There is much to be experienced in southern California’s Long Beach, from soft stretches of sand to its rich heritage to creative experiences and beyond. For those with only a few days in the city, here is a suggested itinerary on how to make the most of your time in three days.
Day 1: Hit the Beach
No trip to southern California would be complete without spending some time soaking in the sun and lapping up the waves on the sand. While Long Beach has its own beaches, many enjoy driving about 30 minutes to Huntington Beach for a truly scenic experience. With almost nine miles (15 kilometers) of connected beach, Huntington Beach offers swimming, surfing and sports as well as a paved multi-use trail where you can stroll along the coastline. Don’t miss the Huntington Beach Pier as well as its adjacent boardwalk for cyclists, joggers and rollerbladers.
Day 2: Learn about History and Culture
While Long Beach is a coastal city with beaches and water activities, it’s also home to a number of interesting historical and cultural experiences. Spend the morning perusing museums like the Long Beach Museum of Art, Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Adobe, the Museum of Latin Art, Scorpion Submarine Museum and the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum. Having a meal, shopping on or touring the historic Queen Mary is also a treat, as the ship was once considered the most luxurious liner in the world and today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At night, take in a show at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, home to the Center Theater and the Terrace Theater. Here you can see everything from orchestra performances to standup comedy to concerts.
Day 3: Take in Scenic Experiences
Spend some time exploring Naples Island, which features canals lined with million dollar homes. You can tour the waterways on land, kayak them or take a romantic gondola ride. The El Dorado Nature Center also provides a few beautiful hours, transporting you away from the noise of the city and into a world of paved paths, turtles, birdlife, lizards, towering trees and lush flora. And at the free-to-enter Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden one can meditate amongst Japanese plants, see enormous koi ponds and relax in a traditional tea house.