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For some, a tour of the Queen Mary, docked here since its retirement in 1967, evokes waves of nostalgia for the days of the huge ocean liner with its opulent rooms, 1930s décor and teak decks. Others, particularly the younger set, are entranced by the spine-tingling haunted ship stories on the night-time ghost tour. But for everyone, a visit to this floating hotel and museum is a must on any trip to Long Beach. At one time a less-than-appealing place to visit, Long Beach has transformed itself into an upmarket tourist resort, with many waterfront attractions, including a new, state-of-the-art aquarium with a fabulous shark exhibit, two excellent art museums, charming shops, public golf courses, the annual April Grand Prix international motor race and lots of recreational activities along its eight-mile stretch of beach. Take the children to the waterfront entertainment complex with rides and live performances, or to the farming demonstrations at Rancho Los Alamitos. Feeling romantic? Cruise the canals of Naples (that's right, Naples Island in Long Beach) in a genuine Venetian gondola. One thing is for sure: tensions and stresses just dissolve in this laid-back, friendly city.
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