Long Beach, CA vs. Long Beach, WA: What are the Differences?

Illuminated Queensway Bridge at Night in Long Beach, California
Ekaterina Chizhevskaya/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Micky Moran

Published: December 15, 2023

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California is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, and Long Beach offers plenty of recreational activities for the whole family. However, when you book your vacation, check the state you want to travel to because there is more than one Long Beach in the United States. Let’s look at how different the arid city of California is from the cool temperatures in Washington.

Comparing Long Beach, California vs. Long Beach, Washington

Location California Washington
Population466,7421,687
ClimateHot semi-aridMoist and cool oceanic
Local Terrestrial WildlifeRaccoons, skunks, bats, squirrels, coyotes, bullfrogs, turtlesRoosevelt elk, beavers, newts, bears, otters
Local Aquatic WildlifeSea lions, leopard sharks, eels, seals, white abalone, sea bassChum salmon, razor clams, halibut, oysters
Local Plant LifeCoyote brush, bush sunflowers, coastal prickly pear cactus, white and black sageSitka spruce, western hemlock, African violet
Tourist AttractionsAquarium of the Pacific, RMS Queen Mary, Grand Prix of Long BeachLong Beach Razor Clam Festival
Median Household Income$71,150 per year $54,350 per year
Crime Index 312.7 226.5

Differences Between Long Beach, California vs. Long Beach, Washington

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Location

Long Beach in Washington State, a beautiful blue sky and view of the Pacific Ocean

Despite being in completely separate states, both Long Beach cities have access to the Pacific Ocean.

California and Washington share the same side of the United States, but their terrain is vastly different. California takes up most of the western edge of the country, though Washington sits closely above to the north. While Long Beach in Washington is on a peninsula with coastlines around most of its sides, the city in California shares the coast with the ocean.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Size And Population

Comparing the population of these two cities is one of the easiest ways to see how different they are. Most people know California’s Long Beach as one of the best places to visit during the summer, giving them access to surfing, boating, and even whale watching. These local activities are part of why this popular beach has 466,742 Californians that call it home. The entire city covers 80 square miles with 5.5 miles of beaches.

In Washington’s city, the total population was less than 2,000 residents in the 2020 Census. While the city welcomes its fair share of tourists, it only spans 1.89 square miles of the state.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Climate

In Washington, the climate is cool but moist, allowing many plants to thrive in the rich soil with ample rainfall.

The climate of these two cities is just as strong of a contrast as their population. In California, Long Beach has beaches along its coast, but the majority of the terrain has a hot, semi-arid climate. During summer, temperatures sometimes exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and almost every day is sunny. While there is some fog towards the evening, it clears by the middle of the day. Even during the winter months, this city usually gets 12 inches of rain, which is more than 80% of the year’s rainfall.

In Washington, the climate is much moister and cooler, like an oceanic climate. There are few days with extreme temperatures, but this city gets substantially more rain, with 80 inches a year. Rain happens throughout the year, though the driest time is usually in July and August.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Local Terrestrial Wildlife

Since these Long Beach cities are so different in their climate, the terrestrial wildlife differs as well. The animals that survive best in the dry climate of California include raccoons, skunks, bats, and squirrels. Coyotes are also common to see, especially in more rural areas in the city. When the climate allows, bullfrogs and turtles come out, but you need to keep your distance – they become aggressive if provoked.

The wildlife on the Washington peninsula is quite different. Instead of coyotes roaming the natural areas, there are elk and bears that thrive in cooler temperatures. Along the bodies of water, beavers and otters built their homes as newts stay near freshwater areas.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Local Aquatic Wildlife

Wild Orcas Whales pod in open water in blue ocean

Both Long Beach cities offer access to the Pacific Ocean, giving you a glimpse of orcas, minke whales, and

blue whales

.

Each of these cities got their names as a way to describe one of their best features – the long beaches. While their terrain is vastly different, they both give you a view of the Pacific Ocean, which means that both let you watch for whales, dolphins, and other oceanic wildlife. Apart from the beach, California’s city is primarily covered in desert with a semi-arid environment. Because of that restriction, many of the aquatic creatures you come across will only be in the ocean, like sea lions, leopard sharks, and eels.

While the Washington location also gives access to the ocean, their aquatic animal life comes from local lakes and inlets. It is an ideal place to fish for chum salmon, but you can also catch razor clams (a local delicacy), halibut, and oysters.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Local Plant Life

Desert plants thrive in California’s Lng Beach. Among the many cacti that decorate natural areas, you’ll find bush sunflowers, coyote brush, and other plants that thrive well with minimal rainfall during the year.

The moist soil of Washington’s peninsula offers a much different environment for Sitka spruce and African violets to thrive. One of the most common native plants in Washington, especially in Long Beach, is the western hemlock.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Tourist Attractions

California’s Long Beach is the home of the Aquarium of the Pacific, a popular fixture in the city since 1998.

Tourism is a major way that both cities bring in more funding to improve their communities, and each of these locations offers unique attractions. In the small city of Washington, you can attend the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, celebrating one of the city’s popular cuisines. For over 80 years, this festival has continued to bring the community together. One of the record-breaking frying pans from the early years of the festival is on display as a local tourist attraction.

California’s tourism sector is already booming, and Long Beach follows that pattern. They are the home of some of the most significant attractions in the state, including the Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Aquarium of the Pacific. It also docks the RMS Queen Mary, a retired ocean liner that traveled between Europe and the United States for over 30 years.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Household Income

The household income of these two cities varies substantially. In California, residents of coastal cities bring in a median household income of $71,150 annually, and almost half of residents hold some type of college degree. The housing market is expensive in California’s city, ranking in the top 2% of any other expensive city in the world. The median sold price for a home is over $800,000, despite the 71,000 people who live below the poverty line.

In Washington, the average income for one household is more than 20% lower – $54,350. Only 25% of residents hold at least an associate degree, though 44% of the rest of the population attended college for a brief time or are still in college. This city’s poverty rate is 23.17%, which is twice the national average. The cost of housing is much lower as well, with a $246,200 average property value.

Long Beach (CA) vs. Long Beach (WA): Crime Rates

Crime rates are moderate in both cities, but Washington’s location is much lower. With a crime index of 226.5, there were no violent crimes in 2022, and only 18 property crimes occurred.

Long Beach, however, is a busy city with hundreds of thousands of residents. Even with a 312.7 crime index, there were 2,695 violent crimes in 2022, plus 13,895 crimes against property.

Bonus: There’s Also A City Named Long Beach In New York (And An Island In New Jersey!)

While the beaches in New York’s Long Beach aren’t private, you need to get a beach pass to reach them.

Perhaps the first “Long Beach” you think of is in New York. With 34,820 residents that call it home, it ranks as one of the top places to live in the state. It is known as the City by the Sea and has 3.5 miles of beaches to explore. To visit the beach, non-residents need to get a beach pass to enjoy access to the Nassau County oceanfront.


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About the Author

Micky Moran is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering mammals, travel, marine life, and geography. He has been writing and researching animals and nature for over 5 years. A resident of Arizona, he enjoys spending time with family, going on adventures across the United States with his wife and kids by his side.

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