30 Best Places To Fly A Drone In California In (2024)

David Cassiel

In this article, we’ve scouted out the best places to fly a drone in California.

Sunshine, breathtaking scenery, and a sophisticated metropolitan environment are what draw drone pilots to California. This enticing state, a realm of dreams, offers it all: a stunning coastline, snow-capped mountains, picture-perfect farmlands, old redwood woods, as well as energetic, cosmopolitan towns.

San Francisco is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, shopping, museum hopping, and fine dining. Visitors are attracted by Los Angeles’ iconic Southern California landscape and Hollywood glitz. Golden-sand beaches and ideal weather may be found in San Diego and Santa Barbara.

In this article, I will show you where to fly a drone in California, as well as where it is and is not legal to fly a drone. I will also offer regulatory guidance to assist you in maintaining compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Regulations In California

The federal drone laws governing drone operations in California, which were created by the Federal Aviation Administration, classify drone operations as either recreational or commercial.

Federal Regulations In California

Recreational drone pilots are subject to the FAA rules for recreational flyers, which require them to register their drones if they weigh more than 250 g and complete The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) before they can operate their drone for recreational purposes in the United States of America.

Commercial drone pilots are subject to FAA rules for commercial pilots, which require them to follow The Part 107 regulations, complete a multiple-choice exam, and earn a drone pilot certification from the FAA before they can operate their drone for commercial purposes in the United States of America.

Best places to fly a drone in California. Downtown Riverside skyline aerial view with Blue Mountain (center), Box Springs Mountain (right), and the partially snowcapped San Bernardino Mountains in the far distance.  Riverside is located in the Inland Empire region of the Greater Los Angeles area.

When flying within five miles of an airport, drone pilots are no longer needed to independently contact air traffic control. Instead, to obtain airspace authorization to fly in regulated airspace near and above numerous airports, both commercial and leisure fliers can use the automated LAANC system. You must apply for airspace authorization if you are operating in Class B, C, D, or E regulated airspace. In places where LAANC is unavailable, you can accomplish this using FAA Drone Zone or LAANC.

Get up-to-date airspace information, including temporary flight restrictions, using tools like B4UFLY, Kittyhawk, or Airmap.

Interested in becoming an FAA-certified drone pilot so you can operate under the Part 107 regulations and make money flying your drone? Check out our industry-leading online training course over at Drone Pilot Ground School.

State and Local Regulations In California

Here is an in-depth guide to the drone laws in California that we put together. Be sure to check them out to see the state and local drone laws you need to adhere to in California. You should always exercise sound judgment when in doubt and adhere to the FAA’s regulations.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and is solely provided for informative reasons. If there is anything we missed or if you have any further questions, please contact us at info [at] droneller [dot] com, and we will do our best to assist you.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In Los Angeles

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in Los Angeles, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   Hermosa Beach Pier

1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

The Hermosa Beach pier is situated in the Hermosa Beach neighborhood of southern California. It goes all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Back in 1904, when it was first constructed, it was made of wood. After being destroyed by flooding, the pier was rebuilt in 1914. The new pier is made completely of concrete and is 1000 feet long.

The area is under Class G airspace, making it ideal for drone flight. Drone photography of the Pacific Ocean and the seaside city of Hermosa is amazing. However, the municipal drone policy in Hermosa Beach, which mandates that users of drones get an operating permission and a number granted by the city, should also be taken into consideration while considering this site.

2.   Lake Hollywood

3160 Canyon Lake Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Hollywood Reservoir, also called Lake Hollywood, is a reservoir that is found in Los Angeles, California’s Hollywood Hills, which are part of the Santa Monica Mountains. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is responsible for maintaining it. The Hollywood Sign may be seen from a distance overlooking the reservoir and the area it surrounds, which are located east of the Hollywood Freeway.

Drone pilots will enjoy the view of the Los Angeles skyline as they fly their drone. Plus, they can also enjoy other features the park has to offer, like the paved road that goes around the reservoir, which they can use for walking, bicycling, jogging, and other recreational activities.

3.  Macarthur Park

2230 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

MacArthur Park, which was originally called Westlake Park, is a park in the Los Angeles district of Westlake that was constructed in the late 19th century. General Douglas MacArthur was honored with a renaming in the early 1940s, and it eventually received the designation of “City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument.”

It has a lake fed by a natural spring, as well as playground equipment, soccer grounds, and an amphitheater. It’s perfect for drone photos and footage because of the lake and the Los Angeles skyline vista. Please use caution when flying and avoid flying above park visitors.

