California is big—nearly 800 miles from the Oregon border to the north all the way to the Mexican border just south of San Diego—and an average of roughly 200 miles wide. Fortunately, California also has a lot of airports, so flying is relatively easy, and a great way to get around the state, especially if your time is limited. Easy airport access also makes fly/drive vacations an attractive option.
We've highlighted 13 of the state’s airports, 10 of which have flights that travel nonstop to international locations. Some airports rank as destinations in themselves with museum-quality artwork installations—see what’s going on at the LAX Art Program, the Arts Program at John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, and the Public Art Program at San Francisco International Airport. Fresno Yosemite International Airport has an Art at the Airport program showcased in the Arts Lounge, featuring works created by a diverse selection of Central Valley artists, as well as live music performances and photography exhibits.
Of course, many airports also feature outstanding shopping, fine dining, bars pouring local craft beer, and even spoil-yourself spas (because getting a massage really is better than sitting in a plastic chair while waiting for your flight).
If you’re flying into Los Angeles, keep this in mind: LAX is the biggest and most well-known airport in the area, but depending on where you plan to be spending time in the area, it may not be the best choice. Burbank, Long Beach, John Wayne, and Ontario international airports also serve the region. And if you haven’t flown to California in a while (or ever), don’t assume that you are limited to routes and airlines you’ve taken in the past, or that you won’t be able to get a direct flight to your destination. Depending on your location, your commute to the Golden State may be easier than ever. Ontario and Palm Springs airports, for example, have recently opened up new partnerships and flights. And if you’re headed to Mammoth Lakes, you can now take United into Bishop Airport.