There are so many things to do in Southern California with kids, especially in Long Beach! Whether you’re local, taking a day trip, or going on a family vacation, this is an awesome place to explore. Long Beach Airport is the perfect way to arrive in Long Beach, in fact, may Angelenos find this smaller airport more convenient than LAX. With several beaches, parks, historical sites, and annual events calling the city home, the list fun things to do with kids in Long Beach could be endless, but here are our top picks.
Fun Things to Do With Kids In Long Beach
The Beaches in Long Beach
This sandy south-east facing beach is located on the western end of Long Beach City Beach and is within walking distance to many hotels, restaurants, and shops. Alamitos beach also offers fun activities such as volleyball, biking, skating, swimming, and running.
Marine Park, which is on the northeastern side of Naples Island, is also known as Mother’s Beach because it is ideal for families with small children to enjoy a day at the beach thanks to its calm waves, shallow swimming area, and lifeguard protection during peak hours. Mother’s Beach is situated inside Alamitos Bay, beneath Marine Stadium, shielding the water from the action of the open ocean and ensuring continuously tranquil swimming conditions.
Kids will love love the playground at the northern end of the beach, which features contemporary play structures that can be climbed, crawled through, swung on, slid, and jumped through. Steps separate the playground, beach, and water, making it simple for parents to keep an eye on their kids as they dash from one activity to the next. The water and sand give way to a large grassy area that encircles the conveniently located parking lot.
Belmont Shore Beach
Generally speaking, this beach is located between the Belmont Pier area and 55th place. It spans along the waterfront of the Belmont Shore neighborhood in Long Beach, CA. Unfortunately, there are no dogs allowed at this beach.
Peninsula Bayside Beach & Peninsula Beach
Located on the north-facing side of the Long Beach Peninsula, Peninsula Bayside Beach is actually comprised of two segments with one running from 55th to 61st street and the other from 63rdt to 69th Place. They are separated by a small marina. On the other side of the Long Beach Peninsula, you’ll find Peninsula Beach which faces the ocean. Both beaches offer several activities such as sunbathing, swimming, walking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and sailing.
Long Beach City Beach (a.k.a Junipero Beach)
This sprawling south-facing beach is located along Ocean Blvd. from the Belmont Pier, all the way to Alamitos Beach is the main beach of Long Beach, CA. Since this beach is located in an area protected from ocean waves by breakwaters it doesn’t provide optimum conditions for those looking to catch some waves.
Rosie’s Dog Beach
While this 4-acre slice of beach isn’t a fenced-in dedicated dog beach, Rosie’s Dog Beach is known for allowing dogs to be off-leash between the hours of 6 am-8 pm every day. If you do choose to visit with your furry friend it is recommended that you bring your own waste bags from home, but if you find yourself lacking a bag, some are provided in dispensers.
Historical Sites of Long Beach
The Queen Mary – Temporarily Closed
The historic Queen Mary is temporarily closed until further notice. When it was open, it was operating as a hotel, event venue, and tourist attraction, there is plenty to do aboard the Queen Mary when you have little ones in tow. On a guided tour you can get an up-close & personal look at the ship’s rich history from its groundbreaking construction to the ship’s role in WW2, to the events that earned the Queen Mary the nickname of “the haunted ship.”
Battleship USS Iowa Museum
Located just outside of Long Beach in San Pedro, when you visit the Battleship IOWA Museum not only will you learn more about the role our Navy plays around the world but you will also become privy to the important stories of historically significant, yet relatively unknown vessels. The Museum offers several virtual tours and online exhibit options in addition to in-person experiences.
Rancho Los Alamitos
The 7½-acre site includes four acres of nationally significant historic gardens, a ranch house (1790-1933), a restored barnyard of the early 20th-century working ranch, and serves as a microcosm of Long Beach history. Rancho Los Alamitos showcases a rich history of habitation stretching back more than 1500 years and offers engaging virtual visits as well as in-person tours.
Battleship USS Iowa Museum
When you visit the Battleship IOWA Museum you’ll learn more about the role our Navy plays around the world and become privy to the important stories of historically significant, yet relatively unknown vessels. The Museum offers several virtual tours and online exhibit options in addition to in-person experiences.
Long Beach Attractions, Parks, & Museums
Long Beach Waterfront
In the center of Downtown Long Beach is where you’ll find the Long Beach Waterfront. There are several interesting parks here, such as Rainbow Lagoon Park with its Japanese-inspired landscaping and ShoreLine Aquatic Park with its lighthouse. Around the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, which features a movie theater and an arena holding conferences and yearly festivals like Comic Con, are outlet stores and chain motels. also the location of the renowned Aquarium of the Pacific.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Located on Aquarium Way is the fourth-most visited aquarium in the country is the Aquarium of the Pacific. It showcases more than 100 exhibits and around 12,000 creatures to honor the Pacific Ocean, the world’s biggest and most varied body of water. The cold seas of the Northern Pacific, the temperate Southern California/Baja area, and the pleasantly warm coral reefs and lagoons of the Tropical Pacific are all depicted in its galleries. And if you’re looking to get your hands wet the Aquarium also has several interactive educational programs for people of all ages. Some of our favorite exhibits include the Shark Lagoon, Sea Otters Habitat, Sea Lions, the Jellies, the Coral Reef, the Lorikeet Forest and so much more!
