Destination Main Streets

Seal Beach, California

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Seal Beach is one of those rare coastal Southern California towns that maintains a small town atmosphere despite being so close to the beach. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), Main Street offers visitors gifts shops, boutiques, and antique stores. It isn't until you get closer to the beach that you'll see the kind of businesses that one associates with a beach town, such as t-shirt and ice cream shops. Some of this can be attributed to Seal Beach being an island hemmed in by a wildlife refuge, the Naval Weapons Station and the large Leisure World complex.

Seal Beach is on the northwestern corner of Orange County. Seal Beach is about 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles and 103 miles from downtown San Diego. Main Street runs from the PCH (which is also California Route 1) to the Seal Beach Pier on the Pacific Ocean. Other Main Street communities along the PCH in Orange County include Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, San Clemente and Balboa Island on Newport Beach. Further inland you have Old Towne in the City of Orange. Also, Seal Beach borders the city of Long Beach in Los Angeles County, so you have the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, which has a Main Street area to check out as well.

Photo Gallery Tour

We'll start our tour of Seal Beach at the corner of Main Street and the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), which is California Highway Route 1.  In this picture, we see a strip shopping center facing PCH, with more pedestrian-friendly shops facing Main Street.
We'll start our tour of Seal Beach at the corner of Main Street and the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), which is California Highway Route 1. In this picture, we see a strip shopping center facing PCH, with more pedestrian-friendly shops facing Main Street.
Our tour will take us down Main Street in a southwest direction all the way until we hit the Pacific Ocean.  Here we see some shops and restaurants facing Main Street.
Our tour will take us down Main Street in a southwest direction all the way until we hit the Pacific Ocean. Here we see some shops and restaurants facing Main Street.
This is a development along Main Street in Seal Beach that contains offices, shops, eateries, and salons.
This is a development along Main Street in Seal Beach that contains offices, shops, eateries, and salons.
A bicyclist parks his bike in front of a bike shop next to a barber shop along Main Street in Seal Beach California.  Being close to the beach in Orange County, the area has some beautiful weather.
A bicyclist parks his bike in front of a bike shop next to a barber shop along Main Street in Seal Beach California. Being close to the beach in Orange County, the area has some beautiful weather.
A visitor strolls past shops, including a bakery during this early morning in Seal Beach, California.
A visitor strolls past shops, including a bakery during this early morning in Seal Beach, California.
A Greek restaurant on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
A Greek restaurant on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
A row of shops and other businesses on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
A row of shops and other businesses on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
A French Bistro is one of the many culinary delights you'll find while strolling along Main Street.
A French Bistro is one of the many culinary delights you'll find while strolling along Main Street.
A large tree dominates the parkway formed by Electric Avenue that crosses over Main Street.  The road gets its name from the the Pacific Electric red car trolleys that used to make up the Southern California's mass transit system.
A large tree dominates the parkway formed by Electric Avenue that crosses over Main Street. The road gets its name from the the Pacific Electric red car trolleys that used to make up the Southern California's mass transit system.
Here is an example of one of those red car trolleys.  Today it is the Pacific Electric Museum.  At one time, in the 1920s, Los Angeles and Southern California had the largest electric railway system in the world, and it had extended all the way down to Seal Beach.
Here is an example of one of those red car trolleys. Today it is the Pacific Electric Museum. At one time, in the 1920s, Los Angeles and Southern California had the largest electric railway system in the world, and it had extended all the way down to Seal Beach.
At the corner of Electric Avenue and Main Street, we see a jewelry store and an interior design studio.
At the corner of Electric Avenue and Main Street, we see a jewelry store and an interior design studio.
If we continue down Electric Avenue we see the rear of the shop gives us access to some home and garden shops.
If we continue down Electric Avenue we see the rear of the shop gives us access to some home and garden shops.
We head back out to Main Street where we will continue heading south towards the Pacific Coast.  Here we see a lingerie shop, a day spa, and a children's clothing store.
We head back out to Main Street where we will continue heading south towards the Pacific Coast. Here we see a lingerie shop, a day spa, and a children's clothing store.
When we came out to Seal Beach it was still early in the morning, so there weren't too many visitors out yet.  Here we see more shops along Main Street.
When we came out to Seal Beach it was still early in the morning, so there weren't too many visitors out yet. Here we see more shops along Main Street.
Across the street are more shops, including a picture gallery.  On the left is a small nursery.
Across the street are more shops, including a picture gallery. On the left is a small nursery.
Some more shops and businesses underneath the shady ficus trees on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
Some more shops and businesses underneath the shady ficus trees on Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
A visitor walks her dog while talking on her phone on Main Street.  Seal Beach is the most northern of the cities along coastal Orange County, California.
A visitor walks her dog while talking on her phone on Main Street. Seal Beach is the most northern of the cities along coastal Orange County, California.
Here we see a hardware store, an antiques shop and other stores, on Main Street.
Here we see a hardware store, an antiques shop and other stores, on Main Street.
