Don’t let its bad reputation fool you- Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach is one of our favorite Southern California “beaches” for kids. Read on to find out why we love Colorado Lagoon (and why it’s bad reputation is no fair!)
When my son was one, I ventured to the beach with my two kids by myself for the first time. Our destination? Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach.
We had the BEST day. Easy parking, splashing in water with no waves, and even a cute little plaground the kids could play on while their suits were drying out.
And the best part? No crowds!
After waxing poetic about my love for Colorado Lagoon to a few different friends, it soon became apparent that Long Beach locals were generally not huge fans of the lagoon.
But (as I’ll tell you in a second!) almost all of their fears are either unfounded or based on an old reputation for being dirty (and we’re talking about a rumor that started in the 70s here).
So if you’ve got littles, or even bigger kids, we can whole heartedly recommend that you put Colorado Lagoon on your list of Southern California beaches to visit with kids. You won’t regret it (we know we don’t!)
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Where is Colorado Lagoon Located?
Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach is located near Marine Stadium. It’s the closest body of water to East and Central Long Beach, meaning it’s the closest drive for many Long Beach residents.
5059 E Colorado St, Long Beach, CA 90814
Where to park at Colorado Lagoon
There are several good parking options for Colorado Lagoon. Our first choice is always street parking on Appian Way, near the playground. These spots fill up quick, but they’re the easiest if you can get them.
Next up is parking in the lot across the street. The lot is technically private parking, so you need to park here at your own risk. However, with no parking signage at all and several years of anecdotal experience, it’s generally safe to say that it’s okay to park here too.
Are you a scaredy cat like Jaymi, and probably-okay parking make you nervous? There’s a long narrow lot near the west part of the beach with metered parking. Bring quarters, and don’t stress about whether or not you’re parked legally!
Do you pay to park at Colorado Lagoon?
There are several free parkign options, but we recommend that you bring quarters for the metered parking lot, no matter where you plan to park. The free parking fills up quickly, and you don’t want to get stuck with no parkign options.
How far do you have to walk to Colorado Lagoon?
This is largely dependant on where you park, but no matter which option you go with, the beach is pretty short. You won’t be trekking far across the sand to get to the water.
Is Colorado Lagoon good for kids?
Honestly, I’d say Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach is GREAT for kids. There are no waves, making it a perfect place to splash and play with less risk.
It’s also got lots of that GOOD sand, perfect for building sandcastles.
There is a small pier for jumping, and a great playground located on the east side of the beach.
Are there bathrooms at Colorado Lagoon?
Yep! They are about as clean as any Long Beach park (so they’re just okay).
However, at least the bathrooms are easy to get to from the playground, beach, or pier.
Is Colorado Lagoon Clean?
Okay, this is where we have some rumors to dispel, particularly if you grew up in Long Beach!
Is Colorado Lagoon dirty?
The short answer? No, Colorado Lagoon is not dirty. They say it used to be, before an expensive project was undertaken to dredge it. After that, a pricy pump was put in to keep water circulating, and it is now among the clenest water in Long Beach.
Do People Get Sick at Colorado Lagoon?
As best we can tell, this rumor comes from one person saying they got Polio there in the 70s. So since Polio isn’t so much a factor…we’re going to say you’re okay here.
For Long Beach beaches: You can always check the water quality before you go at the City of Long Beach site. Note that it’s never a great idea to go to a Southern California beach after a big rainstorm, as the water quality declines signficantly.
Is Colorado Lagoon Safe?
Lifeguards are present during peak seasons and hours. They generally turn up around 10 on the weekends and summer weekdays.
Lifeguards here are spread thin between the pier and the long stretch of beach, so you shouldn’t rely on them solely.
Is it on a busy street?
The whole area surrounding Colorado Lagoon is pretty tame, especially by Long Beach standards. Don’t expect much traffic, crazy driving, or busy intersections.
Is there wildlife at Colorado Lagoon?
This is where we may have to agree to disagree, because I see the wilflife we spot at the lagoon as a benefit. You may disagree.
We regularly see egrets, pelicans, and small fish at the Lagoon. We occassionally see large schools of fish, about a foot long or larger.
We also see teeny tiny little fish up at the shoreline that my daugther LOVES to try to catch (and occasionally succeeds!)
Recently, we also saw a stingray in the lagoon. Now, my kids thought it was amazing. Other kids were frightened, and I know a friend of a friend who was once stung (but not injured). However, honestly, this can be true of any natural beach, so it definitely isn’t a deterrent for us.
Is Colorado Lagoon Crowded?
This question is a little complicated, but it depends on your standards. It is far less busy than Mother’s Beach or Huntington Beach, for example. It is slightly more busy than the ocean facing beaches in Long Beach.
As far as waveless beaches in Southern California go, though, it isn’t busy at all.
What should you bring with you?
Here is what we think you should bring to this particular beach. It’s a longer list than some of the other beaches we highlight, but that’s largely because you won’t have to walk too far. It’s a good time to bring some extras!
- A picnic or beach blanket
- Floaties for non-swimmers
- Water bottles
- Fins for swimming
- Sand toys
- Change for the meter
- A water bottle to remove sand after
- An umbrella or tent
- Bluetooth speaker for music
What do we love about Colorado Lagoon?
Gosh, I really, REALLY love Colorado Lagoon. If you asked me to pick my favorite parts though, here are my favorite features.
The Waveless Beach
My five year old is currently living out his first floatie-less summer. Colorado Lagoon gives him the perfect, wave-free place to practice his swim skills.
It’s a chill, low key place to actually swim, splash, and play with the kids without the fear of an undercurrent getting in our way.
The Easy Experience
Parking here? Easy. The walk to the beach? Easy. Finidng a place to put your towel? Easy.
When I want a beach day with my kids without all the work, this is my go to.
Okay, I don’t know if it’s techinically a pier or a floating bridge or what, but my kids LOVE the thrill of jumping off the pier and into the water.
It’s a cheap thrill, but it is THRILLING none the less.
The Playground at Colorado Lagoon
More playgrounds are popping up at beaches around Long Beach, but Colorado Lagoon is one of the OG beach playgrounds.
With a pirate theme and easy access to the beach, it’s a fun addition to our day in the water (and a good way to get them to dry off a little before we get into the car!)