Rainbow Harbor / Rainbow Marina
In the center of downtown Long Beach, between Shoreline Village and the Aquarium of the Pacific, is where you’ll find Rainbow Harbor and Rainbow Marina. The marina has 87 slips available for both business and leisure sailors. Additionally, the facility’s harbor area has twelve 150-foot docks that serve as the home port for a variety of thrilling waterfront attractions, such as sport fishing, whale watching, harbor cruises, dinner cruises, private charter boats, rental boats, and more. A variety of restaurants, entertainment, musical performances and shopping choices can be found nearby at Shoreline Village and the Pike Outlet shops, just a short distance from Rainbow Harbor / Rainbow Marine.
Long Beach Museum of Art
Housed in the historic 1911 Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House. The Long Beach Museum of Art was founded in 1950 as a municipal art center for the city of Long Beach. In addition to checking out current, upcoming, and permanent exhibitions you can also visit LBMA’s Sculpture Garden designed to allow you to experience and reconnect with art in the current era of physical distancing.
El Dorado Nature Center
This 105-acre nature center is an oasis of natural habitat, providing sanctuary for animals, plant life, as well as humans looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. It contains about two miles of dirt trails and a ¼-mile paved trail winding around two lakes, a stream, and forested areas.
El Dorado Regional Park
El Dorado East Regional Park is an expansive outdoor area with fishing lakes, bike trails, camping, an archery range & a nature center.
Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden
The mission of the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is simple, “to provide a place of refuge, beauty and learning for all who enter its gates.” The garden is located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach, and features playful koi, winding pathways, a Tea House, and a Zen Garden.
Featuring fresh sea breezes and a phenomenal view of the Pacific Ocean, Bluff Park is a popular choice for joggers, dog-walkers, and strollers of all ages. The park is also home to the Lone Sailor Memorial.
If you’re looking for a variety of things to do in one location, Bixby Park is a great option. The park contains a stage, community center, playground, mobile skatepark, picnic area, BBQ pits, restrooms, a volleyball court, sports field; and hosts several programs including youth recreation, adult classes, senior fitness classes, and a farmers market.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), which serves the greater Los Angeles region, was established in Long Beach, California, in 1996. The sole museum in the US devoted to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art is MOLAA. Since opening, MOLAA has expanded by half and included a 15,000 square foot sculpture park. Over 1,300 pieces of art are currently part of its permanent collection. Free Admission for children under 12 yrs old.
Long Beach Events & Activities
The Gondola Getaway
Since its founding in 1982, Gondola Getaway has strived to bring authenticity and a high level of service to its hundreds of thousands of guests. While being rowed by a highly-trained Gondolier you and your loved ones can experience the beauty and calmness around Naples Island.
Grand Prix of Long Beach
Now sponsored by Acura, the Grand Prix of Long Beach is much more than a race weekend — it’s a full-fledged festival, lasting three days and two nights. At the Grand Prix of Long Beach, you can find a wide range of family-friendly activities ranging from world-class racing to the popular Lifestyle Expo, to the delicious Food Truck Experience. The next Grand Prix of Long Beach scheduled for April 14-16, 2023
Long Beach Crawfish Festival
If you want to experience the flavors of New Orleans without leaving sunny SoCal, the Long Beach Crawfish Festival has your name written all over it. For over 26 years this festival has brought plenty of dancing, the Second Line Dancing Parade, Zydeco dance lessons, crawfish, and many other activities for the whole family to enjoy. This year the Long Beach Crawfish Festival will be held May 21-23, 2021 at the picturesque Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach, California.
Love Long Beach Festival
This two-day annual festival is all about bringing you plenty of fun and plenty of sun. You can spend time with the kids at the Kids Village, listen to some chill tunes at one of the many stages at the festival, shop from creative vendors near and far, explore the art village, or take a moment to relax at the Healing Arts Village. It’s currently unclear if the Love Long Beach Festival will be happening in July 2022.
If you or any of your loved ones enjoy marine life then whale watching should definitely be included on your to-do list the next time you visit. Since there are several whale-watching services across the coast we’ve listed a few of them below, just be sure to bring your camera, binoculars, and a jacket!
5 Tips For Whale Watching In Southern California
Harbor Breeze Cruises
Long Beach Skate Parks
Long Beach has several skate parks and is a popular destination for older kids!
Bixby, Drake Park, El Dorado West, Gumbiner Park, Michael Green Skate Park at 14th Street , Houghton Park, Lincoln Park, McBride Park, Orizaba Park, and Silverado Park
Related: Best Los Angeles Skate Parks
Take the Catalina Express to Catalina Island
Catalina Island has so many entertaining activities for kids, and getting there is so simple! A high-speed ferry boat departing from Long Beach will take you there in roughly an hour. One of the most well-liked ferries is the Catalina Express.
Related: Fun Things To Do With Kids In Catalina Island
Shop & Eat
The Pike Outlets
Located downtown and within walking distance to the Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and the Aquarium of the Pacific the Pike Outlets has become a go-to destination for locals and visitors looking for bargains on designer brands, clothing, housewares, and more. The Pike Outlet is also home to a ferris wheel, comedy club, and movie theatre.
Shoreline Village offers a wide selection of waterfront restaurants ranging from simple snacks to upscale waterfront fine dining as well as an array of shops selling home decor to unique hot sauces. In addition to shopping and dining, Shoreline Village offers an array of fun activities including parasailing and Wheel Fun Rentals.
Long Beach Antique Market
The LONG BEACH ANTIQUE FLEA MARKET is hosted at Long Beach Veterans Stadium on the third Sunday of every month in Long Beach, California, in the United States. A large variety of antiques and collectibles are offered by over 800 dealers. This event, which was founded in 1982, is regarded as one of the top flea markets in the United States.
If you’ve somehow exhausted every location and activity on this list check out our many other guides for fun things to do with kids here.
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