A small beach shop and surf club in Pacifica, called Traveler, has been around for a couple of years now. This place, tucked in among the shops and cafés steps from the beach, is only a few miles north of my coastside home. But I admit I walked right by it many times.
Yes I saw the awesome ocean-themed sign out front that says “Traveler.” But I honestly thought it was some kind of travel agency. I wonder how many others have missed out on this gem of a place. So I’ll just say it. The first rule of surf club should be: Talk About Surf Club. I’ll start.
Turns out Traveler is the coolest little California surf club and shop, located steps from Pacifica State Beach (Linda Mar), a popular San Francisco Bay Area surf spot.
The vibe is both warm and welcoming before and after a day at the beach. You can shop, shower, sauna, store your surf gear, and sit a spell. Beaches in NorCal can get chilly. Having your own cozy “shareable beach shack” nearby can be just the thing.
Created by quintessential California girl Julie Cox, former pro surfer and previously the director of the California Surf Museum, Traveler is a welcome addition to the foggy coast. Especially for those who are tired of changing in and out of wetsuits in the beach parking lot.
Cox, who has been surfing since she was eight years old, understands a thing or two about ocean-loving folks who just want to #surfmorebehappy.
Want that too? Join the club.
Surfers, swimmers, and beachcombers can opt for a drop-in day pass — for when you’re just passing through — or a monthly or annual membership to the Traveler Surf Club.
Members get access to outdoor showers, day-use lockers, dry cedar sauna, safe surfboard storage, backyard garden (with heated bench), 10 percent store discount, priority special event sign-ups, after-hours access, and hot beverages.
Think small town local gym meets cozy indie coffeeshop, only cooler.
Who is Traveler For?
Traveler caters to the old school surfer, newbie and non-surfer, city surfer and world traveler, surfer girl and surfer dude, regular- and goofy-footed.
Sounds too good to be true, right? But I think it works because the focus is people. Word on the beach is the staff is super friendly (in a good way) with a genuine sense of community — and it’s contagious.
The times I’ve wandered into the shop, the vibe was pretty chill and happy. So they must be doing something right.
Speaking of doing something right, they recently donated 10 percent of weekend sales to families affected by California’s Camp and Woolsey fires.
You don’t have to be a member to visit this place. On my recent visit to Traveler, I picked up several t-shirts I love made by United by Blue (who pulls a pound of trash from the ocean for every product sold). And I also snagged a couple of hoodies made by Silver Lining (they do have nice linings and came with beach totes).
Julie Cox helped me with my purchase and gave me the tour afterwards.
On the shelves you’ll find a well-curated collection of travel and ocean-themed items: T’s and tanks, beach blankets and towels, swimsuits, flip flops, caps, maps, jewelry, coffee mugs, bags and backpacks.
Surfboards and wetsuits (some available for rent) line the walls in the back. And you’ll find ocean-themed photography and books scattered about.
Not only can you grab some sweet swag in the shop, you can also stop in just to say hello and get warm. Curl up with a vintage beach book in the sitting room, or hang out on the heated orange bench in the courtyard garden.
Some might say it’s savvier to keep this place a secret surf club. Tempting. But that would be breaking my new rule, and not aligned with Traveler Surf Club’s obvious community spirit. Winter swells are waiting. Get wet, get warm, get happy.
Want to check Traveler out for yourself? Here’s how.
Traveler Surf Club
5450 Coast Hwy, Pacifica, California
(650) 735-9192 | travelersf.com