7 Pilot-friendly Vacation Destinations

7 Pilot-friendly Vacation Destinations

7 Pilot-friendly Vacation Destinations

Planning your vacation for the summer or later this year? Fly-in resorts and properties are sprinkled across the United States, offering exclusive getaways that aren’t far away. The settings range from the shores of lakes, rivers and oceans, the rim of the grandest of canyons and remote ranches.

Here are only seven of many fly-in vacation destinations available to Beechcraft King Air pilots to give you an idea of what is available.

Eagle Port Lodge at Seeley Lake, Montana

Owners of The Lodges on Seeley Lake say Charles Lindbergh was a frequent visitor at this resort, where the cabins were first built in the 1920s. They say the famed aviator claimed the view of the mountains from the cabins was one of his favorite in the world.

The resort is just north of Missoula, Montana, along Seeley Lake, which is flanked by the Mission and Swan mountain ranges. It has grown to include two properties four miles apart. The new structure, Eagle Port Lodge, was built especially with pilots in mind. It is adjacent to the 4,575-foot turf Seeley Lake Airport and offers a 40-by-80-foot guest hangar beneath four of the building’s lodging units. A fifth unit is in the structure’s tower, which resembles a wooden control tower.

Eagle Point Lodge, located in near Seeley Lake in Montana, is perfect for pilots as it offers a guest hangar beneath four of the building’s lodging units.

One of the suites is named Beech, and all have spacious living areas, fireplaces and full kitchens. Eagle Port guests have access to the amenities at the sister resort, including a private beach, entertainment lodge, fire ring and boats.

Fly-fishing, water recreation and hiking are popular in the area, which is loaded with lakes and forest, including the 1.5-million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.


A King Air taking off from the 3,900-foot paved airstrip at Nemacolin

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Pennsylvania

The 3,900-foot private, paved airstrip at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort sits directly behind two of the resort’s three hotels. In all, the 2,000-acre playground offers 320 guestrooms, suites, townhomes and luxury vacation homes.

The resort is in southwestern Pennsylvania, in the Laurel Highlands region of the Allegheny Mountains. With a AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel, 36 holes of championship golf, grooming spa for pets, wellness spa for adults, casino and fine dining options, this can be an excellent choice for a luxury couple’s getaway. And with multiple pools, a wildlife academy, zip lines, paintball and a dizzying array of activities, it’s a popular family vacation destination in any season.

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is located on 2,000 acres in southwestern Pennsylvania and offers a wide variety of activities suited for couples or families.

Aviators will want to take a tour of the resort’s multi-million-dollar Hardy Family Art Collection, which also includes memorabilia such as signed Wilbur and Orville Wright checks. Take time, too, to explore the collection of vintage planes at the Pride & Joy Airplane Hangar at the end of the private airstrip.


A ranch house and three chalets are offered for accommodations on the 27,000 acres of Red Reflet Ranch, located at the base of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.

Red Reflet Guest Ranch, Wyoming

Cessna Citation pilots Bob and Laurence Kaplan offer an all-inclusive luxury ranch experience at their Red Reflet Guest Ranch, which has a private 5,000-foot paved runway with GPS approach and lighting.

A working cattle ranch, Red Reflet is near Ten Sleep, Wyoming, at the base of the Big Horn Mountains. The Kaplans bought the 27,000 acres in 2001 and opened the year-round guest ranch in 2005.

Horse riding is offered on the 100 miles of trails offered at the Red Reflet Guest Ranch in Wyoming and is also available
at the Bar 10 Ranch in Arizona.

Accommodations includes a five-bedroom ranch house and three chalets with one to three bedrooms each. All have high-end finishes, and rates include all meals and most activities. Among the most popular activities is riding horses on the ranch’s 100 miles of trails. Others include cattle activities, ATV rides, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing. The resort has a pool; fitness center; courts for tennis, basketball and volleyball; shooting range; four-course zip line; and a natural waterpark fed by an artesian well.


Gaston’s is in the Ozarks of northern Arkansas offering 400 acres, including two miles of river frontage with 79 different lodging options.

Gaston’s White River Resort, Arkansas

During a recent telephone con­versation, Clint Gaston said a fisher­man caught a 20-pound trophy trout in February while staying at his family’s Gaston’s White River Resort in northern Arkansas.

Fishing is a popular activity at Gaston’s White River Resort, as well as Madden’s at Gull Lake; ocean fishing is available at the Ocean Reef Club in Florida.

