Escape the Heat of Palm Springs and Visit Long Beach for Two or Three Days
As the desert sun brought unrelenting temperatures in August to Palm Springs, it was time to plan a trip to the beach. Yearning to experience a cool beach morning, the search began.
Since we are living in a pandemic era, I did not feel safe staying at a hotel, so I turned to Airbnb to look for an apartment. I sought out a place with a full kitchen and one close to a beach. With no particular beach in mind, it opened up many possibilities.
After searching, I discovered one in Long Beach. I had never explored that area, so it seemed like the right choice. The apartment I found was 35 steps from the beach, all the amenities one could ask for, and even a parking spot.
(If you are looking for a beachside place, keep in mind parking is at a premium. You don't want to spend time looking for a parking spot and then have to walk a considerable distance with your belongings.)
In good traffic, the drive to Long Beach from Palm Springs is two hours. It is freeway driving. I'm pretty sure you have learned to stay in the same lane for the drive causes you a whole lot less stress.
(You will want to avoid the 3-7:00 p.m. hours and Friday nights if you can.)
Delighted to have the owner, Sam, greet me. He showed me where to park and gave me a grand tour of the apartment, including what he has done to protect me from the virus. It had a delightful patio, a BBQ, and indeed was just across the street from the expansive beach.
We then got into a discussion about his favorite place to dine. (When you travel someplace, be sure to ask the locals where they like to dine.)
It quickly became apparent; my perceived thoughts about Long Beach were wrong. This city had gigantic skyscrapers, a very modern enormous shopping center, and recent changes illustrating this city was far from just a sleepy little beach town.
The Oceana Boulevard, which takes you along the road out of downtown with modern-looking apartment complexes, beckons one to explore. The wide, four-mile beach provides ample places for you to bring your blanket, lunch, and social distance from others.
Meals at the Beach
Since I had a kitchen, I did most of my cooking. However, a fun, well-established place to go for a hearty breakfast is Chuck's Coffee Shop right on the edge of the beach. The staff is delightful. They had an excellent relaxed beach-like attitude, which makes it a great way to start your day on an outdoor patio. (If you have a late breakfast, I can assure you won't need lunch.)
There are numerous grocery stores, so you don't need to bring many groceries with you if you are cooking on your own. For fresh seafood, I discovered Fisherman's Market. They had every kind of fish you would ever desire. If you decide not to cook it yourself, their menu will certainly fulfill anyone's cravings for fresh seafood.
Walking the beach early in the morning brings many surprises. It is quiet, and walking along the water's edge provides a meditative state for even the most stressed-out visitor. (It was August, and there are very few seashells.)
Birds are just waking up. Their choruses of songs are a welcoming sound to any city dweller.
Veterans Memorial Pier beckons you to explore its charm. Fishers are arriving; people are walking/biking and running to the end. It is the perfect location to stand to wait for the sunrise. While leaning on the railing, taking in the scene before you, do not be surprised if you see porpoises out playing very near the pier.
The sun surfaced behind a grove of palm trees and cast a shadow on the water's edge. Then it slowly rose over the trees in its full glory, bringing a promise of a beautiful day at the beach.
Things to See and Do
The City of Long Beach has developed a lovely park area, complete with an Olympic size swimming pool. Walking/running and biking is welcome as evidence of their lengthy paved path labeled for pedestrians or bike lane. If you are a beach lover, you will not be disappointed.
If shopping is your pastime, you will want to appreciate Pikes Outlet Mall in downtown Long Beach. You will marvel at the contemporary skyscrapers. Garage parking is available.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is the largest in California. It is holding the record as the 4th highest attendance rate in the United States. They have numerous educational opportunities.
The Queen Mary You can drive up to it and see its grandeur. However, it is not open to the public now to address safety issues. It still worth the drive around the harbor to see it.
Finally, I am bummed because I missed the "Drive-In" movies held at the beach. (Be sure to check events happening in Long Beach before you go.)
Kathy Condon is a freelance travel writer and blogger. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide Her book It Doesn't Hurt to Ask: It's All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com