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“Go on Tuesday..Free Admission.”

California Surf Museum
Ranked #7 of 78 things to do in Oceanside
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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!
Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

This was a fun hour with the kids. A visual history of surfing, surfboards and surf culture. Nice gift shop with unique items and proceeds support the museum. Definitely needs to be on your to do list when staying in Oceanside.

1  Thank Josh-and-Malena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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118 - 122 of 163 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

Really small. Takes just a few minutes to walk the whole museum. If you're not a surfer it's a good way to get a feel on how surfing has evolved.

Thank Phil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

Wonderful museum....always has good artists on display. We were lucky to have a docent discuss some of the artists work on display. Also, they have live jazz and more reaching out to the community. Easy to find and easy no cost parking steps from the museum. Good for adults and families.
Grammy Sharon

Thank grammysharon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

You’ll spend more time here than you think you will…even if you’re not a surfer or have little interest in surfing. I talked my GF into going and by the time we left she wanted to learn to surf!

They had 3 exhibits when we visited, all pretty good.
WindanSea Surf Club exhibit: Cool history of one of the greatest surf clubs with lots of memorabilia. Great surfing video! Lot’s of press clippings and collectibles, but not a very dynamic presentation.

Bethany Hamilton exhibit: actual surf board that she was attacked on and interesting video of her career and post-attack life. A little short on exhibit material – but that’s probably because she’s still so young. She is an amazing young lady – in or out of the water!

History of surf boards exhibit: a large, interesting display on the development of surf boards. This is a permanent exhibit and could use a little jazzing up. Some of the little changes that are documented are so slight as to be dulling to the senses after halfway through. Also, if they’re going to talk about skeg evolution they should at least display the boards with the bottom side showing so we don’t have to crawl around to see the differences.

There wasn’t much about surfing in the rest of California, especially one would think there would be sections on Huntington Beach (Surf City USA??). Trestles, Rincon and Mavericks, amongst others. Also missing was a section on great Californian surfers. (Since it is a relatively small museum perhaps they had to store some stuff for the large WindanSea exhibit?)

The gift shop has a surprisingly wide variety of items and the staff was very friendly, welcoming and helpful. All in all, a nice way to kill 1-2 hours – a solid 3.5 stars.

Thank James T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 23, 2013

The building is small, but has lots of different surf boards to view and read about. They even had "Bethany's" board on display, the one that the shark took a bite out of. Fees are low $5/$3. Tuesday is free.

Thank CactusCaro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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