All You Need to Know About Long Beach

By Teo Spengler

Longing for Long Beach sun and fun

All You Need to Know About Long Beach

It's no surprise that beaches are one of the big draws in Long Beach, but the town is more than just another stretch of sand. This coastal city located in the heart of sunny Southern California blends the urban sophistication that comes from being one of the largest cities in the state with the relaxed atmosphere of a beachside community. Its beaches are impressive, but they are just the beginning of the adventure.

Q: What county is Long Beach, CA, in?

A: Long Beach is located at the very bottom of Los Angeles County, next to the Orange County line.

Q: Is Long Beach in L.A.?

A: Long Beach is a different city than Los Angeles, but both are located in Los Angeles County.

Q: Where is Long Beach, California?

A: Long Beach is located in Los Angeles County. The county is huge, comprising over 4,000 square miles and housing over 10 million people. The county contains dozens of cities and towns in addition to Los Angeles. If you travel south along the coast from Los Angeles, the very final town before you get to Orange County is Long Beach.

Q: How to get to Long Beach?

A: Driving to Long Beach, you can take California's coastal state Route 1. Alternatively, you can get there on Interstate Highways 405, 710 or 605. The nearest airport is the Long Beach Airport, located about 5 miles from downtown Long Beach. The next closest airports are the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Q: How far is Anaheim from Long Beach?

A: The driving distance from Long Beach to Anaheim, Calif., is 26 miles.

Q: How far is Los Angeles from Long Beach?

A: Downtown Los Angeles is 22 miles from Long Beach.

Q: How far is Long Beach from San Diego?

A: The driving distance from Long Beach to San Diego is 113 miles.

Q: How far is Long Beach from LAX?

A: It is 26 driving miles from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Long Beach.

Q: How far is Catalina Island from Long Beach?

A: If you fly from Long Beach to Catalina Island, the distance is about 30 miles. Most tourists take the hour-long boat ride from Long Beach.

Q: How far is Burbank from Long Beach?

A: It is 35 driving miles from Burbank, Calif., to Long Beach.

Q: What to do in Long Beach?

A: Beaches are a big deal in Long Beach, so plan on getting your toes sandy. Start with the Long Beach City Beach, a long south-facing beach that runs along Ocean Boulevard from the Belmont Pier to Alamitos Beach. When the city put in breakwaters, it killed off the surfing, so no need to bring your board, but the swimming is usually fine. Check out Mothers Beach, popular with locals in the Long Beach neighborhood of Naples, located on an island in the middle of Alamitos Bay, which is great for practicing kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Get there early because the parking lot fills up. You'll find the Belmont Shore Beach along the waterfront in the neighborhood of Belmont Shore. The beach area around the Granada Boat Launch is called Granada Beach, and it's home to Rosie’s Dog Beach, an off-leash dog zone.

Exploring Long Beach's Battleship Iowa makes for a fascinating visit. This battleship served from World War II through the Cold War and is now permanently moored in San Pedro Bay. The boat is massive, some 887 feet long and tall as an 18-story building. You can park free for an hour, which is plenty of time for the self-guided tour. Another ship attraction is the RMS Queen Mary, a luxury liner that is supposedly haunted.

Another fun activity in Long Beach is meeting and greeting sharks, jellyfish and sea lions in the Aquarium of the Pacific, housed in a huge indoor ocean. Some 11,000 creatures live in the four-habitat area. If you want to tour the Queen Mary and also visit the Aquarium, combination tickets are available that save you about $10.

If you feel like a museum, you can't do better in Long Beach than the Museum of Latin American Art. It organizes exhibits of art created after 1945 in Latin America and U.S. Latino communities. Or visit the Long Beach Museum of Art right on the beach.

Q: How long is the Long Beach boardwalk?

A: You won't find arcade games and roller coasters at this "boardwalk" in Long Beach. The boardwalk is actually named the Shoreline Pedestrian/Bike Path. It is 3.1 miles long and 17 feet wide, a ribbon of concrete running along the edge of the ocean from Alamitos Bay to Shoreline Village. It's divided into two lanes for bicycle traffic and one lane for pedestrians. If you want to rent skates, bikes or beach chairs, go to Alfredo's on the west end. The Shoreline Pedestrian/Bike Path links up with another, longer bike path system that runs 29 miles along the east side of the Los Angeles River.

Q: What is the weather in Long Beach?

A: Visit Long Beach in summer and you're likely to find warm, sunny days without much rain. The town gets only some 12 inches a year, and that falls mostly in December through March. The average high temperature is 74 degrees F, while the average low is 55 degrees F. The average high temperature in August is 84 degrees F, while the average low in December and January is in the mid-40s.

Q: When is the Long Beach Grand Prix?

A: The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is a car race held on the streets in Long Beach. It occurs on one of the first weekends in April.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.