If you’ve ever driven along the stretch of PCH north of Point Mugu State Park and south of Oxnard, you might have noticed a curious display of grounded vintage fighter jets and missiles in the distant corner of an otherwise empty field. It’s clear that they have a military connection due to the location – this part of PCH, where it turns inland from the ocean, is flanked on one side by farmlands and the other by Naval Base Ventura County. Don’t let that stop you from exploring! Those displays you can see from the highway are Point Mugu Missile Park, a small, open-air museum that’s open to the public, free of charge, daily from sunrise to sunset.
Point Mugu Missile Park has on display two fighter jets, mounted as if they’ve just taken off, plus numerous missiles of various size and (decommissioned) might. The most eye-catching are the jets – an F-4 Phantom II and F-14 Tomcat, along with Regulus I, Regulus II and Polaris missiles. These, plus a dozen or so other missiles, all have one thing in common: They were developed and tested at the former Naval Air Station Point Mugu, which was established here in 1941 (and since merged into Naval Base Ventura County). Plentiful signage details each exhibited item’s development and testing at Point Mugu, as well as any significant roles in conflicts and peacekeeping. There are also several memorial plaques paying homage to military veterans at Point Mugu Missile Park.
If you have any interest in military history or just enjoy seeing and reading about uncommon historic artifacts, exit East Pacific Coast Highway at Wood Road, head west and stop for a little while at this museum. It’s a compact display and won’t take up much of your time, although the signage accompanying each exhibit is thorough and interesting. It’s also a nice, quiet, typically sunny spot where you can stretch your legs and take a break during a Highway 1 road trip. There are picnic tables at the site, but no restrooms. As a bonus, you might get to see today’s modern Navy aircraft taking off and landing at the base during exercises, which can be quite a thrill.
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