I’m part of the ’90s generation. Therefore, my childhood was far different from that of today’s children. There were no tablets, the mobile phones were still in the project phase, and the computers were so big they barely took their place on the desk. Outside of school hours, I spent my time attending all kinds of outdoor games, not online, as the children and adolescents are today. But besides the age-specific concerns and activities that involved interacting with other youngsters of my age, I also had a passion that took at least one hour of my daily time: Sunset Beach.
Sunset Beach was an American soap opera of the ’97 (I was 7 years old) when it first appeared on the screens. If you remember, it was broadcasted every day, from Monday to Friday around 7 o’clock in the evening (at least in my home country, Romania). All the action of the show was based on the romance between Meg Cummings (played by actress Susan Ward) and Ben Evans (played by actor Clive Robertson), two young people who met on the internet and who went through a lot of challenges to be together in the end. Meg abandons her future husband and her hometown, somewhere in the state of Kansas, to meet a man, nicknamed S.B.. She went to look for him in his intriguing city in Southern California‘s, the charming Sunset Beach.
Among the protagonists of the show that captivated me with its intrigues are a wealthy family with relationships everywhere, the Richards (Gregory, Olivia, San and Caitlin), the lifeguards Michael and Casey, the playboy Cole, foxy Annie, Maria, the assumed dead wife of Ben, but also his twin and evil brother. Yes, the whole action is a continuous fabric of lies, betrayal, love, hate and passion. But, in addition to savvy characters, Sunset Beach conquered me due to its landscapes, Californian-style houses, the waves of the Pacific Ocean, sensational sunsets during which romantic scenes were filmed, but also the palm trees and the very recognizable pier.
I wrote in my previous articles about the 10-day trip on the West Coast of the United States, where I visited Los Angeles. One of the mornings spent in the City of Angels was fully dedicated to Sunset Beach. Ever since I planned the whole itinerary, I came up with the idea of looking for the places where the show was shot, but I didn’t expect that all the houses in the movie are still there and are so real. I always thought I could find them only on the filming platforms. However, I found some Facebook pages and blogs created by the fans of the TV series, and the first thing I learned was that Sunset Beach was actually filmed entirely in Seal Beach, the nearby city. For better orientation, you can take a look at these maps:
As mentioned above, the show wasn’t filmed in Sunset Beach, but in the nearby town of Seal Beach, both part of the Orange County and very close to the Los Angeles metropolis. Seal Beach is a small town with a population of only 25,000, with beautiful streets, towering palm trees, oceanfront access, a wide beach all along its length, and the second longest Californian pier, after Oceanside. Yes, it is the pier that Meg fell off in the first episode and on which so many things had happened during the movie. The pier is not an element to be ignored in the narrative thread of the American soap opera, as we have learned from the pilot episode about Sunset Beach legend, by Elaine Stevens (Paula’s mother):
“When the moon rises early, just as the Santa Ana winds kicks up out of nowhere, and the sun is just dropping out of sight, whoever you meet at the far side of the pier, is who you’re destined to be with.”
Ben & Annie. 1303 & 1305 E Seal Way
I want to start with them because most scenes have been filmed in front of Ben’s gorgeous oceanfront home, and Annie’s, as neighbors. Just like in the movie, you can find the houses right on the beach, at numbers 1303 and 1305. Everything is exactly the same as it was in the movie, but of course, they had been degraded a little over the years. Ben’s residence is still colored in orange and has wide windows, all over the facade. Annie’s house has a first floor full of flowers, a sign that a family lives there happily, enjoying day by day the view over the Pacific Ocean. How would you feel living in one of the homes where the famous Sunset Beach was filmed? ♥
- Surf Central. 1499 E Seal Way
A few yards ahead and you get to Surf Central, the house that Casey won at the auction, and where he lived for a while with his friends Michael, Meg, and Vanessa. More specifically, Surf Central is located at 1499 E Seal Way. When I visited, there were a few clothes getting dry in the Californian sunburn and a cute cat, probably belonging to the current owners. Surf Central looks exactly the same as in the movie and is being preserved in excellent condition.
The residence of husbands Gregory & Olivia Richards. 300 Ocean Ave
The house of the two influential couple from Sunset Beach surprised me the most. Initially, I thought it didn’t exist anymore because I didn’t have the address for it, and I was already walking for almost 2 kilometers through the sand. Finally, I arrived at 300 Ocean Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740, USA, and I had the opportunity to admire the luxurious residence. It’s definitely been renovated since the filming was over, as it looks like Caitlin is still tanning by the pool. The villa is surrounded by flowers and palm trees, and I’m sure it is still one of the most beautiful homes in Seal Beach.
It is one of the most beautiful that I have walked on thanks to the fact that it still preserves the original appearance with a wooden frame, benches that you can sit on and watch the sunset, but also thanks to the lamps placed on both sides, all the way to the end. It is the ideal place to get the most beautiful panorama of the city and the ocean, but also to admire the Catalina Island in the distance, the most orange sunsets you’ve ever seen and the most talented surfers. All of the intros of the show had the pier in the foreground, so it remained a reference point when talking about the best views of Sunset Beach, in fact, Seal Beach.
- Did you watch Sunset Beach? What was your favorite character?
- Have you ever traveled to a place just because you saw it in the movies?