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The Best Small Airports in America

One of the best parts about having your own aircraft is the freedom to fly away and explore new destinations. If you’re looking for somewhere new to fly, let this list of the best airports in the United States inspire you:

Albert Whitted Airport in St. Petersburg, Florida

Just minutes from Tampa, Florida, the Albert Whitted Airport is the perfect place to land if you want to be near the beautiful Florida beaches, amusement parks, and various sporting events scattered throughout the area. Although this airport only covers roughly 110 acres of land, it handles approximately 89,000 aircraft operations every year. Besides its incredible location, the Albert Whitted Airport also has high-end amenities that every pilot will enjoy, including “The Hangar,” a restaurant with mouthwatering burgers, and a luxurious indoor lounge.

First Flight Airport in North Carolina’s Outer Banks

This is one of the smaller airports on the list as it only covers approximately 40 acres of land. The First Flight Airport is owned by the National Park Service because of its incredible history. Visiting this airport should be on your bucket list so you can see the exact spot where the Wright brothers took their first flight. Once you’ve landed safely, visit the on-site memorial that marks the exact take off and landing spots of their flight. If you have time, you should also visit the Wright Brothers Visitor Center and Museum, which is located right near the monument. Coming to this airport is a memorable experience for many pilots, so you should find time to make the journey.

Steamboat Springs Airport in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs is a popular skiing destination, so many pilots fly into this airport during the winter. The airport covers over 430 acres of land, however there is no air traffic control tower located on-site. Pilots should also be on the lookout for wildlife, since animals tend to wander onto the property from time to time.

Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe, California

Also known as Tahoe Valley Airport, this airport covers just under 350 acres. Lake Tahoe is known for its skiing, but it’s still worth a visit once the weather warms up in the summer because of the many recreational activities around the water. The flight to this airport is beautiful, especially as you get closer to the airport and have a bird eye’s view of the famous lake.

Provincetown Municipal Airport in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Local pilots affectionately refer to this airport in Cape Cod, Massachusetts as Provincetown Muni. This is one a popular destination for people who are trying to land close to Boston, which is only about 40 minutes away from the airport. Many of these pilots who have traveled all over the world claim there’s nothing like the view as you begin to descend into this airport. Not only is it on the scenic Atlantic coastline, but it’s also right in the middle of a famous nature preserve. Once you land, don’t forget to mix and mingle with the airport staff, which is known throughout the country for its friendly customer service.

Elizabeth Field in Fisher’s Island, New York

Located in Suffolk County, New York, Elizabeth Field covers about 122 acres of land at 9 feet above sea level. The airport was used by the military during World War II, but is now classified as a general aviation airport. Some pilots may think this is not a desirable place to visit because it’s on an island outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, but that’s definitely not the case. The island is home to a golf course, various nature trails, and rental bikes. Traveling to Fisher’s Island could be the perfect getaway—starting with your arrival at the Elizabeth Field airport.

Dauphin Island Airport in Dauphin Island, Alabama

This is considered one of the most unique airports in all of the United States because it is literally built out into Mobile Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. Pilots often compare the experience of landing at this airport to landing on an aircraft carrier because of its narrow runway and position in the water. The airport is rather small—only about 22 acres—but the view is unparalleled.

Grand Canyon West Airport in Arizona

This airport sits on ta Hualapai Indian reservation and is owned by the Hualapai tribe, so you may have to pay landing fees. But, some pilots have reported that the landing fees are waived if you purchase a tour of the Grand Canyon SkyWalk. Most of the traffic arriving at this airport flies out of Las Vegas, which is about 120 miles away from the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon before, you should try to get there by plane because there’s nothing quite like seeing it from the air.

Gillespie County Airport in Fredericksburg, Texas

The Gillespie County Airport’s main attraction is the famous Hangar Hotel, which is a unique hotel designed to look like an airplane hangar from WWII. Inside, guests can find aviation memorabilia, model planes, and décor reminiscent of the 1940s. There’s plenty to do during your stay, as the area hosts county fairs, horse races, car shows, and gun shows at various points throughout the year. If you’re flying in for a visit, just park your plane out front and come inside to check into your room for the night.
Before you travel to any of the airports on this list, make sure your aircraft is ready for takeoff. Taking care of your aircraft is vital to your safety and the integrity of your aircraft, and part of your maintenance plan should include Bright Work Polish. Apply the red, white, and blue polishes to your plane to remove heavy oxidation, scratches, water spots, and cloudiness. In just three steps, you’ll be able to restore your aircraft’s beauty with a little help from Bright Work!

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