Military-Historical Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California
A lot of modelers not only build models but also enjoy the history associated with these models. I’ve attempted to put together a guide for people local and otherwise who want to visit the various military museums and military-historical points of interest within an easy day trip range of San Francisco. This is by no means a complete guide but I’ve attempted to arrange the information available on the internet and from my personal travels. I’ll update the page as I find new places of interest. I’ve concentrated on the places where you can actually see military hardware rather than just places where the something happened. All times are given as approximate driving times from downtown San Francisco.
If you have any other suggestions as to other interesting military related sites please email me about them and I’ll add them to the list.
Naval Museums and Points of Interest
Military Aviation Museums
- Hiller Air Museum – A small in size but not in content, a very interesting aviation museum created by the owners of the Hiller Aircraft Corporation and containing mostly helicopters of that firm, contains about 40 aircraft – Located in San Carlos – (~25 minutes).
Hiller Air Museum in the SVSM Gallery
- Oakland Aviation Museum – Nice, small museum, through somewhat rundown due to the lack of funds, contains ~20 aircraft – Located near Oakland Airport – (~20 minutes).
Western Aerospace Museum in the SVSM Gallery
- Pacific Coast Air Museum – Small but interesting and well maintained museum with ~20 aircraft – Located in Santa Rosa – (~45 minutes).
Pacific Coast Air Museum in SVSM Gallery
- Travis Heritage Center – Interesting medium sized museum with about 35 aircraft on display with cold war era US combat aircraft and WWII and cold war transports – Located on the Travis Air Force Base (due to various post 9/11 restrictions, contact the museum to make sure you can visit before going) – (~1 hour).
Travis Air Force Base Museum in SVSM Gallery
- Aerospace Museum of California – Large museum with a large number (~35 aircraft) of the US Cold War era aircraft – Located on near Sacramento on the former McClellan Air Force Base – (~1.5 hours).
Aerospace Museum of California in SVSM Gallery
- Castle Air Force Base Museum – A Large museum with a large number (~35 aircraft) of the US Cold War era aircraft, concentrating on the US bombers, with one of the best bomber collections around – Located in Atwater on the former Castle Air Force Base – (~2 hours).
Castle Air Force Base Museum in SVSM Gallery
- Alameda Naval Air Museum – A small museum, with no real aircraft on display, but a good collection of models, photographs and other artifacts, including a 1/72 scale model of IJN Yamato. There are two gate-guard aircraft in close proximity to the museum. Located on the territory of the former Alameda Naval Air Station. – (~20 minutes).
Alameda Naval Air Museum in SVSM Gallery
- Moffett Field Museum – A small but growing museum located at the former NAS (now federal airfield) Moffett. At the moment there are several cockpits and one gate guard aircraft at the museum, but there are plans to have a number of very interesting former NASA aircraft on display in the near future. The museum is located next to the famous Hangar One and features a large exhibit dedicated to the airships. Since the airfield still belongs to the Federal government make sure to bring your ID when you visit. – (~35 minutes).
Moffett Field Museum in SVSM Gallery
- Wings of History Air Museum – A small museum dedicated mostly to civilian aircraft with several on display. Located in San Martin. – (~1.5 hours).
- A fairly complete and up-to date list of various aircraft on display in California.
Military Vehicle and Military Museums
Military Related Museums