I've only visited Long Beach a couple of times and it was to meet up with friends for dinner. One day, I went to Long Beach for a shoot and it was at Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch. I had no idea about this location and was surprised at how beautiful and peaceful it was. Surprisingly, it's located adjacent to California State University.
What's great about this place is that it's completely free. I went later in the afternoon on a weekday and it was quiet with plenty of free parking. It may seem like it's a restricted area since you have to pass a gated community, but all you have to do is let the guards know that you are visiting the ranch.
I was limited on time and didn't get a chance to check out the Ranch House, but that didn't bother me because the garden outside was gorgeous. The enormous trees and the bamboo forest were breathtaking. I know that sounds cheesy, but I don't get to see huge trees and bamboo forests often. So when I do, I really am taken away by its beauty.
If you are interested in the history behind the ranch, they offer guided tours Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are not required, but if you want to go inside the ranch it is only accessible if you take the guided tour. I really want to revisit and take the free guided tour. I heard that the tour covers the rich history of the area and interesting facts about the family that lived in this ranch. .
Being located so close to a university, I thought it would be packed with students. It was nothing like that at all. I only saw a handful of other people at the ranch that day. Mainly couples and families.
If you happen to be in the Long Beach area, it's a great place for a date or picnics. It's an easy location to get to, but don't forget to check their site for closure dates.
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