Top Things to Do Outdoors in Long Beach

Let’s face it – staycations are hot right now.  Staycations are great for rejuvenating oneself and don’t require a lot of travel hassles or spending a lot of money.  The best staycations have a variety of fun, relaxing activities while staying close to home.

Not many locales offer such diversity, especially an outdoor playground with 5½ miles of sandy beaches, eclectic food and shopping choices, arts and culture, and an abundance of sunny weather. Yet, if you live in Long Beach, California, then you have it made!

With all of the amazing things to do outdoors in Long Beach, where else would you want to live for the best summer staycation, especially if you can top it off with a pampered stay in one of the city’s many inns and hotels? The hotels’ hot summer deals and proximity to your favorite outdoor attractions are sure to entice you to stay.

Whether you only have one day or a 3-day weekend, here are the top things to do outdoors in Long Beach this summer to inspire your fabulous staycation.

The 2020 Outdoor Long Beach Staycation Guide

Long Beach is blessed with diverse districts each serving up a plethora of exciting outdoor activities that are easily walkable.  Why not familiarize yourself with the plethora of Long Beach walking maps spanning the entire city while you’re planning your amazing summer staycation?

*Please ensure to visit each attraction or establishment’s website or social media to review their COVID regulations before you go.

Downtown Long Beach (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Explore Downtown Long Beach

Art, cuisine, shopping, boutique hotels and more abound within the 1.38 “un square” miles of the city by the ocean. Discover what’s available in this great interactive map.

Get to know each of the five districts by downloading any one, or all, of these 2.4 to 3 miles walking loop maps for a self-guided walking tour.

If you prefer your bicycle, downtown Long Beach is very bike friendly.  Ride your own or rent a bike at Wheel Fun Rentals.

Get out of town in town! Transport yourself from Long Beach to distant lands by visiting the Aquarium of the Pacific’s outdoor exhibits and natural habitats.  Reserve your visitation time in advance.

Long Beach Walking Path (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Stroll the Parks & Beaches

Nothing says outdoors more in Long Beach than a visit to one its parks or beaches.

Long Beach Parks

Cesar E. Chavez Park downtown is a 32.9 mile park offering playgrounds, basketball courts, picnic areas and restrooms for the whole family to enjoy.

Hilltop Park, atop Signal Hill, provides sweeping views of the city and harbor, an idyllic backdrop for the family to partake in barbeque areas and picnic tables.

How about 150 species of birds, a variety of plant life, and urban wildlife, all within a 100 acre oasis?  Then visiting El Dorado Park Nature Center should definitely be on your list of outdoor things to do in Long Beach. Ride or walk over two miles of dirt and paved trails around two lakes and lush forested areas. You can’t go wrong in taking the kids.

Long Beach Beaches

Go fly a kite!  Or swim. Or build a sand castle.  The sky’s the limit on the white sandy beaches dotting Long Beach.

Marine Park (Mother’s Beach) within Alamitos Bay is a shallow swimming area with gentle waves perfect for families with smaller children. Lifeguards are on site.

Does your pooch need a little cooling down? Rosie’s Dog Beach off Ocean Boulevard is the pet-friendly beach of Long Beach. Granada Beach adjoins Rosie’s offering more areas to relax or play volleyball.

Long Beach Gondola (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Sports & Recreation

Is your family looking for more things to do outdoors in Long Beach?

Why not stretch your legs on the way to Granada Beach on the scenic 4.1 mile Shoreline Pedestrian Bike Path? Starting at Lions Lighthouse in Shoreline Aquatic Park, these two 6-foot lanes allow for pedestrians, rollerbladers and bicyclists alike to cruise all the way to Belmont Shores.

What would the outdoors in Long Beach be without the water?

Reserve your family’s spot on Southern California’s premier whale watching and harbor tour company, Harbor Breeze Cruises located in Rainbow Harbor. You could also spot dolphin, marine birds, sea lions, and harbor seals!

Rather just spend time with your family?  Be your own captain on a fully-enclosed 21’ boat  through London Boat Rentals located in Alamitos Bay Landing.  They also offer waver runners and are pet friendly! Reserve your excursion online.

If sailing is more your speed, Jolly Sailing has been providing exciting, private sailing charters, up to 6 guests at a time, since 2001.

The Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier is another great family spot.  Take in the sea breeze while strolling along the 1,800 foot long pier.  Like to fish?  The pier abides with a bait shop and sport fishing at the end of the pier.

Enjoy an afternoon on the water kayaking in Long Beach (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Rather get your heart pumping? Try kayaking or paddle boarding the calm waterways among the non-stinging “moon jellies” with Kayaks On the Water. They provide safety reviews and paddle boarding instruction, lessons and trips.

Get your adrenaline rush with SoCal Kitesurfing’s kite surfing and kite boarding.  Offering beginner, intermediate and private lessons, SoCal Kitesurfing is always putting your safety first.

How about a romantic outdoor StayCay? Gondola Getaway has been gliding passengers amongst the Naples Canals since 1981 on the largest U.S. gondola fleet. Bring a bottle of wine, sit back and relax as your gondolier rows you into the sunset to end a perfect outdoor day in Long Beach.

