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This L.A. walk takes you — and your dog — on a scenic oceanfront stroll in Long Beach

Geographically, walking in Long Beach is like strolling along the Marina Peninsula near Venice, but with more affordable housing, friendlier people and plenty of free parking. The city of Long Beach even provides public restrooms and drinking fountains.

1. Begin this walk south of downtown Long Beach, near the intersection of East Ocean Boulevard and Claremont Place. Then stroll south, with the ocean on your right, past the Leeway Sailing and Aquatics Center – where gondolas and gondoliers are available to rent – and the U.S. Sailing Center.

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2. At 55th Place, turn left, walk toward a yellow gate, and find East Bayshore Walk as it begins paralleling the channel into Alamitos Bay and the island of Naples.

3. The sandy beach, watched over by lifeguards, faces a waterway popular with kayakers, paddle boarders and "hydrobikers," who look like they're taking a spinning class on the sea.

4. At 65th Place, the sidewalk ends. Climb a short flight of steps and continue on the sand until yellow posts mark the end of the beach. Then turn right and follow the sidewalk to East Ocean.

5. Take a moment to walk to the water's edge. Here, sailing ships, fishing boats and pleasure cruisers are heading out to sea or returning to port. There are also picnic tables on a grassy lawn and public restrooms nearby.

6. Return by walking north on East Ocean. At 69th Place, turn left and walk a block to the sand. There, pick up East Seaside Walk, a wooden oceanfront boardwalk. To the left are dunes, breakwaters and the little floating oil derrick islands in the Pacific. Up ahead are views of Long Beach, the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and cargo vessels putting in to port.

7. At 55th Place, follow the boardwalk as it turns back toward East Ocean. Turn left, and find your way back to the starting point.

The stats

Distance: 3.2 miles

Difficulty: 1, on a scale of 1 to 5

Duration: 1 1/4 hour

Details: Ample free and metered street parking. Dogs on a leash are OK. Nearest public buses run along nearby 2nd Street.

Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles." Each month, he leads a free walk at one of his favorite spots in Southern California. Find out more at his Facebook page, Secret Stairs. He can also be reached at charles.fleming@latimes.com.

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