Seaside California Travel Guide

Seaside is an ocean-side community that overlooks the beautiful Monterey Bay on the Central Coast of California, approximately 115 miles south of San Francisco.  Seaside’s great location gives visitors an opportunity to experience all of the amenities that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.  From wine tasting to whale watching…and everything in between. Explore the breathtaking beauty and abundant sea life of the Monterey Bay by hiking, biking, kayaking, parasailing, or scuba diving.    For land lovers, there’s world-class golf at the Bayonet and Blackhorse Courses, eclectic restaurants and plenty of shopping, or just take a stroll down to Seaside Beach and wiggle your toes in the sand.  Continue to read our Seaside California Travel Guide and start planning your vacation to beautiful Seaside!  For a list of all the area beaches << Click Here >>.

Weather (When to Go)

The best time to visit Seaside is between April and May. Spring offers warmer temperatures, fewer crowds and food festivals dishing out delectable eats, including Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Artichoke Festival in Castroville. Summer is the most popular time to visit the Monterey Peninsula, but it can still be chilly, so bring a sweater regardless of the season. Fall is another good time to visit, but the chance of rain increases starting in October. Seaside’s central California location subjects it to mild temperatures during the winter, with the average low reaching 48 degrees. Winter also brings lower hotel prices and the celebrity-heavy AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event held in February, making Seaside an attractive destination year-round.

Area Attractions

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesMonterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a nonprofit public aquarium known for its regional focus on the marine habitats of Monterey Bay.  It was the first to exhibit a living kelp forest when it opened in October 1984. Its biologists have pioneered the animal husbandry of jellyfish and it was the first to successfully care for and display a great white shark. The organization’s research and conservation efforts also focus on sea otters, various birds, and tunas.

17-Mile Drive, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beaches17-Mile Drive

Tracing the rugged Pacific coastline, the 17-Mile Drive isn’t just a road. The route offers breathtaking views of the ocean, hugging the Pacific coastline as it weaves through the Del Monte Forest. You can experience the natural wonders of Monterey and marvel at the multi-million-dollar homes along the coast.  It is highly recommended to get out of your vehicle and park at the marked points of interest along the 17-Mile Drive. Don’t miss getting a picture of the Lone Cypress, or taking a short stroll along the wooden paths that line the shores of Spanish Bay.

Frog Pond Wetland Preserve, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesFrog Pond Wetland Preserve

The Del Rey Oaks Frog Pond Wetland Preserve provides 17 acres of refuge for a wide variety of animals. Among the species that make their homes here is the Pacific tree frog. This small space supports a wide variety of environments, from wetland to grasslands. Admire the redwoods and the coastal oaks as you walk gently in this park.  Paths provide peripheral access to the wetland habitat. The trail goes through overhanging foliage. It is available for pedestrian use only, and is a popular spot for dog-walking and birding.  Mallard ducks, warblers, bushtits, blackbirds and flycatchers all frequent this park.

Monterey Bay, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesMonterey Bay

Monterey Bay is a small, safe, and welcoming community with amazing scenery and a lot of activity.  The white sand beaches are perfect for relaxation and recreation, while nearby mountains and redwood forests are ideal for camping and long hikes.  Marine wildlife can be seen from the shore at any time of the year. This is a great area for its scenic views, best-in-class wineries, its vibrant arts scene, and abundant outdoor activities.

Cannery Row

With its picturesque charm and colorful history, Cannery Row captivates visitors from all over the world. The unique appeal of this fabled street is what makes Cannery Row the most popular vacation destination on California’s Central Coast. With luxurious waterfront hotels, enticing restaurants and captivating boutiques, Cannery Row is the ideal place to soak up the culture and beauty of Monterey Bay.

 

Things to Do

Monterey Bay Kayaka, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesMonterey Bay Kayaks

Original sea kayaking and stand up paddle outfitter offering eco-guided natural history tours, rentals, classes and retail sales of kayaking related gear and casual beach items.  Two great paddling destinations right on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where kayaks are waiting for you on the beach.  We include everything you need for a day on the water of fun, exercise and wildlife viewing.  Visit with marine mammals like sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, shorebirds and enjoy the beauty of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  For more information call (831) 373-5357, or visit them on the web at Monterey Bay Kayaks.

