Four Free Activities to Include in Your Long Beach Vacation

If you’re planning a trip to Long Beach and the surrounding Los Angeles County area, you probably have plenty of travel expenses built into your vacation already. If you have some free time to fill, but limited funds for your extra activities, consider including these free finds in your trip. From picturesque drives to historical highlights, these Long Beach attractions will give you a well-rounded view of all the area has to offer without draining a penny from your travel budget.

Visit the Henry Ford Bridge

You may not know the Henry Ford Bridge by name, but this Long Beach icon featured in car commercials and television shows, including the popular Showtime series “Dexter”. This bridge is adjacent to the Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge, which you may recognize from the 2010 movie “Inception.” The latter bridge also featured in the opening credits of the television series “Mannix.” Snag a hotel near the Henry Ford Bridge and you can easily fit a scenic drive past this site into your itinerary.

Unwind at the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

The Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden is a peaceful retreat found on the CSU Long Beach campus. The garden spans 1.3 acres. It includes gently swaying bamboo, soothing water features, and distinctive Japanese landscaping. The garden is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free, making this the ideal place to forget your cares and relax for an afternoon.

Stroll Through Shoreline Village

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Image via Flickr by Loren Javier

Shoreline Village is a charming waterfront shopping and dining destination in Long Beach. While you can spend a few dollars on delicious snacks or unique mementos, this stop is also undeniably enjoyable when you simply drop in for window shopping. Watch the bright carousel take a few spins, try on a new look at the Village Hat Shop, and browse the eclectic collection of art and accessories at The Beach House. Stay in a nearby hotel like Hyatt the Pike Long Beach, and stop in several times during your stay.

Tour Rancho Los Cerritos

Rancho Los Cerritos is a historical museum housed within an adobe home constructed in 1844. Guests touring the house experience an in-depth look at the rich history of the Mexican, Spanish, and American families. They first settled in this area of California, transforming it from a ranching community to the urban destination it is today. Furnishings in the home reflect the typical lifestyle of inhabitants in the 1860s and 1880s. Historical gardens appear on the site as well. Tours are free, though donations are welcome. Save a few dollars for the gift shop, where you can purchase seed packets from the plants in the historical garden.

Trim your travel budget even more by booking a cheap Long Beach hotel for your stay. Check out my Long Beach hotel guide on Hipmunk for more tips and suggestions. Add you own favorite free and cheap area activities in the comments below.

Author Bio: Mandi Rogier is a resident of sunny central Florida who regularly contributes to several travel blogs and websites including Hipmunk. In her free time she enjoys visiting nearby theme parks, taking family road trips, and planning girlfriend getaways.


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