Long Beach Staple: Mother's Beach
The unofficial but fitting name for Marine Park's Beach
By Lindsey Goodrow
As the nickname suggests, Mother’s Beach, AKA Marine Park, is the ideal location for mothers to bring their small children and families of all shapes and sizes to gather and enjoy a warm Southern California day. With its calm, wave-free waters and options for both swim and play, this is one of the most popular beach destinations in the city. Long Beach has no shortage of shoreline, so read on to understand why Mother’s Beach could be the perfect summer spot for you and yours as well as learn about its long history.
The sleepy sands of Mother’s Beach can be found on the northeastern side of Naples Island, precisely at 5839 Appian Way, between the Davies Bridge (the bridge leading from PCH to 2nd Street) and the Appian Way Bridge. It’s down the block from Marine Stadium, where onlookers watch boat races and water sports from the stands, and just a little further passed the parking lot on Nieto where locals hold a small harvest farmer’s market every Wednesday evening.
The beach itself is humble and quiet save for the laughter of happy children. It stretches out for 1400 feet and includes a roped-off swimming zone, sandy beach, grassy picnic area, and state-of-the-art playground. Beach-goers are invited to bring volleyball nets, food to barbecue, beach toys, and anything else their hearts might desire during a day spent in the sunshine.
Across from one direction of the beach are the beautiful homes that belong to Naples Island and from the other direction, across the water, you can spot the Marina Pacific Shopping Center. This beach is ideally located, as it’s far enough away from the sound PCH traffic but close enough to restaurants and shopping—you can easily walk to them if you wish.
Mother’s Beach was created in 1955. A beach was created, you say? Yes, and most of the beaches in Long Beach are in fact man-made. According to the Chief of the State Division of Los Angeles beaches and parks in 1948, the state’s shoreline then was “a sorry mess”.
Problems facing urban beaches included lack of hygiene, the presence of dilapidated buildings on the sand, over-crowdedness, and obstacles to accessibility. The beaches that existed prior to the 1950s would be wholly unrecognizable and uninhabitable today.
Following World War II, an urban renewal project took place over the course of two decades which in turn transformed the Southern California coastline into something that only dreams could be made of. The city officials fulfilled plans to build designated beach areas, promenades, play apparatuses, picnic tables, and community stoves. Restroom facilities were erected and regularly maintained. Proper parking lots were paved and pay meters were installed for hourly visits.
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot!” - Joni Mitchell
Illustration by Jamie Tablason
COMPARISON TO OTHER BEACHES IN THE AREA
It’s early August and the weather is guaranteed to keep rising in temperature. As children are on summer vacation, a good beach is prime real estate. But not all beaches are alike. In Long Beach, you can pick your sandy sanctuary depending entirely on your needs. Here are a few examples of beaches in the area and why you might prefer one over the other:
Rosie’s Dog Beach
Located on Ocean Ave. in Belmont Shore, between Roycroft and Granada, this beach is for the dog-lover. This small stretch of beach, marked off with dog-silhouette statues, was officially named "Rosie's Dog Beach" on Aug. 3, 2010, to honor the life of Rosie the Bulldog. It remains the only off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County. Although small, this beach is widely known to be a canine wonderland. This year, the beach celebrated twenty-one years of dogs being allowed to legally play off-leash on the beach in our city.
Alamitos Beach is the gateway beach; it is expansive and open to a world of possibilities. More specifically, it is the entryway to our city’s namesake — a long stretch of beaches. This sandy paradise connects downtown to Alamitos Bay via a paved bicycle path and a separate pedestrian walking path. For those who participate in or observe the Long Beach Marathon, this path takes up 7.5 miles out of the 26.2 the runners need to complete.
Unbeknownst to most, Colorado Lagoon is the cleanest Long Beach water to swim in. This urban wetland is an ongoing restoration project and therefore a passionately protected swimming hole. Located on Colorado and Appian Way, this unsuspecting beach and wildlife-protected zone is just a short distance from Mother’s Beach.
If you happen to choose Mother’s Beach as your summer spot, you’re in for a world of family-fun. The water, beach, and playground are all steps apart, allowing parents to easily keep watch of their little ones. The gentle waves, shallow swimming area, and lifeguard supervision will leave anyone feeling safe and content in the sun.
Sally as a new mother at Mother’s Beach!