Seal Beach is a little slice of SoCal heaven wedged in between the larger cities of Long Beach to the north and Huntington Beach to the south.
Seal Beach is in Orange County, but the San Gabriel river that runs right along the north side of town (also providing one of the main surf breaks in town) is also the border between Orange County and Los Angeles County. So a quick stroll over the bride and you’re technically in Long Beach.
To the south, Seal Beach is hemmed in by a naval base and the inlet to the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge.
This geography provides Seal Beach with some interesting dynamics. First of all, it is small! Second, and most importantly, the Old Town section of Seal Beach, which is what we’re really referring to here, is on the west side of the PCH.
This means that, unlike Huntington Beach to the south, you don’t have to cross the highway to stroll through town and onto the beach.
This gives Seal Beach a much different feel from the other towns. On top of it being small, it is just a bit older. There isn’t much of a scene here which means the kids go elsewhere to party. That keeps it quiet.
Small and quiet aren’t really qualities you associate with north Orange County, and this makes Seal Beach special.
Surfing in Seal Beach
Seal Beach has two main surf breaks, the north side of the pier and the river mouth. In heavier swells, the south side of the pier can be a serious barreling wave.
These breaks are very different and you’ll find that each has its crowd of regulars. The rivermouth is considered much more of a longboarding wave, although on large swells when other beaches in the area are closing out, surfers will flock here from all over.
The north side of the pier is shorter and steeper, while the south side gets crazy on large swells.
Hotels in Seal Beach
If there’s one thing thats lacking in Seal Beach, it’s places to stay. While there are some active short term rentals, there is really only one hotel in the Old Town section of Seal Beach, The Pacific Inn Seal Beach.
This can require some creativity when looking for a hotel in Seal Beach, including possibly staying in Sunset Beach just down the PCH.
Be sure to check out our complete guide to hotels in Seal Beach for our recommendations on where to stay for your Seal Beach vacation.
Restaurants in Seal Beach
For great food, Seal Beach has you covered.
Whether it is the classic beach fare, fish tacos, or an upscale steak and cocktails, Seal Beach has you covered.
Of course, we have our favorites, so be sure to check out our guide to the best restaurants in Seal Beach. Keep in mind that some of our favorites are breakfast or brunch spots!
Coffee in Seal Beach
Getting that morning cup of joe is going to be a pleasure in Seal Beach. There are a variety of coffee shops and diners to get you going in the morning or warm up after that dawn patrol surf session.
However, as admitted coffee snobs, we do have some favorites. Be sure to check out our guide to the best coffee in Seal Beach to see which places we love, and which ones we avoid.
Planning a Trip to Seal Beach?
Here are some other articles that might help plan a trip to Seal Beach.
Guide to Seal Beach, California
Best Restaurants in Seal Beach