Exploring the Queen Mary and Long Beach, CA

Picture of the Queen Mary with text that reads "Exploring the Queen Mary and Long Beach Area"

In September of 2011, we spent two nights on the Queen Mary located in Long Beach, California. I’m writing this year’s later because we had such a great time and I often think of this trip with fond memories. If you’re anything like me, then the ghost stories are a selling point for you, not a deterrent. What drew us to the Queen Mary were some of the spooky stories we heard and the fact that they offered a hands-on ghost tour at midnight. The Queen Mary and it’s surrounding area is definitely a place you want to visit. We’ve mapped out our top attractions below:

On the Ship:

Grab a Map and Explore

There is so much history behind this boat, if you took your time you could spend an entire day taking the tours offered and exploring each deck. We spent the first half of the morning exploring and then moved on to our next activity.

Jason looking at a smoke stack while Exploring the Queen Mary

Have a Drink in the Observation Bar & Art Deco Lounge

We spent our Friday night at the Observation Bar and it was incredible. The Art Deco convention was hosted at the Queen Mary the same weekend we visited so we got to watch some amazing swing dancing! You feel like you’ve walked right into the 1930’s with the way this bar is decorated; even if you stop by for one drink, it’s a must see.

swing dancing on the Queen Mary

Go on a Ghost Tour (Or Any Tour)

The ghost tour was the main reason for our visit since we love all things paranormal, but all of the tours offered looked great. The tour we went on started at midnight and took us to private locations on the ship that you normally don’t get to see (like the engine room and the original pool). Our tour guide was fantastic and provided us with all sorts of ghost hunting tools. We didn’t experience anything that night but I think we may have caught a ghost in one of our pictures and I’m pretty sure something was playing with my toes in bed the night after!

The old pool on the Queen Mary

Have Sunday Champagne Brunch

The Queen Mary hosts Sunday brunch every week and it is phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve seen such a spread at a brunch before, and my family has been brunchin’ for years. It’s definitely a delicious way to end your trip.

Surrounding Area:

Visit the Russian Scorpion Submarine

This is a fun self-guided tour that will only take about 20 minutes of your day. It was fascinating for us to see the inside of a submarine and the conditions sailors lived in for months. Not sure we would be cut out for that line of work!

The Russian Submarine next to the Queen Mary

Visit the Lighthouse at Shoreline Aquatic Park

We walked here from the Queen Mary and did some people watching. This is a really popular area but also a perfect place to bring a blanket and just spend the afternoon in the sun (like we did). It was also fun to watch the many bridal parties hike up to the lighthouse to get some picture perfect shots.

Light house in Long Beach right next to the Queen Mary

Go to the Aquarium of the Pacific

Okay, we didn’t actually go but it’s on our list. The art on the outside of the aquarium is gorgeous and you can tell this place is packed (I read that is has over 1.5 million visitors a year!). We just didn’t have the time to dedicate when we visited, but it’s a must do next time for us.

Aquarium of the Pacific right next to the Queen Mary

Go Whale Watching

Jason and I didn’t do this on our visit, but I went whale watching a year later for my mom’s birthday. It was a magical experience and I highly recommend it. Not only did we get a glimpse of the whales but we were able to see sea lions and dolphins! If you get seasick, make sure to take Dramamine. I don’t get sick but the rest of my family does, and they were thankful for popping those pills prior to boarding.

Whale watching - boat left from the Queen Mary

Take a Big Red Bus Beer Tour

We actually did this a year later for Jason’s birthday, but the tour leaves right from the Long Beach Convention area. If you have a long weekend and enjoy craft beer, then you should definitely spend a day on this tour. The particular company we used was LA Beer Hop but there are a ton of different tours to choose from.

Beer tasting samples from Long Beach area breweries

I hope you feel inspired to visit the Queen Mary and Long Beach area soon! If you do go, let me know what you did for fun and any additional activities we should check out.

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