Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Seaside, CA

  • Published 2023/01/30

Nestled along California’s picturesque Monterey Bay, Seaside City is a charming place that offers both nature and an upscale lifestyle.

This small city is a gateway to countless outdoor activities and sceneries for quality leisure time.

As an easier route, you can book a plane ticket and land at the Marina Municipal Airport, about six miles north of Seaside City.

About six miles southwest, Monterey is the nearest major city to Seaside.

Meanwhile, a two-and-a-half-hour drive east takes you to Fresno.

One of the main reasons visitors love to come back to Seaside City is its pristine white-sand beaches.

In addition, many young people move there to complete their degree at the California State University, Monterey Bay.

This city boasts many outdoor greeneries, such as public parks, historical sites, international cuisines, and shops.

Interested to know more about this place?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Seaside, CA, to hype you up:

Discover the Amazing Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Fort Ord Dunes State Park's orange, red and yellow plains.

Rob Starobin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s always something unique about sand dunes that draw many people to see their barren but scenic landscape.

If you want to see dunes in California, you should check out the Fort Ord Dunes State Park located on Seaside City’s northern city limits.

The state park has a vast sand dune equipped with a four-mile hiking trail perfect for outdoor activities.

In addition, it covers a total of 837-acres of protected state parkland.

People strolling around the sand of Fort Ord state park.

Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Historically, before it got converted into a state park, this area served as training grounds for the United States Army.

Moreover, it’s known by nature experts as a teeming habitat for many endangered species of animals, especially birds.

Today, the Fort Ord Dunes State Park is a fantastic place to visit whether you’re a nature lover or a casual tourist.

You can spot sea lions, seals, and sea birds freely roaming around the area, while further north, you will reach Salinas Valley and Santa Cruz.

Fort Ord state park near a body of water.

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Dip at the Monterey State Beach

Monterey State Beach is located within the city limits of Seaside and Sand City.

This beach is famous to many people because of is its underwater scenery that you can experience through scuba diving.

In addition, many visitors flock to this beach to soak under the sun, swim, fish, or do waterborne activities like surfing and boating.

Some take their experience to the next level by paragliding, wherein they land along the white sands of Monterey State Beach.

It’s the most excellent place to start your travel adventure in Seaside City because of the outdoor activities waiting for you there.

Score a Hole-in-One at the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course

One of the activities you should not miss during your visit to Seaside City is playing golf.

You need to head to the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course to do this.

This golf course in Seaside City is known for its breathtaking vistas that face the beautiful ocean of Monterey Bay.

True to its reputation, the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course got recognized in 2009 as “Best New Courses” of Golf Digest.

From a golfer’s perspective, the golf course boasts narrow steeps and corridors while also having penal bunkering, making it a challenging but fun golf course to play with.

Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course covers 7,104 yards and has a par-72, 18-hole championship course.

So, whether you’re a golfer or a casual tourist, you should try visiting this beautiful golf course to enjoy the sceneries and peaceful atmosphere.

Watch Free Concerts at the Sunday Blues in the Park

Every Sunday in Seaside from September to October, dozens of musicians flock to the Laguna Grande Park to serenade locals and visitors for the annual ‘Sunday Blues in the Park.’

It is a free concert organized by Seaside and local artists such as Paula Harris, Sista Monica, and the Blues Band.

This free concert has entertained Seaside and Monterey Bay’s music lovers for many years with their relaxing musical performances.

There are instances that the free concert series happens earlier, from July to August.

It’s one of the best things you can do in Seaside, where you’ll experience the soothing music of blues.

In addition, it’s one of the best ways to cap off your day in the city with a relaxing open-air concert together with your loved ones.

To find out the line-up of artists performing in the concert series, you can check out Seaside City’s official website.

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Laguna Grande Park

This popular open space is nestled between Monterey and Seaside, and it’s also co-managed by both cities.

The park is popular among locals as their favorite venue for public events, such as festivals, community activities, and concerts.

Aside from that, the park boasts top-notch amenities like a playground, walking paths, picnic tables, benches, and an outdoor fitness facility.

Many locals flock to this park to unwind and pass the time, while others stretch their muscles and exercise nearby.

So, if you’re seeking a spot in Seaside to pass the time or have an afternoon hike, just head to Laguna Grande Park.

Honor War Heroes at the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery

Stone welcoming sign at California central state park.

1stCoastal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery, like many other significant places in Seaside City, was once part of Fort Ord.

Many fallen soldiers from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and other foreign wars that the United States took part in are laid to rest in this cemetery.

White and red administration building inside the veterans cemetery.

1stCoastal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re searching for a place in Seaside City to reflect or somehow pay tribute to the fallen soldiers, then Central Coast Veterans Cemetery is the best place to visit.

Adjacent to this place is the Fort Ord National Monument, which you can proceed to after visiting the cemetery.

The columbaria with colorful flowers located within the cemetery.

1stCoastal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eat Delicious Food at The Butter House

The Butter House has been operating since 2019 and has been known locally as a hidden gem for serving excellent Polynesian-Filipino food.

