Hike, Bike, and Brunch in Long Beach
Many of us resolve to get outside and move about more and, as counterintuitive as it may sound, the winter is a great time for this. Yes, the days are shorter but the cooler weather – usually accompanied by sunny conditions, afterall, this is Long Beach – makes for comfortable, less-perspiring activity whether you’re walking, hiking, skating or biking. And, this being Long Beach, there are virtually countless places you can head to for breakfast or brunch after you finish your hike/bike with family, friends or by your own sweet self. Here’s a few great local combinations to explore.
SHORELINE PEDESTRIAN/BIKE PATH
Undoubtedly the most popular and accessible trail in the city, this paved, three-mile stretch from Shoreline Village to Alamitos Bay, is a flat, 17-foot wide ribbon located on the beach. You can bike it, walk it and skate it – both roller and board. If you find yourself in need of a bike, you can rent one at Wheel Fun Rentals (429 Shoreline Village Dr.) in Shoreline Village.
Because of the path’s length and where it winds through, you’ll have a lot of breakfast/brunch options. In Belmont Shore, you can meander a few feet of the path and into iconic, locals-heavy Chuck’s Coffee Shop (4120 E. Ocean Blvd.) and its comfort food. If you’re around the Bluff Park portion of your ride/walk, you don’t ever have to really leave the path, just veer into Saltwater Deck (2630 E. Ocean Blvd.) and enjoy the likes of Pastrami Breakfast Sandwiches and Vegan Breakfast Burritos while you sit literally in the sand, gazing out at the ocean.
DOMINGUEZ GAP WETLANDS
This 2.2 mile loop located in north Long Beach is generally a flat, easy route popular with both runners and walkers. The fact that Dominguez Gap is a wetlands, also makes it a terrific trail for taking it slow while considering the nature around you. Dogs are welcome on the trail, but must be on a leash.
After finishing your walk/run head over to nearby Steelcraft food court (3768 Long Beach Blvd.) in Bixby Knolls. There you have myriad options ranging from healthy acai bowls at Koolberry to a great cup of Joe at Steelhead Coffee to the delicious creative energy at Waffle Love where waffles are paired with everything from chicken to Nutella to banana cream to being utilized as part of a grilled cheese sandwich.
EL DORADO PARK BIKE PATH
The four-mile bike trail runs through this 450-acre regional park, taking you past lots of trees, foliage, ducks and ponds. Though El Dorado Park (7550 E. Spring St.) is located within the city and borders the 605 Freeway, you’ll feel a million miles away from all that. And, once again, if you’re in need of a bike, Wheel Fun Rentals has a location in the park.
Since this park is huge with lots of great niches to escape into – and lots of ducks and turtles to hang with – you might think about bringing your breakfast with you. Not far from the park is the much beloved Simone’s Donuts (6400 E. Stearns St.) Open 24/7, Simone’s is really more of a bakery, with all sorts of donuts, pastries, bagels and croissants, plus terrific coffee options.
HEARTWELL PARK BIKE PATH
This 2.5 mile path runs through Heartwell Park’s (5801 E. Parkcrest St.) scenic landscaped grounds, featuring fishing ponds, fitness course and lots of green places for picnics or doing absolutely nothing. The bike path is flat and a great one to share with kids who can also enjoy the playgrounds as well as basketball and roller hockey courts, baseball and softball fields.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to end the ride head to nearby Juice Lab (3960 N. Studebaker Rd.; also one at 3844 Atlantic Ave.) where you can get all kinds of focused juice concoctions, from Clean Green (green apple, kale, spinach) to Citrus Bomb (red grapefruit, orange, lemon) to Rejuvenation (pineapple, red apple, orange, ginger), as well as Acai bowls. If you’re looking for something unique and healthy to munch down on, check out Appu’s Cafe, where you’ll find an amazing menu of Indian-Mexican fusion items, including the very popular vegetarian burrito the Maharaja and its vegan counterpart, the Maharani.
Located in DeForest Park (6255 DeForest Ave.), the wetlands offers 34 acres of space to walk and commune with nature that includes native plants, wildlife habitats, interpretive signage as well as lots of opportunities for bird watching. A great way to stay active in heart and mind, the walk figures to not only benefit you physically but emotionally as you quietly connect to the land.
After your interaction with nature, you might just be in the mood to have some time to yourself. Head to Uptown’s Black Ring Coffee Roasters (5373 Long Beach Blvd.), generally considered one of the best, most forward thinking coffee roasters in town. You might try their signature cup Whiskey Vanilla Latte, though its selection is wide and exceptional. If you’re looking for something to pair with it, just about a mile away is Daily Bread Bakery (6084 Atlantic Ave.) where you can get everything from fresh baked bread and pastries as well as tamales.
SIGNAL HILL TRAIL
This near-two-mile loop located in Signal Hill – which is located in the center of Long Beach – is perhaps the most well-known hike to those outside the area. It's paved with a gradual 200-foot elevation that makes it a just taxing enough cardio workout, one reason it’s always been popular with people training for more demanding hikes. And, of course, the payoff once you get to the top of the trail is the tremendous view from Hilltop Park, providing one of the best views of Long Beach, the Pacific Ocean and a good part of Southern California – on a clear day you can see the Hollywood sign.
To complete your Signal Hill sojourn, head to local favorite the Golden Eagle (2101 E. Willow St.). In a town built on good, honest labor, the Golden Eagle is a good, honest, hard-working diner serving the staples like breakfast burritos, eggs and sausage and lots more all served with a healthy side of local color.