Carmel Surf Lessons, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesCarmel Surf Lessons

Teaching surfing in Carmel, Monterey and Pacific Grove since 1986, professional instruction, professional grade gear. Trusted by all three surf shops on the Monterey Peninsula. Parties, groups and privates lessons offered almost daily all year around. All equipment included all ages and abilities welcome.  For more information call (831) 915-4065, or visit them on the web at Carmel Surf Lessons.

Discovery Whale Watch, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesDiscovery Whale Watch

Whether as an individual, family, group charter, corporate event, or just plain fun – there is something for everyone. A day from which wonderful memories and tales are made! Our daily fishing trips depart from Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf.  For more information call (831) 372-7440, or visit them on the web at Discovery Whale Watch.

Bella on the Bay,, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesBella On The Bay

47’Luxury Italian Racer Cruiser sailing yacht for your personal and intimate pleasure for sailing the beautiful Monterey Bay Sanctuary.  Perfect for a couples get away on the water, or for family and friends to enjoy being on the Monterey Bay Sanctuary without the crowds of the commercial boats. Bring your own snacks, beer,wine to enjoy for the trip. Bella has all the glasses and things you may need for your goodies. Beautiful coast lines and lots of marine life to enjoy. I keep her stocked with plenty of extra jackets, blankets and pillows so if you need extra to be warm and cozy. Best times for sailing is going to be in the early afternoon and any times are available as long as Bella is not already booked. For more information call (831) 822-2390, or visit them on the web at Bella On The Bay.

Fast Raft Ocean Safaris, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesFast Raft Ocean Safaris

Fast Raft Ocean Safaris are a fun and exciting way to explore the beautiful Monterey Bay Sanctuary!  Their low to the water boat, Ranger is comfortable and highly maneuverable, offering an incredible perspective of ocean wildlife and beautiful coastal scenery. With a maximum of six passengers, each Eco-Tour is custom designed to the unique desires of their guests.  For more information call  (831) 324-4883, or visit them on the web at Fast Raft Ocean Safaris.

$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End

$$ – $$$  Gusto Handcrafted Pasta And Pizza

Gusto is a lively New Restaurant Specializing in Fresh Italian Pasta and Pizza.  Bring your appetite, your kids and your neighbors to enjoy being part of the family!  Denis’ zest for life is contagious and it is his goal to make your dining experience fun, memorable and delicious.  For more information call (831) 899-5825, or visit them on the web at Gusto Handcrafter Pasta and Pizza.

$$ – $$$  Googie Grill

“Googie” is a word that stops people in their tracks. It’s fresh, fun, and memorable! Think George Jetson, 1950’s bowling alleys and coffee shops and Disney’s Tomorrowland.  Their menu includes old family recipes and classic plates with a modern twist. Customers go to Googie to enjoy delicious breakfast specialties, amazing sandwiches and burgers, cooked to perfection steak and fish, and homemade desserts.  For more information call (831) 392-1520, or visit them on the web at Googie Grill.

$$ – $$$  Stammtisch Restaurant

German Restaurant Stammtisch is one of the top restaurants in Seaside – just ask the critics and their regular customers. They combine culinary delights with style and personal flair to create a unique experience every time you visit them. They strive to make each visit satisfying and memorable.  For more information call (831) 899-3070, or visit them on the web at Stammtisch Restaurant.

$$ – $$$  The Oven Pizzaria

Using fresh, quality ingredients The Oven’s menu continues a tradition of New York style pizza, along with a signature San Francisco sourdough pizza.  Locals and visitors of Monterey County can have their favorite slice of pizza pie, whether it’s thin crust East Coast style or West Coast style.   For more information call (831) 899-1762, or visit them on the web at The Oven Pizzaria.

$$ – $$$  Baan Thai Restaurant

This restaurant is a family-owned and operated establishment. Baan Thai means ‘Thai House’, a sign to their customers to expect authentic Thai cuisine and hospitality. They treat their guests like family, and want customers to feel cozy and at home. They prepare each entree with fresh ingredients to ensure the highest quality.  For more information call (831) 394-2996, or visit them on the web at Baan Thai Restaurant.

