Belmont Shore is a region of Long Beach
(California) that's buzzing with shoppers, residents, visitors, beach-goers
and the nautical crowd. Probably
more loved than nearly any place you'll find, there's this loyal fan-base
that even after living in Belmont Shore, then moving away, they still long
for and fondly remember the seaside community. In addition to the
Alamitos Bay (top photo), you'll be able to ride the cement beach path on a
bike, surrey, skates, or just jogging & walking, stroll and partake of free
fishing on the Belmont Memorial Pier, or put together a game of sand beach
volleyball at one of the courts at the beaches along Ocean Ave. It's there
that you'll also find the jetski launch ramp, and a dog beach, plus Belmont
Pool and Chuck's Coffee Shop, home to the "Locally World Famous" Weasel.
Who cares if the relaxing little beach town of Belmont Shore
is really a part of the City of Long Beach? Residents once tried to make it
a separate city and only relinquished their claim after Long Beach promised
them a pier.
In addition to the city shutting down
a couple streets for the summer safety of kids who flock to the little sandy
beach shown above, they also don't mind closing the streets for events such
as the annual holiday parade in December, Dine & Stroll food events
outdoors, a doggie parade...you name it. While busy 2nd Street is the
thoroughfare easily connecting Pacific Coast Highway and other cities with
downtown Long Beach (Convention Center, Performing Arts, Pine Avenue, Arts
District, Shoreline Village, Aquarium of the Pacific, Queen Mary, Port of
Long Beach cruises, etc.), sometimes Belmont Shore just goes for it and
closes the street.
Restaurants offer lots of festivity.
Ethnic foods, Italian, college influence in youthful energy at night, and
Long Beach's gay population all add to this quirky, very unorthodox
community that includes many athletes, beach lovers, dog lovers, shop owners
and home owners or renters with some nice little cottages or larger
waterfront digs near the beach. Then there's Belmont Shore's most
prized possession, it's pier. This is the city that would have been...if not
for the lack of money and a generous offer from a neighbor called "Long
Beach". At one time Belmont Shore had to choose what it would do. The
options were get a pier and be annexed, or have no pier. They wanted
that pier so much, their history changed with the consensus among the
majority that it was worth the sacrifice.
They got their pier and life is pretty good in Belmont
Shore, for the most part, anyway. Just like the good ol' days, Belmont
Shore closes its beachfront street, Bayshore, in the summer so that
beach-goers are safe from the traffic that pours into their area.
Overlooking Naples and the Long Beach peninsula, this small bay area is
popular for sunbathing, swimming and learning how to sail the Sabot boats
invented here decades ago.
Also a hit is popular 2nd Street, an approximate
four-block long shopping region of cute stores, eateries, banks, photo labs
and even two Starbucks.
Beyond the bend of the 2nd Street/Livingston/Ocean
stoplight, Belmont Shore loses ground to downtown. The close-knit communal
feeling fades as buildings loom larger and tower over Ocean Boulevard
downtown. That's where Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, Shoreline
Village and the new Pike redevelopment area beckon travelers to explore a
whole new phase of Long Beach.
Give yourself an hour or two for enjoyment and exploration
of Belmont Shore. But watch your parking meter carefully if you park in
front of one. Traffic tickets come like clockwork, and arrive usually the
minute your meter expires. Our last ticket paid was $31 but the price
probably has gone up since then.