California Aviation Museums

There are many aviation and airplane museums around the United States. It would mostly likely take a lifetime and a fortune to travel to every single one. It doesn't mean that you cant try though!

In these pages you will find a list of aviation museums by state. Each museum contains a description, location, and various other military history museums you can find nearby. Milsurpia has been created for the military history enthusiast and wants to make finding these gems easier. This list of has been archived together as a community. If you notice a museum missing or would like to contribute information, please feel free to reach out and submit it!

To submit a museum or organization for consideration please contact us. Photos and descriptions of locations will not be listed without expressed consent.

Aircraft Parking

Private pilots take notice! Airplane museums around the country are available for you to fly into. Many of the museums in the below aviation museum directory allow private pilots to park for free at their facilities. When you are planning your next flight out, think about checking out one of these museums and supporting the community. Be sure to check the website and / or call ahead for proper parking and taxi instructions.

Event Planning

Another great thing about aviation museums is those wide open hangars! Many of the below museums offer their hangars for events. Consider checking them out and renting a hangar for your next event.

McClellan Park, CA

SR-71 Blackbird at Air Force Flight Test Museum

The Air Force Flight Test Museum (AFFTM) at Edwards Air Force Base sets the bar high for aviation history experiences. The museum’s mission to “preserve, display and educate the public to over 75 years of flight test research” has been accomplished handily. With over 80 aircraft covering aviation flight test all from World War 2 all the way to present, aviation enthusiasts will have a hard time picking a favorite. Alongside the aircraft, the collection also includes important memorabilia such as wind tunnel models, missiles, and aircraft engine systems. The flight test museum has many aircraft that are so iconic it would be hard to find an aviation buff who doesn’t recognize them. The museum also holds aircraft and exhibits which will surprise even the most well-read of aviation lovers. Visitors are treated to iconic aircraft such as the SR-71 Blackbird. One aircraft that might surprise is the YA-10B. The YA-10B is a one-of-a-kind aircraft. All production A-10 aircraft are single-seaters yet the YA-10B on display at the Flight Test Museum is a two-seater. This is just one example of surprising and unique items on display. In December 2021, the flight museum is moving!! According to the AFFTM, “We are moving the Flight Test Museum from its 8,500 square foot space on Edwards Air Force Base to a new 75,000 square foot location just outside the West Gate. There will be more space for our current aircraft collection, a STEM Education Center and will allow for easier public access. Construction has begun - but we still need your help!” Make sure to check out the museum’s website and social media!

Atwater, CA

Castle Air Museums B-29

The Castle Air Museum affords visitors from the region and throughout the world the opportunity to learn the costly sacrifices of the men and women who designed, built, maintained and flew these aircraft into hostile skies to defend freedom and liberty with many making the ultimate sacrifice. The Museum also serves to educate on the past milestones in aviation and what the future of aerospace may hold in store. Castle Air Museum, located in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley is the largest aviation museum between Southern California and the State of Washington with over seventy restored vintage military aircraft on static exhibit with more to arrive in the future! The Museum is adjacent to the former Castle Air Force Base, now Castle Airport, and officially opened to the public in 1981 as a non-profit 501c3 organization with a mission “to preserve military aviation heritage for future generations.” Today the Museum has evolved into a premier showcase for families, history buffs, schools, tourists, and aviation enthusiasts. OUR COLLECTION The collection includes vintage military aircraft dating from pre-WWII to the present on approximately 25 acres of the Museum’s beautifully maintained grounds. Locating, restoring, preserving and displaying these historic treasures is a real challenge. Often aircraft are acquired in pieces from diverse locations, shipped to the Museum, and under the direction of talented and knowledgeable volunteers restored to their former grandeur. These aircraft, prior to being preserved by the Castle Air Museum have survived neglect, being targets for weapons testing, and have escaped the salvage torch to remain as testimonials to all who have served our nation and that of America’s allies to protect freedom and democracy. Complimenting, the outdoor exhibits is a wonderful indoor display which houses a fascinating collection of military artifacts including military uniforms, a cockpit simulator, historic photos, aircraft equipment and much more highlighting aviation milestones of the past century. A constant fundraising effort is required to maintain the museum, acquire aircraft exhibits, improve the facility to better accommodate our visitors to improve their experiences is constant. The Museum receives no government assistance at all. The Museum attributes its success to the generosity of local businesses, individuals, volunteers and members of the Museum that is responsible for Castle Air Museum developing in to a premier showcase of military aviation history, preserved for posterity. (This description has been sourced with permission from the Castle Air Museum's website)

Chico, CA

Firebaugh, CA

Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum contains exhibits and artifacts relating to the history of United States Marine Corps Aviation. The museum features 48 aircraft with 31 aircraft in outdoor exhibits, multiple military vehicles and equipment. Indoor exhibits feature photographs, artifacts and artwork from the early days of aviation to the present. Indoors there are 8 galleries displaying artwork, photographs, uniforms and artifacts. The museum frequently undertakes large restoration efforts such as the SBD-1 Dauntless in their collection. The Dauntless was recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan and has been with the museum since 2012. The Flying Leatherneck museum has various educational programs in addition to their main exhibits. The museum frequently hosts field trip tours, virtual visits, and even has a podcast. They also host art and essay contests, open cockpit days, and “picnic with a pilot” days. The museum has a 27,000 square foot restoration hangar. There are future plans to build a 90,000 square foot museum building for indoor displays. Be sure to check out the museum website.

San Carlos, CA

Santa Ana, CA

Riverside, CA

Santa Monica, CA

Mill Valley, CA

Santa Rosa, CA

Palm Springs, CA

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Your journey through the history of flight begins as you stand beneath a model of the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon of 1783 - the first manned vehicle in recorded history to break the bonds of gravity and lift humans above the Earth. Rare specimens of aircraft suggest the excitement of air combat in the World War I Gallery. Marvel at the entertaining and dangerous antics of the barnstormers of the 1920s in the Golden Age of Flight Gallery. Mint condition aircraft in a mint condition museum - a Spitfire Mk. XVI, a Navy F6F Hellcat and an A-4 Skyhawk jet - these beautifully restored airplanes help you appreciate the increasingly complex technology represented in the classic military aircraft of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Museum’s display of space age technology, like the desire to journey to the stars, may never be finished, for it represents an adventure which the human race has truly just begun. (This description was sourced with permission from the San Diego Air & Space Museum)

San Martin, CA

Chino, CA