Seal Beach, Calif.: Small-Town Ambience on the Orange County Coast


Thanks to the 965-acre Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, the naval weapons center and the labyrinth of piers at the Alamitos Bay Marina in Long Beach, Seal Beach is insulated from much of the crowding that afflicts neighboring Orange County towns.

Its charming Main Street includes locally owned restaurants (like the French bistro Crema Cafe and the seafood spot Walt’s Wharf), shops (the toy store Knock Knock and the historic surfboard shop Harbour) and small-business sweet spots (Paradis Ice Cream and Sweet Jill’s Bakery).

Credit…Noah Webb for The New York Times

Leisure World, one of the oldest and largest planned-retirement communities in the United States, contains thousands of subsidized apartments and condominiums, as well as sports facilities and recreation centers, spread over a square mile in the city’s northwest corner. It has about 9,000 residents, all over the age of 55.

Ocean Place, a new development from Shea Homes that is under construction, will add 30 luxury, single-family detached houses between First Street and the San Gabriel River. As part of the project, Shea is also building River’s End Park, which will bring 6.5 acres of green space and biking trails to the area.

In Seal Beach, the housing market is cooling slightly. In 2019, there were 109 sales of single-family homes at a median price of $1.015 million, compared with 126 sales of such homes at a median price of $1.035 million in 2018, and 130 sales at a median price of $950,000 in 2017, according to date from theMLS.com, a California-based listing service.

Credit…Noah Webb for The New York Times

The houses at Ocean Place, which are scheduled to open in early 2020, begin at $2.2 million.

Houses at Leisure World run about $129,000 to $499,000.



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