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Introducing Seal Beach

In the SoCal beauty pageant for pint-size beach towns, Seal Beach enjoys an unfair advantage over the competition: 1.5 miles of pristine beach sparkling like an already-won crown. And that’s without mentioning three-block Main St, a stoplight-free zone bustling with mom-and-pop restaurants and indie shops that are low on ‘tude and high on charisma. But truth be told, Seal Beach’s lasting small-town allure may owe a debt to the Scylla and Charybdis lurking: Leisure World (‘Seizure World’ to the non-PC), a sprawling retirement community looming north of town via Seal Beach Blvd, and the huge US Naval Weapons Station (look for grass-covered bunkers) crouching to the east. But thoughts of shuffleboard and apocalypse aside, Seal Beach is one of the last great California beach towns and a refreshing alternative to the more crowded coast further south.