California Surf Museum


Location: Oceanside (38 Miles / 40 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Open Daily: 10AM – 4PM. (8PM on Thursdays)

Cost: $5 ($3 for Students, Military, and Seniors 62+; Free for kids)

Features: State of California Surf Museum covering the History of Surfing in California; Skateboarding Memorabilia

surf-museumCalifornia Surf Museum Highlights: Surfers throughout the world seek out the California Surf Museum to share their adventures in surfing. Some want to share their stories of surfing in extreme conditions like the Arctic while others want to send pieces of history to be displayed at the Museum.

The California Surf Museum receives this worldwide attention because music and movies have made California synonymous with surfing. Beach Boys songs like ‘Surfin USA’ and ‘California Girls’ to Bruce Brown film classics such as ‘Endless Summer’ is what makes travelers from around the world ‘California Dreamin’.

Over the years, the California Surf Museum has acquired an impressive collection that will take you on a journey through the history of surfing, which has made California beaches famous.

What to Expect

You will first learn about George Freeth, nicknamed Brown Mercury by author Jack London. Freeth brought surfing to California in 1907 from the shores of Hawaii. Large crowds depicted in photographs on display greeted Brown Mercury’s arrival. Soon, the surfing lineage of new beach boys began to grow from the likes of San Diegan Ralph Noisat to the current day’s surfing champions like Kelly Slater. You will see pictures, memorabilia, and trophies while reading the stories about these great surfers.

surf-museum-boardsAlong the way, you will also learn about the many changes that took place in surfboard design. Stories and examples of surfboards line the walls, including the story of world-renowned Gerry Lopez and his Lightning Bolt.

After spending 45 minutes to an hour reliving the glory days and developing a fuller appreciation for surfing’s impact on modern culture, you can also enjoy a walk down memory lane on the sister sports of roller skates and skateboarding. The Museum invokes nostalgia with memorabilia from Skee-Skates to Roller Derby Skates.

At the end of your visit, you can browse through the Museum’s Gift Shop full of pictures, clothes, books, stickers, and other memorabilia to bring home memories of what has made California so famous.

Food – There are a number of restaurants and bars along Pier View Way and one block south along Mission Avenue. Consider getting take-out and walk two blocks down Mission Avenue to the beach. At the beach, you will also find a McDonald’s underneath the Oceanside Pier and a Ruby’s restaurant sitting out over the ocean at the end of the Pier. (Note that the Pier is nearly 4/10ths of a mile long.) Otherwise, there are limited offerings once you reach the beach.

Information on Visiting the  California Surf Museum

California Surf Museum web site – Get details for the California Surf Museum in Oceanside.

Admission Costs: (Costs are Approximate)

  • $5 for Adults
  • $3 for Students, Military, and Seniors 62+
  • Free on Tuesdays + Free everyday for kids under 12 years old
  • Membership with Free Admission also available

Directions from Google Maps to 312 Pier View Way in Oceanside, CA 92054.

surf-museum-waveTraffic – Other than summer weekends, getting in and out of the Surf Museum is relatively easy. If you encounter heavy traffic heading to the beach on Mission Avenue after exiting from highway I-5, make a right on N. Home Street, or shortly thereafter, and then make a left one block later on Pier View Way (also known as 3rd Street). Pier View Way will have less traffic since it ends just past the Surf Museum at the train tracks. (Learn more about getting San Diego traffic updates.)

Parking – There is street parking along Pier View Way. You will find large parking lots at the end of Pier View Way, just a block past the museum.  Some street parking and parking lots are free for a limited time period (up to a few hours in some cases). Others spots require a nominal fee.

Transit – The California Surf Museum is a quarter mile walk north of the Oceanside Transit Center.  (Turn left on Tremont Street, left again on Topeka Street, and then right on Cleveland Street, which will take you to Pier View Way.) See San Diego Transit Information for details about the Oceanside Transit Center, which is served by AMTRAK, Coaster, and Metrolink trains.

Nearby Attractions: Find more things to do in Oceanside, CA . You can walk out on the largest wooden pier on the West Coast, take surfing lessons, enjoy an ocean sailing tour, bike along a nature trail, and see history at California’s largest Mission.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: *Top San Diego Museums*, Beaches & Surfing, Nostalgia & Western Frontier, Oceanside, Sports Attractions |

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