Our state is known for many things. It’s a paradise for beachgoers, a theme park enthusiasts’ dream, and the go-to destination for snowbirds throughout the world. The Sunshine State is also home to a network of bustling airports.
From the bustling terminals of Miami to the tranquil skies of Tallahassee, each of these airports has its unique story to tell. And for a state known for its tourism, each airport is absolutely necessary for our local economy.
Here are the top 10 aviation marvels of Florida:
1. Miami International Airport (MIA) – The Gateway to the Americas
Miami International Airport boasts one of the most extensive networks of flights to Latin America and the Caribbean. In fact, it’s known as the “Gateway to the Americas.” Covering over 3,200 acres, MIA is vital for international flight and long-haul transportation.
Over 21 million international passengers pass through its terminals each year, making it a crucial hub for both business and leisure travelers.
2. Orlando International Airport (MCO) – The Magic Kingdom of Travel
Orlando International Airport is not just an airport; it’s a destination in and of itself. With its whimsical decor, including a monorail system, a moving velociraptor advertisement, and a vibrant shopping and dining scene, it’s no wonder it’s often ranked among the best airports in the United States.
It’s also one of the most technologically advanced. In 2018, MCO was the first airport in the nation to employ entry and exit facial recognition biometric technology for international travelers.
3. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) – The Official Cruise Ship Connection
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport serves as the primary gateway for travelers heading to cruise ships. With Port Everglades nearby, this airport witnesses a significant influx of passengers embarking on exciting cruise adventures.
FLL boasts four terminals with 66 gates, as well as 185 T-Hangars and over 200 tie-down spaces for aircraft storage. Overall, it serves an estimated 32 million passengers yearly.
4. Tampa International Airport (TPA) – A Unique Design
Tampa International Airport is famous for its innovative and user-friendly design. The airport’s SkyConnect people mover system seamlessly connects passengers to the main terminal, making it an efficient and enjoyable travel experience. The airport is the go-to airport for most flights to the west coast of Florida, like Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Lakeland, and most of the west coast of the Sunshine State.
The airport currently has 71 non-stop destinations, including international service to Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and many more stops.
5. Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) – Gateway to Gulf Coast Bliss
Southwest Florida International Airport, located near Fort Myers, provides easy access to the stunning Gulf Coast beaches and the natural beauty of the region. It’s a haven for travelers seeking sunshine, relaxation, and outdoor adventures.
The airport stretches a massive 13,555 acres of land, making it the third-largest airport in the United States in terms of acreage.
6. Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) – A Luxurious Entry
Palm Beach International Airport caters to the affluent and the discerning traveler. Its terminals are filled with upscale dining and shopping options, making it the perfect introduction to the opulence of Palm Beach County.
This medium-sized airport increased its traffic year-over-year in 2022 by nearly 27%, one of the largest increases in the world.
7. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) – A Growing Hub
Jacksonville International Airport has seen remarkable growth in recent years, becoming an essential transportation hub for the northeast region of Florida. With ongoing expansion projects, it’s poised to play an even more significant role in the state’s aviation landscape.
It’s also one of the country’s friendliest. In fact, JAX ranked No. 1 for customer service among all North American airports for three years in a row, as per the Airports Council International.
8. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is known for its commitment to art and culture. Passengers can enjoy rotating art exhibits and live performances, showcasing the vibrant cultural scene of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The airport will also see considerable expansion in the coming years. The east end of the ticket wing will be expanded into a new five gate terminal will cover 75,300 square feet, including a 4-lane security checkpoint.
9. Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) – Racing to the Skies
Daytona Beach International Airport has a unique connection to motorsports. Located near the iconic Daytona International Speedway, it caters to racing enthusiasts and welcomes over 800,000 passengers annually.
The airport is also known as the “Gateway to Central Florida,” due to its relatively close proximity to Atlantic Coast beaches and the Daytona International Speedway, Orlando attractions, and the Kennedy Space Center.
10. Tallahassee International Airport (TLH) – Florida’s Capital Connection
Tallahassee International Airport serves as the primary air gateway to Florida’s capital city. It plays a vital role in connecting government officials, visitors, and students to the heart of the Sunshine State.
The TLH impact on the community cannot be understated; the Florida Department of Transportation reports that the airport has an annual economic impact of $859 million.
Florida’s airports are not just places of transit; they’re gateways to adventure, culture, and business opportunities. Whether you’re jetting off to a tropical island or arriving for a crucial meeting, these airports ensure a seamless and enjoyable travel experience. As they continue to grow and evolve, Florida’s airports will remain vital connectors for both residents and visitors, contributing to the state’s vibrant and dynamic atmosphere.