Long Beach, home to the spectacular Aquarium of the Pacific and the iconic Queen Mary, is located just 30 minutes from LAX, making it the perfect Southern California destination. Not only is it a great destination for international and out-of-state travelers, but is an excellent location for SoCal families and locals to have a bit of a staycation.
Finding kid-friendly activities that they will actually enjoy can be a challenge. Luckily here in Long Beach, there is a wide array of things to do that both you and your kids will enjoy!
Aquarium of the Pacific
Aquarium of the Pacific, one of Long Beach’s main attractions, is perfect for kids and for you. While this isn’t a massive facility, it is great for mornings or half day activities where you can work at a leisurely pace. If your children are above the age of 7, try checking out the Behind the Scenes tour, which takes visitors through the inner workings of the aquarium. You and your kids can take a look at how the animals are cared for, bred, and fed on a daily basis.
El Dorado Nature Center
Outside of downtown and the traditional Long Beach attractions is the El Dorado Nature Center. If you’re a lover of nature this park is definitely worth the drive, with several trails for all hiking levels. Full of lakes, streams, and animals like turtles, rabbits, and ducks, this park is great for those looking to experience a different side of Southern California. After your hike, check out the museum for hands-on exhibits – entrance is free, but there is a small parking fee.
Bike Rides Along Shoreline Village
The Shoreline Village is a beautiful and colorful shopping and eating area across from the Queen Mary. To add to your experience, rent some bikes or a surrey (a four wheel bike that can hold 2, 4, or 6 people) and ride along the beach bike path that extends all the way to the marina. We promise this will be one of the most beautiful and breathtaking adventures you can do with your family.
Gondola rides are usually reserved for romantic excursions, but this can also be great for a family ride up the Naples Island canals. Relax and check out the multi-million dollar homes with yachts in their backyards. If you’re looking for a little more adventure, rent a stand up paddleboards or kayaks. If you plan on renting a Gondola, make sure you book in advance.
After the aquarium you may want to move on to bigger animals in their natural habitat. Luckily, in the same vicinity as the aquarium, you can hop on a boat at Harbor Breeze and go whale watching. From December to early April, you can spot gray whales making their yearly migration. Along with seeing these majestic animals, you’ll get to experience beautiful coastal views of Long Beach and the rest of the Southern California coastline.