Seal Beach is located in the westernmost corner of Orange County. To the northwest, just across the border with Los Angeles County, lies the city of Long Beach and the adjacent San Pedro Bay. To the southeast are Huntington Harbour, a neighborhood of Huntington Beach, and the unincorporated community of Sunset Beach. To the east lie the city of Westminster and the neighborhood of West Garden Grove, part of the city of Garden Grove. To the north lie the unincorporated community of Rossmoor and the city of Los Alamitos.
Early on, the area that is now Seal Beach was known as "Anaheim Landing", as the boat landing and seaside recreation area named after the nearby town of Anaheim.
By the 20th century, it was known as Bay City, but there was already a Bay City located in Northern California. When the time came to incorporate on 25 October 1915, the town was named Seal Beach. The town became a popular recreation destination in the area, and featured a beach-side amusement park long before Disneyland was founded inland.
The United States Navy's Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach was originally constructed during World War II for loading, unloading, and storing of ammunition for the Pacific Fleet, and especially those US Navy warships home-ported in Long Beach and San Diego, California. With closure of the Concord Naval Weapons Station in Northern California, it has become the primary source of munitions for a majority of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.2 km² (13.2 mi²). 29.8 km² (11.5 mi²) of it is land and 4.5 km² (1.7 mi²) of it (13.01%) is water.
|Weather data for Seal Beach|
|Average high °F (°C)||68 |
|Average low °F (°C)||46 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.95 |
|Source: Weather Channel|
Seal Beach encompasses the Leisure World retirement gated community with roughly 9,000 residents. This was the first major planned retirement community of its type in the U.S. The small gated community of Surfside Colony southwest of the Weapons Station is also part of Seal Beach.
The main body of Seal Beach consists of many neighborhoods.
-Old Town is the area on the ocean side of California State Route 1(PCH).
-"The Hill" is the neighborhood on the north side of PCH thats borders end at Gum Grove Park.
-College Park West is a small neighborhood bordering Long Beach. Its streets are named after colleges.
-College Park East is another small neighborhood bordering Garden Grove. Its streets are named after plants.
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,157 people, 13,048 households, and 5,884 families residing in the city. The population density was 810.3/km² (2,099.5/mi²). There were 14,267 housing units at an average density of 478.6/km² (1,240.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.91% White, 1.44% African American, 0.30% Native American, 5.74% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 2.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.43% of the population.
There were 13,048 households, out of which 13.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.2% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.9% were non-families. 48.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 34.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.83 and the average family size was 2.65.
In the city the population was spread out with 13.3% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 37.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54 years. For every 100 females there were 78.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,079, and the median income for a family was $72,071. Males had a median income of $61,654 versus $41,615 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,589. About 3.2% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
The major employer in Seal Beach is the Boeing Company, employing roughly 2,000 people. Their facility was originally built to manufacture the second stage of the Saturn V rocket for NASA's Apollo manned space flight missions to the Moon and for the Skylab program. Boeing Homeland Security & Services (airport security, etc.) is based in Seal Beach and Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems (satellite systems and classified programs) is headquartered in Seal Beach. Boeing is the world's largest satellite manufacturer.
The Lions Club Pancake Breakfast in April, and their Fish Fry (started in 1943) in July are two of the biggest events in Seal Beach. There has been a Rough Water Swim the same weekend as the Fish Fry since the 1960s. The Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsors many events, including: a Classic Car Show in April, a Summer Concert series in July & August, the Christmas Parade in December along with Santa & the Reindeer. Also in the fall is the Kite Festival in September.
On Electric Avenue where the railroad tracks used to run, there is the Red Car Museum which features a restored Pacific Electric Railway Red Car. The Red Car trolley tracks once passed through Seal Beach going south to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Going north into Long Beach you could then take the Red Cars through much of Los Angeles County.
Seal Beach is also home to the Bay Theatre, a popular venue for independent film and revival screenings.
