I’ve got to tell you, I love our little city; for us, it has the perfect mix of urban living, family-friendliness, and ocean proximity. While both C and I own and drive each of our cars religiously, this town also rules the public transit department, for Southern California, that is (because as I know having lived in the Midwest myself, nothing compares to a sprawling, efficient East-of-the-Mississippi public transit system).
Nothing beats Long Beach Transit (http://lbtransit.com/ for schedules and information) in summertime, y’all. Along with the standard city bus and Metro train set-ups, from Memorial Day through Labor Day the AQUABUS and AQUALINK boats connect not just the land system to the sea, but popular ports of call along Long Beach Harbor to other popular destinations around town. One could theoretically Metro from Downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach, change to a Passport Red Bus (part of Long Beach’s central city bus routing system), take that to the Aquarium, hang out there, and finally get on a boat and head over to Belmont Shore Pier (near the infamous 2nd Street area of town, just a few miles East of Downtown). What a fun and different way to not only get into the city but around the city itself.
At least once each summer since T has been 1 ½ years old, he, my mom, and I have taken a lovely afternoon summer cruise on the Aqualink. We had no particular destination other than taking a boat ride with T around Long Beach Harbor. A one-way fare on the Aqualink is $5, and thankfully our local community newspaper always seems to run coupons off-on all summer long for BOGO fares (big thanks to LB Transit for buying ad space in the Grunion Gazette!). This helps because for our particular purpose, we must disembark at the end of the line and need to repurchase another one-way fare back to our origination point (one drawback, you cannot just ride on the Aqualink in a loop all day long, but that’s OK).
Finally, I’ve saved the best part for last, folks… while T enjoys running inside the cabin of the Aqualink and looking out for seals on the buoys, my mom and I happily settle into one of the window booths and enjoy the view with ice-cold gin-and-tonics in hand. No, I did not stutter: the Aqualink boat has a bar. How/why, you ask? Heck, who cares, it’s freaking awesome if you ask me. This brings me back once again to my comparisons to East and Midwest transit systems and the ability there to buy beers before leaving on Metro train rides out to the suburbs; in other words, LB Transit is riding the high life.
I hope you can get out there this summer and enjoy all that LB Transit has to offer, all while enjoying an icy cold beverage of your choice.
PS – fare on the Aquabus (a more centralized water taxi system) starts at only $1 if that’s more your speed; heads up, though, no bar on those boats.