Sometimes vacations can make you feel like you haven’t left home as you encounter traffic jams on the road and crowds at the attractions you want to visit.
Many fly-in resorts seek to put more space between their guests and the stress of everyday life with activities and experiences ranging from hiking, horseback riding and skeet shooting to golf, massages, and soaking in hot springs.
The idea of a one-stop-shop style vacation is appealing because you don’t have to worry about getting around once you reach your destination. All the things you want to do are right there, or at most a shuttle ride away.
Perhaps the best part is that by flying in your own airplane, and given favorable weather, you may at last realize the old maxim; “Getting there is half the fun.” Here are six resorts that are fine-tuned to fliers’ needs.
Minam River Lodge
Minam Lodge Airport (7OR0), Cove, Oregon
There is really no place for cars at the lodge. Indeed, the proprietors’ information about “getting here” includes three options: hike, horseback, and airplane. Hiking in should take about four hours if you are “in reasonable shape.” You can hire an outfitter to take you in on horseback. If you ride your own horse, the lodge has a shared pasture where your mount can stay. Flying in is not for rusty pilots.
“We strongly recommend that you have back-country experience before flying into Minam River Lodge,” the website advises at the beginning of a long set of detailed instructions for flight operations in the area. It’s time to brush up on mountain flying in time for the special Winemaker Dinner Series, when winemakers from area vineyards work with the lodge to present menus ideal for wine pairings. The series runs from June through September.
Eagle Port Lodge
Seeley Lake Airport (23S), Lindey’s Landing West Seaplane Base (M35), Seeley Lake, Montana
A public 4,575-foot turf strip welcomes pilots arriving for a stay in the lodge next door. You can forget about tie-downs because there is a guest hangar—just taxi in. Guests can stay at the main lodge by the airport or in lakeside cabins. There is a seaplane base at the lake.
Wildlife enthusiasts can observe a range of birds and other species including bats, beavers, and otters. Lodge guidelines encourage “sharing these habitats with our wild friends” and remind guests that many local animals are curious about humans. “It is our recommendation that you keep all doors closed and do not open windows that do not have screens.”
Nemacolin Airport (PA88), Farmington, Pennsylvania
Formerly known as Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, this 2,000-acre year-round destination is geared toward families and offers a variety of accommodation styles, from the European-inspired Chateau to Falling Rock, a hotel complex that takes architectural cues from Frank Lloyd Wright. For larger groups, there are individual homes and estates available.
Activities include skiing and snowsports, dog sledding, hunting, skeet shooting, and more. Heated pools, swim-up bars, hot tubs, and fire pits help keep outdoor festivities going through the winter. A 3,845-foot asphalt runway serves private aircraft and charter flights.
[Courtesy: Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa]
Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa
Lajitas International Airport (T89), Terlingua, Texas
Located in the Big Bend region of West Texas, Lajitas is known for its golf course and a long list of activities that includes mountain biking, horseback riding, zip lines, and shooting sports. It is also known for its food, which ranges from fajitas to prime ribeye at Candelilla Cafe. More casual and takeout fare is available from Boardwalk Bakery and Pizzeria and the General Store.
This resort has the longest runway of this group at 6,501 feet, which opens the door to a wide range of aircraft, including jets. Because of mountainous terrain, Lajitas is a daytime VFR-only airport with public access. Contact the resort 24 hours in advance to arrange your arrival and ground transportation.
[Courtesy: Grand Geneva Resort and Spa]
Grand Geneva Resort and Spa
Grand Geneva Resort Airport (C02), Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
You can swap your wings for two wheels with the resort’s scooter rentals and explore the greater Lake Geneva area on your own or sign up for a guided tour. The resort allows dogs, so if you are flying with Fido, this could be a good option. Stay in the lodge or, for more privacy, in one of the villas.
The resort is open all year, with activities including golf, skiing, ziplines, fitness classes, spa treatments, and an interactive escape room. A range of boat tours available on the lake include historical sightseeing, dinner tours and an ice cream social cruise.
[Courtesy: Chena Hot Springs Resort]
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Chena Hot Springs Airport (AK13), Fairbanks, Alaska
Where else can you easily transition from flying an airplane to being pulled across the snow by a team of dogs? Dog sled tours are among the activities available on a one-day visit, but if you have traveled far to get to Alaska, you might want to stay longer.
Multi-day packages include a variety of romantic getaways and adventures that focus on a hot spring-fed lake and the frequent opportunities to view auroras. Resort staff take guests on a dog-drawn snow coach ride to the best viewing areas. The private gravel airstrip is 3,000 feet long.