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“My day at the surf museum” 5 of 5 stars
Review of California Surf Museum

California Surf Museum
312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA
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Ranked #4 of 43 things to do in Oceanside
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: 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!
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“My day at the surf museum”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

I had so much fun at the surf museum, really enjoyed reading about the history of surfing in the area. The museum has a nice little gift shop bought a pair of flip flops/slippers that I love, feel like I'm walking on a cushion, wear them all the time. The people who work at the museum are so nice & friendly, stop by if you get a chance I think you will really like it

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75 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Oceanside, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2014

Excellent. I liked it all and didn't like not having more money on me that day. Everything in Oside can appear to be pricey. BUT, there are so many great bargains if you walk around on Coast Hwy.

Visited April 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Bernardo, California
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
46 attraction reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
186 helpful votes 186 helpful votes
“Like, It Was Totally Rad Dude!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2014

So, you know dude, this isn't like one of those giant So-Cal attractions you're gonna visit like SeaWorld, LegoLand or Disney, but if you have the extra time or you're a local dude or dudette, then totally check it out...

Alright, you may not come out talking like a surfer, but after the two hours we spent there, we certainly felt like we'd learned a great deal more about surfing history and it's cultural impact on Southern California than we knew before.

We were lucky enough to park right outside the museum on the street in a 2-hour parking zone. There is a small check-in desk and then you wander into the 'San Onofre' exhibit that they have currently. (Admission is $5 for adults). The museum is on the small side, but if you're like me and you like to read just about every sign and placard and look at the gift shop, it takes about the 2-hour parking time.

Besides the current San Onofre exhibit there is also an exhibit about the progression of surf board design, as well as a display about Bethany Hamilton, including her surf board with the shark bite out of it.

Before you leave is a gift shop with quality gifts, cards, books, magnets, clothing, etc.

If you're so inclined, afterward you can walk around Oceanside and out on the pier and maybe have lunch or dinner in a local restaurant.

This museum may not make the list for most tourists, but if you're looking to do San Diego area a little more 'in-depth', the California Surf Museum combined with a wander around Oceanside and lunch or dinner makes for a fun day out!

Note: I probably wouldn't recommend this museum for children younger than 13. There are restrooms at the museum.

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Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riverside, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“A must do”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2013 via mobile

If your in the area of the pier or in Oceanside, hit the Surf museum. The staff is awesome and incredibly knowledgable about the surf seen and the history of surf in the area. Great job guys.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, California
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Surfing Safari”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

If you are old enough to remember the 60's surfing music, or if you are young enough to want to understand this "culture", this is a must stop place. Located on Pacific coast Highway in Oceanside, it really is a "blast from the past".

Visited June 2013
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