Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Seaside, CA

  • Published 2023/01/16

The picturesque town of Seaside, California, is one of Monterey Bay’s sought-after tourist destinations.

This quaint California coastal city is 115 miles south of San Francisco and is famous for scenic tourist attractions, a tight-knit community, and plenty of outdoor recreation.

It has a population of around 32,000, while the rest are students who study at California State University.

Some of the best activities at Seaside are whale watching, wine tasting, hiking, sightseeing, and plenty more.

Besides, Seaside and the rest of Monterey County’s attractions are conveniently within reach since it’s near the Marina Municipal Airport, about six miles from Seaside.

Plenty of Seaside’s attractions have no admission fee, so you’re guaranteed to save a lot of money when you spend your next getaway there.

Here are some free things to do in Seaside, California:

Chill at the Laguna Grande Park

Head to Laguna Grande Park if you’re not entirely into beaches and dunes.

This park is uniquely divided between the city of Monterey and Seaside.

So, each side is owned and maintained by these two cities, making it a fascinating outdoor attraction to check out.

Since it’s also Seaside’s biggest park, many events regularly happen there.

Free concerts, festivals, and other community events happen at Laguna Grande Park, making it an exciting place to check out.

However, parkgoers enjoy its peaceful ambiance, gorgeous scenery, and outdoor activities.

If you want a break from your hectic life, head to this favorite park in Seaside.

Catch a Free Concert at Sunday Blues in the Park

Speaking of free concerts, don’t miss out on the Sunday Blues in the Park at Laguna Grande Park.

This free concert is one of the main reasons you mustn’t miss visiting this park in Seaside.

This weekly concert runs from September to October.

It features plenty of musicians, singers, and bands from around California to serenade the public for free.

Thanks to local artists Blues Band, Sista Monica, and Paula Harris, this free concert has become an entertaining tradition for many of Seaside’s locals.

Bring your family or friends, lay your picnic blanket on the grass, and enjoy a night full of wonderful music at the Sunday Blues in the Park.

Enjoy a Picnic at Soper Park

Soper Park is a lovely place to picnic with your friends or family.

This park is situated along Coe Avenue.

Unlike other parks in Seaside, this one offers a more peaceful ambiance since it’s less crowded.

So, you have the entire park for yourself and your loved ones.

It has a nice barbeque and picnic area with tables and chairs, perfect for a delightful picnic.

At the same time, it has numerous sports facilities for baseball and softball.

Since its opening in 2003, Soper Park has become one of the go-to places for parkgoers who want quality time outdoors.

Explore the California State University Monterey Bay

Head to the California State University Monterey Bay for a one-of-a-kind experience in Seaside.

This university is situated along Campus Center Road.

Touring the university is always fascinating and nostalgic, especially if you’ve experienced college life.

The California State University Monterey Bay is not different from your nostalgic college life.

Plus, it has gorgeous landscapes, old buildings, free museums, libraries, art galleries, and sections worth checking out.

At the same time, it’s situated within the former Fort Ord US Army Base, another fascinating place to explore.

Take a Stroll at Lincoln Cunningham Park

Visiting Seaside is all about taking a break and passing the time to escape your hectic and stressful city life.

Lincoln Cunningham Park is one of the best places to take a break in Seaside.

This park is situated between Yosemite Street and San Pablo Avenue.

Like most parks you’ll come across in Seaside, this one has a children’s playground, picnic area, pathways, and lush green space.

The entire park encompasses over three acres.

Most visitors love to stroll through its vicinity while taking a break from their day.

Overall, Lincoln Cunningham Park is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon break before wrapping up your day.

Feel the Sea Breeze at Seaside Beach

Seaside Beach serves as the northernmost section of Monterey State Beach.

Because of its distance, it’s commonly referred to as a separate beach, but it is equally popular among other beaches in the area.

If you’re yearning for more beach outings, this one is an excellent place to spend your time because of the water activities and recreation to enjoy.

You’ll instantly get relaxed upon feeling the sea breeze and enjoying the scenic sight of the beach and the vast ocean.

If you want a different experience, you can always take a dip, swim at Seaside Beach, or achieve your tan lines with an excellent sunbathing session.

Get Active at the Doe Park Super Park

Doe Park Super Park is a great place to enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation for a more fun experience during your trip to Seaside.

You can visit this park along 4th Army Road.

The park offers a serene atmosphere popular for hiking, sports, and picnicking.

The park spans over 2.5 acres and is filled with various amenities and sports facilities amidst its gorgeous seaside view.

Whether you’re going for a jog or a hike or perhaps playing basketball or volleyball, the park has everything you’re looking for.

Besides its basketball and volleyball courts, the park has a horseshoe pit.

So, head to Doe Park Super Park with friends or family for a great time outdoors.

Watch the Spartans at the Seaside High School Athletic Field

If you want to watch football games or track and field competitions, head to the Seaside High School Athletic Field.

This athletic field is equipped with a rubberized track oval and a football field, home to the Seaside High School Spartans.

The Spartans regularly play their home games and host various sports meets at this athletic field, making it an exciting place to see local sports.

On top of that, the Spartans are one of Monterey County’s top-ranked football teams, making them an exciting squad to watch.

