Long Beach is a city best known for its diverse population, its tourist-friendly aquarium, and the RMS Queen Mary, which sits proudly in Long Beach Harbor. It’s so close to Orange County that it tends to get swept up in the hustle and bustle that plagues these urban centers. Most people don’t even realize that there’s a more relaxed side to this busy Californian city. If you want to connect to nature on your Long Beach vacation, make sure these local secrets are on your itinerary.
Stay in Beautifully Landscaped Hotels
Like most establishments in urban areas, most hotels in Long Beach are lacking in natural features. These buildings in city streets are serviceable, but not very welcoming. However, if you do your research you can find the greenery you’re craving. Take the Hotel Maya – a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, which has lush tropical gardens. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the garden paths admiring the colorful flowers, or find a quiet spot for reading and reflection.
The Hilton Long Beach & Executive Meeting Center only has a little grass out front, but it’s adjacent to Santa Cruz Park, which borders Golden Park. These lush parks give you plenty of space for jogging or simply enjoying the sunshine.
Take a Bike Ride
Image via Flickr by Bill Selak
Long Beach was named among the top 20 bike-friendly cities in America, but most of its bike paths aren’t very appealing for nature lovers. However, the path from El Dorado Park to Los Cerritos Wetlands and Seal Beach is a real treat. The eight-mile course is very flat, so you can enjoy the ride without being a keen cyclist. The views of the San Gabriel River along the way are also beautiful. El Dorado Park is a popular spot with tourists, but when you’re on a bike it’s easy to get lost in your own little world.
Tourists can hire bikes at 404 Bike Sales & Rentals, Wheel Fun Rentals, and Bikestation.
Discover Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve
At just three acres, the tiny Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve is often overlooked. It’s a stunning spot that’s the perfect place for travelers looking to recharge their batteries. On a clear day you can see across to the San Bernardino Mountains. The California Bush sunflowers which dot the shore are also a real sight. The park benches encourage visitors to take a load off and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
Take in the Views at Signal Hill
Image via Flickr by Fred Miller
For the best views of Long Beach, you’ll need to get out of the city center and look at it from another perspective. Take the freeway to the Signal Hill neighborhood, named for the large hill which looms 365 feet above Long Beach. Its peak, Hilltop Park, is the best place to take in the majestic views. Stationary telescopes dotted around the park will let you take an even closer look. Check out Hipmunk.com to find the best views at hotels in Long Beach..
Where do you go to escape the crowds in Long Beach? Make sure to comment with your favorite natural spot below.
Lauren Katulka is a happily married Australian freelance writer contributing to a range of websites including Hipmunk.com, SoundsofOz.com, and many more. When she’s not playing around with words she loves roller skating, spending time in the kitchen, watching indie films, and cuddling her Devon Rex cat, Gizmo.