Category Archives for "Activities"

May 28

Long Beach Boat and Yacht Rentals

By Drew | Activities , Alamitos Bay Marina , Rainbow Harbor

Long Beach has several options for visitors looking to rent a boat or a yacht. From jet-skis to large corporate events, the Long Beach marinas have boat rentals and yacht rentals for all of your needs.

Be Your Own Captain

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Long Beach Boat Rentals

Looking for a fun afternoon on the water? You can drive your own boat with Long Beach Boat Rentals at Shoreline Village in Rainbow Habor. Long Beach Boat Rentals has several different types of boats for rent. For an exciting, fast paced adventure they have 40hp and 75hp powerboats, or, for a more relaxing ride, they also have electric Duffy boats. The powerboats can accommodate up to 6 passengers, and the Duffys can accommodate up to 8. The powerboats are perfect for people looking to explore the nearshore area around Long Beach, while the Duffys provide a comfortable, relaxed way to be on the water and are perfect for parties or families with children. No boating experience is necessary, but skippers will need to have a driver’s license to operate the boats.

If you are looking for more of an adrenaline rush, Long Beach Boat Rentals also rents jet-skis. The jet-skis can carry up to two people, and no prior experience is necessary. Riders have to be at least 16 years old, though, or 18 to operate one of the jet skis.

Long Beach Boat Rentals is located at 401 E. Shoreline Dr in Long Beach. Their booth is behind the Yardhouse, at the top of the ramp for Dock 8. They can be reached at (562) 491-7400. Advance reservations are recommended, especially during the summer and on holidays. Parking is available in the Shoreline Village parking lot, or in the Marina Green parking lot.

On the east side of Long Beach, London Boat Rentals also offers electric Duffy boat rentals. Alamitos Bay is perfect for a slow, comfortable cruise, and the boats easily travel through the narrow canals in Naples Island. While Alamitos Bay is much more low-key than Rainbow Harbor, during Christmas time the canals are the best place to see the Christmas lights on the houses, and the Duffy boats from London Boat Rentals are the best way to see them.

London Boat Rentals is located at 186 N. Marina Dr. in Long Beach, at Alamitos Landing. Parking is available in the Alamitos Landing Lot. They can be reached at (562) 594-2628.

Large Parties and Corporate Events

The Grand Romance

The Grand Romance

For large parties, Harbor Breeze Cruises, Hornblower Cruises, and the Grand Romance Riverboat have what you need. All three are located in Rainbow Harbor and can handle parties of over 100 people. Parking for all three is available in the Aquarium parking structure at 99 Aquarium Way. Harbor Breeze Cruises and Hornblower Cruises are also popular choices for corporate events, and often times even hold events for the Long Beach Mayor and City Council! All boats have a full bar and Coast Guard licensed captain and full and experienced crew and offer cruises around the Long Beach coast and Port of Long Beach. Reservations can be made by clicking on the above links.

May 25

Long Beach Grand Prix Guest Slips

By Drew | Activities , Rainbow Harbor , Shoreline Village , Special Events

The Long Beach Grand Prix is one of the busiest times of the year for the Long Beach marinas. The three day event takes over the downtown area of Long Beach, including the Shoreline Marina and Rainbow Harbor. During this time, several streets are closed off during the race, and also during “Press Day”, which is usually the Tuesday before the race. During these closures, no vehicles will be allowed in the marinas unless they have a marina issued parking pass, which is only available to permanent slip holders and their guests. There are Marine Bureau employees and LBPD officers staffed at various entrance points around the marinas directing traffic and controlling vehicle access. Vehicles entering the marinas will be directed to drive down Shoreline Dr. and then onto Alamitos Beach and through the Marina Green parking lot. Parking during this time is extremely impacted, and temporary paper parking passes are not issued by the Shoreline office or Rainbow Harbor office, so carpooling is a must. Another thing to keep in mind is that Rainbow Harbor/Marina is technically part of the Grand Prix circuit, so a ticket is needed to even get to the restaurants in Shoreline Village. No tickets are sold by the marinas. Grand Prix guest slips are also at a premium this weekend, and reservations, especially at Rainbow Harbor, are difficult to come by.

Long Beach Grand Prix

Ferris wheel at Shoreline Village Parking Lot

Shoreline Village and the Marina Green parking lot become spectator areas during the Grand Prix. Grand stands, food trucks, and other restaurant booths take over the grassy area at the Marina Green, while rides and vendors set up in the Shoreline Village parking lot. The bars and restaurants in Shoreline Village are open during the Grand Prix, and are jam packed from the time the Grand Prix starts until it ends. The restaurants all have extra security and their own wristbands to control the amount of people coming and going. Tickets are required to access any of these, though.

