Updated: Jun 18, 2022
While you may not have been taught much about surf history in social studies class, there is a fascinating past to our beloved sport.
That’s where surf museums fill the void, offering exhibits, photos, films and events aimed at showcasing the rich history of surfing in America.
In this article, we’ll break down 6 of the best surf museums in America to visit.
Best Surf Museums in America
California Surf Museum
Location: 312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054
Considered to have one of the “world's richest troves of surfing history”, the California Surf Museum features exhibits including Kelly Slater’s surfboards, surf science, a timeline of surfboards, and more inside a beautiful museum-like space.
Learn more about the California Surf Museum on their website.
Texas Surf Museum
Location: 309 N Water St, 78401 Corpus Christi, Texas
You’ll know when you’ve arrived at the only surf museum in the state of Texas by the retro surf car with a surfboard on top outside the front door.
Originally opened in 2005, the museum showcases boards, movies, shaping tools, and more to show that not only is there surfing in texas; there’s a rich history in it.
“Like the waves, the museum is always free” they say.
Money raised by the Surf Museum goes towards operating expenses, outreach and fundraising events as well as museum exhibits.
Learn more about the Texas Surf Museum by visiting their site.
Florida Surf Museum
Location: Ron Jon Surf Shop, 4151 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Originally founded in 1999, the Florida Surf Museum was “inside a space so small you could barely turn a longboard around.”
Although things have changed since then — they currently exist inside Ron Jon Surf Shop, where exhibits are often rotated — their goal has been the same: showcase “Florida’s rich surfing heritage through exhibits, research, and preservation.”
To learn more about the Florida Surf Museum, or donate, visit the Florida Surf Museum website.
Surfing Florida Museum
Location: 1400 Elizabeth Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Founded in 2008, the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project has produced dozens of historical surfing exhibits throughout the region.
Currently, the surf museum showcases historic surfboards, films, archives, and more in an 8,000-square-foot space in West Palm Beach's Warehouse District.
Learn more the Surfing Florida Museum by visiting their website here.
Location:1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817
While the Bishop museum technically isn’t a surf museum, it does have some incredible surfing exhibits on display throughout the year, showcasing tales from the birthplace of surfing, as well as several art installations.
Learn more about the surf exhibits at the Bishop Museum here.
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
Location: 701 W Cliff Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Found in the Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse — a picturesque red brick lighthouse with a perfect view of Steamer Lane — this surf museum is one of the oldest in America.
You can learn more about this surf museum here.
New Jersey Surf Museum
Location: 120 W Main St, Tuckerton, NJ, United States, New Jersey
One of the largest museums dedicated to surfing on the East Coast, the New Jersey Surf Museum was founded in 2010 and covers surfing from the last 100 years, featuring the stories of local surfers and the influence of the surf culture.
Learn more about the New Jersey Surf Museum here.
Surf Museums in America
There you have it — 6 of the best surf museums to visit in America. Whether you’re looking for something to do during a flat spell or you’re looking to beef up your knowledge, you’re guaranteed to learn something at these surf museums.