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Flying Tips: Airports near Arlington, VA

When it comes to traveling to Arlington, Virginia, having convenient airport options is essential. With its proximity to Washington, D.C., there are some great choices. Today we are taking a look at the closest airports near Arlington, VA.

There are several airports near Arlington that provide excellent transportation options for travelers. These airports not only offer a wide range of domestic and international flights but also have convenient ground transportation options, making it easy for visitors to access Arlington and the surrounding areas.

List of Airports near Arlington VA

  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport (CHO)
  • Richmond International Airport (RIC)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, also known as DCA, is one of the airports serving the Arlington, VA area. Here is an overview of the airport and the travel options and amenities available to passengers.

For most travelers, DCA is the best option among the airports near Arlington.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Overview

  • Located in Arlington, VA, just 5 miles from downtown Washington D.C.
  • Smaller of the two airports serving the D.C. area, with the other being Dulles International Airport
  • Opened in 1941 and was originally named Washington National Airport. Later renamed in 1998 to honor President Ronald Reagan
  • Serves primarily domestic flights, with limited international flights to Canada and select destinations in the Caribbean
  • Perimeter rule limits long-distance flights from DCA
  • Served 24.5 million passengers in 2022, a new record for the airport

Travel Options and Amenities at DCA

  • Located just outside the airport terminal, DCA offers various ground transportation options for travelers, including taxis, ride-sharing services, shuttles, and public transportation such as Metrorail and Metrobus
  • Parking facilities are available at DCA, with reservations recommended to guarantee a space

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Washington Dulles International Airport

Overview of Washington Dulles International Airport

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is another major airport near Arlington VA. It has excellent connections to the rest of the nation, which means you may be able to get a cheap flight to IAD.

  • Dulles occupies a vast area of 13,000 acres (20.3 square miles) and is situated in both Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
  • The airport opened in 1962 and is named after John Foster Dulles, who was the U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • The main terminal at Dulles is a well-known architectural landmark designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen.
  • Dulles is the second-busiest airport in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area and serves as a hub for many major airlines, including United Airlines.

Transportation Services and Facilities at IAD

Washington Dulles International Airport offers various transportation services and facilities to ensure a smooth travel experience for passengers. Here are some of the options available:

  • Parking: Dulles Airport provides multiple parking options for travelers, including pre-booking options to guarantee a space. You can choose from a range of parking lots to suit your budget and travel needs.
  • Public Transportation: The airport is connected to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system, making it easy to access the airport by train. You can take the Silver Line Express bus from the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station to reach the airport. 
  • Taxi and Rideshare Services: Washington Dulles International Airport has designated areas for taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to pick up and drop off passengers. This allows for convenient transportation to and from the airport. 
  • Car Rental: Several major car rental companies have counters at the airport, offering a convenient option for travelers who prefer to rent a car during their visit. 
  • Shuttle Services: There are shuttle services available from Washington Dulles International Airport to various destinations in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore areas. These shuttles provide a convenient and cost-effective way to reach your desired location.

Washington Dulles International Airport is an excellent alternative option. It’s still very close to Arlington and it’s always best to have more options than now.

Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

Located just 30 miles northeast of Arlington, VA, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is a popular choice for travelers in the area.

It is the largest airport in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights. Here’s what you need to know about BWI:

Baltimore Washington International Airport Overview

  • BWI is named after Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice who hailed from Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The airport covers an area of 3,160 acres and has a single terminal building.
  • It serves as a hub for Southwest Airlines, offering numerous flights to various destinations.
  • In 2018, BWI set a record for passenger traffic with over 27.1 million passengers.

Convenient Transportation Options and Services at BWI

  • BWI offers a range of transportation options to and from the airport, including taxis, shuttle services, and rental cars.
  • The airport is connected to the DC Metro system via the BWI Marshall Rail Station, providing easy access to downtown Washington, D.C., and other parts of the metropolitan area.
  • The Amtrak/MARC train station at BWI also offers train services to Union Station in D.C. and other locations.
  • Several bus services, including the MTA bus and the BWI Express Metrobus, provide convenient transportation to and from the airport.
  • For those who prefer driving, the airport has numerous parking options, including covered garages and surface lots.
  • Inside the terminal, passengers can enjoy a variety of amenities, including shopping and dining options, free Wi-Fi, and lounges.

