The Queen Mary#2 in Best Things To Do in Long Beach, CA
One of the most popular attractions in Long Beach is the Queen Mary, a retired British cruise ship that operated numerous transatlantic voyages throughout the early 1900s. Once known for its classy atmosphere and high profile guests like Winston Churchill, the ship is now frequented by travelers looking to learn about its history and get a glimpse into the luxury of the past.
Aboard the ship, travelers can take guided tours and explore different themed exhibits. There are different tours to choose from, including a Steam and Steel tour that brings you deep into the bowels of the ship to the boiler rooms and generators. Exhibits include the Shipyard and the Ship Model Gallery, where you can admire replicas of the Queen Mary in its prime. For those exploring independently, there's a scavenger hunt to follow. There are also nighttime dining experiences, in addition to more unique activities, such as illusion performances and paranormal walks through the supposedly haunted parts of the ship. Previous travelers highly recommended the Haunted Encounters tour but warn it may run a bit longer than other tours.
There is also a hotel on board where guests can stay in one of the 347 refurbished rooms and suites. Prices vary based on room size and season but a one-night stay may cost between $100 and $550. Previous guests shared positive experiences and recommend dining at Sir Winston's restaurant onboard despite the high price tag.
Visitors can book tours on the Queen Mary website or in person. If you'd rather tour these exhibits on your own rather than with a guide, you'll just need to purchase a general admission ticket. Most guided tours fall between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. unless you signed up for a night tour in which case it will start between 8 and 11 p.m. The main restaurant on deck, Sir Winston's Lounge, is open from 5 until 9 p.m. (although it's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). The hours extend until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. You'll find the Queen Mary at the end of Queens Highway, docked alongside commercial cruise ships in the port. For more information, visit the official website.
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#1 Junipero Beach
While there are miles of shoreline in the Long Beach area, not all beaches are made equal. There's Alamitos, which is easily accessed from the downtown area and close to hotels. There's Rosie's Dog Beach, which is a great place to bring your furry friends. However, a crowd favorite is Junipero Beach – also called Cherry Beach – which stretches along the Bluff Park area.
This strip of coastline begins where Alamitos Beach ends. At Junipero, the high rises that back Alamitos are replaced with the more residential communities of Bluff Park. Here, the sand is soft and waves are calm, making it an ideal place for families. Because the sand area is wide, there's plenty of space for visitors to spread out and you're sure to get a solid spot. The beach has many convenient amenities, such as showers, lifeguards on duty during peak months and bike paths. This is also one of the only areas in Bluff Park with handicap accessible beach entrance. Many people enjoy participating in the free yoga classes that take place on Junipero as well.
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