Local drone laws in California refer to policies and regulations that are enacted and enforced at the county, city, or town levels.
Drone operations (among many other sports) are not allowed unless done in fields, courts, or areas specifically designed for such activities or with the express permission of the Director.
Ref County Code 9.36.068
The operation of self-propelled model airplanes is included in the list of non-permitted activities in Marin County parks. These apply to all parks, playgrounds, bicycle and multi-use paths, recreation centers, and other areas and facilities managed by the county and devoted to active or passive recreation.
Ref Municipal Code 10.03.060
San Diego County
- A UAS operator must be at least 25 feet away from another UAS operator.
- A UAS may not launch or land within 25 feet of any permanent or temporary structure or vehicle.
- Commercial UAS operations on County Property or in County Facilities requires a prior writter permission from the department or agency of the County that controls the County Property or Facility.
- Proof of appropriate insurance coverage is a requirement for securing a written permission.
- Recreational UAS use on County Property generally does not require written permission. However, the County and/or its departments may impose such a requirement, whether temporarily or permanently.
Ref County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation UAS Regulations
Santa Clara Valley
The use of drones within the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (both on land and within airspace) is prohibited unless a permit has been granted by the Authority. Drones used for emergency response, firefighting, or law enforcement are exempted from this rule.
Ref Santa Clara Valley Access and Use Regulations Section 11.01.01
Santa Clara County Parks
Launching or landing a drone within any park area or structure, facility, or equipment located within any park area is prohibited unless a valid permit has been issued by the Director for such activity.
Ref General Rules and Ordinances
Santa Cruz District – California State Parks
The use of model aircraft, UAS, or gliders is prohibited in all Santa Cruz District Park Units except for Seacliff State Beach and Sunstate State Beach. Requests for exemptions can be addressed to the District Superintendent.
Ref District Superintendent Order No. 715-001-17 (2017)
MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District Lands
The operation of remote controlled aircraft is prohibited in any portion of the District Lands or Water Areas of the District unless it is done in Designated Areas or with a written permit.
Ref Regulations Section 409.4
Orange County Parks
The use of drones (and all motorized vehicles and equipment) is prohibited in all Orange County parks, beaches, and recreational areas.
Ref Official Orange County Parks rules
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority
All drone operations are prohibited inside all parks owned and managed by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority unless official permits have been granted by the Executive Officer.
Ref Park Ordinance (2018)
Inland Empire District
Parks units in the Inline Empire District are closed to the use of model aircrafts and unmanned aircraft systems.
Ref District Superintendents Order No. 950-19-022
City of Los Angeles
Prohibits landing or launching a powered model aircraft within the limits of any park or other City-owned Harbor Department designated and controlled property
Ref Regulations Affecting Park and Recreation Areas
City of San Francisco
All types of airplanes, helicopters, and other aviation machines are prohibited from launching or landing in any park without the permission of the Recreation and Park Department and unless being used for an emergency situation.
Ref San Francisco Park Code Section 3.09
City of Malibu
Commercial filmmaking using a drone is allowed in the city of Malibu given that a filming permit has been granted. Applications and requirements should be submitted 7 days ahead of scheduled use.
Ref City of Malibu Filming Instructions
City of Los Alamitos
The ordinance cites several restrictions on drone flight designed to maintain the safety of people and property and to ensure that drone operations do not interfere with law enforcement or emergency response.
Ref Ordinance No. 2017-11
City of Yorba Linda
The ordinance prohibits the taking off a drone outside of the visual line of sight of the operator, within 25 feet of another person, within the private property without the consent of the owner, or within 500 feet of a special event or emergency response situation.
Ref Municipal Ordinance No. 2017-1047
City of Calabasas
The ordinance prohibits the operations of a drone within 25 feet of another individual, on private property without the consent of the owner, over publicly permitted events, within 1500 feet of any manned or unmanned aircraft, within 200 feet of a school facility, or within 100 feet of any public building or facility. Also included in the ordinance are drone flight restrictions consistent with federal rules.
Ref Municipal Ordinance No. 2017-354
City of Hermosa Beach
All drone pilots operating within the City of Hermosa Beach must secure an Operating Permit and Identification Number assigned by the City. Permits are valid for one year and can be renewed.
Ref Municipal Code 9.38.030
Drones are prohibited from flying less than 350 feet above the ground and capturing images of public schools during school hours. They are also restricted from operating in the airspace overlaying the civic center complex or a city park or beach during a scheduled special event.
Ref Municipal Code 9.38.040
City of La Mesa
The use of all types of motorized or non-motorized model airplanes with or without any remote control is banned in all city parks.
Ref Municipal Ordinance 9.08.150 (2005)
City of Chula Vista
It is unlawful to operate drones within any Chula Vista City Park or recreation area except in areas designated with signage by the Director of Public Works for that purpose.
Ref Municipal Code 2.66.180
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
Motorized drone flight is prohibited in all Rancho Palos Verdes City Parks and City-owned property except at Point Vicente Park / Civic Center. To fly here, an operator must secure a permit from the Parks and Recreation Department that is issued through the Southern California Organization of Radio-Controlled Helicopters (SCORCH), a local pilots’ club. There are associated fees for permit application and the operator must be a current member of the AMA. The point of contact for SCORCH is Darrel Thorp ([email protected]).
Ref Municipal Code Section 12.16.040
Port of Los Angeles
The Port of Los Angeles is identified as a “No Drone Zone.” However, third-parties may apply for a drone permit. Applications must be submitted at least 3 weeks before the drone flight dates. A minimum Port Police escort fee of $448 will be incurred at time of flight.
Ref Municipal Code 63.44 (B)
University of California, Santa Barbara
Recreational drone flight is allowed within the campus but must be restricted to the area south of Campbell Hall and west of Steck Traffic Circle. All drone flight requests must be approved. Flight requests can be made by faculty, staff, and students.
Ref Official University rules
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
The operations of all motorized aircraft, including drones, is prohibited over Monterey Bay below 1000 feet altitude, unless aircraft operators have received prior authorization from the MBNMS. Permit requests are assessed on a case-per-case basis and may be subject to operational restrictions.
Ref Monterey Bay Aircraft, Model Aircraft, and Drones Policy
Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
The operations of all motorized aircraft, including drones, is prohibited the waters of Greater Farallones below 1000 feet altitude. Failure to maintain the minimum altitude over such waters is considered disturbance to marine mammals or seabirds.
Ref Greater Farallones Overflight Policy
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
The operations of all motorized aircraft within one nautical mile of any island in the Channel Islands is prohibited at altitudes below 1000 feet above ground level.
Channel Islands Overflight Policy