Drop by the Seaside High School Athletic Field for an action-packed sports event.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Your travel adventure won’t stop in Seaside since plenty of worthwhile attractions await you in Monterey County.

Here are some of the best-recommended free attractions nearby Seaside.

Embrace the Outdoors at the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

A bird at Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

elakazal /

The Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge is a vast natural area for various outdoor activities.

You can visit this place 14 minutes or 10 miles north of Seaside in the neighboring city of Salinas, California.

This wildlife refuge, established in 1973, is a popular hiking destination, wildlife viewing, birdwatching spots, and hunting area.

Plenty of local and migratory birds stop by this wildlife refuge seasonally, making it a perfect place for some hunting.

Fishing at Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

Don DeBold, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Besides birds, there are plenty of animals, such as deer, waterfowl, and hogs, for avid hunters to track down.

If you’re not into hunting, you can still take a shot, not with your rifle but with your camera.

It’s a better way to capture the gorgeous beauty of the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge.

Spot the Birds at the Frog Pond Wetland Preserve

Frog Pond Wetland Preserve is a popular natural attraction for birdwatching and hiking.

To visit this place, drive four minutes or 2.1 miles outside Seaside in Del Rey Oaks, California.

The preserve has a designated 1.1-kilometer looped trail, perfect for seasoned and average hikers.

The trail mainly takes hikers to the best birdwatching spots in the area.

During your birdwatching activity, you’re guaranteed to see various species, primarily local, up close or from a distance, while migratory birds stop by the area seasonally.

At the same time, local wildlife such as frogs, deer, amphibians, and insects are often seen in this nature preserve.

Head to the Frog Pond Wetland Preserves to glimpse Monterey County’s flora and fauna.

Observe the Breathtaking View of the Old Fisherman’s Wharf

People at Old Fisherman's Wharf

Erin Deleon /

The Old Fisherman’s Wharf is probably one of the most iconic places to visit in Monterey County.

You can visit this place 13 minutes or 5.2 miles west of Seaside in the neighboring city of Monterey, California.

Those visiting Monterey always make a quick stop or spend their entire afternoon strolling through this famous attraction.

Welcome sign of Old Fisherman's Wharf

jejim /

It offers you the gorgeous scenery of the wooden boardwalk and colorful buildings with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

The Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey is also a popular viewing spot for sea otters, pelicans, seals, whales, and other marine animals that thrive in the area.

Buildings at Old Fisherman's Wharf

Juli Scalzi /

Strike a Pose at the Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook

The Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook is another popular destination located in Pebble Beach, California, 19 minutes from Seaside.

It offers a sweeping view of Monterey Bay’s gorgeous beach and rolling hills on one side and the vast Pacific Ocean on the other.

The overlook is often packed with visitors who drove from various parts of California to get a glimpse of its gorgeous postcard backdrop that is perfect for a photo souvenir.

So, head to this overlook to get your ultimate souvenir photo for your social media.

Otherwise, head down to the beach for some fun-filled beach combing.

There are plenty of exciting outdoor activities besides sightseeing at the Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook.

Wander the Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Beach at Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook

Zack Frank /

Fort Ord Dunes State Park is one of the most famous tourist attractions near Seaside.

You can find this park in Marina, California, nine minutes away.

This vast outdoor attraction gives you scenic desert vibes because of its backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.

Railroad tracks trail at Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook

Zack Frank /

It’s a gorgeous outdoor attraction known for its scenic terrains, such as cliff-lined beaches, rolling hills, the Sierra Nevada Mountains from a distance, and a lush redwood forest adjacent to it.

Those who yearn for sightseeing will be drooling at the gorgeous scenery of this place.

To explore the Fort Ord Dunes State Park, you must hike its four-mile trail, which takes you to some of the best spots for photoshoots and other outdoor activities.

Sandy trail at Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook

Zack Frank /

Soak up the Sun at Monterey State Beach

Besides the famous dunes, Seaside is also a renowned beach destination, thanks to Monterey State Beach.

You can visit this beach in Monterey, California, eight minutes from Seaside.

It’s mainly famous for its white-sand beach and water activities, perfect for a family outing.

This beach is also a famous scuba diving destination because of its lush underwater environment and marine life.

In addition, Monterey State Beach is near other attractions of Seaside and its neighboring cities and towns.

Make a Splash at the Marina State Beach

People at Marina State Beach

Hank Shiffman /

Make one last stop at Marina State Beach in Marina, California, 11 minutes from Seaside.

This beach is famous for its breathtaking sandy beach below the vast dunes of Monterey Bay.

Many beachgoers love to return to this place to swim, bathe under the sun, fish, and hang-gliding above the dunes.

Sand dunes at Marina State Beach

Anne Chamberlain /

It’s a great place to dip in the waters before returning home, especially with your loved ones.

This beach has enough waves to do your tricks if you’re an avid surfer.

Otherwise, you can hike through the dunes above the beach, another worthwhile activity you can enjoy at Marina State Beach.

Sunset over Marina State Beach

mljphotography /

Final Thoughts

Seaside is an excellent destination that showcases California’s natural coastal beauty.

From swimming to wildlife viewing to simple strolling, there are plenty of exciting activities in Seaside.

Enjoy the free things to do in Seaside, California!

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