Walking in the park is one of the easiest things you can do, other than staying in bed. It’s so easy, they made a cliche out of the term “a walk in the park,” for something that’s easy and generally pleasurable. It’s just a shade more difficult but every bit as cliche as falling off a log.
We’re aware of the fact that every day is National Something Day, but Wednesday, March 30, is Take a Walk in the Park Day and it’s one that’s easy to observe, unlike March 31, National Backup Day, which isn’t a day set aside to drive around in reverse, but rather one in which you’re advised to back up everything that’s stored on your computers, which is way too much work. It’s easier to just click the “remind me tomorrow” box.
Today, we’ll look at some Long Beach parks which offer a particularly nice setting for a walk, but you don’t have to follow our suggestions. To minimally observe the day, simply go to any park, and walk. For a little nicer scenery on your stroll, consider one of the following to check the Take a Walk in the Park Day off on your calendar.
El Dorado Nature Center
This one’s a no-brainer, which is why it’s the first place we thought of. This escape from the city has three paths to walk: a quarter-mile, a one-mile and a two-mile, all skirting a lake and winding through native foliage and the occasional wild-ish animal. You’ll find egrets, herons, maybe something more exotic. Can you find serenity and quiet next to the 605 Freeway? You can at the Nature Center. Before you embark on your walk, you might want to swing by the center’s museum to get a feel—literally—for some of the creatures that call the place home, though that’s for extra credit because International Museum Day isn’t until May 18. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
El Dorado Nature Center is at 7550 E. Spring St. Trail hours Tuesday-Sunday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Museum hours Tuesday-Sunday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Vehicle entrance fee is $6 weekdays, $8 weekends, $9 holidays. Free for pedestrians and cyclists.
El Dorado Regional Park East
You can walk all day in this 388.2-acre grandaddy of Long Beach parks—or at least until they pull the plug at 8 p.m. The sprawling park is interlaced with paths and trails so you can walk as little or as much as you feel like it. If you want to pace yourself, grab a seat and watch pooches frolic in the dog park, radio-controlled gliders soaring over Glider Field, archers arching on the archery range and drones and RC helicopters zipping around at the drone pad. The view is always great as you wind your way among the park’s four lakes and their connecting creeks and if you want some bonus exercise, try your legs at paddle boating.
El Dorado Regional Park East is at 7550 E. Spring St. Hours 7 a.m.-8 p.m. every day. Vehicle entrance fee is $6 weekdays, $8 weekends, $9 holidays. Free for pedestrians and cyclists.
DeForest Park and Wetlands
This North Long Beach oasis was a former tangle of non-native plants and other overgrown vegetation until a massive clean-up made it the jewel of J-Town. Your walk will take you over the nearly-50-acre site as you stroll over bridges spanning freshwater wetlands with interpretive signage giving you a bit of an education of the flora and fauna along the route. Let the kids download the Agents of Discovery App to add some extra fun to the walk
DeForest Park and Wetlands is at 6255 DeForest Ave. Hours are every day from dawn till dusk.
It’s nothing short of a miracle how this beautiful stretch of parkland escaped the greedy clutches of developers. Now, it’s as sacred and untouchable as New York’s Central Park if for no other reason than any sort of development along the bluff would infuriate the owners of the billions of dollars worth of mansions that line Ocean Boulevard across the street from the park.
The narrow 13.2-acre stretch runs along Ocean from 20th to 36th Place and it is definitely one of the most attractive walks in the park you can get, with expensive views of the Pacific along the entire length, along with brisk breezes from the sea. It’s also excellent for people-watching as folks flock to Bluff Park for yoga, tightroping, juggling and kicking soccer balls around. If you feel like it, you can take the stairs down to the beach and walk along the beach path for a while, though you’re not getting Walk in the Park points for that. And don’t miss a chance to pause at the Lone Sailor monument. It was placed on the bluff on Ocean Boulevard at Paloma Avenue on Oct. 13, 2004, the 229th anniversary of the creation of the United States Navy. You can add another park on your scorecard by crossing Ocean at Cherry Avenue and take a walk through Bixby Park.
Bluff Park is on Ocean Boulevard between 20th and 36th Place.
An easy walk through this historic park in the Willmore/Drake Park neighborhood is made especially attractive by the old (by Long Beach standards) and elaborate architecture in this area where the first monied residents of the young city built stately Victorian and Queen Anne mansions, most of which been restored and preserved by their proud owners. Your highlight is a stop at the Bembridge House, an 18-room Queen Anne that has been preserved with its original high ceilings, hand-carved woodwork, stained and leaded glass including a beveled Tiffany window. You can’t tour the home on Walk in the Park Day, but it’s lovely to look at from the outside. The home is now owned and operated by Long Beach Heritage.
Drake Park is at 951 Maine Ave.
The Bembridge House is at 953 Park Circle Drive. Tours are offered Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and the fourth Saturday of the month at the same times. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Long Beach Heritage website.