The second longest wooden pier in California (the longest is in Oceanside) is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. There is also a restaurant (Ruby's) at the end of the Seal Beach pier. The Seal Beach pier has periodically suffered severe damage due to storms and other mishaps, requiring extensive reconstruction. A plaque at Seal Beach pier's entrance memorializes Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1938, Project No. Calif. 1723-F, a rebuilding necessitated by storms in 1935. Another plaque honors the individuals, businesses, and groups who helped rebuild Seal Beach pier after a storm on March 2, 1983, tore away several sections. Most prominent was a "Save the Pier" group formed in response to an initial vote by the Seal Beach City Council not to repair the Seal Beach pier. The ensuing outcry of dismay among Seal Beach residents caused the Seal Beach City Council to reverse its stance while claiming that Seal Beach lacked the necessary funds. Seal Beach residents mobilized and eventually raised $2.3 million from private and public donors to rebuild the Seal Beach pier.
Surfing locations in Seal Beach include the Seal Beach pier and "Stingray Bay" (or Ray Bay—the surfer's nickname for the mouth of the San Gabriel River—the stingrays are attracted by the heated water from several upstream powerplants). Classic longboard builders in the Seal Beach area include Harbour Surfboards established in 1959 in Seal Beach and Bruce Jones Surfboards in Sunset Beach. The classic surf trunks of Kanvas by Katin in nearby Sunset Beach are world famous.
The USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center, where the men's and women's US Olympic water polo teams train, is located on the US Military Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, adjacent to Seal Beach. The facility is also used for major water polo tournaments, swim classes, and swim teams.
A marina for recreational craft operated by the City of Long Beach is adjacent to Seal Beach.