Naples Island

From Openwaterpedia
The Naples Island regulars
The Naples Island triathlon and open water swimming crowd on a night swim
Naples Island swim area
Marine Stadium next to Naples Island
USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team at Naples

Naples Island is a community in Long Beach, California, U.S.A. where numerous open water swimmers and triathletes train, congregate and race year-round. Open water swimmers and triathletes regularly swim along the 1000-meter stretch of beach from early morning to late at night, and around the island doing single and double circumnavigations. The swim course is marked off by protective buoys so individuals can swim without fear of conflicts with motorized boats, rowers, stand-up paddlers or sailboats that also frequently use the venue.

The swimming venue is also conveniently located next to 2nd Street where there are numerous cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, juice bars and fitness clubs. Often after a swimming workout, the swimming crowd goes for a post-swim meal.

Parking is free in the area, but parking can get difficult to find in the middle of a warm sunny day or on most summer weekends. Functional, but not elaborate, showers are available as are restrooms at either end of the swimming areas.

The Swimming Crowd

Friendly groups of swimmers and triathletes regularly swim at various points around the island throughout every day of the year. The most experienced athletes often complete a 3-mile (4.8K) complete circumnavigation of the island. Most others simply go for a quick dip along the protected swimming areas.

All newcomers and visitors are warmly welcomed. They can swim by themselves or quickly join groups of swimmers of similar speed. Swimmers include people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

The swimming crowd includes triathletes who are most comfortable in wetsuits and hardy open water swimmers who can withstand water temperatures under 61°F (16°C). Others wear neoprene hats in the winter months or fins as they wish.

The USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team has also trained at Naples in preparation for the 2001 World Swimming Championships, the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. World champions Shelley Taylor-Smith, Chip Peterson and renowned open water swimmers like Lynne Cox and Chloe Sutton have trained here prior to their open water swimming exploits around the world.

Water Temperature and Water Conditions

For most of the year, the water temperature is relatively cool (under 61°F or 16°C), but the water temperatures warm up starting in May until September when the water temperature is normally above 68°F or 20°C).

The average water temperatures throughout the year can be found here under Los Angeles.

The water conditions are almost always nearly glassy flat. It is rare that there is any surface chop. About the any turbulence is caused by a slow-moving boat that gives off a small wake.

The water quality can be questionable at times, but the local lifeguards daily monitor the water quality. When swimmers exit the water, their skin can be occasionally dotted with a slight tint of oil.

Marine Stadium

Marine Stadium is on one side of Naples Island and is the site of rowing, boating and swimming competitions. Marine Stadium was originally built for the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics rowing events, and continues to provide a pleasant flat-water practice and competition site for various sports.

Mother's Beach

Mother's Beach is located on Naples Island and is very popular with infants, small children and their parents. It has plenty of parking, a grassy play area and picnic benches. The water is very calm and flat with lifeguards posted during peak periods.

The Neighborhood

Naples is a neighborhood of Long Beach that is built on a series of islands located in Alamitos Bay. Naples consists of three separate islands, divided by canals which open into the bay. Most of the streets on the island have Italianate names. The center of Naples features a large fountain which serves as a popular meeting spot.


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 Canal Historic District 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."


Naples Island is the site of various open water swimming competitions (local, national and international) including the Naples Island Swim & SUP and the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships held in Marine Stadium.

Videos of Naples Island

External links