Wildflowers by a sandy beach, with paths to walk and a tidal lagoon to swim in? Yep, Colorado Lagoon in Long Beach has all the makings of a beautiful spring afternoon. This recently restored marine wetland conservation area is a place where flowers, people, and wildlife thrive, right in the heart of the seaside city.
Start by following the shoreline path through native salt marsh and coastal sage scrub, keeping your eyes open and on the lookout for wild hyacinth, tidy tips, deerweed, arroyo lupine, California poppy, California bush sunflower, giant coreopsis, Santa Barbara milkvetch, Chinese houses, mulefat, California buckwheat, California four o’clock, and golden bush. When the path ends, just cut across the grass at the public park and follow the sidewalk and meet up with the path on the other side of the lagoon. Signs along the way ID the local flora and fauna and tell you about the history of the lagoon—imagine the 1932 Olympic Trials diving and swimming events being held here!
On the Appian Way side of the lagoon is a beach, complete with a swimming area, barbecues, and picnic tables. From there, a pedestrian bridge crosses the lagoon, connecting the beach with the footpath on the other side. This is a great place for birding—watch for egrets and herons among others. Or maybe even some marine life if you peer beneath the water’s surface. It’s all part of the heartening story of a place that has been brought back from neglect to become a thriving—and colorful—coastal salt marsh.
Colorado Lagoon is located at 5119 E. Colorado St. (at Appian Way) in Long Beach. Free street parking. The footpath is dog-friendly, but no dogs on the beach.