It's no wonder the locals fondly call Seal Beach "Mayberry by the Sea": This quaint beach community at the northernmost tip of Orange County has retained a retro charm centered on leafy Old Town Main Street, with its eclectic shops, Irish pubs and restaurants. The city was called Bay City, but to prevent confusion with a town in Northern California, it was renamed Seal Beach in honor of its once-prominent inhabitants when it was incorporated in 1915.
Seal Beach Pier
, which has been destroyed by storms and reconstructed several times, is the second longest wooden pier in California. There's a tots lot on the beach just south of the pier and a
) at the end to grab a burger for the long walk back. The
Red Car Museum
Electric Avenue, near Main Street
) is an authentic Red Car trolley that once serviced the rail line that ran through town. It's filled with loads of historical photos and memorabilia. The
340 Main St.,  431-9988,
) has been screening movies since 1947. It now shows contemporary and classic films.
Local surfer Rich Harbour has been designing surfboards since 1959, and his
329 Main St.,  430-5614,
) is renowned for its classic longboards. The shop also displays many vintage surfboards. For surfer chicks, there's
124 Main St.,  430-9393
), specializing in women's beachwear.
Where the locals go
A favorite for more than 30 years, the family-friendly
201 Main St.,  598-4433,
), serves seafood cooked over an oak grill -- the caramelized salmon is a must. There is a lively oyster bar, and owner Walt Babcock (who also runs his own vineyard) keeps a top-notch wine list. Or line up with locals at
223 Main St.,  598-5072
) for breakfast burritos.
New dining spots
Shaking up the customary cuisine choices in the area are
131 1/2 Main St.,  493-4500,
) -- a retro-cool diner serving Memphis-style ribs, fried green tomato sandwiches and an extensive list of microbrews -- and the just-opened
Main Street Wine Cellar
302 Main St.,  430-3200