Grand Prix guest slips at Rainbow Harbor

Usually, getting a guest slip at Rainbow Harbor is a pretty simple and straightforward process. Call in, provide your paperwork and payment, and get your slip. But, during the Grand Prix, everything changes. Reservations for Long Beach Grand Pix guest slips starts far earlier than the usual 30 day window. On January 2nd, at 9am, the Rainbow Harbor office starts taking names on the Grand Prix list for guest slips. This list, however, does not guarantee a slip. It merely gives you a better chance at securing one. Instead of simply booking open slips and the Pine Ave. Pier, the marina office will also use Dock 8 (the public dock inside the marina) and some of the slips belonging to commercial operators inside the Fishbowl (Rainbow Marina). The slip fees are also increased during the event, going up to $6.00/ft (as of 2016), with a three day minimum; this means that a 30′ would be charged $540 for the slip for the weekend. Requests for certain slips or areas of the marina will try to be honored, but it is not always possible. If you have a specific area or dock you want to be in,  it is highly recommended you show up as early as possible on January 2nd to get a place in line; it is not uncommon for people to start showing up at 5am or sooner to get their usual spot. Dock space along Dock 8 and slips on SHM-4 (the dock closest to the Yardhouse and Tequila Jack’s) are always the first to go, so if you have your eye on those areas you would need to line up in the wee hours of the morning to secure them.

Grand Prix guest slips on Dock 8

Grand Prix guest slips on Dock 8

Once you have put your name on the list, the marina office will give you a call when they start booking, which is usually in mid-February. If you do not have a slip request, the marina will assign a slip based on your length and beam, and will ask for the paperwork for your vessel, plus a special packet that will need to be signed, including the Grand Prix guest slips rules. The rules simply reiterate the marina regulations, such as a ban on open containers on the docks, live bands, and nudity. Once the office has received your paperwork and signed packet, they will need payment, and ask how many wristbands and gate/restroom keys you will need. The key deposits increase to $100/key for the event, instead of the usual $50. The wristbands, keys, and your receipt (no parking passes are issued) will be available for pickup in the office a week or two before the race if you want to pick them up early. Or, the packets can also be dropped off to our vessel during the race, but marina employees aren’t always immediately available so there may be a wait for your wristbands and keys. Please note that no tickets are sold by the marinas, and the fees paid are simply for the dock space. Tickets are sold separately by the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Wristbands for the Long Beach Grand Prix Guest Slips

Security for the marina during the Grand Prix is very tight, and controlling the number of people on the docks is a priority for the marina and police department. In order to prevent over crowding on the docks, every boatowner in Rainbow Harbor will be issued a certain number of wristbands for themselves and their guests for the Long Beach Grand Prix. Without these wristband and a ticket, they will not be allowed on the docks in the marina. WRISTBANDS ARE REQUIRED FOR EVERY PERSON ON THE DOCK. Each boatowner is also responsible for their wristbands and their guests. If a person is causing trouble on the docks during the Long Beach Grand Prix, it might also jeopardize the boatowner’s slip rental. In the Grand Prix guest slips rules packet that is signed, it states that the marina may revoke a rental and keep any fees paid if the renter or any of their guests violate any of the rules or regulations.

The number of wristbands given out are based on the size of the vessel. This is a hard cap, and once the maximum number of wristbands is given out for a particular boat, no more will be issued. Each wristband comes with a serial number that corresponds to the boatowner it was given to, so the marina can track not only how many are given out, but also which slips have had guests escorted out of the marina.

These wristbands are single use only wristbands. They cannot be switched between different people, and are different colors each day. The Long Beach Marine Patrol will have officers staffed at the gate entrances checking wristbands, and any that look like they have been tampered with will be confiscated.

 Grand Prix Guest Slips at the Shoreline Marina

The process for getting Grand Prix guest slips are the Shoreline Marina is almost the same as any other time of year. Reservations can only be made 30 days in advance, and they will need all the required paperwork. The only differences are the fee goes up to $6.00/ft/night with a three night minimum, and the Grand Prix guest slips packet also needs to be signed. No parking passes will be given out for guests. Slips are easier to get here for the Grand Prix, so if you are looking for a slip last minute, the Shoreline Marina might have one available.

