Perched on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in southwestern California, the city of Long Beach offers something for everyone to enjoy during an extended weekend or week-long vacation. This area is just a short drive from Los Angeles, making it a popular destination for people looking to hit the beach or visit fun attractions. Long Beach vacation rentals range from condos with waterfront views to trendy lofts in the middle of the downtown area. Fill your days sunbathing on the beach, enjoying the breeze as you bike around town, and checking out the eclectic local shops. Here’s a quick peek at the top 15 things to do in Long Beach.

1. Take a Tour of The Queen Mary

In her heyday, The Queen Mary was at the top of luxury cruise liners. She’s now one of the most popular attractions in Long Beach, and you can take a tour to see her hotel, restaurants, and luxurious spa. While walking the decks and long hallways, learn more about life during the 1940s and the cultural scene that made this ship so special.

2. Soak up Tranquility at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Nestled on the campus of California State University in Long Beach, Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a manicured, traditional Asian garden. Wander along the trails and look into the ponds to see the koi darting back and forth under the waterlilies. The garden’s enchanting design was inspired by the Imperial Gardens in Tokyo.

3. Have Dinner at Parkers’ Lighthouse

Enjoy a gourmet meal at a unique location when you dine at Parkers’ Lighthouse. Located on the third floor of a lighthouse, this restaurant serves tantalizing dishes from an award-winning menu of seafood and freshly made sushi. Sample a bottle of wine from its extensive wine list while enjoying the views of the water and the RMS Queen Mary docked across the water.

4. See Underwater Critters at the Aquarium of the Pacific

With more than 50 exhibits, the Aquarium of the Pacific is the largest public aquarium in southern California. Visit the Southern California and Baja Gallery to learn more about the local aquatic life, and then check out the penguins at the June Keyes Penguin Habitat. Kids love the interactive exhibits and watching the sharks swim overhead at the Shark Lagoon.

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5. Thrills Await You at Knotts Berry Farm

Kids of all ages and the young at heart love the rides at Knotts Berry Farm. Teens and tweens clamor to ride on the GhostRider, a wooden roller coaster, and Supreme Scream while little ones enjoy the low-key rides in the kiddie section. Take in a show, and indulge in some carnival style food, including hotdogs on a stick, nachos, and funnel cakes.

6. Find Treasures at the Long Beach Antique Market

With 800 vendors and 20 acres of space, the Long Beach Antique Market is sure to provide you with a hidden treasure you didn’t even know you wanted. Find this market close to the stadium. From funky retro furniture to antique records, this antique market offers a selection of always changing one-of-a-kind items.

7. Head Out onto the Water With Harbor Breeze Cruises

Climb on board one of Harbor Breeze Cruises two catamarans for a trip out onto the ocean. While sailing around the shoreline, you might see whales migrating, depending on the time of year. Another common sighting is a pod of dolphins who enjoy showing off for the boats as they sail by.

8. Learn a Little History at Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens

Take a tour of the Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens to learn more about the former Tongva village of Povuu’ngna. This adobe ranch home dates back to the early 1800s and has a working farm barnyard, where kids love to pet the goats and horses. Afterwards, take a walk through the manicured gardens planted in the 1920s.

9. Save Room for Dessert and Stop by Bake-n-Broil

Known for its cakes and pies, Bake-n-Broil is a California chain that offers friendly service and to-die-for desserts. Select a seat at the counter, wait while the server gets your baked goods, and enjoy the cozy feel. The flavors of the pies and cobblers vary depending on the fruits that are in-season.

10. View Great Works at the Long Beach Museum of Art

The Long Beach Museum of Art houses an extensive collection of art from the early 20th-century European movements to modern day California works. Check the schedule to find a temporary exhibit or special lecture series. After strolling through the galleries, check out the cafe with tables outside for amazing water views.

11. Take a Walk at the El Dorado Nature Center

Feel the stress melt away as you stroll through the trails in the El Dorado Nature Center. Start at the small island in the park, where you can get a trail map at the visitors center, and learn more about the park’s flora and fauna through the educational displays.

12. Go Shopping at Shoreline Village

Find the perfect souvenir or shoes to go with a favorite dress at the Shoreline Village. This shopping and entertainment area offers a variety of unique shops with handmade goods, such as clothing and jewelry. Appease the little ones with a ride on the Shoreline Village Carousel and send older kids to the arcade to play skeeball or popular video games.

13. Soak up the Sun at the Belmont Shore Beach

Bring plenty of sunscreen when visiting Belmont Shore Beach for a day of sun and fun. This beach features calmer waters than you expect at the ocean since it’s located in a protected breakwater area. On-duty lifeguards help keep an eye on swimmers, but remember to bring life vests and floaties from your vacation rental for little ones.

14. Take a Segway Tour With Wheel Fun Rentals

Balance on a Segway while following the leader around the Shoreline Marina and Rainbow Harbor area when you take a tour with Wheel Fun Rentals. The guide provides interesting facts and tidbits about the area and the town of Long Beach. If you prefer an extended tour experience, sign up for the tour that travels all the way over to the Queen Mary.

15. Romance Your Partner With Gondola Getaway

Leave the kids with a babysitter and enjoy a romantic evening as you and your mate ride around the canals of Naples Island and Alamitos Bay. It’s the next best thing to being in Venice, Italy.

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