In addition to what Clint calls the best fishing in the Ozarks, this year-round resort has a 3,200-foot private turf airstrip that regularly welcomes King Airs. It’s become a favorite destination for outdoorsmen and families since 1958, when Clint’s great-grandfather purchased 20 acres of White River frontage with six boats and six small cottages.

Today, the operation includes 400 acres, two miles of river frontage, more than 70 boats and 79 different accommodations ranging from single-bedroom to a 10-bedroom, 10-bath option.

Guests can stay on property to enjoy a restaurant overlooking the river, private club, tennis, fly-fishing school, playground, game room, swimming pool, duck pond and nature trails. Nearby are Bull Shoals Lake, ideal for recreational watersports, and the Buffalo National River, a top destination for kayaking.


Besides ranch-related activities, Bar 10 Ranch located in Arizona near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, offers packages that can include rafting experiences and ATV and helicopter tours.

Bar 10 Ranch, Arizona

The Heaton family has been ranching on the Arizona Strip for five generations, and in the 1970s they opened their ranch to tourists interested in exploring the Colorado River and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Bar 10 Ranch is open mid-March through mid-November, and their 4,500-foot chip and seal airstrip makes it ideal for enjoying a ranch vacation or as part of a rafting trip.

The Bar 10 is still a working cattle ranch in addition to welcoming more than 12,000 visitors per year. Guests are treated to delicious country-style buffet meals featuring the ranch’s own all-natural grass-fed beef (Bar10Beef.com). The ranch crew provides evening entertainment and ranch activities including horseback riding, skeet shooting, hiking and ranch demonstrations. Packages can also include rafting experiences and ATV and helicopter tours.

Accommodations include 14 Conestoga covered wagons with double mattresses, battery operated lantern and a bench seat. A lodge offers five dormitory-style rooms, each with two sets of bunk beds.


Located in central Minnesota, at the tip of the Pine Beach Peninsula that extends into Gull Lake, Madden’s at Gull Lake is on 1,000 acres and welcomes seaplanes to tie up to their private pier. The resort has all the features of a classic lake resort.

Madden’s on Gull Lake, Minnesota

The 2,600-foot turf airstrip known as East Gull Lake Airport is one fairway away from the main property at Madden’s on Gull Lake in central Minnesota. A King Air 250 regularly flies in, said Ben Thuringer, who owns the resort with his parents. Father and son are pilots of a Piper Twin Commanche.

The resort has been in the Madden family since 1932 and the airstrip was added in the 1950s. Located at the tip of the Pine Beach Peninsula that extends into Gull Lake, the resort welcomes seaplanes to tie up to their private pier. Guests can earn their seaplane rating while visiting.

The resort includes 1,000 acres and has accom­modations for up to 600 guests at a variety of price points ranging from lodge rooms to cabins, cottages and villas. Madden’s has all the features to make it a classic lake resort: three golf courses, a tennis and croquet club, three sand beaches stretching over a mile of shoreline, four swimming pools, full-service marina, spa, a kid’s program and seven restaurants. The long list of land and water activities includes fishing, trapshooting, bicycling and art classes at an on-site gallery.


A 2,500-acre, self-contained community, the Ocean Reef Club is surrounded by water on three sides in the northernmost part of the Florida Keys. The private club has its own 4,456-foot lighted runway and offers a huge variety of water and land activities to enjoy.

Ocean Reef Club, Florida

Surrounded by water on three sides, Ocean Reef Club in the northernmost part of the Florida Keys is a 2,500-acre tropical private club with its own 4,456-foot lighted runway. The club consists of property owners and social members. Accommodations available to social members and guests include luxury vacation rentals ranging from one-bedroom suites in the 144-room inn to multi-bedroom condominiums, villas and residences.

If you are not visiting as a guest of a member, contact the club’s membership department about a guest stay. Unsponsored guest stays are also available during the annual Vintage Weekend, held the first week in December and showcasing vintage automobiles, aircraft and yachts, as well as in conjunction with summer camps for children.

The self-contained community’s amenities ensure you would never need to leave the grounds while enjoying two 18-hole championship golf courses, tennis and lawn sports, jogging and cycling paths, cooking school, nature center, art league and cultural center, children’s programming, spa and salon, diverse dining and shopping options. But it would be hard to not take advantage of the convenience of a 175-slip marina to explore some of the best fishing, boating, diving and snorkeling just offshore surrounding the only living reef in the continental United States.

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