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 >>.

Seaside California Weather (When to Visit)

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.

Best Seaside Area Beaches

Roberts Beach, 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 beaches, beach travelRoberts Beach

This beach is an excellent spot to relax or walk at the edge of the water, but swimming here can be dangerous due to rip currents. The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail meanders through the dunes in this park. This bike trail continues south to downtown Monterey and north into the city of Marina.

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Seaside Beach, 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 beaches, beach travelSeaside Beach

Seaside Beach is the northernmost of three separate sections of Monterey State Beach.  There is a lifeguard on staff during the summer months, but this section of the coast has strong rip currents so swimming is not advised.

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Fort Ord Dunes State Park, 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 beaches, beach travelFort Ord Dunes State Park

This recently opened State Park has a 1,500 foot trail to 4 miles of ocean beach with beautiful views of Monterey Bay. From the parking area visitors may also take a stroll on the new boardwalk to a bluff top viewing platform.

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Del Monte Beach, 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 beaches, beach travelDel Monte Beach

Del Monte Beach is a hidden gem known to Monterey Bay locals. It’s tucked away from the main streets and located on the back side of a coastal housing community.  There is a boardwalk trail through the dunes with benches and picnic tables to rest on.

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Carmel Beach, 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 beaches, beach travelCarmel Beach

Carmel Beach has good surf and  breathtaking sunsets.  Evening sunsets are a community event at Carmel Beach; join the locals and bring a picnic meal and a bottle of wine while you watch the greatest show in Nature's evening schedule.

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Best Seaside Tours & Activities

Day Trip to Monterey and Carmel via California Coast

The California coastline is dramatic, iconic and rugged, but also difficult to enjoy when you're trapped behind the wheel of a car rental. So take this day trip to Carmel and Monterey, and enjoy the cliffside and ocean views from the window seat of your coach.  Learn more about the Monterey & Carmel Day Trip.

Monterey, Carmel and 17-Mile Drive – Full Day Tour from San Francisco

Drive down one of the most scenic roads in California on this full-day tour from San Francisco. Cruise along the coast-hugging Highway 1, passing the mansions of Pebble Beach on the iconic 17-Mile Drive. Enjoy free time to explore Monterey, where you can stroll down Steinbeck’s Cannery Row or visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Browse the ritzy boutiques of Carmel-by-the-Sea and get a glimpse of Silicon Valley’s tech campuses on the return drive to San Francisco.  Learn more about the Monterey, Carmel an d 17-Mile Drive.

3-Day California Coast Tour: San Francisco to Los Angeles

Experience the spectacular scenery, wildlife, and culture of California’s coastline, on an epic, 3-day adventure from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Sit back and relax as your friendly guide handles the driving along coast-hugging Highway 1, stopping along the way to explore highlights like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Santa Cruz beaches, the sea cliffs of Bug Sur, luxurious 17-Mile Drive, jaw-dropping Hearst Castle, and downtown Santa Barbara. Finish the one-way journey with a train ride into the sprawling glamour of Los Angeles. Tour size is limited to eight people for a more intimate, small-group experience.  Learn more about the 3-Day California Coast Tour.

Half-Day Whale Watching Tour From Monterey

Look for whales as they migrate through the waters of the Pacific Ocean off of California on this half-day whale-watching cruise from Monterey. Your naturalist guide shares commentary about the whales and their habitat as you search for gray whales (most common), humpback and blue whales, and other marine life such as dolphins and sea lions during your cruise. Get tips for great photo ops and learn all about the mighty creatures at one of California's most famous whale-watching destinations.  Learn more about this Half-Day Whale Watching Tour.

Carmel Small-Group Food and Wine Walking Tour

Explore the culinary delights of Carmel, just down the coast from Monterey, on this food and wine walking tour. With a knowledgeable foodie guide, you’ll learn about the history and gourmet culture of Carmel, an upscale enclave known for its charming architecture and cozy, small-town vibe, as you visit local eateries to sample locavore and ethnic dishes, chocolate, and wine. Limited to 16 people, this tour provides a small-group experience with personalized attention.  Learn more about the Carmel Small-Group Food & Wine Walking Tour.

Monterey Bay Aquarium Admission

Discover the fascinating underwater world of one of the United States’ top aquariums with this Monterey Bay Aquarium ticket. With a prime location on California’s Pacific coast, this renowned marine center is home to a wide variety of ocean life, from mesmerizing jellyfish to adorable penguins, plus crowd favorites like sharks and rays. Enjoy all-day access to the many exhibits, where you can observe mysterious octopus, playful sea otters, creepy eels and more.  Learn more about the Monterey Bay Aquarium Admission.

Gusto Handcrafted Pasta And Pizza  $11 – 30

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.  Telephone:  831 899-5825  Web:  Gusto Handcrafter Pasta and Pizza.

Googie Grill  $11 – 30

“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.  Telephone:   831 392-1520  Web:  Googie Grill.

Stammtisch Restaurant  $11 – 30

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.  Telephone:  831 899-3070  Web:  Stammtisch Restaurant.

The Oven Pizzaria  $11 – 30

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.   Telephone:  831 899-1762  Web:  The Oven Pizzaria.

Baan Thai Restaurant  $11 – 30

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.  Telephone:  831 394-2996  Web:  Baan Thai Restaurant.

Best Seaside Bars

Post 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.  Telephone:  831 324-4667  Web:  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.  Telephone:  831 394-2666  Web:  Cuz’s Sportsman’s Club.

Carbone’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.    Telephone:  831 643-9169  Web:  Carbone’s.

Crown & 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.  Telephone:  831 649-6496  Web:  Crown & Anchor.

Easy 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.  Telephone:  831 333-0825  Web:  Easy Street Billiards.

Best Seaside Hotels

Old Monterey Inn


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.

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.

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.  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.  A breakfast bar is served each morning at the Monterey Bay Holiday Inn Express, featuring a variety of hot and cold items.

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.

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.

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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