Best Bars

Post No Bills Craft Beer House, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesPost No Bills Craft Beer House

They offer  a wide range of Craft Beer, and Ciders from all over the world. With 17 rotating taps, and over 300 bottles for consumption on or off premise.  For more information call (831) 324-4667, or visit them on the web at Post No Bills Craft Beer House.

Cuz’s Sportsman’s Club

A locals bar with three dart boards, pool table, and live music on Thursdays.  Wednesday night hosts Monterey Bay Dart League matches. Tuesdays there pool and/or dart tournaments.  For more information call (831) 394-2666, or visit them on the web at Cuz’s Sportsman’s Club.

Carbone's, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesCarbone’s

Carbones is a great bar, reminiscent of cheers. Sal the owner is friendly and kind and if you are new and or by yourself he will make you feel welcome and introduce you to other friendly customers/regulars. There is a nice fire pit outside. Dart boards inside and outside, pool table and Foosball table. Wednesday nights they have a luck of the draw darts tournament and good fun people participate.    For more information call (831) 643-9169, or visit them on the web at Carbone’s.

Crown & Anchor, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesCrown & Anchor

They have the best selection of 20 British & International beers on tap plus California Craft beers. Their pub has an impressive selection of Single Malts, Irish Whiskeys and Small Batch Bourbons. In addition to the regular menu we offer Daily Specials, Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free Menu.  For more information call (831) 649-6496, or visit them on the web at Crown & Anchor.

Easy Street Billiards, Seaside California Travel, best central California beaches, California beaches, Seaside beaches, things to do in Seaside, best restaurants in Seaside, best bars in Seaside, best hotels in Seaside, Seaside beachesEasy Street Billiards

Easy Street is an old school pool room with some modern touches.  They strive to create a fun atmosphere. There are a number of games to play including pool, darts, & shuffleboard.  They offer a large beer selection in both bottles and on tap, and happy hour is daily from 4-7.  They also offer a good selection of food including, chicken strips, cheese sticks, jumbo dogs, corn dogs, nachos and much more.  For more information call (831) 333-0825, or visit them on the web at Easy Street Billiards.

Best Area Hotels

Old Monterey Inn – Great For Couples

Set in the heart of beautiful Monterey, California, our Monterey bed and breakfast is a special retreat for couples that embodies the spirit of Old World romance. Let our elegant estate transport you to another time and place, surrounded by lush English gardens and the soothing melody of water features under majestic live oak trees. Delight in tastefully appointed rooms and suites boasting exquisite furnishings and thoughtful amenities. This award winning 4 Diamond AAA rated hotel has earned national acclaim and has been featured on the Today Show as a romantic rendezvous destination.  Old Monterey Inn is an ideal venue for an intimate Monterey honeymoon retreat, or your dream Monterey wedding in the dazzling garden.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit the Old Monterey Inn.

Portola Hotel & Spa

This waterfront hotel overlooking Monterey Bay boasts an ideal location near Carmel by the Sea, Big Sur, Carmel Valley, 17-Mile Drive, and the world-class Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Enjoy the Spa on the Plaza, featuring a fitness center and the largest day spa in Monterey County. The Portola Hotel & Spa staff provide wine tastings in the lobby from nearby vineyards.  There are 379 well-appointed guest rooms.  Park the car and walk or bike along the scenic coastline of the Bay’s famous recreational trail to many world-famous attractions and activities, such as Pebble Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Portola Hotel & Spa.

