Drop Off Your State Van Rental at John Wayne Airport

Nestled in central Orange County, John Wayne Airport serves as a popular passenger and commercial air traffic hub. Surrounded by the cities of Irvine, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach, its service area extends to all 34 incorporated cities in Orange County, the second most densely populated county in the state of California. As the primary airport for a county of over three million citizens, John Wayne Airport has a tremendous impact on the economics of the area.

Whether picking up your rental van from State Van Rental in Southern California for a trip to Disneyland or attending one of the area’s many business conventions, it is easy to see what makes it a preferred destination. With a wide range of amenities, it is Southern California’s premiere airport experiences. Plus, it’s easy to drop off your van rental at John Wayne Airport when the trip is over.

Drawn by surrounding attractions, the airport has become a common destination for family vacationers and traveling business people In 2015, over ten million passengers passed through its terminals. They were joined by over seventeen thousand tons of air cargo. Airport operations add up to almost three billion dollars annually, and that is good news for the people of its neighboring communities. Not bad for a business venture that started as a leased field for flying lessons.

In this guide, we’ll explore everything from the airport’s history to how to get to John Wayne Airport, so you will have everything you need to know when you visit Orange County.

The History of John Wayne Airport


John Wayne Airport began as a single airstrip in 1923. Early aviation pioneer Eddie Martin started offering biplane rides taking off from a field owned by the Irvine company without their permission. Eddie eventually signed a five-year lease on eighty acres from James Irvine for thirty-five dollars a month to continue the rides and give flying lessons to interested Orange County residents.

Business did well, and in 1926, he built the first terminal at the Eddie Martin Airport. It soon grew in popularity attracting attention until Howard Hughes, noted founder of the Hughes Aircraft Company, selected it for his attempt to break the landplane airspeed record. On September 13, 1935, Hughes took off – from the airport in his Hughes H-1 Racer for the test course near Santa Ana. Reaching the speed of 352 miles per hour, Hughes shattered the record;, the last time a plane built by a private individual would accomplish this feat.

In 1939, seeing the economic potential of the airways, Orange County acquired the airport through a land swap. Before its commercial promise could be realized, however, World War II intervened, and the nation’s industry turned toward the war effort. Eddie Martin Airport was temporarily shuttered while adjacent land was opened by the Army as the Santa Ana Army Air Base. With the end of the second World War, the airbase was decommissioned and parcelled off, the western half becoming the Orange County Fair Grounds while the eastern portion became the Orange County Airport with the stipulation that it remain open to all kinds of aviation uses.

During the 1950’s, passenger traffic began to pick up, and it was joined by automotive traffic as the runways became a dragstrip. Hailed as the world’s first commercial dragstrip, every Sunday the runways were closed to air traffic and the Santa Ana Drag Strip roared to life. At fifty cents to race or watch, the drag strip helped further solidify the airport as a centerpiece of the community.

In 1964 the runways were rebuilt into their current, familiar parallel configuration. 20R, at 5,071 feet, is just long enough to legally allow jet airliners to land and take off. At the same time, an instrument landing system was installed to support commercial operations. The runways were followed by the addition of Eddie Martin Terminal in 1967, giving Orange County Airport the ability to serve 400,000 passengers a year.


Through the years, the airport continued to evolve to handle additional passengers and traffic. In 1979, the airport was renamed John Wayne Airport. John Wayne, American film icon, who had died earlier that year after battling cancer, had lived in neighboring Newport Beach. His nine-foot likeness, sculpted by Robert Summers, still greets passengers and visitors at the airport today—not too far from the location of State Van Rental at John Wayne Airport.

Today’s John Wayne Airport is served by the Thomas F. Riley Terminal which is over eleven times the size of its predecessor. While the majority of traffic is to other United States locations, there are also regular flights to Canada and Mexico. The airport facilities also house commercial operations, general aviation, and the air resources of both the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Costa Mesa Police Department.

How To Get To John Wayne Airport

From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 South to Exit 103. Take Exit 103 to CA-55 West toward Newport Beach.

If you are traveling from San Diego, take Interstate 5 North until it forks, where you will follow Interstate 405 North. Take Exit 8 to MacArthur Boulevard where you will turn left. Turn right at the first cross street onto Airport Way, and you have arrived.

If you will be visiting from Las Vegas, take Interstate 15 South to Exit 96A. At Exit 96A, get on CA-91 West. Keep left at the fork and follow it to CA-55 South. Take Exit 6B to get onto Interstate 405 South and follow the signs to the airport.

If you’ve picked up your van from State Van Rental’s Los Angeles or Las Vegas locations, we make dropping off your van rental at John Wayne Airport a cinch!

While You Are At John Wayne Airport

If you are on a layover at John Wayne Airport or have just arrived early for a flight, there are plenty of amenities to keep you comfortable while you pass the time. The airport offers free wi-fi and workstations, convenient ATMs, and plenty of space for the weary traveler to rest. In fact, with dining and shopping comparable to many major shopping malls, for many, the Orange County experience starts in Thomas F. Riley Terminal.

