When it comes classic amusement park adventures, two nearby attractions are synonymous with California fun: Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. Far more than an agricultural camp, Knott’s Berry Farm has more than a dozen roller coasters and thrill rides, including the legendary Montezooma’s Revenge, as well as a water park and recreations of a Califonia ghost town and Spanish settlements. Over in Disneyland, Mickey Mouse and friends welcome you to thrill rides, shows, and Disney-fied recreations of American history.
One of America’s premier aquariums, the Aquarium of the Pacific will bring you up close to more than 11,000 Northern Pacific animals and colorful reefs from the Southern Pacific. Some of the most popular exhibits include the Shark Lagoon, where you can actually touch these graceful creatures, and a tropical forest aviary, where you can hand-feed nectar to the colorful Lorikeet birds.
This natural refuge just off the coast attracts more than one million visitors with its seductive beauty and fun activities. Biking and hiking through the rocky interiors, scuba diving with the colorful flying fish in Lover’s Cove, taking a glass-bottom boat cruise or a whale-watching cruise, and ziplining from the island’s mountains to the sea are among the island’s many distractions.
Got a few hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket? Then take in a truly unique experience in LA with an aerial tour by helicopter or air ship (zeppelin). Los Angeles Helicopters offers six different tour packages leaving from Long Beach and spotlighting the great aerial views of LA, Catalina, or Southern California’s wine country.
For a more relaxed approach, try Long Beach Balloon Rides for wondrous sights from the unique perspective of a Hot Air Balloon Ride! Fly through a cloud-covered wonderland in the comfort of your own aerial observatory, from upwards of 1,500 feet.
Just off the coast is an abundant marine habitat where you’ll get to experience the amazing diversity of sea life. Newport Landing offers 2.5-hour whale watching tours departing just south of Long Beach. Giant blue whales – at up to 100 feet long and 150 tons, they are the largest animals in the world – are a highlight for whale watchers, but orcas, minke whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales are also common, as are several species of dolphins and sea lions.
The legendary Queen Mary is Long Beach’s most popular attraction. This historic ocean liner and World War II troopship is now a wonderful time capsule of the golden age of transatlantic oceanic travel. Whether you’re interested in art deco design or naval history, the ship is worth a guided tour. You can even stay aboard overnight in one of its first-class staterooms and suites. While you’re at the port, make a visit to the retired, Cold-War-era Russian submarine, the Scorpion. A guided tour will recreate the underwater experience while displaying the most fearsome naval weapons tech of the Cold War.