Even if you can’t surf, you can catch a wave at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, 701 West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, 467 miles north of San Diego.
The museum overlooks famed surfing hotspot Steamer Lane. Housed in the brick Mark Abbott Memorial Lighthouse, the museum showcases 100 years of surfing history in Santa Cruz. It was opened in 1986 by a group of surfing enthusiasts looking to share the history of their beloved sport and the culture that grew up around it.
You’ll see how boards have progressed from 1930s 100-pound, 10-foot-long redwood planks to modern lightweight aerodynamic designs. You can see early wetsuits, historic surfing photographs and other surf-culture memorabilia. Don’t miss the board bitten by a great white shark!
Surfing was introduced in Santa Cruz in 1886 by three Hawaiian princes. It’s been an integral part of the Santa Cruz lifestyle since then.
Most of the docents have long surfing histories and are happy to share their stories. After viewing the history of surfing, you can step outside and watch it happening live at Steamer Lane.
Admission is free; donations are accepted. Open noon - 4:00 p.m, Thursday - Monday.