Long Beach, California used to be known as a commuter town for people working in Los Angeles, but it’s made quite a name for itself all on its own.

Quick Notes:

  • There’s so much to do without having to step foot outside of SoCal’s trendy Long Beach walls.

  • There’s fun for the whole family

  • California weather plus local culture make Long Beach a must visit

When most people think of visiting California, Long Beach might not be the top contender in their minds, but with so much to do and see in the southern coastal town, it should be. Hitting up the beach might be at the top of everyone’s list, but when visitors need a little break from the sand, they can do any one—or all—of the things on this list to make their trip to Long Beach that much more memorable.

Take in marine life on a harbor cruise

There is no shortage of marine life along the coast of Long Beach. Visitors can expect to see whales, dolphins, sea lions, and an array of marine bird species. The harbor is bustling with sea creatures. Along the cruise, patrons can put their feet up and relax while experiencing whole new way to take in their favorite animals in their natural habitats.

Visit the aquarium for a more in-depth look

When looking for a more immersive marine animal experience, look no further than the Aquarium of Pacific. With well over 11,000 animals, 150 of those being varied species of shark, and a penguin habitat, there’s an animal for everyone at the aquarium. Attractions include the outdoor Lorikeet Forest Aviary, the Shark Lagoon, and Our Water Future, a conservation exhibit that teaches the whole family about where water comes from, how it’s used, and efforts put forth to keep it a sustainable resource.

Unsplash / Michal Mrozek

Pick a skip and become a sailor

For travelers that like to enrich both their bodies and their minds, Long Beach is the perfect place to do just that. At Sunglow Sailing Charters, visitors with any level of sailing experience can choose to sharpen their skills with lessons. They offer both daysail and sunset lessons for a chance to take the high seas by storm. Sailing is no easy feat, so not only will visitors get to enjoy the open water and the wind in their hair, they’ll also get a good workout in without having to hit up a gym while on vacation.

Unsplash / Jarrett Fifield

Shop until you drop on Pine Avenue

It wouldn’t be a trip to California without a little retail therapy and Pine Avenue is one of the best places to snag some local finds. Located in the heart of downtown Long Beach, Pine Avenue offers the hustle and bustle of city life with boutique shops and plenty of patios to choose from when stopping for a bite to eat. The historic district is full of breathtaking architecture, some buildings dating back as far as 1930.

Indulge your inner art enthusiast at museums

Art appreciation is in no short supply in Long Beach. For a modern touch, the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University is the perfect stop. Boasting ever-changing exhibits that celebrate what’s new and hot in modern contemporary art, this is the place to be. For something a little more niche, the Dark Art Emporium downtown showcases more indie artists who otherwise may not get their chance to shine in the art world. Discover the world’s next big thing in art or just enjoy the macabre exhibits of creepy dolls, skulls, taxidermied animals, and other various forms of dark art.

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