4. Silver Lake Meadows

2300 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039

Silver Lake Meadows is a large green area in the city of Los Angeles, California, which is close to the Silver Lake and Ivanhoe Reservoirs. Drone operators will find this place fascinating due to  the openness of the area, the walking trails, and the distant mountain scenery.

5.  Wilders Addition Park

607 W Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, CA 90731

Wilders Addition Park is a long, narrow park that hugs San Pedro’s Paseo del Mar cliffs. It is adjacent to Point Fermin Park, Angels Gate Park, the Fort MacArthur Military Museum, and the Korean Bell. It also links to Point Fermin Park on its southeast boundary.

In addition to the walkways that lead down the cliff to the tide pools below, there are facilities on the street level. Hermit crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins, and even sea stars may all be found here. This location has much to offer any drone pilot, including broad ocean vistas, historical lighthouses, and stunning scenery. The beach here is rough

Best Places To Fly A Drone In Sacramento

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in Sacramento, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   Burgdorf -Henson Field (AMA)

Co Rd 29, Davis, CA 95616

Bergdorf-Henson Field is an AMA field that is located in Davis, California. The Woodland Davis Aeromodelers manage and administrate the airfield. There are two protected areas and a sizable runway on the site. This makes it ideal for drone operators who are setting up their equipment or who just need to cool off. In addition to being serene, the vast rural landscape has plenty of room for drones to soar.

2.  Clay Banks

2000-2074 Elmanto Dr, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Clay Banks is a park in Rancho Cordova, California, that is situated alongside the American River. The river on the property is a favorite swimming and fishing spot. It has spacious grounds, which makes it an excellent place to fly a drone. Drone operators will enjoy the beautiful views of the river and its surroundings.

3.   Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

7755 Folsom-Auburn Rd, Folsom, CA 95630

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is situated in Folsom, California, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Due to its many recreational opportunities, the park is well liked by tourists. On the lake’s southern banks, you can also view the demolished Folsom Powerhouse. It formerly ranked among the most potent power plants in the whole nation. Anyone can capture incredible drone footage thanks to the interesting sights and breathtaking vistas of the hilly terrain.

4.   RiverWalk Park

100 Jibboom St, Sacramento, CA 95811

River Walk Park is situated in West Sacramento, California, on the west bank of the Sacramento River. It provides a singular and breathtaking perspective of Sacramento and the cityscape of Old Sacramento. Due to the ample open area this park offers, drone operators will value this place, as the park offers views of both the Tower Bridge and the I Street Bridge.

5.   Southside Park

2115 6th St, Sacramento, CA 95818

Southside Park is a district of Sacramento, California, situated just south of the city’s center. At the heart of the neighborhood is a sizable park with a natural pond. Numerous yearly events are conducted in the park, and the well-liked Sunday Farmers Market is held there year-round to the south beneath the overpass at W. X. Streets. Drone pilots will appreciate the park’s vast spaces and the picturesque vistas of the surroundings.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In San Bernardino, California

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in San Bernardino, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   American Model Airport Association Ama Field

31985 San Timoteo Canyon Rd, Redlands, CA 92373

The American Model Airport Association Field (AMA Field) is located in Redlands, California. The property has a paved runway and an open field near to the mountains. It is situated near the Fisherman’s Retreat at Halo Resorts, which has a small lake. Drone operators will like the variety of the landscape and topography. There is plenty of space on the mountainside field to fly a drone and get some amazing shot

2.   Lake Matthews Estelle Mountain Reserve

Corona, CA 92883

Lake Mathews Estelle Mountain Reserve is situated in Corona, California, amid the Temescal Mountains. Lake Mathews, which has a 14-mile coastline, is the primary feature of the reserve.

Most of the water utilized by the cities and water agencies of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California comes from the western terminal of the Colorado River Aqueduct. The reservoir is gated off and not accessible to the general population.

By erecting a large earthfill dam across the northern edge of the basin, a reservoir was created. During the 1961 enlargement, two smaller dikes, or dams, were constructed to expand the lake’s capacity.

The lake can be seen from the Mountain preserve and other regions, nevertheless, due to its size. The mountainous landscape that surrounds the lake will astound drone pilots.

