I am glad you enjoyed my Long Beach visitors guide. Yes, visit from mid-December through mid-April to see gray whales, dolphins and killer whales migrating, or visit from mid-April through mid-December to see humpback whales, blue whales, dolphins and killer whales. They are quite a site!

      Reply
  12. Amanda

    I love your website and your destinations, anyone would want to visit Cali. I love that you explain when the best time to travel there is along with what you should pack, I wouldn’t’ have a clue on my own. Your website offers everything in one place, what activities or places to visit.

    I think I would be choosing the whale and dolphin watching along with the helicopter ride,for accommodations I think the Queen Mary and the Tree Hilton I think would be my choices.

    Its also great that you explain price expectancy and an idea of what each restaurant serves, you really have covered all the basis.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Amanda! Please stop by when you are ready to plan 🙂

      Reply
  13. Trish

    This is a great post. I have heard of Long beach but didn’t know much about what to do – I had no idea you could go whale watching from there that is something I have always wanted to do. I think I have to add this to my places to visit for my next vacation. Thanks for all the great information

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Trish, thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  14. Daniella

    Hi Lea,

    Wow, I was looking on the net about the long beach visitors because we are traveling there in September and this article came just in time. I fell in love with the hotel Maya Double Tree Hilton, it’s so beautiful! I can already see myself under the stars:) And it’s affordable, what more could I ask for. Thank you for the packing list, one of my biggest problems, when I travel, is I never know what to bring with me.

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad I could help Daniella! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful time in Long Beach!

      Reply

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