The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is located on part of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. Much of the refuge's 911 acres (3.69 km2) is the remnant of the saltwater marsh in the Anaheim Bay estuary (the rest of the marsh became the bayside community of Huntington Harbour, which is part of Huntington Beach). Three endangered species, the light-footed Clapper Rail, the California Least Tern, and the Belding's Savannah Sparrow, can be found nesting in the refuge. With the loss and degradation of coastal wetlands in California, the remaining habitat, including the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach and Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, has become much more important for migrating and wintering shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds. Although the refuge is a great place for birdwatching, because it is part of the weapons station, access is limited and usually restricted to once-a-month tours.
The second longest wooden pier in California (the longest is in Oceanside) is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. There is also a restaurant (Ruby's) at the end of the pier. The pier has periodically suffered severe damage due to storms and other mishaps, requiring extensive reconstruction. A plaque at the pier's entrance memorializes Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1938, Project No. Calif. 1723-F, a rebuilding necessitated by storms in 1935. Another plaque honors the individuals, businesses, and groups who helped rebuild the pier after a storm on March 2, 1983, tore away several sections. Most prominent was a "Save the Pier" group formed in response to an initial vote by the City Council not to repair the pier. The ensuing outcry of dismay among residents caused the City Council to reverse its stance while claiming the city lacked the necessary funds. Residents mobilized and eventually raised $2.3 million from private and public donors to rebuild the pier.
Surfing locations in Seal Beach include the Seal Beach pier and "Stingray Bay" (or Ray Bay—the surfer's nickname for the mouth of the San Gabriel River—the stingrays are attracted by the heated water from several upstream powerplants). Classic longboard builders in the area include Harbour Surfboards established in 1959 in Seal Beach and Bruce Jones Surfboards in Sunset Beach. The classic surf trunks of Kanvas by Katin in nearby Sunset Beach are world famous.
The USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center, where the men's and women's US Olympic water polo teams train, is located on the US Military Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, adjacent to Seal Beach. The facility is also used for major water polo tournaments, swim classes, and swim teams.
A marina for recreational craft operated by the City of Long Beach is adjacent to Seal Beach.
The city is administered under a council-manager form of government, and is governed by a five-member city council serving four-year alternating terms.
In the state legislature Seal Beach is located in the 35th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Harman, and in the 67th Assembly District, represented by Republican Jim Silva. Federally, Seal Beach is located in California's 46th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +6 and is represented by Republican Dana Rohrabacher.
Seal Beach is currently under the Los Alamitos School District. Younger students (K-5) go to McGaugh Elementary School or Hopkinson Elementary School. Students in grades 6-8 attend either Oak Middle School or McAuliffe Middle School. High school students go to Los Alamitos High School. Until 2000, the Orange County High School of the Arts was part of Los Alamitos High School. In 2000, the school district suffered a major blow when the community lost the Orange County High School of the Arts to Santa Ana, where it is now located.
In the 2001 film American Pie 2, the beach town the gang drives through is Main Street in Seal Beach. The same street was used for the 1967 motorcycle-gang film The Born Losers which introduced the Billy Jack character.
The short-lived afternoon television soap opera, "Sunset Beach", was named after the unincorporated community of Sunset Beach just south of Seal Beach. All the still house shots were of houses in Seal Beach. They also filmed almost all of the beach scenes in Seal Beach.
Moses parted the "Red Sea" for Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments on the flat seashore of Seal Beach. (Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 epic color version with Charlton Heston as Moses has no connection to Seal Beach.)
The TV show "Greek" filmed its 2nd season finale at this beach, renaming it "Myrtle Beach".
The episode "Summer Song" from the popular television series "The Wonder Years" used Seal Beach and the Seal Beach Pier for the scenes on the sand and under the pier.
Local news and events coverage is provided by Seal Beach Daily and the weekly Seal Beach Sun newspaper.