3.   Mackay Park – Lake Arrowhead

321 Rouse Ranch Rd, San Bernardino, CA 92402

Mackay Park is located in San Bernardino, California, on the eastern edge of Lake Arrowhead. It has an observation platform with breath-taking views of the lake and the mountains in the area. A man-made reservoir, Lake Arrowhead, was built in 1922 once the dam’s construction was finished. Little Bear Creek, a tributary of Deep Creek and the Mojave River, supplies its 780 acres. Any drone film will be memorable due to the vast perspective of the mountains and the ocean.

4.   Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area

14651 Cedar Cir, Hesperia, CA 92345

Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is a sizable state park in California’s Hesperia. The region is traversed by the Pacific Crest Path, the most picturesque trail in America. Visitors take pleasure in boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, etc.

The park’s biggest attraction is Silverwood Lake, a sizable artificial reservoir. The lake provides stunning views of the reservoir and the surrounding mountain range. Drone operators will like the location’s expansive landscape and myriad filming options.

5.  Sugarloaf Mountain

California, 92314

Sugarloaf Mountain, which stands at a height of 9,952 feet, makes it the highest mountain in the San Bernardino Mountain range. The region has a distinctive climate that combines elements of the desert, an interior valley, and an alpine setting on a mountain.

Drone operators will like the broad spaces and varied video made possible by the various climates. Unbelievable views of the valley and Big Bear Lake can be seen in the distance from the mountain. Although the 10-mile ascent to the summit is challenging, the sights it offers are worth it.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In San Diego, California

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in San Diego, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   Coronado Cays Park

99 Grand Caribe Isle, Coronado, CA 92118

Coronado Cays Park is situated in Coronado, California, not far from San Diego. It is located on a small peninsula bordered by the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay on both sides. This is the perfect place for drone pilots because of the surrounding sandy white beach and vast green area.

The park is renowned for its spectacular sunsets, which provide a breathtaking backdrop to the silhouettes of the palm trees. Another wonderful aspect that contributes to the scenic atmosphere that is frequently requested in drone photography is the neighborhood marina.

2.   El Capitan Reservoir Recreation Area

El Monte Rd, El Cajon, CA 92021

The El Capitan Reservoir Recreation Area is situated in El Cajon, California, approximately to the northeast of San Diego. The reservoir, which was created in 1935 by damming the river, has a surface area of 1,562 acres.

It is surrounded by a hilly setting with breathtaking views and plenty of room for drone flight. This is a great place for drone pilots wishing to explore because of the wildlife and the variety of hiking paths.

3.   Johnson Field (Ama Field)

Pankey Road, Fallbrook, CA 92028

Johnson Field is an AMA field run and operated by the Palomar RC Flyers Club in Fallbrook, California. The club has been operating on the 85-acre property since 1997. A defined helipad area and a 40-foot by 600-foot runway are both asphalt.

Drones and miniature helicopters may both use the helipad area. Drone pilots will appreciate the space and stunning landscape because of it. The land is mostly forested, and there is a wonderful view of the mountains in the distance.

4.   Oceanside Pier

The Strand N, Oceanside, CA 92054

The Oceanside Pier is found in Oceanside, California, and dips about two thousand feet into the water. Wooden and initially erected in 1888, the pier has undergone many reconstructions as a result of hurricane damage. Drone operators will appreciate the beautiful views of Oceanside Beach and the neighborhood. The Pacific Ocean’s unending sights are simply breathtaking.

5.   San Vicente Reservoir

13500 Moreno Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040

The San Vicente Reservoir is situated just outside of San Diego, California, in Lakeside, California. Through the First San Diego Aqueduct, the Colorado River and San Vicente Creek were impounded to form the reservoir. The Cuyamaca Mountains surround the 1,600 acres of surface water. Drone footage may capture some amazing vistas of the ocean and the surrounding mountains.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In San Franscisco, California

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in San Francisco, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   Blue Park

Yerba Buena Island Nimitz Ln, San Francisco, CA 94130

On Yerba Buena Island in the San Francisco Bay, there is a park called Blue Park. The U.S. Government created Treasure Island as a man-made island in 1936, and the two islands are linked. It offers breathtaking views of the nearby sea and the city skyline.

Both the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge are visible from the park. It is crucial to remember that the region around the Golden Gate Bridge is a no-fly zone. Drone pilots may get a taste of everything at this location because of the broad view of the bay region.

2.   Cesar E. Chavez Park

11 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley, CA 94710

Cesar E. Chavez Park is a 90-acre park in Berkley, California, that protrudes out onto the San Francisco Bay. The three bridges are visible, in addition to the breathtaking views of the Bay Area.

