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California Surf Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054-2525
Phone Number:
+1 760-721-6876
10:00 - 16:00
Open now
See all hours
Thu 10:00 - 20:00
Fri - Wed 10:00 - 16:00

Founded in 1986, the California Surf Museum mission is to preserve surfing...

Founded in 1986, the California Surf Museum mission is to preserve surfing heritage. The museum hosts a variety of cultural events from book signings to lectures, to movie nights to concerts. But the museum is most known for the wonderful rotating exhibits about surf and skateboard culture, art, and history. The whole family is welcome and you don't have to surf or skateboard to enjoy the museum.The California Surf Museum has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, the BBC, the American Pickers "California Dreamin'", Hawaiian Airlines commercial, PBS "Getting Away Together" and many more. Don't miss the outdoor Secret Spot and Bethany Hamilton's surfboard while you are here. Also, shop the Museum Store for unique gifts and souvenirs. Joining as a member is a great way to get involved in volunteer opportunities and to support the museum on an annual basis. Hope to see you soon!

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 149 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 87
  • 40
    Very good
  • 16
  • 2
  • 0
Great place for a short visit

It's not large, but it's interesting, reasonably priced and well-designed. Great photo ops and a cool little gift shop. A great part of the character of Oceanside.

Reviewed 4 days ago
Irvine, CA
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149 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 145: English reviews
Irvine, CA
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

It's not large, but it's interesting, reasonably priced and well-designed. Great photo ops and a cool little gift shop. A great part of the character of Oceanside.

Thank MJWalsh
Level Contributor
92 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Although it's not large, it's crammed with an interesting variety of surf exhibits that are well designed and very informative. Definitely worth a stop when you're downtown.

Thank CH200
Level Contributor
226 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

This is a great place to spend an hour or so walking through surfing history. A nice little gift shop too. The staff was was so welcoming and knowledgeable.

Thank Barbara S
1 review
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

At only $5 per adult this was a nice surprise to visit! The kids enjoyed the history and the tons of historic boards... especially Bethany Hamilton's

Thank Jesse W
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Sometimes these small museums can be very weak in in their exhibits, but not the California Surf Museum. They make a very strong showing of their surfing memorabilia, and also include a fair amount of information on the parallels, rise and (partial) fall of skateboarding. They also have information on skateboarding wax and the measuring and prediction of the surf.... More 

Thank Fred3nPhx
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
67 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I was a surfer in Southern CA c. 1962-67, and this museum really took me back to that era. The main attraction is an extensive collection of boards, organized chronologically and ranging from Hawaiian hardwood planks from the early 20th century to the latest, most radical short boards. My wife, who was never a surfer and has little knowledge of... More 

Thank DBDoty
Monrovia, California
Level Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2017 via mobile

Nestled in downtown Oceanside, this little gem of a find is worth the visit. My former surfing husband, was enthralled with the number, quality and history of the boards exhibited. This, by far, surpassed the couple of other surf museums we have visited. Enjoy!

Thank lhalet
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2017

If you enjoy the beach and surf this museum will show the growth of the So Cal surf culture. I really enjoy it and there are some cool collectables in the gift shop.

Thank wavslide J
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
81 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 March 2017 via mobile

What a nice little quirky museum. We happened to go on the 1st Tuesday of the month and were pleasantly surprised that museum admission is free on that day! Tons of surf boards and stories devoted to surfing in SoCal. Well done. When you finish, you are in close walking distance to the nearby Oceanside Pier.

Thank Robert E
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 March 2017

We checked out this museum with a 13 yo while on an overnight stay here. It is a small museum but it has a fair bit of interesting things and it was fun to check out. We didn't find a lot to do in the area so if you are even slightly interested in surf culture I think it is... More 

Thank Suzanne F

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