Pow! Wow! Long Beach mural by artist Kevin Lyons (Photo Credit: Brandon Shigeta)

Arts and Culture 

You don’t have to wait for POW! WOW! Long Beach to see hip street art.  Explore the over 50 diverse and colorful art murals yourself! Use the online mural map for a self-guided tour of Long Beach’s amazing public space art, an outdoor activity unique to Long Beach.

If you appreciate history, visit Rancho Los Cerritos’ lush gardens on the grounds of this well-preserved 19th century ranch, or see Rancho Los Alamitos’ barnyard animals and historic gardens. They are both an educational experience your kids will enjoy.

Belmont Shore welcomes you for shopping and dining. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova)

Shopping

Need a shopping fix?  Long Beach is blessed with a variety of unique outdoor shopping opportunities making Long Beach a shopper’s paradise no matter what your style.

Stroll around the East Village for indie boutique shops catering to art, music and book lovers, foodies, clothing and outdoor enthusiasts.

Like hip vintage? Take a walk on the 4th Street Retro Row side offering more than 100 independently operated businesses for a truly unique shopping experience.

You will definitely want to check out the Belmont Shore district’s multitude of shops that are intermingled within its classic 2nd Street dining scene.

Downtown’s Waterfront district is where you’ll find more mainstream shopping but without the mainstream feel.  Pike Outlets’ expansive outdoor mall is set in an amusement park setting crowned with a Ferris wheel and carousel. Stay up to date with store and dining listings.

Want to shop on the waterfront? Shoreline Village is not to be missed! Shopping, dining, watercraft and bike rentals, and more all are nestled in a quaint Cape Cod village for the quintessential outdoor shopping experience in Long Beach.

If you’re a bartering pro, there’s nothing like outdoor shopping over 800 vendors at the Long Beach Antique Market, happening every third Sunday.  It’s no wonder the LBAM has been dubbed one of the Top 10 Flea Markets in the U.S.

What would a California city be with a Farmer’s Market?  Well, Long Beach has eight! The classic California outdoor shopping experience, Long Beach Fresh guides you to the freshest of the fresh while you get fresh air.

Dining and nightlife in Long Beach (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Dining & Nightlife

All of those outdoor activities can build up an appetite! Scope out the multitude of dining options, from casual coffee spots to fine cuisine to nightlife fun, serving outdoors to expand on those oh-so-fabulous things to do outdoors in Long Beach on your staycation.

It Starts on 2nd Street

George’s Greek Café is the Greek food go-to in Long Beach with unbeatable happy hour drinks and food specials. Known for great food, ambience and generous portions, it’s no wonder George’s a local favorite.

Linger on Open Sesame’s patio with sumptuous, Lebanese cuisine. Half off select wines are served on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Can you beat it?

Don’t miss Legend’s Sports Bar serving up the classic burger and legendary Bloody Mary in its open air dining setting.

Find more Belmont Shore outdoor establishments.

4th Street Retro Row

After scoring your vintage clothes swing by Lola’s Mexican Cuisine’s outdoor patio to sip a chilly margarita that compliments your seasonal, fresh Mexican dish and family recipe green salsa.

Find more 4th Street outdoor establishments.

Open air dining experiences in Long Beach (Photo Credit: Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Downtown

The Auld Dubliner’s classic pub food and ales are rockin’ on the patio. Check out their patio schedule.

La Traviata has your award winning Nuevo Italian dishes and wines for your romantic night out.  Enjoy live music while you dine on the patio at the historic Willmore Building, which is also pet friendly.

Don’t forget Hamburger Mary’s outdoor patio for the best burgers in town or an after dinner drink at The Blind Donkey.

Pop by Romeo Chocolates on northern Pine Avenue for their special wines and delectable desserts to take with you on your gondola ride. While you’re there, learn how to eat a chocolate from the master.

Find more Downtown outdoor establishments.

Bixby Knolls

The “Allery” Art Alley on Burlinghall and Atlantic is being shared by E J’s Pub and Dutch’s Brewhouse for outdoor service of their bar fare and fine brews.

Derrick’s on Atlantic is also taking it outside for you to enjoy their delicious smoked meats and fine steaks, as well as Rasselbock and the Willmore Wine Bar.

SteelCraft has eight vendors serving up whatever your taste de jour is in an outdoor, communal dining space. Live music to dine by can be heard on weekends. Check out SteelCraft’s calendar and vendors.

Find more Bixby Knolls outdoor establishments.

Zaferia

Start your outdoor day right with breakfast and coffee outside at the favorite neighborhood café, The Crooked Duck.

Want good bar food and salads in a lively atmosphere or savory meats at a classic chophouse?  Roundin’ 3rd  and The Hideaway got you covered with their shared outdoor dining space!

For DJ music, tropical concoctions in a Tiki bar setting, check out the Bamboo Club for late evening fun.

Find more Zaferia outdoor establishments.

Contributor:  Gwen Corrie, CORR Travel

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