The 5 Best Places to Fly a Drone in San Diego (2023)

A list of the best places to fly your drone in San Diego, California.

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

If you live in (or are traveling to) San Diego, please use this page as a resource to better understand not just where to fly, but also where it’s legal and illegal to fly a drone. We provide guidance on regulations to help you stay compliant with both federal and local rules.

fly drone San Diego

A Sectional Chart of the airspace surrounding San Diego, CA. Source: VFR Map

San Diego Drone Laws — Recreational vs. Commercial

The first thing to understand about flying a drone in San Diego (or any city for that matter) is that under federal FAA regulations, you are either operating recreationally or commercially.

Drone operators are no longer required to independently contact air traffic control when flying within five miles of an airport. Instead, both recreational and commercial flyers can use the automated LAANC system to request airspace authorization to fly in controlled airspace around and above many airports. If you’re operating in Class B, C, D, or E controlled airspace, you’ll need to request airspace authorization. You may do this through LAANC or through FAADroneZone in areas where LAANC is not available.

When we list locations below, we’ll share whether they sit in controlled or uncontrolled airspace.

Get up-to-date airspace information, including temporary flight restrictions, using free apps like Aloft , Autopylot , or B4UFLY .

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.

So those are the federal rules.

But what about local San Diego drone laws?

Here’s a guide we put together for drone laws in California. Make sure to consult that to see if there are any local drone ordinances you should follow in San Diego. When in doubt, use good judgment and follow the FAA’s guidelines.

Note: The content on this page is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of legal counsel. If we missed something, or if you have further questions, please send an email to support[at]uavcoach[dot]com, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Where to Fly a Drone in San Diego

Alrighty—without further ado, here are our top picks for the best places to fly a drone in the San Diego area. We selected these locations based on airspace restrictions, accessibility, and attractions. You’ll find that most of the locations we’ve chosen are located in uncontrolled, Class G airspace where you don’t need to request permission to fly. Additionally, we made sure to highlight any locations with designated sUAS/remote aircraft fields.


1 — Coronado Cays Park

99 Grand Caribe Isle, Coronado, CA 92118

Coronado Cays Park is located just outside of San Diego in Coronado, California. It sits on a narrow strip of land that has the San Diego Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The open green space and adjacent sandy white beach make this an ideal location for drone pilots. The park is known for its cinematic sunsets that create a stunning backdrop against the silhouettes of the palm trees. The local marina is another great feature that adds to the picturesque feel that is so often desired in any aerial footage.

fly drone coronado cays park

Source: Ken Kistler

2 — San Vicente Reservoir

13500 Moreno Ave, Lakeside, CA 92040

The San Vicente Reservoir is located in Lakeside, California, just outside of San Diego, California. The reservoir was created by impounding San Vicente Creek and the Colorado River through the First San Diego Aqueduct. The 1,600 acres of surface water is surrounded by the Cuyamaca Mountains. The expansive view of the water and the mountainous region offer incredible views for drone footage.

fly drone San Vicente

Source: Virginia Hill

3 — El Capitan Reservoir Recreation Area

El Monte Rd, El Cajon, CA 92021

The El Capitan Reservoir Recreation Area is located just northeast of San Diego, California, in El Cajon. The reservoir has a surface area of 1,562 acres and was formed by damming the river in 1935. It is surrounded by a mountainous landscape that offers stunning views and wide-open space for flying a drone. The wildlife and various hiking trails make this an ideal location for drone pilots looking to explore.

El Capitan Reservoir San Diego County from a DJI Phantom 3

4 — Oceanside Pier

The Strand N, Oceanside, CA 92054

The Oceanside Pier is located in Oceanside, California, and extends almost 2,000 feet into the ocean. The pier is constructed of wood and was originally built in 1888 but has been rebuilt several times due to storm damage. Drone pilots will enjoy the scenic views of Oceanside Beach and the surrounding area. The never-ending views of the Pacific Ocean are truly a sight to see.

fly drone Oceanside Pier

Source: Sharon Tate Soberon

5 — 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 at the 85-acre property since 1997. There is a paved 40 foot by 600-foot runway and a designated helo pad area. The helo pad area can be used by both model helicopters and drones. The large area makes it great for drone pilots and the surrounding scenery is incredible. A large section of the property is wooded and features a nice view of the mountains off in the distance.

Palomar R/C Flyers Club

Take a Drone Flight Training Class in San Diego

If you’re new to drones or looking to take your flight skills to the next level, we offer hands-on drone flight training in the San Diego area. Our classes start at 2-hours long, and our expert instructors walk you through what to do before, during, and after your flight—you’ll practice intelligent flight modes and learn how to stay safe but also how to get the shots or data you need. During the class, you’ll also get a chance to ask questions about regulations, software, flight operations management, checklists, and more.

Sign up for a hands-on drone flight training class in San Diego.