Holiday Inn Express at Monterey Bay

This property is a 5-minute walk from the beach. Located off Highway 1, this Seaside, California hotel features an outdoor pool and offers rooms with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is just a 10-minute drive away.  A work desk and coffee maker are provided in all rooms at the Holiday Inn Express at Monterey Bay. Each warmly decorated room includes a seating area and offers pay-per-view movies.  Free access to the fitness room and hot tub is offered to all guests of this hotel. The business center is available 24/7.  A breakfast bar is served each morning at the Monterey Bay Holiday Inn Express, featuring a variety of hot and cold items.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Holiday Inn Express at Monterey Bay.

Sand Castle Inn

The Sand Castle Inn is located minutes away from the ocean and the heart of Monterey. With their newly remodeled 34 rooms, they offer amenities such as microwaves, refrigerators, cable, free wi-fi, irons, and hairdryers in each room, along with a continental breakfast. They provide parking and a guest laundry. The Sand Castle Inn is just 3 miles from the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve  your room, visit Sand Castle Inn.

Monterey Tides, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

For unwinding and fine dining, relaxing and rejuvenating, sandcastles and sunset cocktails, your favorite California escape awaits at this beachy chic boutique hotel. Perched directly on the beachfront in Monterey, their glass-enclosed lobby instantly treats guests to intoxicating bay and ocean views. Feed your culinary cravings at on-site eateries Bar Sebastián and Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink, which both offer delicious cuisine and dramatic ocean scenes. Take a sip, a moment, a bite, a breath, and listen to the waves crashing at your feet.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Monterey Tides, a Joie de Vivre Hotel.

28 Comments

  1. Nathalie

    Hello Leahrae, Your website is really great! All information that you need to visit a place collected in one site. Seaside California seems to be amazing and a must go!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a must go place! I hope you can vacation here soon! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

      Reply
  2. CT

    Great post about Seaside California. I love the beach. Seaside California is really attractive to me…. and the food LOL. It looks like a really amazing place. It should be the nice beach vacation when I go to California. I really want to try all the restaurants you have recommended one by one. With my two kids, beside beach, do you have any suggestion on where they can play?

    Thx for you sharing

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will love Seaside CT. It is a beautiful place and your kids will have a ball. Not knowing their age, it is hard to say what activities would be good for them. Of course the beaches are fun for all ages, the parks, and the wildlife is all wonderful. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  3. Micheal

    This post on Seaside California has grabbed my attention! I have been looking into a California beach vacation, and it appears that central California is the place to go. So much to see and do. Thanks for all the attention you put into this article. It has helped me a lot to start planning!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Central California is probably my favorite part of the state, along the coast that is. So beautiful, so many beaches, things to do, and just wonderful. If you need any help in planning please let me know. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  4. Fred

    Another great vacation spot, Leahrae, never been to California either so this would be a new one for me. I think I would have to learn how to parasail or scuba dive if I came here. There is something I don’t know whether I would want to do. And that is eating at the Google Grill after being on Google all the time working on my blog and writing I don’t know if it would feel like a vacation(lol).

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      LOL on the Google Grill 😀 I am a foodie so I would not let the name bother me! Anyway, central California is wonderful and you would have a fantastic vacation here. Thanks for visiting my Seaside California Travel Guide.

      Reply
  5. Christina Piccoli

    Artichoke festival??? I’m in! But it sounds like it’s kind of cool in April and May. I know some people love that, but I’m a warmer-weather girl myself. Is there a time to go when it’s mid-70s / lower-80s, even though I may miss out on the Artichoke Festival? 🙂 I really love the idea of going to Seaside California. I’ve only been to San Diego. San Diego is gorgeous, but it would be fun to explore other areas too.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Believe it or not, the warmest months are going to be August – October. It doesn’t really every get up to the 70s – 80s here. You will find during these months that it will be have daily highs of around 68. I hope that is warm enough for you 🙂 Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  6. Clarissa Lawes

    Wow, that is a lot of interesting info. I had no idea there was so much there. I visited Seaside when my husband graduated from USMC bootcamp at Camp Pendleton, in San Deigo. It was a beautiful city, but I may need to go back, it seem a missed a lot.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Always worth revisiting 🙂 The whole central California coast is beautiful. Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  7. Christina

    I love seaside- the views, the attractions, and the food!! It’s all amazing. It’s been a while since i’ve been there but I think it’s time for a trip back and see some new things like the wetlands and revisit Cannery Row!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Always go back to Cannery Row! Yes, I love the beach but I am also a foodie. The food is wonderful, you are right! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  8. Steven Varley.

