Stretching along five-and-a-half miles of sandy coastline, Long Beach, Calif., is a sophisticated urban center that also has the charm of a seaside community
Do your travel plans include an upcoming trip to California? Visitor-friendly Long Beach is a popular destination, whether you are vacationing or headed to the PVA Convention this summer (Aug. 13–17, Westin Long Beach Hotel).
With nearly 345 days of sunshine every year and summer temperatures of 70–80 degrees, Long Beach is the ultimate year-round destination. Located 20 miles south of Los Angeles, it offers a dynamic range of oceanfront hotels, attractions, shopping, recreational activities, art and culture, restaurants and nightly entertainment. Travelocity (travelocity.com) lists 18 Long Beach hotels with wheelchair accessibility.
In Your Spare Time
If you visit Long Beach on business, your free time may be limited. But when your schedule allows some exploring, you — and/or your family — might check out some of the following destinations and activities. Be sure to verify accessibility ahead of time.
The city’s best-known attractions range from the historic ocean liner The Queen Mary to the sustainable Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. The Queen Mary is one of the world’s most luxurious ships to ever sail the Atlantic Ocean. The liner features a 314-stateroom hotel and several restaurants. Visitors can explore this majestic ship from the wheelhouse to the engine room. For access information, visit www.queenmary.com / 800-437-2934.
For a face-to-fish encounter, the aquarium is a world-class facility that is home to more than 11,000 inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean representing some 500 different species. A short walk from the aquarium along picturesque Rainbow Harbor are two entertainment/dining/shopping complexes: Shoreline Village and The Pike at Rainbow Harbor. The harbor is home to boats of all types, including fishing boats, tall ships, luxury charter yachts, harbor tour boats, pleasure craft and even a replica Mississippi stern wheeler.
Long Beach’s sandy beaches and pleasant climate make it the ultimate year-round playground. Winding along the beach are smooth, wide paths perfect for biking, inline skating, running or strolling. Day and night harbor cruises offer beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
If you have time to cruise a little farther, check out boat tours to Catalina Island. Just an hour off the coast of Long Beach, Catalina is a favorite destination for visitors from around the world. Many return year after year to enjoy the island’s Mediterranean climate, laid-back lifestyle, and abundance of activities. For example, Catalina is said to feature the only zip line in Los Angeles County! Catalina Express has up to 30 daily departures year round on a fleet of fast and sleek boats. Contact: Catalina Express, 800-315-3967 / www.catalinaexpress.com.
Long Beach’s eclectic array of shopping choices ranges from antiques to retail centers. And when it’s time to dine, you will find hundreds of options from intimate cafes to spectacular oceanfront restaurants.
For visitors’ convenience, friendly downtown guides wearing blue shirts, blue caps and khaki pants are stationed in a 40-block area and help visitors find restaurants, shops and attractions.
Getting Around Town
According to the city’s website, all Long Beach Transit (www.lbtransit.com) vehicles and vessels are wheelchair accessible. Passengers can use the wheelchair lifts or ramps at most boarding locations. There are two wheelchair positions. If they are occupied, the driver will stop and advise you to catch the next trip. During the trip, wheelchairs must be secured with the restraint equipment provided. A seatbelt and harnesses are available upon request. Mobility devices may not have fewer than three wheels, exceed 30 x 48 inches, or weigh more than 600 pounds when occupied.
To plan your visit to Long Beach, log on to www.visitlongbeach.com or call 800-452-7829. For information about the PVA Convention, contact PVA Meeting Services at 800-424-8200. See the July 2013 PN for additional information about Long Beach.