All Aboard to Alamitos Bay

Newly revamped Alamitos Bay has new offerings for thirsty and hungry boaters.

    Many cities in Southern California get their name from a literal description (e.g., Long Beach and Seal Beach), a historical icon (Tarzana – believe it or not!), or Spanish terminology. Alamitos Bay is a community within Long Beach, but it was originally part of a land grant called Rancho Los Alamitos. Its current surname is geographically accurate, but Alamitos may be confusing. In Spanish, adding the suffix “itos” is generally used to describe something as small. This seaside locale is not a small version of the historic mission near San Antonio, Texas. Although Alamo translates to “poplars” or “cottonwoods,” I don’t believe local greenspaces are populated with saplings of either tree.

Whether you are single-handing or with a crew, by boat or vehicle, your “day in the bay” will probably start near the intersection of Second Street and Marina Drive.

Alamitos Bay Marina is the oldest and largest of the three Long Beach city-owned marinas. It is spread across eight basins. Basin 1 is closest to Alamitos Bay Landing. Basin is convenient to West Marine, Seal Beach Yacht Club, local restaurant Schooner or Later, and Joe’s Crab Shack. The parking lot next to Basins 2 and 3 hosts the Farmers Market Arts & Crafts Fair every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Basin 6 South is near Long Beach Marine Stadium where the 1932 and 1968 Olympic rowing events were held. Mother’s Beach is located on one side of the waterway. It has a sandy shore, a protected swimming area, a large grassy lawn and playground equipment. Davies Launch Ramp is on the opposite side next to Davies Bridge on Second Street.

Basin 8 is across from a variety of dining, entertainment and shopping at Marina Pacifica Mall. The mall has a guest dock where Ralphs Fresh Fare grocery store offers dockside delivery.

A short drive from the marina is the Rancho Los Alamitos historical site and museum. The property contains part of the village of native Gabrielino-Tongva people, an adobe ranch house, and beautiful gardens.

Alamitos Bay Landing, previously called Seaport Village, is located on the east side of the bay’s entrance. It has been the epicenter for new businesses within the last few years, especially within “Restaurant Row.”

Ballast Point Brewing has transformed the space once occupied by Khoury’s Restaurant into a brewery with bars, casual dining and retail areas. Malarky’s Grill & One Hell Of An Irish Bar is a relatively new name, but the restaurant space has been in continuous operation since 1969, first as Jolly Roger and then as Buster’s Beach House & Longboard Bar. Boathouse On The Bay, formerly McKenna’s On The Bay, is an upscale restaurant offering steak, seafood, shellfish and spirits.

Water access at the Landing also has a newcomer and a new look. London Boat Rentals began offering electric boat rentals after Pelican Joe’s closed. Long Beach Transit moved its Aqualink water taxi service to a new, ADA-compliant dock to provide better seasonal service to Queen Mary and Rainbow Harbor.

Before leaving, be sure to check out the dinosaur bike rack located at the southern corner of Alamitos Bay Landing by the inland side of the eastern jetty.

Within Alamitos Bay are three small residential islands that were inspired by Italian seaside communities. The islands were developed by Arthur Parsons in 1903 and became known as Naples. Gondola Getaways provides guided cruises through the canals of Naples, or you can rent small watercraft from Kayaks on the Water or Long Beach Hydrobikes. If you prefer land transportation, rent a bike from Alfredo’s Beach Club.

If you don’t already know what’s blue around Alamitos Bay, you should put down this magazine! The rest of us can use chart number 18749 to navigate to and around Alamitos Bay. The entrance is near the east end of the Long Beach Breakwater and is protected by two stone jetties. Be careful to identify and enter between the jetties. Just east is the San Gabriel River outlet, which may resemble the harbor entrance.