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How to Spend 3 Days in Long Beach

How to Spend 3 Days in Long Beach

Replete with stretches of soft sand, Southern California’s Long Beach has a thriving arts and food scene and a rich history tied to maritime travel. With three days there, you’ll also have the chance to explore nearby spots like Huntington Beach and Catalina Island. Here are some ideas for your stay.

Day 1: Beach Time

No trip to Southern California would be complete without time soaking in the sun, relaxing on the sandy beaches, and cooling off in the waves. While Long Beach has its own beaches, some travelers drive about 30 minutes to Huntington Beach for a surf excursion. (Although Long Beach has a storied surfing history, breakwater structures blocking big waves were eventually constructed to protect ships docked at the port.) With almost 9 miles (15 kilometers) of beach, Huntington is a great place for swimming, surfing, and other water sports, and the pier and adjacent boardwalk attract cyclists and joggers as well. Alternatively, stay in town for a kitesurfing lesson on Belmont Shore—thanks to the breakwater, beginning kite surfers don’t have to worry about major waves.

Day 2: Sea Adventures

Long Beach offers a handful of interesting cultural experiences. Visit museums such as the Long Beach Museum of Art, Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Adobe, and Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum—and tour the Queen Mary ship. Once considered the most luxurious liner in the world, today it’s a floating hotel and museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’re there in the evening, dine or have a drink at one of the onboard restaurants or bars. Alternatively, head to the Aquarium of the Pacific to see Magellanic penguins, sea otters, and a tropical reef habitat with schools of colorful fish and other sea life.

Day 3: Island-Hopping

Make your way to Naples Island, a Long Beach neighborhood featuring canals lined with million-dollar homes—tour the area by kayak or gondola. Alternatively, get on a ferry (or helicopter) to Catalina Island, popular with day-trippers. Back on Long Beach, stroll the paved paths at the El Dorado Nature Center, spotting turtles, birds, and lizards among towering trees and lush flora. Or, unwind in a traditional teahouse at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. And if you’re in town on the first Friday of the month, check out the evening arts walk and family-friendly activities in Bixby Knolls.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Private Helicopter Tour over Long Beach and Los Angeles

Private Helicopter Tour over Long Beach and Los Angeles

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52
See the L.A. coast from the sky with an exciting, 15-minute tour from Long Beach on a private helicopter. Swoop above the iconic Queen Mary ocean liner and hover over downtown Long Beach, see the imposing Battleship Iowa that's moored in the city's bustling port. Enjoy seaward views of Catalina Island and the curving Pacific coastline before touching back to earth at the Long Beach helipad.
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  • 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$110.00
Price varies by group size
From
$110.00
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Catalina Express Round-Trip Ferry Service: Long Beach or San Pedro to Avalon
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Catalina Express Round-Trip Ferry Service: Long Beach or San Pedro to Avalon

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133
Travel to Southern California’s Catalina Island by boat with this round-trip ferry service from Long Beach or San Pedro on the 'Catalina Express.' Enjoy views of the Pacific during the journey, and then spend the day exploring Catalina at your leisure. The ferry drops you in the town of Avalon, the main town on the island, home to shops, restaurants, hotels, activities and more. Select your departure point—Long Beach or San Pedro—when booking. This is a ticket purchase only, not a reservation for travel. To allow guests the flexibility of choosing their own travel time, guests must call in advance to reserve seats on a specific departure and return boat. You may return on the same day or stay overnight. We advise calling to make your reservations as soon as possible as boats often sell out.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$76.00
From
$76.00
Taking safety measures

City Tour of Los Angeles from Long Beach and San Pedro Cruise Terminals

City Tour of Los Angeles from Long Beach and San Pedro Cruise Terminals

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29
This full–day tour of Los Angeles is a popular and convenient choice for cruise ship passengers docked at the Long Beach or San Pedro terminals. After pick–up from the port, your guide brings you to LA’s highlights and hidden gems, from the Hollywood Sign to Marlon Brando’s acting school. The day’s itinerary factors in free time to explore, dine, or shop at your own pace.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$152.83
From
$152.83
Taking safety measures

Skip the Ticketing Line: Aquarium of the Pacific General Admission Ticket

Skip the Ticketing Line: Aquarium of the Pacific General Admission Ticket

star-4.5
278
Visit sharks, penguins and puffins with admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and explore 19 wildlife habitats from every corner of the world’s largest ocean. Slip beneath a full-sized model of a blue whale, and catch the eye of a fierce leopard shark. Travel from a Sea of Cortez kelp forest to the ice-crusted waters off Northern Japan; watch sea horses play in a tropical lagoon, pet a shark in a kid-friendly touch tank and listen to the eerie melodies of an undersea whale song. Keeping our guests and staff safe is our top priority. We are limiting the number of visitors, requiring advance timed reservations, and managing traffic flow to ensure social distancing, requiring face coverings and temperature checks, providing numerous hand-sanitizing stations, and much more.
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  • 4 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.95
From
$36.95
Taking safety measures