Benny Mosqueda and his wife, Susan, opened the restaurant to serve locals and visitors their breakfast, brunch, and lunch specialties.

Their menu focuses on classic American comfort food with a twist of Filipino, Mexican and Polynesian cooking.

Their Polynesian loco moco, southern-style waffles, fried chickens, chicken and pork adobo, and classic Filipino breakfast paired with buttered fried rice are all must-tries.

Experience Campus Life at the California State University Monterey Bay

The California State University Monterey Bay is adjacent to the Bayonet & Blackhorse Golf Course, as both are located inside the former Fort Ord US Army Base.

Due to its convenient, scenic location and expansiveness, the California State University Monterey Bay became CSU’s 21st campus in 1994.

Many things made Cal State Monterey Bay famous.

Aside from being a two-time recipient prestigious President’s Award for Higher Education Community Service, this university is also known for its laid-back feels.

Students love to study there because they feel like on vacation rather than being in a university due to the proximity of beaches, parks, and other amenities.

Moreover, the university has a public library, a spacious theater, athletic fields and facilities, and many other educational and historical facilities that the public can visit.

Treat Yourself at the German Restaurant Stammtisch

Seaside City offers a diverse culinary experience that will indeed treat your tastebuds to a whole new level.

So, book a reservation at the German Restaurant Stammtisch to experience authentic German food and beer.

The restaurant offers diners authentic German culinary delights combined with the owners’ flair, creating a great and unique culinary experience in every plate they serve.

If you want to try German cuisine or perhaps want to taste it again, this restaurant boasts the most delicious schnitzel meals in Seaside City.

To complete your experience, pair their meals with their imported German beer.

Stroll through Fremont Boulevard (Downtown Seaside)

Fremont Boulevard in downtown Seaside is where the most delicious restaurants and chic shops are located.

The entire stretch of Fremont Boulevard is filled with mainstream fast-food chains, fine-dining restaurants, international cuisines, food trucks, and holes-in-the-walls that are all a must-try.

Strolling through this famous street lets you explore what Seaside City has best to offer than its white-sand beaches and parks.

Aside from restaurants, this area has an excellent selection of shops to check out.

Your travel experience in Seaside City won’t be complete without going to this district and having quality leisure time.

Experience Top-Notch Craft Beer at the Other Brother Beer Co.

The Other Brother Brewery Co. is a local craft beer maker and taproom based in Seaside City.

The owners boast a team of artists, activists, skateboarders, parents, makers, and innovators who have a common goal in creating top-notch craft beer.

The entire brewery and taproom cover about 7,000 square feet, where everyone can try 24 taps of their specialty craft beers.

For the best place in Seaside to enjoy finely-made craft beer in a welcoming atmosphere, you should try visiting the Other Brother Brewery Co.

Of course, they also serve delicious short orders to pair with their craft beer, such as Roman-style pizzas and sourdoughs.

They also have a mini-mart for those who want to bring home their craft beer and other products.

In addition, they also have a good collection of fine wines to try out.

Play Pinball at Lynn’s Arcade

Play all day at Lynn’s Arcade, a pinball parlor in Seaside, California, suitable for players of all ages.

Most people love playing pinball since it is a fun, realistic, and tactile form of gaming.

In Lynn’s, guests may unplug from their devices, hang out, and play cooperative board games.

Bring your own food or order from their extensive and changing canned beverage menu, which includes beer and non-beer options.

In addition to renting out its venue for birthday celebrations and business gatherings, Lynn’s Arcade offers pinball machine rentals for events.

Order a Wood-Fire Pizza at Gusto

Since its debut in 2015, Gusto has been committed to serving genuine cuisine, promoting regional farmers, and importing essentials from Italy.

Each meal is made up of a variety of delectable ingredients that are combined and traditionally cooked with a few modern tweaks.

Everything is cooked from scratch, carefully prepared, and presented.

They offer wood-fired pizzas, excellent pasta dishes, a fully equipped bar with specialty drinks and draft beer, and a wine selection with Italian and regional favorites.

Thanks to the pleasant environment, excellent service, and friendly personnel, Gusto is the perfect place for family and friends to connect and enjoy real Italian cuisine.

Feel Adventurous at Sanctuary Climbing and Fitness

One of the original 100 indoor climbing facilities in the United States, Sanctuary Climbing and Fitness opened for business in 1996.

It had just undergone a complete renovation, allowing them to use the funds to purchase the most outstanding climbing walls, gear, and facilities they could find.

Aerial programs are also available, in addition to a regular schedule of climbing and more than 50 fitness courses every week.

Including over 150 parking spaces just outside their front entrance and a brand-new LED lighting and video security system, Sanctuary Climbing and Fitness is secure and easily accessible.

Pay a visit to the brand-new, cutting-edge facility and check out everything it offers.

Spend the Night at Sand Castle Inn

Sand Castle Inn is located on La Salle Avenue in the peaceful Californian community of Seaside.

They provide a variety of large, stylish accommodations to choose from.

