What Is The Closest Airport To Monterey, California?

If you’re planning a trip to the scenic coastal town of Monterey, California, you’ll need to know which airport to fly into. With stunning ocean views, world-class golf courses, and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey is a popular tourist destination, but what is the most convenient airport for visitors?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The closest major airport to Monterey, California is Monterey Regional Airport.

Overview of Monterey Regional Airport

Monterey Regional Airport, located in Monterey, California, is the primary airport serving the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding areas. It is a public airport owned by the Monterey Peninsula Airport District and is known for its convenient location and excellent services.

Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to the area, Monterey Regional Airport is a popular choice for travelers due to its proximity to popular tourist destinations such as Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Pebble Beach.

Background and history

Monterey Regional Airport has a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1936. Originally known as Monterey Peninsula Airport, it started as a small airfield primarily used for military operations during World War II.

Over the years, the airport underwent several expansions and improvements, including the construction of a new terminal building in 1986 and the addition of a control tower in 1998. Today, the airport serves as a vital transportation hub, connecting the Monterey Peninsula to various domestic destinations.

Airlines and destinations

The airport is served by several major airlines, offering a range of flights to popular destinations across the United States. Some of the airlines that operate at Monterey Regional Airport include American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

These airlines provide convenient connections to cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle, among others. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you can find a flight that suits your needs at Monterey Regional Airport.

Transportation options from the airport

Upon arriving at Monterey Regional Airport, travelers have various transportation options to choose from. One popular choice is to rent a car from one of the on-site rental car companies. This allows visitors to have the freedom to explore the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and its surrounding areas at their own pace.

Additionally, taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are readily available for those who prefer not to drive. Public transportation options such as buses and shuttles are also available for those looking for a more budget-friendly option.

Parking and amenities at the airport

Monterey Regional Airport offers convenient parking options for travelers. The airport has both short-term and long-term parking lots, providing ample space for those who choose to park their vehicles during their trip. The parking rates are reasonable, making it an affordable choice for travelers.

Additionally, the airport offers various amenities to ensure a comfortable experience for passengers. These include dining options, shops, free Wi-Fi, and comfortable waiting areas. Travelers can relax and enjoy their time at the airport before their flight.

For more information about Monterey Regional Airport, you can visit their official website here.

Alternate Airports to Consider

While Monterey Regional Airport is the closest airport to Monterey, California, there are several alternate airports that travelers can consider depending on their needs and preferences. These alternate airports offer a wider range of flight options and may even provide cost savings for some travelers.

San Jose International Airport

Located about 70 miles north of Monterey, San Jose International Airport is a popular choice for travelers heading to the Monterey area. With multiple airlines serving the airport, it offers a wide range of domestic and international flight options.

The airport also has convenient ground transportation options, including shuttle services and car rentals, making it a convenient choice for travelers.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport, located approximately 90 miles north of Monterey, is another viable option for travelers. As one of the busiest airports in the United States, it offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.

The airport is well-connected to Monterey via major highways, and there are various transportation options available, including shuttle services and public transportation.

Oakland International Airport

Oakland International Airport, located about 100 miles north of Monterey, is another alternative for travelers. It is a hub for several major airlines, offering a wide range of flight options. The airport is easily accessible from Monterey via major highways, and there are convenient ground transportation options available for travelers.

Fresno Yosemite International Airport

For travelers coming from the east or south, Fresno Yosemite International Airport can be a good option. Located approximately 120 miles southeast of Monterey, this airport offers domestic flights and is well-connected to major cities.

While it may require a longer drive to reach Monterey from Fresno, it can be a convenient choice for travelers in the region.

It is important to note that while these alternate airports may offer more flight options and potentially cost savings, travelers should consider factors such as distance, transportation options, and overall convenience when making their decision.

Checking for flight deals and comparing prices and options across multiple airports can help travelers find the best choice for their needs.

Comparing the Alternate Airports

Distance from Monterey

When it comes to finding the closest airport to Monterey, California, there are a few options to consider. The closest airport to Monterey is the Monterey Regional Airport, located just a short distance away.

However, there are also a couple of alternate airports that are within a reasonable driving distance. San Jose International Airport is approximately 75 miles north of Monterey, while San Francisco International Airport is about 115 miles north.

Nonstop destinations offered

While Monterey Regional Airport may be the closest, it is a smaller airport and offers fewer nonstop destinations compared to the alternate airports. San Jose International Airport and San Francisco International Airport both offer a wider range of nonstop flights to various domestic and international destinations.

This could be an important factor to consider when choosing which airport to fly into.

Rental cars and ground transportation

All three airports provide rental car services, making it convenient for travelers to explore Monterey and its surrounding areas. Additionally, there are also various ground transportation options available, such as taxis, shuttles, and ride-sharing services, making it easy to get to and from the airports.

Travel time considerations

When comparing the travel time to and from the airports, it’s important to take into account the distance and traffic conditions. While Monterey Regional Airport is the closest, it may not always be the quickest option due to its smaller size and limited flight availability.

San Jose International Airport and San Francisco International Airport may require a slightly longer drive, but their larger size and more frequent flights can offer more convenience and flexibility for travelers.

Tips for Booking Flights

When it comes to booking flights, there are several factors to consider in order to find the best option for your trip. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Check airline hubs and routes

One important step in finding the closest airport to Monterey, California is to check the airline hubs and routes available. Some airlines have direct flights to Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), while others may offer more options through nearby airports such as San Jose International Airport (SJC) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Checking the airline websites or using flight search engines can provide valuable information on the available routes and connections.

Compare fares across airports

Comparing fares across different airports can help you find the most affordable option. While flying directly into Monterey may be convenient, it’s worth checking fares to nearby airports as well. For example, flying into San Jose International Airport (SJC) or even San Francisco International Airport (SFO) could potentially save you money.

It’s important to factor in additional costs such as transportation or parking fees when comparing fares.

Consider flying into SJC for cheaper fares

San Jose International Airport (SJC) is often a popular choice for travelers due to its proximity to Monterey and its potential for cheaper fares. SJC offers a wide range of airlines and flight options, making it a convenient alternative to consider.

By flying into SJC, you can take advantage of the competitive market and potentially find better deals on flights.

Factor in ground transportation costs

While finding a cheaper flight is important, it’s also essential to factor in ground transportation costs. If you choose to fly into a nearby airport like SJC or SFO, you will need to consider the costs of renting a car or taking a shuttle service to reach Monterey.

It’s a good idea to compare these costs with the potential savings on the flight itself. Additionally, you may want to look into public transportation options available from the airport to your final destination.

By following these tips, you can make a well-informed decision when booking your flight to Monterey, California. Remember to consider the airline hubs and routes, compare fares across different airports, and factor in ground transportation costs to find the best option for your travel needs.


In conclusion, while there are several airport options when visiting Monterey, California, flying into Monterey Regional Airport is your best bet for convenience. Located just 3 miles from downtown Monterey, it’s hard to beat the short commute. But if you find significantly cheaper flights into San Jose or other nearby airports, the extra drive may be worth it. No matter which airport you choose, the beautiful seaside town of Monterey will make your trip worthwhile.

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