Long Beach Shoreline Bike Ride to Alamitos Bay


Long Beach Shoreline Bike Ride

05.17.12

From the issue River Coaster

Go Long

All good journeys eventually come to an end, and the San Gabriel River does it beautifully at Alamitos Bay. Take it in on a 10-mile (round-trip) stretch of the Long Beach shoreline. While this is not the jam-packed Strand, the bikeway is best late in the day when crowds are thinner and the sunset puts on a colorful show. Start at the Golden Shore Marine Biological Reserve Park, which preserves 20 acres of shoreline for birds like the great white heron. Follow the paved bikeway around the world's largest aquarium—Aquarium of the Pacific—leaving the waves behind temporarily to ride the bike-only portion of the path. Cross Shoreline Drive to avoid waterfront vendors in favor of the tranquil Rainbow Harbor Lagoon. Marked by arched rainbow bridges, the lagoon is a traditional Japanese-style design filled with seawater. Cruise past heaving boats docked in the Long Beach Marina before the path opens onto a 3-mile stretch along white sand. The controversial Wilmington Oil Field floats offshore: four "drilling islands" are decorated in palms trees and faux waterfalls to mask the oil wells—not exactly havens of "aloha." Continue past the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and to the bikeway's end at Alamitos Bay. This is where the San Gabriel River—after touching 37 cities!—reaches its final destination. Return the way you came, rolling as the setting sun bathes the horizon in punchy pinks and purples. The Long goodbye.

BEER BONUS: On the way back, stop at Belmont Brewing Company (25 39th Place) right along the bike path. Grab a strawberry blonde on tap and a seat on the patio to catch the rest of the sunset.

Take I-710 to Long Beach and exit at Downtown Long Beach/Convention Center/Aquarium. Merge onto W. Shoreline Dr. and take the ramp toward Golden Shore Dr. Turn right after .3-mile on Golden Shore. Golden Shore Marine Biological Reserve Park parking lot will be on the right. Meters are free on Sunday. Follow the bikeway left from the parking lot to head toward the beach. Follow the well-marked signs .6-mile past the Aquarium of the Pacific. Cross Shoreline Dr. and continue past the Rainbow Harbor Lagoon. After .6-mile, cross back over the intersection at Shoreline Dr. to reach the Long Beach Marina. Turn left and continue for almost 4 miles until the path ends at 54th St. and Alamitos Bay. Return the way you came. Dog-friendly! 

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