Long Beach Bikeway Route 2

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Queen Mary

Ride Type: Recreational, Family-friendly

This ride offers beaches, a lighthouse, an aquarium, floating palaces, shopping and dining – what more could you want!  Long Beach Bikeway Route 2 is a wonderful set of paths that connects some of Long Beach’s most famous and attractive landmarks while remaining primarily car-free.  Although the total mileage is just short of nine miles, with all the points of interest, dining and shopping, this ride could easily be an all-day outing.  Families will find this a safe place to ride and for you singles out there, think date-ride.

The Bike Long Beach map is unclear as to where the route starts and ends while signage is often absent and, when present, contradictory – especially along paths near the Aquarium of the Pacific.  With this in mind, the western end of the route begins, I think, at the lighthouse and travels along the path past the parking lot before crossing Golden Shore Road, parallel to the Queensway Bridge.  At this point the route overlaps Bikeway 17 and the signs can be confusing.  The thing to remember here is to keep moving straight, past the Aquarium and parking structure until the bike path crosses Shoreline Drive.  Again, signs are confusing and almost completely absent so follow the off-road path as it passes by the Pike.

At 0.97 miles you will find yourself crossing Pine Street with the Long Beach Convention center on your left.  Travel the path as it meanders alongside the lagoon until 1.16 miles where the route travels back across Shoreline Drive, with plenty of clear signs here.  Follow this section of the path until it comes to a ‘T’ at 1.3 miles, turn right and follow along the jetty. Here you will find spectacular views of the marina and the Queen Mary.  At the point, turn around and make for the beach following the path along the marina.

View of the Marina

The beach section of the path parts the sands, and bluffs will accompany you on the left while artificial islands named after astronauts pass on your right.  The beaches might be empty, but the trail never is.  Joggers, strollers, skaters and dogs all use this path.  Stay alert, pass carefully and at all times follow the rules of the road.  If you are traveling with youngsters, help them to navigate the often-heavy pedestrian traffic.  At 5.37 miles you will reach Long Beach Pier where there are some shaded areas that make for an excellent pit stop.  The Belmont Brewery is perched above the bike path here, and it makes for an even better pit stop for you beer lovers.

Crossing over the pier, continue along the beach path, past dog beach until the end of the beach trail at 6.36 miles.  Here there are absolutely no signs indicating whether Bikeway 2 continues on or not.  It does.  However, for those traveling with younger kids, this is probably the place to turn around as the route ahead involves a fair amount of traffic and some busy intersections.  Cross Ocean Boulevard and continue straight on 54th Place, which eventually becomes Bay Shore Avenue, where you will find signs indicating that Route 2 is alive and well.  During summer months this section of the road is closed to motor traffic with two-wheeled traffic permitted but required to reduce speeds.  Watch for the kiddies!

At 6.73 miles the route crosses 2nd Street, which also happens to be Bikeway 4. A left here will allow you to tour Belmont Shore and explore a dizzying array of dining and shopping opportunities here.  When we do this ride as a family, my kids insist we pop into Powell’s, an old-fashioned candy store full of childhood nostalgia.

Crossing 2nd and continuing along Bay Shore, the Bikeway reaches Appian Way at 7.21 miles. Again, a lack of signs could leave you confused, as there is no indication whether right or left is the correct direction.  To continue on Bikeway 2 turn right and pass over the bridge as the route now overlaps Bikeway 25.  At 7.21 miles, just after traveling under the 2nd Street Bridge, Route 2 signs indicate the Bikeway continues straight, not to the right and up to the bridge.  I believe this is a mistake as Appian is a dead end a few hundred feet in this direction and the map indicates that Route 2 does pass over the bridge.  I doubled back and headed to the bridge.

When merging from Appian Way to 2nd Street, exercise extreme caution as this is a heavily traveled road, often at high speeds.  From this point on the route overlaps Bikeway 4.  Pass over the bridge, turn right onto Marina Street and just shy of Studebaker Road the route has an official end sign.  Continue on to travel Bikeway 4 or a left on Studebaker will take you to Bikeway 1.

Official Distance: 8.94 miles

Connects to: Bikeways 1, 4, 17

Points of Interest: Long Beach Lighthouse, Aquarium of the Pacific, Queen Mary, Convention Center, Pine Street, Rainbow Harbor, Shoreline Village, Long Beach Pier, Belmont Shore, Mother’s Beach, Alamitos Bay.

Map: Bikeway 2 Map

About Peter Dopulos
Peter Dopulos is an avid cyclist and can often be seen riding the Long Beach Bikeways. He recently wrote a book, Where to Bike Orange County, he is also the co-host of the Long Beach radio talkshow Swoop's World and a co-founder of GreenWorld365.com.

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