BWI is definitely a top choice but it’s not the closest airport. We recommend this one if you can find a cheap flight so it’s worth the extra travel time.

Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport (CHO)

If you are planning to travel to Arlington, VA, you may want to consider flying into Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport (CHO). Here are some key points about this airport:

  • Charlottesville–Albemarle Airport is located approximately 118 miles southwest of Arlington, VA.
  • It is a smaller airport compared to major international airports like Washington Dulles International Airport.
  • CHO offers limited flight options, but it is a low-traffic area, which means fewer delays and crowds.
  • The airport has a single runway and a terminal building with amenities like rental cars and ground transportation options.
  • It serves the Charlottesville/Albemarle region of Virginia and is mainly used for domestic flights.
  • Airlines that operate at CHO include American, Delta, and United.

CHO may not be the largest or the closest airport to Arlington, however, if you can get a transfer or get someone to pick you up you may just find the perfect deal on flight tickets. Otherwise, stick to the Washington area airports.

Richmond International Airport (RIC)

Richmond International Airport (RIC)
JOE MAHONEY, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Overview of Richmond International Airport

Richmond International Airport (RIC) is a joint civil-military airport located in Sandston, Virginia, just southeast of downtown Richmond. It serves as the primary airport for the Greater Richmond Region and offers non-stop flights to 26 destinations served by seven airlines. Here are some key features and details about Richmond International Airport:

Passenger Volume: In recent years, Richmond International Airport has experienced significant passenger growth. In 2018, it set a record with over 4 million passengers, representing an 11.5% increase compared to the previous year.

Airline Options: The airport is served by airlines that primarily offer domestic routes to cities in the South, Northeast, and Midwest. It also provides connecting flights to major international hubs for those traveling to international destinations.

Richmond Airport is another great choice but another one that’s a bit further away. Check the ticket prices and check the transfer prices. If you get a good deal that would be worth the extra travel time then go for it. Otherwise, skip.

Arlington VA Highlights

Whether you’re a local or an international tourist, there are plenty of reasons to visit Arlington, Virginia. Here are some highlights of the area:

  • Arlington National Cemetery: A must-visit for its historical significance and breathtaking views. Pay your respects and take a tour of the site.
  • Museums and Memorials: Explore the rich history and culture of Arlington through its various museums and memorials, including the Marine Corps War Memorial and the Arlington Historical Society Museum.
  • Outdoor Activities: Enjoy the beautiful parks and outdoor spaces in Arlington, such as Theodore Roosevelt Island and Gravelly Point Park, where you can watch planes take off and land at Reagan National Airport.
  • Shopping and Dining: Discover the vibrant shopping and dining scene in Arlington, with a wide range of options from local boutiques to international cuisine.
  • Proximity to Washington D.C.: With its close proximity to the nation’s capital, Arlington offers easy access to iconic landmarks and attractions in Washington D.C., such as the National Mall and the Smithsonian Museums.


Choosing the Best Airport for Traveling to Arlington VA

When planning your trip to Arlington, Virginia, it is important to consider the airports near the area. Here is a comparison of the three major airports near Arlington:

  1. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) is the closest airport to Arlington, located just 6 miles away. It offers easy access to Arlington and is well-serviced by public transportation, including the Metro. However, it primarily offers domestic flights, with limited international options.
  2. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located 24 miles away from Arlington. It is known as a major hub with a wide range of international and domestic flights. While it may be further from Arlington, it offers more flight options and higher overall quality.
  3. Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) is the furthest airport from Arlington, approximately 37 miles away. However, it can still be a viable option, especially for budget-conscious travelers. BWI offers affordable flights, particularly on budget airlines like Southwest, and is easily accessible by train.

Ultimately, the best airport for traveling to Arlington VA depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider factors such as flight availability, proximity to your destination, transportation options, and budget.

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