In 1903 Arthur Parson built the islands of Naples in the marshy Bixby Slough of the artificial Alamitos Bay, in the mouth of the San Gabriel River. The design was by the firm Mayberry & Parker. The concept of canals and gondolas was similar to the “Venice of America” developed by Abbot Kinney up the coast. Parson’s Naples Land Company called its plans the “Dreamland of Southern California”, and projected that “through the canals and under the high arching bridges gay gondoliers will propel their crafts like those in the waters of the Adriatic under the blue skies of Italy.” The project was completed in the 1920s, then rebuilt after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.
Marine Park AKA “Mother’s Beach”
This sheltered bayfront beach has volleyball courts, a play area and picnic sites. Known as “Mother’s Beach” for its gentle wave action, shallow swimming area and Lifeguard Supervision during peak periods. Marina Beach offers both a great beach for kids and a nearby grassy play area
Gondola rides in Long Beach through Naples
Long Beach offers gondola trips through the romantic canals of Naples. Gondola Getaway has been offering rides through Naples since 1982. Long Beach is only one of eight places in the Western United States where tourists may ride in a gondola.
Christmas Boat Parade
One very popular Christmas-time event in Naples is the “Naples Island Christmas Boat Parade”, with groups of decorated boats going through the canals of Naples and around Alamitos Bay past Belmont Shore. The parade has been held since 1946.
On the Bay Fun
At various spots near Naples Island, you can rent one or two person Kayaks, Stand up Paddle Board and hydro bikes. Hydro bikes are reminiscent of paddle boats, but get you higher off the water for better viewing. They also come in single occupancy and double occupancy.
Known locally as Naples Plaza. This tiny, yet lovely, bay front park is a tear-drop shaped strip of land stretching from the west end of Corso di Napoli and terminating at the east end of Corso di Oro. It has a few park benches with a view of Seal Beach as well as Los Alamitos Bay.
La Bella Fontana di Napoli
This is a small park with benches, bay views (from a block away) and grass centered around an elegant, three tiered circular fountain in the middle of Naples Island. It was originally named “Circle Park Naples” in 1933 and renamed in 1934 to. Bella Flora Park.” In 1971 the park was given its current name, La Bella Fontana di Napoli. A lovely place for a picnic (bring a blanket,) it is a short block to the Los Alamitos Bay bayfront sidewalk with its lovely views.