Destination Aviation: Top Aircraft Museums Across the U.S.

The history of the United States' military-related transportation methods and weaponry systems is among one of the most widely studied, most interesting, and most educational subjects to date. People throughout the country, and the world for that matter, love visiting aviation and aircraft museums, whether they are war buffs, history buffs, or vacation buffs looking for something to do!

Here are our choices for top aircraft museums across the U.S.!

  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum was first established in 1946 and is today considered to be the largest collection of displayed aircraft in the world. The main center is on the Washington Mall, though there are more housed at the Steven Udvar-Hazy Complex. See over 51 space and 61 aircraft while here!

    Aircraft to see: Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, Original Wright Flyer, Shuttle Discovery
  • Pima Air and Space Museum - Located in Tucson, Arizona, this truly impressive museum is known to be one of the largest non-government funded museums in America. The Dow's Monthan Air Force Base serves as the "aircraft boneyard," an amazing (and massive) aircraft-filled site you're not going to want to miss.

    Aircraft to see: President Kennedy’s Air Force One, SV2-71 Blackbird, German V-7 Buzz Bomb
  • National Museum of U.S. Air Force - This astounding aircraft museum is one of America’s oldest, first created in 1923. Sitting right next to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, the campus holds over 350 aircraft and missiles to explore both inside and out, plus tons of one-of-a-kind experimental aircraft that is all 100% free to see.

    Aircraft to see: Bell X-1, X-3 Stiletto, Tri-Sonic XB-70A Valkyrie
  • Future of Flight Aviation Center - This museum is unlike most on the list, a Mukilteo, Washington, establishment that regularly coordinates tours of the nearby Boeing Facility, a really amazing aircraft experience in which you can also learn about what’s on the horizon for future air travel.

    Aircraft to see: 747, 777, and 787 jets
  • Strategic Air and Space Museum - The Strategic Air and Space Museum is located in Ashland, Nebraska, and is dedicated to both military and nuclear-capable aircraft and missiles. See projects from the Cold War Era and beyond, and explore the treasures found on Offutt Air Force Base while here!  

    Aircraft to see: Boeing EC-135 Looking Glass, British Avro Vulcan Bomber, U.S. B-36T Peacemaker
  • Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum - Docked at the Hudson River, on Manhattan’s West Side, you will find a truly unforgettable museum experience aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid Carrier. The scenic Pier 86 backdrop is only half the fun as you tour the carriers and nearby submarine full of military transportation education.

    Aircraft and Seacraft to see: U.S.S. Growler, Space Shuttle Enterprise
  • Museum of Aviation - Welcome to the Museum of Aviation, the spot in Georgia’s own Robbins Air Force Base that is considered to be the second-largest museum of its kind in the United States. See over 90 different aircraft spread over 51 acres, including POW and Tuskegee Airmen exhibits and equipment.

    Aircraft to see: SR-71 Tail Number 61-7958 (airspeed record 2,193.2 mph)
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum - In the sunny city of San Diego, you will find the 1963 established air and space museum filled with exhibits from the WWI era all the way to the Space Age. See a comprehensive history of several different aviation pioneers while here through several different educational displays that we think you’re going to love.

    Aircraft to see: P-51 Mustang, Barnstormers, Apollo 9 Command Module
  • The United States Army Aviation Museum - The U.S. Army Aviation Museum holds the largest museum display of helicopters in the world, truly an amazing sight to see. See over 160 aircraft and even the aviation hall of fame while here, the entire establishment located on Fort Rucker in Alabama.

    Aircraft to see: Sikorsky Helicopter, XV-1 Convertiplane, Wright Brothers Model B Military Flyer Model

  • The United States Military Aviation Museum - Following the same train of thought and travel, the U.S. Military Aviation Museum offers all the best in free entertainment and impressive air shows. Here you will see and learn so much, plus you will have the scenic backdrop of Virginia Beach to enjoy it all! Aircraft to see: Messerschmitt ME 262, Curtiss P-40, Hawker Hurricane