Seal Beach is a city in Orange County, California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 24,168, up from 24,157 at the 2000 census.
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 Beachand the adjacent San Pedro Bay. To the southeast are Huntington Harbour, a neighborhood of Huntington Beach, and Sunset Beach, also part of Huntington 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. A majority of the city’s acreage is devoted to the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach military base.
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. The site of Anaheim Landing is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.
By the 20th century, it was known as Bay City, but there was already a Bay City located in Northern California. When the time of incorporation on October 27, 1915, the town was named Seal Beach. The town became a popular recreation destination in the area. The Joy Zone, a beach-side amusement park built in 1916, was the first in Orange County.
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. 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.
The second longest wooden pier in California (the longest is in Oceanside) is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. 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 the river-“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.