All of the land is open grass, making it perfect for drone flights. It is significant to highlight that kite flying is a common activity in the region.

Please always be aware of kite flyers and keep a safe distance away from them. The backdrop for some magnificent drone video is the vista of the San Francisco skyline in the distance.

3.   Empowerment Park

462 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Empowerment Park is located in Oakland, California, just outside of San Francisco, on the eastern shore of Lake Merritt. The lake, which covers 140 acres and is classified as a National Historic Landmark, can be seen magnificently from this open park.

The lake is famous for its 3,400 light bulbs and 126 light poles, together known as its “necklace lights.” It contains various islands that were created to act as a nature refuge where different bird species may be seen at different times of the year. It was the nation’s first wildlife refuge when it was established in 1870. In light of this, please always be on the lookout for birds when flying a drone in this area.

4.   Public Park

San Francisco, CA 94133

A stretch of open area known as Public Park can be found in San Francisco, California, between Piers 39 and 35. This is an excellent place to see boats because there is a marina just in front of the house. From here, you can view the Oakland Bay Bridge and the many islands that make up the bay. Drone operators will like the area’s varied topography and scenic atmosphere.

5.   Richardson AMA Field

2475 Cabrillo Hwy S, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

The PCC Flying Club owns Richardson AMA Field, which is situated near Half Moon Bay, California. If you want to check the weather right now, the field has a live webcam that can be accessed on their website.

The runway is surrounded by a sizable field area and a runway area. Farmland and the sandy Pacific Ocean shoreline are located across the street from the airstrip. Drone operators will like the vast space and seemingly endless ocean vistas.

Best Places To Fly A Drone In San Jose, California

Here are my top recommendations for where to fly a drone in San Jose, California. These places were chosen because of their accessibility, airspace constraints, and tourist attractions.

1.   Almaden Quicksilver County Park (Permit Required)

21785 Almaden Rd, San Jose, CA 95120

Almaden QuickSilver County Park is located just outside of downtown San Jose, California, and spans over 4100 acres. Over 1800 miners formerly called it home, and its rich mining history dates back over 135 years. The park’s undulating hills are dotted with numerous mining relics now, which makes for a breathtaking scene that any drone pilot would appreciate. There are several options for filming the reservoir, mature trees, and more than 30 kilometers of walking routes.

2.   Calero County Park (Permit Required)

23205 McKean Rd, San Jose, CA 95120

Calero County Park is situated near San Jose, California, on the eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains. With breathtaking views of the Calero Reservoir and the California wilderness, it provides the best of both worlds. A wonderfully gorgeous environment is created by the mature trees and wildflowers that cover the steep terrain around the park, which has over 4,400 acres for drone pilots to explore.

3.   Ed R. Levin County Park (Permit Required)

3100 Calaveras Rd, Milpitas, CA 95035

Ed R. Levin County Park is situated in Milpitas, California, just outside of San Jose. Over 1,500 acres of this distinctive property are made up of lovely rolling hills and oak trees. Additionally, it is the location of Monument Peak, a mountain that rises 2,598 feet above sea level and provides amazing views of the valley all the way to San Francisco Bay. The many ponds that dot the landscape produce the perfect environment for cinematic drone footage.

4.   Joseph D. Grant County Park (Permit Required)

18405 Mt Hamilton Rd, Mt Hamilton, CA 95140

Joseph D. Grant County Park is the biggest park in Santa Clara County, with over 11,000 acres. Grasslands and old oak trees may be seen in the foothills of the valley to the east. The numerous horse and hiking routes, along with the cattle pasture, truly make for a lovely rural environment. The area also offers stunning Grant Lake vistas. This place is fantastic for drone pilots searching for a little adventure to achieve perfect photography.

5.   Vasona Lake County Park (Permit Required)

333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

Vasona Lake County Park is located in Los Gatos, California, just outside of San Jose, and it spans more than 152 acres. When facing south from this spot, mountains in the distance may be seen peaking over the bridge that spans Los Gatos Creek. This site also offers spectacular views of Vasona Lake. Drone operators will love the abundant open green area in addition to the beautiful vistas.

Final Thoughts on Where To Fly A Drone In California

So there you have it: the best places to fly a drone in California!

I hope you have a great time exploring the beautiful landscape of California from above. You can also check out where to fly a drone in other states and cities in the United States.

Always remember to obey the federal, state, and local drone laws in California to avoid having issues with the law and authorities.

And don’t forget to share this article with a friend and other drone pilots who will benefit from this information using the share icons below.

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