LB Transit Helps Friends Link Up All Summer Long

All aboard who’s coming aboard! Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink and Aquabus boats are back on the water for the summer shuttling residents and visitors alike up and down the city’s shoreline.

Another AquaLink passes us by along the Long Beach (CA) waterfront.

The other day, T and I took our annual pleasure cruise from Alamitos Bay into Rainbow Harbor here in our hometown of Long Beach (CA). While we normally take this little boat trip with Grandma (my mom) once a summer, we had a chance to join a bigger group this time out and earlier on in the season, all thanks to our play group and them now making Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink a new summertime tradition of their own as well!

Had we not gotten on the “slow boat” we would not have gotten to see the newly revamped docks at Belmont Pier from the water. Nice!

This is the first summer that Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink has docked at Belmont Pier, giving even more choices for riders as far as dining and entertainment options.

Our group took off out of Alamitos Bay Landing (near McKenna’s – thanks again to them by the way for the pile of two-for-one coupons!) on the “slow boat” over to Dock 4 inside of Rainbow Harbor near the Aquarium of the Pacific. The one-way ride lasted about 45 minutes, where the express route of Alamitos Bay Landing to Dock 4 direct takes just 30 minutes. We had been planning to take the express outbound but when we showed up, the other boat was already there and waiting, almost like it was waiting just for us; given it wasn’t that much longer of a ride time overall (it actually left 10 minutes earlier than the other boat would have, and took just 15 minutes longer), we happily hopped aboard.

The kids look out over the ocean as we cruise on the AquaLink in Long Beach (CA).

T gets a little snack while aboard the AquaLink. You can bring your own food on board the AquaLink (we had no trouble anyway), but I still always get T a little something from the snack stand, too. Just a family tradition!

I don’t remember this from summers’ past, but there’s a nice on-board camera surveillance system on the AquaLink. This helped a lot when the kids would step outside on-deck and, oops, forget to tell us adults.

The boys take a small break and look through some catalogs that T brought on board for the ride on the AquaLink.

Kids of all ages can enjoy a lovely cruise on Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink water shuttle system.

The kids had a great time on the AquaLink hanging out, having snacks, and looking out over and into the water during the ride. The adults enjoyed the trip, too, either by way of pleasant conversation, showing the kids different things out the window or off the bow and stern decks, or with a nice drink in hand. Wait, did I say that? OK, so I’m the only one who had a drink-drink, but what can I say? It’s a tradition of my own, and it truly is one very nice perk of the AquaLink given riders usually are not driving anywhere for hours (please always exercise responsible behavior, RMT’ers!).

Everyone gets their land legs back in working order with a trek along Rainbow Harbor’s boardwalk in Long Beach (CA).

The kids look at the fountain going off outside of the Aquarium of the Pacific. This mosaic and fountain artwork is called “Rios de la Vida” at “The Wave.”

T and a new friend climb the large anchor in Long Beach’s Shoreline Aquatic Park.

Hey kids, wait up! The kids got way out ahead of us adults on our AquaLink and picnic outing to Shoreline Aquatic Park and the Lions Lighthouse for Sight.

And more running! The kids kept going all afternoon up and down Shoreline Aquatic Park in Long Beach (CA) during our afternoon around town.

Once off the boat, we walked along the boardwalk and explored Shoreline Aquatic Park out on the peninsula (the large open park space that culminates with the Lions Lighthouse for Sight). We started with a brief stop at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s outdoor mosaic and fountain “The Wave” and “Rios de la Vida”, then made our way over and around the other side of the building into the park where the kids got to climb the big anchor, run on the paths and through the expanse grassy areas, amble up to the lighthouse, roll down hills, and check out some crabs in the rocks. We set up a nice picnic where we parents could sit and eat while the kids ran wild. There really could not have been a better way to spend a summer afternoon!

The Queen Mary, most likely Long Beach’s most infamous resident! The AquaLink also makes a stop here for visitors to explore and enjoy this corner of the city.

Enjoy lovely views of the skyline and waterfront – and even some boating acrobatics (see that guy center-photo up on that boat mast, ahh!) – while taking a ride on Long Beach Transit’s (CA) AquaLink.

T poses for his annual AquaLink photo in front of the Queen Mary (with his fun friend in the background). I should get a collection of these together showing just how much he’s grown up over the last four years, though I suspect the Queen Mary still dwarfs him in stature.

After our two-hour outing (we were limited to two hours off-boat due to AquaLink schedules on the weekday), we made our way back to the Dock 4 and express-returned to our dock of origin.

A wide shot of the cabin inside of Long Beach Transit’s AquaLink. The boats are all charters from Catalina Express. As for the red hat ladies in the background, I’m not sure why but I always run into them around town and abroad. I guess I’m destined to become one myself some day (quite a few years down the road, RMT’ers!).

There she is! That’s the (snack) bar on board the AquaLink. Drinks of all types are served here along with kid-friendly snacks of all sorts. Something for everyone, RMT’ers!

If you should find yourself in Long Beach sometime before Labor Day, RMT’ers, consider using the AquaLink as a fun transportation alternative. With boats chartered from Catalina Express, Long Beach Transit really offers a nice alternative to just taking the Passport bus to and from neighboring coastal neighborhoods into the downtown areas and saves you a ton on parking beachfront (parking in several surrounding Alamitos Bay Landing parking lots is free). For just $5 each way (and really way cheaper as the 2-for-1 coupons are abundant, available from pretty much any business located near the docks where AquaLink and Aquabus service along with weekly advertising and coupons in the local Grunion Newspapers), you can enjoy your own three-hour (or however-many-hour) tour with AquaLink. And if $5 is just too steep and you are staying inside of the downtown area, you can hop on the Aquabus for just $1 each direction per person. Kids two and under are free.

Bon voyage, and thanks again to LB Transit for another great AquaLink experience! Now we just need to get my mom back here later in August for another visit before AquaLink wraps for another season. Cheers!

PS – Don’t forget to vote once-daily for “Real Mom Time (RMT)”¬† in Circle of Mom’s Top 25 SoCal Moms of 2012 contest now through Wednesday August 22! Just click the button above to link-through and vote NOW!