Long Beach Grand Prix Parking and Water Taxis

During the Grand Prix, on-site parking is only available for boatowners who have a permanent (year round) slip in the Long Beach marinas. No parking passes are given out to guest slips or guest of the boatowners. The Grand Prix Association has a limited number of parking passes for sale on their website, but those go very quickly. The businesses around the downtown area rent out their parking lots for the weekend, but fees can range anywhere from $15-$40 to park. Even then, the walk can be as long as a half a mile or more to get to the track. One option people may not think of is parking across town and using the water taxis. The AquaLink and AquaBus both run during the Grand Prix, and have pick ups outside of the marina. The AquaLink picks up at Alamitos Landing and the Belmont Pier, and the AquaBus picks up at the Queen Mary. If you are not planning on staying all night, you can park at any of the pick up sites (street parking is free around the Belmont Pier, and marina parking is free until 10pm at Alamitos Landing) and take the water taxi over! Parking is much cheaper (or even free), and the only fee would be for the ride over!

May 24

Guest Slips in the Long Beach Marinas

By Drew | Activities , Long Beach Marinas

All three public marinas in Long Beach offer guest slips. Guest slips can be booked up to 30 days in advance, and for a maximum of 15 days per calendar month. The current fee for (most) slips is $1.15/foot of your vessel/night; however, the fees go up every October, and there are exceptions for certain special events and also at Rainbow Harbor and the Shoreline Marina. To book the slips, all the marinas require current registration or documentation, current insurance with at least $100,000 in liability coverage (property damage or protection and indemnity), a current driver’s license, and there is a short form that will need to be signed. All paperwork needs to be provided ahead of time, but once it is on file reservations can be made over the phone with a Visa or Mastercard. Check in and check out time is 12 noon, and there is an extra fee if you leave past the check out time (although the marina offices can be flexible if you call ahead and ask for a late check out). All slips come with power and water included, and a maximum of 2 vehicle parking passes per slip.

Guest slips cannot be guaranteed at the marinas and often times the slips will be fully booked, especially during the summer months and on holidays. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

Alamitos Bay Guest Slips

Alamitos Bay books their guests on available end-ties, or less frequently in open slips. The end-ties are side ties, and in certain parts of the marina there can be a wake from passing vessels.  As of May 2016, the marina is currently under renovations, so guest slips are in extremely short supply, and reservations made 30 days ahead of time are recommended. Some docks have yet to be rebuilt, so there are new, concrete end-ties and old, wooden ones as well. Restroom keys are a $50 deposit, and there are currently no gates on the docks. If you plan on returning, you can keep the key instead of returning it for the deposit; this cuts makes it easier if you are going to be arriving after hours and cannot make it to the office. Reservations can be made by calling (562) 570-3215 between 8am-5pm 7 days per week. To try and book a slip walking in during business hours, you can type up to the harbormaster dock outside of the office and walk with your paperwork. If you arrive outside of normal business hours, tie up on the harbormaster dock and provide your paperwork and payment when the office opens in the morning.

Shoreline Marina Guest Slips

Guest slips at the Shoreline Marina in Downtown Long Beach are on GG dock, which is the dock closest to the beach, near the fuel dock. They are single slips, but are in  a limited size range. Guest slips here are easier to midweek and during the Fall/Winter, but fill up during holidays and weekends in the Spring and Summer. The docks here are gated, so a $50 deposit on a key is required. Keys here are on a computerized “FOB” system and are turned off after your last scheduled day, so it makes more sense to return the key rather than keep it for another stay. During the Long Beach Grand Prix and Long Beach Jazz Festival, guest slips are $3.00/foot/night with a three nigh minimum. Parking passes will also be limited to one per slip. Guest slips during these times book up very quickly so reservations must be made as close to 30 days ahead of time as possible. Reservations can be made by calling (562) 570-4950 between 8am-5pm 7 days per week.

Rainbow Harbor Guest Slips

The Tallship Lady Washington on the Pine Ave Pier

The Tallship Lady Washington on the Pine Ave Pier

Rainbow Harbor has many different options for transient boaters looking for guest slips. In Rainbow Marina (the Fishbowl), any slip not rented out permanently is used as a guest slip. The slips can accommodate any vessel up to 50′ in length and up to 16′ wide. Rainbow Harbor has the Pine Ave Pier, which is a 180′ long pier and can accommodate any vessel up to that size. Rainbow Harbor also has 150′ long commercial docks that can be rented out. The Pine Ave Pier and commercial docks are side ties with 50a-125v/250v  and 100a 3 phase power available. These docks are very popular with visiting yacht clubs,who have the option to raft up to each other with the harbormaster’s approval. Guest slips on the weekends, holidays, and during the summer almost always fill up, so advanced reservations are always needed.

