Long Beach, California is a busy coastal city bordering the Pacific Ocean. It is often referred to as one of the largest playgrounds in California, offering a multitude of water sports, golf, museums, and plenty of attractions for kids. Book a stay at one of many lovely Long Beach vacation rentals ranging from luxurious villas to seaside bungalows. Check out the most exciting kid-friendly activities in Long Beach.

1. Enjoy the Animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific

Learn about a variety of marine life at the 5-acre Aquarium of the Pacific. With over 11,000 animals representing 500 species that call the attraction home, the aquarium is the ideal spot for any animal lover. Explore the touch pools filled with sea anemones, rays, and sea urchins. Laugh at the otters while they play in their rocky habitat, and awe at the sharks as they glide effortlessly in the water. The staff is extremely helpful and good with children and even offer opportunities to ask questions during presentations. Stop by the gift shop for souvenirs before heading back to your vacation rental to call it a day.

2. Take a Helicopter Ride

Several companies provide trips around Long Beach by helicopter. Take a half hour tour with Southern California Helicopters, or schedule a combination gondola and helicopter tour with Anthelion Helicopters. Most tours accommodate up to three people plus the pilot and last up to 80 minutes in duration depending on what you want to see. Children under the age of two typically sit on a parent’s lap during the tour, while children over the age of two have their own seat.

3. Sign Up for a Whale Watching Tour

Nothing is quite as exciting as boating past a giant whale and watching it jump and play in the surf. Harbor Breeze Yacht Charters offers several boats ranging from 35-foot, which is ideal for small groups, harbor tours, and sunset cruises, to large yachts measuring 62 to 85 feet. The large vessels have a snack bar, so you don‘t have to worry about bringing food, and the boats are completely safe for children of all ages.

4. Take Your Pet to Rosie’s Dog Beach

If the children can’t bear the thoughts of leaving the family dog behind when booking a vacation rental in Long Beach, bring him along for some family fun. Rosie’s Dog Beach is located on Ocean’s Boulevard, which is centrally located to most major attractions. It is the only off-leash park in the area. Let your pooch run wild with the kids and experience the water and sand.

5. Learn Morse Code on the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary is a 1936 world-class ocean liner that took its final voyage out to sea in 1967. Now the massive cruise ship serves as a museum and hotel and offers several restaurants and shops on board. Like many ships of the era, it used radio frequencies to communicate by Morse Code with other ships. Tour the vessel and then stop by the wireless room and let the kids talk with one of the volunteer radio amateurs. Learn Morse Code and watch as the amateurs make on-air contact with a local radio station.

6. Rent a Bike at Shoreline Village

No trip to the beach is complete without a day exploring the boardwalk. Wheel Fun Rentals at Shoreline Village rents bikes for all ages, so you can leave your vacation rental early in the morning and take the kids on an adventure by the sea. Take a self-guided tour around Shoreline Village where you will find several shops for purchasing gifts for the family, and at lunch you can stop at one of the restaurants for a bite to eat. Next, pedal around Naples and Seal Beach to get a good look at the wildlife that lives there.

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7. Paddle Out on Rainbow Lagoon

Explore the Middle Eastern influences when you and the family bring kayaks to the Rainbow Lagoon for the day. This Asian-inspired park features colorful Japanese flags and high arched rainbow bridges that you can float underneath. The water is calm and easy to navigate, and afterward, you can stretch out on the grass for an afternoon picnic.

8. Hike at El Dorado Park and Nature Center

If you like to get out and enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of spots in Long Beach to accommodate your needs. The El Dorado Park and Nature Center is an expansive park with a community center, lighted basketball courts, a skate park, and plenty of trails for hiking. If you get tired, stop and feed the ducks or let the kids play on the playground.

9. Take a Segway Tour

One of the best ways to see the greatest number of landmarks in Long Beach in one afternoon is with a Segway tour. Nation Tours offers four different tours in a single day. The two-hour tour of the downtown and the Aquatic Park is the most popular tour. You can also tour the Naples Canal or the Long Beach waterfront. Segway tours are best enjoyed by children ages 12 and older.

10. Snorkel on Catalina Island

If you‘ve ever wondered what‘s running amuck under your feet along the shore, sign up for a snorkeling trip at Catalina Island. Ride the Catalina Express boat across the water to the rocky coast and spend the day exploring the borders. Snorkel with the family on your own or sign up for a guided eco tour that takes you to the Dive Park where you‘ll see an abundance of aquatic life. The tour is for children over the age of 8, and all individuals should know how to swim and feel comfortable in the water.

11. Go on a Grunion Run

If you aren‘t quite ready to go back to your vacation rental at night after a day on the beach, head to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for a grunion run. This phenomenon occurs after the high tide and around the new moon and full moon. Sit along the shore and watch as the silvery sardine-sized fish come up on the beach to spawn. March, June, and July are open seasons where you and the kids can reach down and catch the fish by hand. Children 16 and older should have a valid California fishing license.

12. Take Photograph’s at Lion’s Lighthouse

Lighthouses are always fascinating to both adults and children alike. The Lion‘s Lighthouse for Sight sits in Rainbow Bay as a reminder of the Lion‘s Clubs’ dedication to ending blindness throughout the country. Climb to the top for beautiful views of the surrounding city and the Pacific, and then head down to the base of the lighthouse, which is a picturesque place for you to take family photos.

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