Jack Dunster Reserve: the Hidden Long Beach Spot That Makes a Great Valentine's Day Walk

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Photo by David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A.

By David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A. / Special to LAist

If you and your loved one like sunsets, flowers and walks along the beach, there’s a secluded little spot in Long Beach that might be a perfect addition to your Valentine’s Day plans.

The city of Long Beach, CA is known for many things: its university, its port, its diverse population, its historic neighborhoods, the Queen Mary and the Aquarium of the Pacific. However, most people don’t associate Long Beach with nature. The city’s El Dorado Regional Park is a popular, and worthwhile, destination, but there are a few little pockets of open space scattered throughout the city that are a little bit more off the radar. One of them is the tiny (3-acre) Jack Dunster Marine Biological Reserve, located in the southeast corner of town.

The reserve has been set aside as an example of a coastal sagebrush habitat. The scenic highlights include the clear water, the California Bush Sunflowers dotting the shores, and views that can include the San Bernardino Mountains if the air is clear. There is a short (about a quarter mile) path that walks through the reserve, and two docks on which visitors can get closer to the water. A few benches make this a nice place to sit and relax; interpretive plaques provide more information about the scenery. To be sure, the reserve is surrounded by residential and commercial development; it’s more suited for leisurely stroll or relaxation than for any kind of intense recreation. But the Dunster reserve is a perfect spot to get away from the fast pace of city life. Its convenient location and small size make it a great place for a visit before or after work, or even on a lunch break. And it has all of the makings of a great Valentine’s Day destination: it’s attractive, serene, scenic, different—and doesn’t require a reservation.

The Dunster Reserve is located at the end of Boathouse Lane in Long Beach. From the south end of Bellflower Boulevard, turn right on Eliot St. and go 0.4 miles to E. Marina Drive. Turn left on E. Marina (which becomes Boathouse Lane) and drive half a mile to the end of the road. Park in the lot and follow the signs to the reserve. From downtown Long Beach, take 4th St. to Appian Way. Turn right and make a quick left on Colorado. Turn right on Eliot St. and right onto E. Marina and follow it half a mile to the parking lot.

Visit the City of Long Beach’s page about the park here; also check out this
informative blog with photos and information here.