The guest slips fees at Rainbow Harbor and Marina are different as well. Visiting vessels over 90′ are charged a flat $315/night, and the fees during the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Jazz Festival go up to $6.00/foot/night with a three night minimum.

Reservations can be made my calling (562) 570-8636 between 8am-4pm 7 days per week. If you arrive after office hours, tie up on one of the public docks and call the after hours line at (562) 570-3101 and inform the on-call person. Failure to do this could result in your boat being impounded!

Anchoring in Long Beach

Per Long Beach Municipal Code 15.08.510, no vessel may anchor in the nearshore are in Long Beach. However, the Marina Manager has designated the leeside of Island White as an anchoring area Friday-Sunday. This area is patrolled by the Long Beach Lifeguards, and any vessel anchoring outside of those days will be cited or towed. For more information on anchoring you can call the Long Beach Lifeguards at (562) 570-1360.

Apr 10

Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing

By Drew | Activities , Alamitos Bay Marina , Rainbow Harbor

Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing 


Shoreline Village Long Beach

Shoreline Village at Rainbow Harbor


Shoreline Village and Alamitos Landing are two popular spots in Long Beach to spend an afternoon. Both offer many shopping and dining options not just for a boaters and sailors, but for anybody visiting Long Beach.

Shoreline Village is located at 401 Shoreline Dr. at Rainbow Harbor/Marina. It spans the east edge of the marina, and has much more than just shops and restaurants. While at first glance it looks like a large outdoor mall (or tourist trap), it has plenty of the character and charm that makes Long Beach unique. Shoreline Village is home to the first Yardhouse restaurant, opened in 1996 at the north end of the village. The Yardhouse was at the forefront of the craft beer movement, and now has over 60 locations across the United States.  At the opposite end of the village is Parker’s Lighthouse restaurant, 2015 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Upstairs from Parker’s Lighthouse is the Queensview Steakhouse, which, as the name suggests, offers amazing view of the Queen Mary and Queensway Bay. The Yardhouse and Parker’s Lighthouse are both just steps away from the public docks in Rainbow Marina, and are very popular with visiting boaters. Also located in Shoreline Village is Shenanigan’s Irish Pub, an OC Weekly 2013 award winner for best bar in Orange County and Cafe Dia, which serves up some of the best Mediterranean food in Downtown Long Beach.

There is more to Shoreline Village than shops and restaurants, though. Pelican Pier Pavilion is a large arcade that also houses a carousel, and is very popular with kids. Wheel Fun Rentals offers not just bicycle/quadcycle rentals, but also Segway tours of the harbor and Pike. If walking around the harbor has you itching to buy a boat, Shoreline Yacht Sales is located upstairs from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate factory, and can get you into a yacht in no time. On the weekends, Smile For the Birdie brings their trained exotic birds to Shoreline Village for some great photo opportunities. Shoreline Village also has special events several times a year. Visits from Santa and the Easter Bunny are the most popular, as well as their Mardi Gras celebration and Civil War reinactment. If you are looking for more fun on the water, Marina Sailing, located next to Wheel Fun Rentals, is one of the largest sailing clubs in the state, and has several yachts available for charter, with or without a captain. They also offer sailing lessons, ASA certifications, and yacht sales.

Alamitos Landing

Alamitos Landing

Alamitos Landing, located on the east side of Long Beach in the Alamitos Bay marina, is a lesser known and more intimate village popular with locals. Even though it does not have the same number of attractions as Shoreline Village has, it makes up for it with the quiet, peaceful ambiance that the other can sometimes lack.

Alamitos Landing is located at the Alamitos Bay Marina at the intersection of Marina Dr. and North Marina Drive. There is a small parking lot, with additional parking available until 10pm across the street in the marina lot. Alamitos Landing has six popular hangouts: Malarkey’s Irish pub, Five O’Clock wine bar, Boathouse on the Bay restaurant, London boat rentals, Long Beach Hydrobikes, and Long Beach Sportfishing.  There is also roughly 200′ of public dock space available, split between a north dock in front of Malarkey’s, and a south dock in front of a currently vacant restaurant. The public docks are marked with green paint on the bullrail, and are available for free for a maximum of two hours.

For on the water fun, Long Beach Hydrobikes is one of the more unique attractions in Long Beach. Hydrobikes are almost exactly what you would expect them to be; they are modified bike frames attached to two pontoons with paddles underneath, and a rudder for steering. Visitors can peddle around Alamitos Bay and through the canals on Naples Island, and it is a great way to see Long Beach from the water while getting plenty of exercise. They are located on the south dock in front of the old Khoury’s restaurant. Directly across from them is one of the public docks. On the north dock, London Boat Rentals, formerly Pelican Joe’s, has 18′-21′ electric Duffy boats available for rentals, and is the perfect way to have a relaxing day on the water or experience an Alamitos Bay sunset. London Boat Rentals also shares its dock with the AquaLink water taxi, which takes riders from Alamitos Bay to Rainbow Harbor. Also on the north dock is Long Beach Sportfishing, which offers 1/2 day, 3/4 day, full day and multiday fishing charters.

