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Airports with nearby outdoor activities

Pack your camping or fishing gear, lace up your hiking boots, swap your rudder pedals for bike pedals, and get ready for some outdoor fun at these airports.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

AOPA members have been asking for places they can fly to enjoy socially distanced outdoor activities within walking or biking distance of an airport, or a short drive. We put the question out to AOPA’s staff pilots as well as members and have compiled the responses.

One that topped the list for pilots is an aviation-centric outing: Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial at First Flight Airport (KFFA) in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Other suggestions included going to the beach, biking, boating, kayaking, camping, touring caverns, fishing, golfing, hiking, or walking. The list isn’t comprehensive, but here are pilots’ suggestions from Maine to Florida and Washington to California. Check out the airports in the AOPA Airports and Destinations Directory as well as the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s Airfield Guide before you go: Some are private-use and require prior permission, and they range from difficult backcountry strips to large international airports. And, if you don’t find an activity on this list that’s close to you, search the directories for things to do in your area.


Photo by Chris Rose.

Feel the sand between your toes and listen to waves crashing at these beaches along the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico—all near general aviation airports.

  • Jeremiah Denton Airport (4R9) on Dauphin Island, Alabama.
  • Jack Edwards National Airport (KJKA) in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
  • Oceano County Airport (L52) in Oceano, California.
  • Destin Executive Airport (KDTS) in Destin, Florida.
  • Jekyll Island Airport (09J) on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
  • Katama Airpark (1B2) in Edgartown, Massachusetts.
  • Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N) in Ocean City, New Jersey.
  • Billy Mitchell Airport (KHSE) in Hatteras, North Carolina.
  • Ocracoke Island Airport (W95) in Ocracoke, North Carolina.
  • Pacific City State Airport (KPFC) in Pacific City, Oregon.
  • Block Island State Airport (KBID) on Block Island, Rhode Island.
  • Mustang Beach Airport (KRAS) in Port Aransas, Texas.
  • Copalis State Airport (S16) in Copalis, Washington.


Photo by Mike Fizer.

Get some exercise by biking around the area at these airports. Call ahead to find out if bikes are available at the airport or nearby, if they can be rented in town, or if you need to bring your own (folding bikes are great for paved trails or in town).

  • Bentonville Municipal/Louise M. Thaden Field (KVBT) in Bentonville, Arkansas.
  • Oceano County Airport (L52) in Oceano, California.
  • Everglades Airpark (X01) in Everglades, Florida.
  • Jekyll Island Airport (09J) on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
  • High Valley Airpark (GA87) in Suches, Georgia.
  • The Maine Aeronautics Association’s Bikes for Pilots program provides bikes at five Maine airports.
  • Chatham Municipal Airport (KCQX) in Chatham, Massachusetts.
  • Beaver Island Airport (KSJX) and Welke Airport (6Y8) on Beaver Island, Michigan.
  • Mackinac Island Airport (KMCD) on Mackinac Island, Michigan.
  • Put in Bay Airport (3W2) in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
  • Sunriver Airport (S21) in Sunriver, Oregon.
  • Cornucopia Field (WI23) in Cornucopia, Wisconsin.
  • Washington Island Airport (2P2) on Washington Island, Wisconsin.

Boating and kayaking

Photo by David Tulis.

Spend some time in the air flying to a place where you can spend some time on the water boating or kayaking.


Photo by Mike Collins.

Pack your aircraft with your essential camping supplies, favorite foods, and drinks, and get away for a few days. At these airports, camping is available nearby or on the field with your aircraft. (If you don’t want to rough it, check out these glamping locations near airports.)


Photo courtesy of Luray Caverns.

What better way to get to an under-Earth experience than by flying there over the Earth? Fly to these airports to explore caverns filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Call ahead: At some airports, staff will drive you; at others, you can borrow the courtesy car; and at others you can request pickup on the CTAF.


Photo by Chris Rose.

Fishing gear can fit in pretty much any aircraft. So, load up and head out for some relaxation, whether you enjoy a fishing hole to yourself or take a guided adventure.


Photo by Chris Rose.

Schedule a tee time and fly to these airports near golf courses.

Hiking and walking

Photo by Mike Fizer.

Enjoy nature and the fresh air as you stretch your legs on a hike. Hikes in the areas around these airports range from easy to strenuous.

Alyssa J. Miller
Alyssa J. Cobb
The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: Travel, U.S. Travel, COVID19

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