    What an awesome place! My dream is to go to America but its so darn big. However, Seaside California looks like a good starting place as it ticks all the boxes.

    I do have a few questions, Firstly, what kind of whales can you see as my misses loves sea life. Secondly, you say its cooler between April and may what is the average temprature?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Okay, the average temperatures are going to be in the mid to upper 60s, which to some is warm. I live in Florida, so anything in the mid to low 60s is cold for me! You are going to see Grey Whales, Blue Whales, and Humpback Whales in Central California 🙂 I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any other information. Thanks for visiting my Seaside California Travel Guide.

      Reply
  9. Maryann Breece

    I always find wonderful gems on your site. Seaside California is the first that I can get to in just a few hours drive however. Yay. Looks like I finally get to go on a trip. There seems to be tons of attractions. I will probably check out the aquarium and frog pond wetlands first. The food prices look to be on the higher side than what I am used to. I can plan for that thanks to your great article. Thank you

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Maryann, and Seaside is close for you! How nice that must be. Have a wonderful time and please let me know if you need anything else!

      Reply
  10. Crystal Lim

    Aww, I wonder how you can always make so many detailed guides on various beach destinations!

    I used to think that beaches cannot differ too much but forget me, I was wrong. Very often, it’s more than just the beach – what you can eat there, what’s the culture at different beaches, what activities you can do there.

    I particularly like the way you listed things to do at this beach destination! Kayaking is also fun and it’s like viewing the scenery in a sporty way! One question, though, is it possible for us to bring our own kayak boat and kayak on our own here?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Crystal for taking the time to stop, visit, and leave me comments. You can most certainly take your own Kayak and/or boat. That is perfectly fine….beats renting one for sure! And you are right…beaches are not all alike!

      Reply
  11. LYNNE

    Hello! I just love your website! I find it strange that spring offers warmer temperatures than summer. What are the average temperatures in spring? Someday when my kids are graduated from high school I hope to move somewhere warmer so I’m always on the lookout! Thank you for another amazing post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Lynne, and glad you enjoyed my Seaside California Travel Guide. The weather in the spring is going to be in the mid to upper 60s. Nice weather and of course you have the sunshine 🙂 Come back and visit again!

      Reply
  12. Dany

    This is a place where I would love to go one day. Thanks to your informative article I have all the information I need 🙂
    Monterey Bay is on my ‘To Do’ list.
    Can you recommend a good vegetarian restaurant?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for visiting my Seaside California Travel Guide Dany. Definitely do not miss Julia’s in Pacific Grove for a great vegetarian restaurant. Please let me know if you need anything else 🙂

      Reply
  13. Andrew

    Wow, again you have given me all of the information that I require to visit Seaside and have a wonderful holiday. Many thanks for the effort that you have put into collecting and sharing information about this ‘need to visit soon’ holiday destination.
    Kind regards
    Andrew

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Andrew for stopping by and leaving me some comments. Glad you enjoyed my Seaside California Travel Guide.

      Reply
  14. Rob

    Leahrae, What can I say about California? I’ve only been there once and want to go back and you make it so much easier by presenting places like this. I’ve always loved aquariums and that would be one place I would go and see. I also love marine wildlife so I know I would enjoy Monterey Bay.It looks like this has all there is to offer. What I love is that you spell everything out to make it easier for the traveler to plan their trips. Thanks for some awesome information 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Rob, and glad you enjoyed reading my Seaside California Travel Guide. Hopefully you can make it back to California someday soon! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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