Alamitos Landing has three (soon to be four) dining options. Malarkey’s is an Irish (kinda) Bar and Grill that has gotten a sizable local following since opening in 2013. Now only does it have some great waterfront views, it also has a public dock right out front, making it perfect for boaters looking for a beer and a burger after a long day on the water.

Next to Malarkey’s is the Five O’Clock Wine Bar and Boathouse on the Bay. The Five O’Clock Wine Bar is a cozy a cozy hangout with a great selection of California wines and craft beers. It serves a small tapas-like menu, and has a heated out door patio with seating and live music on the weekends. Boathouse on the Bay, occupies the former McKenna’s location on the west end of Alamitos Landing. It is a fine dining destination on the water, with lots of patio seating and great views of the bay.

Sandwiched in-between the Five O’Clock Wine Bar and Boathouse on the Bay is the Captain’s Locker, a small shop for basic boat repair parts. It is also within walking distance to the public docks, so it is just a quick walk away when you need to replace a water pump or starter. The guys there are also very knowledgeable, and can help walk you through basic troubleshooting or maintenance.

These aren’t the only places to hang out around the marinas. Places like Pine Ave, Second St, and Main Street in Seal Beach have plenty to offer and are just a short Uber ride away, so go exploring!

Mar 14

Whale Watching in Long Beach

By Drew | Activities , Rainbow Harbor , Whale Watching

Wondering about whale watching in Long Beach?

whale watching Long Beach

Blue Whale

Whale watching is a popular outing that is fun for the whole family.Whale watching in Long Beach is typically done from October through July, when the whales migrate between Alaska and Mexico. Their migration pattern takes them through Southern California, making Long Beach the perfect spot to go spot whales. When whale watching in Long Beach, you’ll see Pacific Grey Whales, Fin Whales, Humpback Whales, Orcas, and even Blue Whales!  During the late summer months, the whale watching cruises become sea-life cruises, and search out local dolphins, seals, and sea lions.


 There are three whale watching cruises in Long Beach

The most popular whale watching in Long Beach is done by Harbor Breeze Cruises. They have been doing whale watching in Long Beach for close to 20 years. They have 7 boats, including their newest, a state of the art 50′ catamaran named the Triumph. They run several 3 hour tours every day out of Docks 2, 3, and 7 in Rainbow Harbor. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website,, or at their ticket booth at Dock 2. Parking is available for a fee at the Aquarium of the Pacific parking structure at 99 Aquarium Way, Long Beach CA 90802. They are also located a short walk from the AquaBus and AquaLink on Dock 4. Harbor Breeze’s boats are staffed by United States Coast Guard certified captains, and several experienced deckhands, and include a snack bar and a limited bar. Kiosks near their docks sell anything you may have forgotten, including motion sickness pills, beanies, sunglasses, and hats. Whale watching is perfect for families with children, as the seas are generally calm and the vessels are large enough that seasickness is not usually a problem. There are also plenty of child-sized life jackets on each vessel.

While sightings cannot be guaranteed, during different times of the year Gray Whales, Fin Whales, and Humpback whales can be seen along side dolphins, seal lions, and other marine animals in and around Long Beach, the Port of Long Beach, and Catalina Island.  Harbor Breeze also partners with the Aquarium of the Pacific to include one of their educators on some cruises.

Harbor Breeze Cruises also offers shorter 45 minute harbor cruises around the Port of Long Beach and the surrounding areas. These use the same boats as the whale watching cruises, and use the same docks. For information you can call (562) 983-6884.

The Tall Ship American Pride also offers whale watching in Long Beach.  Located on Dock 3, the 130′ three masted schooner is a recreation of a 19th tall ship, and offers whale watching on selected Saturdays, and a whale watching brunch on Sundays. During the week, the ship is available for school sponsored whale watching. Advanced reservations are required, and tickets cannot be purchased at the dock. Reservations can be made by going to their website or by calling (714) 970-8800.

Capt. Chuck from Island Trader Charters also does whale watching. he has a 38′ power boat located in Rainbow Marina, near Shoreline Village. He specializes in small groups (maximum of 6), by appointment only. He can be reached at (714) 625-6074.