This West Coast Airport Is Considered The Littlest In America

There are lots of tiny airports around the world servicing small, remote communities. There's the Juancho Yrausquin Airport on the island of Saba with a runway so short, jet aircraft are forbidden from using it. The Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, Nepal, is close to Mt. Everest, but super difficult for planes to land on. If you'd like to experience a tiny, cool airport Stateside, the smallest one in the country is found in the Strait of Georgia, between Canada's Vancouver Island and Washington state. On San Juan Island, there is the village of Friday Harbor, and its airport's lone runway is a mere 3,402 feet long!

Smithsonian Magazine reports a flight from Friday Harbor to Seattle barely lasts 40 minutes, with Friday Harbor home to only 2,045 people. So why do they need an airport? The outlet reports that this is due to the unreliable and inconvenient ferries to the mainland. "Our lawmakers underfund [the ferry system] chronically, even though it's a critical link to the population of these islands and the Olympic peninsula," Pat Mayo, manager of airport operations, said. "There aren't enough ferries. You show up an hour early and still can't get your car on." Director of operations Chris Pagnotta agrees, telling the outlet the ferry can take up to two hours, whereas a flight to the mainland can last only 12 minutes!

If you're planning an excursion to Friday Harbor for the sunny skies, orca-spotting opportunities, or incredible cuisine, here's everything you need to know to plan ahead.

Friday Harbor boasts the shortest international flight

Smithsonian Magazine reports that Friday Harbor is a gorgeous destination for summer resorts and avid boaters, partly due to a curious weather phenomenon that prevents the island location from getting the same amount of rain as Seattle, British Columbia, or Alaska, despite its proximity to them. With a whopping 247 days of sunshine a year, Redditors have gushed about the fantastic opportunity to go whale watching, kayaking, or hiking up the various nearby mounts like Mount Finlayson, Mount Grant, and Mount Dallas. 

In addition, the small Friday Harbor airport is one of the smallest international airports with the shortest international flight. The Seattle Times reports that Victoria, British Columbia's airline, NorthStar Air Tours, flies a 9-passenger, twin-engine flight to Friday Harbor that only lasts 12 minutes and spans barely 20 miles. The service was launched to help fill in the gap from the winter break in the ferry service. So yes, the smallest American airport now has U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers on hand.

The food on Friday Harbor is also a fave of Redditors, with one user gushing about the best vegan options, writing that Mike's Restaurant was an excellent vegan resto, and recommending the smoothie bowls at Riptide Cafe. For non-vegans, Rocky Bay café and Salty Fox café were also recommended.