Stores such as Brookstone and OC Travelmart help provide the essentials that make travel more convenient, while newsstands, Like CNN and Hudson News keep you connected to the world and entertained with the latest bestseller. If you need some hardcore relaxation, XpresSpa can ease your tension and pamper your body. Finally, you will want to explore Southern California in style with the latest local fashion from RipCurl.

When it is time to dine, you’ll find plenty of familiar favorites among the nationwide franchises. Whether you want a burger or a sub, you will find familiar fare from McDonald’s, Carl’s Jr., and Subway. For an international flavor, La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe provides a taste of the exotic, while Javi’s offers authentic Mexican food combined with a fine dining experience. The Anaheim Ducks Breakaway Bar and Grill is popular with the sports enthusiast, while Ruby’s Diner is the Orange County Original that is home-grown excellence.

If you’re looking for VIP facilities, lounges are available for both the United Airlines’ United Club and the American Airlines’ Admirals Club. The airport is proud to offer those serving in America’s armed forces the use of the Bob Hope United Service Organization. Active duty and reserve members are invited to use the USO’s free wifi, television, video games, and lounge. Retired personnel are also welcome on a space available basis.

If you are looking for educational and cultural activities, you do not even have to leave the airport. The Airport Arts Program displays pieces created by area artists. Also on display, you will find traveling displays that focus on aviation history and culture. On the west end of the airport, the Lyon Air Museum offers a glimpse into the past. Exhibits include airworthy military aircraft, military vehicle and motorcycles, and memorabilia from the time of Santa Ana Army Air Base, World War II.

In The Neighborhood


Now that you know how to get to John Wayne Airport, you can turn your focus to the fun stuff: exploring Orange County. Orange County has a vibrant and rich culture, unique to itself. You will find yourself surrounded by world-class artists, sports, shopping, and dining. Once you’ve discovered all the OC has to offer in your State Van Rental, dropping off your van rental at John Wayne Airport is fast and easy.

If you are a sports fanatic, Orange County has two major sports teams to give you a big league experience. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play Major League Baseball out of Angel Stadium, while the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks call the Honda Center home. If individual sports are more your style, the Oak Creek Golf Course in Irvine is a public golf course with a private club feel.

Newport Beach Harbor, minutes south of the airport, offers several activities that will make your trip memorable. Charter boats offer you the chance to experience deep-sea fishing, relax on a private cruise, or see the sights as you explore Orange County’s coastline. Whale tours are available give your family a chance to see some of the world’s largest mammals. While you are there, be sure to look around for the locations some of your favorite California-based television shows and movies were shot at.

If enjoying the surf and sun is your thing, Laguna Beach, located just twenty minutes from the airport, offers the getaway for you. Renowned for its vibrant art community and surfer style, Laguna Beach is a popular stop for the traditional Southern California beach vacation. On the way, you will pass through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which offers ample hiking and camping opportunities for a rugged vacation adventure.

For top of the line shopping, you will want to make sure you visit South Coast Plaza. With over two hundred fifty retail shops, it is the largest mall on the west coast. Filled with popular fashion and luxury powerhouses as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, there’s ample opportunity to fill out your wardrobe.

The House That Walt Built


Disneyland. The name itself conjures imagery of animated childhood fancy. Part of the two park Disneyland Resort Complex, it first opened in 1955, it is the only Disney theme park Walt Disney supervised the construction of. With a larger annual attendance than any theme park in the world and a footprint of more than 85 acres, Disneyland has shaped the Southern California economy, countryside, and identity more than perhaps any other entity.

Comprised of themed “lands” Disneyland offers memorable attractions for both young and old. The kids will love seeing their favorite cartoons come to life in Mickey’s Toontown. Meanwhile, adults will enjoy the perpetual Mardis Gras of New Orleans Square. Adventureland lets the whole family enjoy a tropical jungle adventure, while Tomorrowland gives us a glimpse of things to come. The forthcoming Star Wars Land will offer an experience from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

The second theme park of the Disneyland Resort Complex, the seventy-two acre Disney California Adventure, offers an homage to the history and culture of California. Some areas offer snapshots of California as it is, such as Hollywood Land and Paradise Pier, or as it was, like Grizzly Peak’s gold rush feel. Don’t fret about how you’re going to get to John Wayne Airport in the morning—sit back and enjoy the ride!

Ride with State Van Rental

State Van Rental offers van with plenty of space for passengers and souvenirs. We offer 8 passenger minivans up to full size 15 passenger vans to accommodate your group;, making our fleet of modern, efficient vans offers the perfect fit for your family vacation, youth group outing, school field trip, or business conference group. For sight seeing, we can happily provide your rental van GPS to ensure you get the most out of the Southern California experience.

State Van Rental is the premier service to get your passenger van in Southern California. If you pick up in Los Angeles and travel to Orange County, we make it easy to drop off your van rental at John Wayne Airport.

Live your Orange County adventure, then conveniently drop off your van. We’ll take it from there. Call us today at (888) 826-5212 or visit us online at www.statevans.com to reserve your van today.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply