Visiting Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Looking for an educational, free aquarium in Southern California? Check out the totally fun, totally free Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, located in San Pedro!

Listen, we love- abosolutely LOVE- the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. We had annual passes for a good long while, and we used them often.

When I decided to stay at home with the kids though, those Aquarium of the Pacific passes were just too pricey to keep. And as a result, we went a LONG time without visiting an aquarium.

So when I hear about an amazing, free little aquarium in nearby San Pedro, I just knew we had to give it a visit.

And oh boy, were we ever pleasantly rewarded!

If you’re looking for an aquarium in Southern California that won’t break the budget, we highly recommend Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro. Here’s what you need to know before you go!


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Visiting the Tidepools at Cabrillo Beach

Want an easy visit to the Cabrillo Beach tidepools? Located next to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the tidepools in San Pedro provide easy parking, outdoor adventure, and lots of fun for little exporers!

During the pandemic, I promised my kids that I would take them to the places that their school would have taken them to on field trips under normal circumstances.

When I found out the second grade trip was a visit to the tidepools, I kinda freaked out. I had been to the tidepools by myself in college, and found the whole thing intimidating.

I was super nervous to take my kids to the tidepool for the first time.

Luckily, I have a friend who works at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. She was able to give me lots of great information about how to best visit the Cabrillo Beach tidepools with kids.

That information made such a HUGE difference for us, that I knew we just had to share it with you!

So if you are thinking of braving the tidepools at Cabrillo Beach for the first time, here is some expert advice to make your first visit a roaring success!

the tidepools at cabrillo beach; text: cabrillo beach tidepools

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Marine Park (AKA Mother’s Beach) in Long Beach

Need an easy beach with kids in Southern California? Check out Mother’s Beach in Long Beach! With shallow waters, no waves, and attentive lifeguards, this is one of the safest places to start going to the beach with kids in So Cal.

One of the first places I took my kids to the beach in Long Beach was Mother’s Beach.

We were meeting up with some friends, and though I was nervous to take my toddler to the beach by myself, I decided to be brave and try it.

And, to use an appropriate pun, it was the perfect place to get my feet wet when it comes to taking kids to the beach.

I went on a weekday morning, so parking was easy. The water was warm and shallow. And the lifeguards were very safety conscious (which was a little annoying, but totally made me feel better).

We mostly go to beaches with deeper water now that the kids are older, but we still hit up Mother’s Beach in Long Beach anytime someone with toddlers comes into town.

Read on to find out why Mother’s Beach is the best beach for toddlers in Southern California (according to two moms who have been to pretty much all of them!)

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The Best Beaches In Long Beach

Looking for a new stretch of sand to check out with your kids? Check out the best beaches in Long Beach for kids from two local moms with half a dozen kids between them!

Historically, Long Beach beaches have gotten a bad rap. The breakwater had a serious effect on water quality for a while, and locals often headed to Orange County for their beach days.

But Long Beach has worked HARD to improve water quality, and as a result, we’ve got a lot more beach fun in our area.

If you’re looking for a beach to hit up with your kids, we can whole heartedly recommend these beaches near Long Beach to keep your kids entertained all day (without the long drive and fighting traffic on the way home!)

In no particular order, here are the best beaches in Long Beach to visit with kids!

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Horny Corner/Los Alamitos Bay

It goes by many names- Alamitos Bay, The Bay, and the rarely-used Horny Corner, but all Long Beach residents agree on one thing- The Bay is the place to swim in Long Beach. With a long waveless beach, free parking, and easy access, you’ll find The Bay swarming with locals nearly every day during the week during the season. Read on to find out why it’s such a hit!

I wasn’t born here in Long Beach. So though I’ve lived here since 2003, when locals said they were heading to The Bay, I had no idea what that meant.

It wasn’t until a friend told me exactly where to go and where to park that we first visited the bay as a family. And it quickly became my kids’ favorite place to swim.

With calm, beautiful water, lots of boats to look at, and plenty of friends to bump into, the Bay is a go to destination for many Long Beach families.

So why does everyone love Alamitos Bay so much? Read on to find out all about planning your visit, and why why so many locals would call it the best beach in Long Beach.

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