More shops and a sushi restaurant on Main Street.  <i>Forbes</i> magazine ranked Seal Beach one of the five friendliest towns in America.
More shops and a sushi restaurant on Main Street. Forbes magazine ranked Seal Beach one of the five friendliest towns in America.
A Mexican restaurant, an antiques store, a boutique and other stores along Main Street in Seal Beach California.
A Mexican restaurant, an antiques store, a boutique and other stores along Main Street in Seal Beach California.
We reach the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.  Here we see an electric vehicle and a bank building with an interesting light house design.
We reach the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. Here we see an electric vehicle and a bank building with an interesting light house design.
A view across the street also on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue in Seal Beach, California.
A view across the street also on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue in Seal Beach, California.
Another view of the eateries, shops, and even a coffee house on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.
Another view of the eateries, shops, and even a coffee house on the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.
We continue south on Main Street towards the beach and the Pacific Ocean.  Along the way we see some more eateries.
We continue south on Main Street towards the beach and the Pacific Ocean. Along the way we see some more eateries.
Here are more shops and restaurants on Main Street.  Unlike other beach cities in southern California, Seal Beach maintains that small town feel.  This is partly because it is isolated from the rest of the urban conglomeration, being hemmed in by a wildlife refuge, the Naval Weapons Station and the large Leisure World complex.
Here are more shops and restaurants on Main Street. Unlike other beach cities in southern California, Seal Beach maintains that small town feel. This is partly because it is isolated from the rest of the urban conglomeration, being hemmed in by a wildlife refuge, the Naval Weapons Station and the large Leisure World complex.
Across the street are more shops and eateries, including another Irish pub and an Italian restaurant.
Across the street are more shops and eateries, including another Irish pub and an Italian restaurant.
More boutiques, eateries, and other services along Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
More boutiques, eateries, and other services along Main Street in Seal Beach, California.
Here we see an art gallery, a gift shop and other stores underneath the ficus trees on Main Street.
Here we see an art gallery, a gift shop and other stores underneath the ficus trees on Main Street.
If we pull back we get a better view of the well-manicured ficus trees along Main Street.
If we pull back we get a better view of the well-manicured ficus trees along Main Street.
Here we see some shops with a beachy feel, including a gift shop, a shop selling candy, and even an Irish saloon.  We're definitely getting closer to the beach.
Here we see some shops with a beachy feel, including a gift shop, a shop selling candy, and even an Irish saloon. We're definitely getting closer to the beach.
This is a close up of one those gift shops that really lets you know you're on the beach.
This is a close up of one those gift shops that really lets you know you're on the beach.
We're getting close to the beach.  Here are some condos with balconies so you can have a view of the beach.
We're getting close to the beach. Here are some condos with balconies so you can have a view of the beach.
More shops, a Mexican restaurant, and another Irish pub.  There are quite a few pubs and taverns in Seal Beach.  Many sprung up back in Seal Beach's past due to the town's history as a border town right on the border with Los Angeles County.
More shops, a Mexican restaurant, and another Irish pub. There are quite a few pubs and taverns in Seal Beach. Many sprung up back in Seal Beach's past due to the town's history as a border town right on the border with Los Angeles County.
We're almost at the beach.  This is the corner of Main Street and Ocean Avenue.  This cool looking building has an interesting looking cupola that almost seems like a lighthouse.
We're almost at the beach. This is the corner of Main Street and Ocean Avenue. This cool looking building has an interesting looking cupola that almost seems like a lighthouse.
Also on the corner of Main Street and Ocean Avenue is this row of shops and restaurants.  Ocean Avenue is in the foreground and runs along the beach.
Also on the corner of Main Street and Ocean Avenue is this row of shops and restaurants. Ocean Avenue is in the foreground and runs along the beach.
You may be wondering where Seal Beach gets its name.  Okay, maybe it was obvious.  This monument of a seal at the entrance to the Seal Beach Pier may be a small clue.  The town had been called Bay City but changed its name to Seal Beach to because of all the seals in the area.  Other areas were trying to get rid of their seals because they were a nuisance and eating all the fish.
You may be wondering where Seal Beach gets its name. Okay, maybe it was obvious. This monument of a seal at the entrance to the Seal Beach Pier may be a small clue. The town had been called Bay City but changed its name to Seal Beach to because of all the seals in the area. Other areas were trying to get rid of their seals because they were a nuisance and eating all the fish.
As we walk out onto the Seal Beach Pier, we see a class where students are learning how to surf.  In the distance, we can see the nearby Long Beach skyline.  The city of Long Beach in Los Angeles County borders the City of Seal Beach.
As we walk out onto the Seal Beach Pier, we see a class where students are learning how to surf. In the distance, we can see the nearby Long Beach skyline. The city of Long Beach in Los Angeles County borders the City of Seal Beach.
This is the Seal Beach Pier.  It is the second longest wooden pier in California (after the one in Oceanside).  Public restrooms are located down below.  This concludes our tour, but there is plenty to do in Seal Beach and plenty of other coastal towns to discover in the Southland.
This is the Seal Beach Pier. It is the second longest wooden pier in California (after the one in Oceanside). Public restrooms are located down below. This concludes our tour, but there is plenty to do in Seal Beach and plenty of other coastal towns to discover in the Southland.

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