Guest rooms have contemporary furnishings and lifestyle features to maximize comfort for guests.

Sand Castle Inn takes great pride in providing services to visitors, including free WiFi, easy check-in and check-out, 24-hour front desk, guest laundry service, and non-smoking rooms.

Individual climate control, flat-screen TV featuring premium cable channels, a microwave, a refrigerator, and a phone are all included in every guest room.

Numerous dining options are accessible from the hotel on foot, and Sand City Beach and Monterey State Beach are just minutes away.

Go Shopping at World Market

Exterior of World Market

Ken Wolter /

No other neighboring store compares to World Market when it comes to purchasing distinctive and handcrafted goods.

Find a diverse selection of goods at World Market, including everything from dining room furnishings to imported cuisine to reasonably priced Christmas presents.

Decorate your house with chic furniture, patterned window treatments, carpet padding, and accent lighting.

World Market provides the most reasonably priced assortment of rustic furniture pieces, including exquisitely crafted coffee tables for your lounge room, dining hall, and private office.

Don’t forget to browse the scented candle collection!

Register now for the World Market Rewards program, providing frequent customers in Seaside, CA, with rewards, special promotions, and unique savings.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Watch Speedsters at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Blue, red and white colored racecar parked on the raceway.

Grindstone Media Group /

Roughly 12 miles southeast of Seaside City takes you to the city of Salinas, where you can watch world-class racing events at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

It’s one of the best attractions in Monterey Bay that you shouldn’t miss visiting.

World-class races are regularly held there like the US Round of the World Superbike Championships, Monterey Sports Car Championships, Moto GP, American Le Mans Series, Geico Motorcycle Moto America Superbike Speedfest, and many more.

A red colored race car numbered "55" along the raceway.

Bob Cullinan /

Laguna Seca is also one of the frequently visited attractions in Monterey Bay, which helped Salinas become famous.

You can find top-notch lodging, recreational activities, dining, and leisure located nearby Laguna Seca if you’re planning to spend the night there.

Overall, Laguna Seca’s track features a 2.238-mile course with 11 turns and is popularly known for its ‘Corkscrew,’ a unique turn or obstacle along the racecourse.

Three race cars racing on the raceway.

Bob Cullinan /

Visit the Monterey Museum of Art

Exterior of the Monterey museum of art during the day.

Sgerbic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Monterey Museum of Art is situated in the City of Monterey, which is a five-mile drive west of Seaside City.

It is another top attraction in Monterey Bay you need to visit.

This museum cultivates the creativity, visual arts, and curiosity of the diverse art community in Monterey Bay, making it an excellent place to visit, not just for art enthusiasts.

In addition, the Monterey Museum of Art is adjacent to Monterey City’s historical attraction, the Colton Hall.

The Monterey Museum of Art displays vast galleries about photography, painting, and contemporary from local and renowned artists.

Get a Closer Look at Marine Animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey bay aquarium name sign with a blue circle on top.

Michael Vi /

The Monterey Bay Aquarium located in Monterey City lets you get a closer look at the jolly sea otters, sea lions, seals, jellyfishes, and other exotic marine animals in its colossal aquarium.

This attraction in Monterey City boasts a massive open sea exhibit showing how unique its facility is.

People looking through the glass walls of the aquarium.

photocritical /

You will be in awe to witness sharks of all sizes, sea turtles, groupers, stingrays, and thousands of fish inside the colossal aquarium for visitors to explore.

Aside from the aquarium, it also features 45 other exhibits where you’ll meet birds, reptiles, and invertebrates along the way.

So, whenever you’re in Monterey City, don’t forget to buy tickets and explore this fantastic attraction.

Exterior of the monterey bay aquarium near the water.

Belyay /

Be One with Nature at the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

A man fishing on the salinas river during a cloudy day.

elakazal /

A 14-minute drive north or roughly 10-miles from Seaside City leads you to the picturesque Salinas National Wildlife Refuge in Salinas City.

This 367-acre wildlife refuge is home to dozens of animal species, such as the California Brown Pelican, Western Snowy Plover, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Wilson’s Warbler, American Goldfinch, and Caspian Tern.

This wildlife refuge in Salinas is also home to several rare plant species, making it a fantastic destination for nature lovers and casual tourists.

A bird walking along the white sand.

elakazal /

Some of the best activities you can enjoy are hiking, nature photography, and birdwatching.

During the winter months, thousands of migratory birds from the north stop by at the wildlife refuge’s dunes to feed and reproduce, which makes a perfect opportunity for birdwatching.

In addition, visitors are allowed to hunt but limited only to common bird species, such as coots, ducks, moorhens, and geese from October to January.

A gew sea lettuce on around the river.

elakazal /

Final Thoughts

The city of Seaside is the perfect example of California’s natural beauty.

White-sand beaches, parks, laid-back vibes, and amenities make this small city awesome.

From soaking under the sun on the beaches and trying out delicious food, there are many things to do and everything in between at Seaside, CA.

Before you travel there, make sure to recheck this post to give you an idea of where to visit.

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