Shelter Cove Offers an Idyllic Airport Getaway

The out-of-the-way location provides a perfect spot to unwind.

A look at Shelter Cove Airport (0Q5) from the Pacific Ocean. [Credit: Kira Moore]

Kira Moore used her pilot certificate to find a new way of life, away from the hustle and bustle of her career as a physician in the greater Sacramento area. In July 2022, she purchased a residential property adjacent to the picturesque Shelter Cove Airport (0Q5), which overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Northern California. 

Spending time at the airport has been a great way to decompress from the demands of daily life, and she contends that other pilots will feel the same way.

“Shelter Cove Airport is in a very remote area. Off of the main U.S. 101 Freeway, you have to drive 45 minutes on a very windy road with a steep grade to get here. There isn’t much here, but the surroundings are very beautiful. The ocean is great, and there is a black sand beach that’s actually the beginning (or end) of the Lost Coast Trail. It’s not very easy to get here, but it’s worth coming.”

The world-renowned black sand beach along the Lost Coast Trail. [Credit: Kira Moore]

A journey that is difficult to get to by car is simplified by airplane. As the crow flies, Shelter Cove is 87 nm from KRDD (Redding Regional), 103 nm from KCIC (Chico Regional), and 173 nm from KSQL (San Carlos), for reference.  

“I live in Sacramento and Shelter Cove is about a five-hour drive for me. I would not want to drive there, since I can fly. There is a 3,300-foot-long [paved] runway, which is right in the middle of Shelter Cove. It’s very easy for pilots to get here, at least when the weather is nice. The airport is often fogged in and does not have any instrument approaches, fuel, or hangars. But when it’s beautiful and sunny, you can come here [easily] and don’t need a car. You can walk everywhere, any of the beaches and a few restaurants that are in the area. I’ve even seen people fly in, get out of their airplanes with fishing poles and come back a few hours later. It’s a really cool place to fly into.” 

Moore has been a pilot for seven years and first flew into Shelter Cove five years ago. She explained that she immediately fell in love with the airport. Never did she have it in her mind that she would one day have a residence there. 

“Last year, I sold my investment property that was in Sacramento and was looking for an [1031] exchange property. By luck, I found this duplex here at Shelter Cove. And even though properties are extremely expensive along the California coast[...] this area is still reasonable – probably because of how remote it is. So, I decided to buy the duplex and renovate it, as it was very run down,” she said.

“I decided to keep the property as an Airbnb because I just want to fly myself or fly with friends there. So far, I’ve had a few pilots fly in and stay here. One of the recent pilots who flew in, from Sonoma, was very impressed. Not only has he provided a great review, he let me know about this ‘Pilot friendly AirBNB’ Facebook group. This immediately interested me because I am always looking at other places that I can fly into as well.” 

Continually on the search for other fly-in accommodations, Moore highlights what makes her short-term rental properties at Shelter Cove unique. Each side of the duplex accommodates up to five guests, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. 

“There are a lot of reasons why people should come here. The runway and the parking is right in front of my property, so you can actually see your plane from the windows. Pilots always love keeping an eye on their planes. And you can see the other planes landing and taking off, as well, which is my favorite thing to do here. It’s an active airport, and sometimes on a sunny day, you can see as many as twenty planes.”

She continued, highlighting some of the things that people can do once they fly into Shelter Cove, “Whale watching is one of the other fun things to do here, and the whales migrate around September to October. It’s also a small fishing town here, and it used to actually have a commercial fishing operation at one point in time. There are several people who take others out for sport fishing. I haven’t done that yet myself but have heard that a lot of people do that and have a great time. The golf course is right around the runway, so it’s everywhere and only steps away from your plane. My property is bordered by the course, and I have golf clubs in my Airbnb for guests to use,” Moore said. 

She elaborated on other things to do in the area, noting that there are a lot of good hiking trails, as well as an art gallery featuring local artists. Four bikes are provided in each of her rental units, so pilots can enjoy cruising around town or to some of the nearby restaurants. Within a twenty-minute walk there are a number of unique spots, from coffee shops to California’s most remote brewery. 

Moore hopes that other pilots can experience the tranquility of the area and enjoy it as much as she has. “You can come here, relax, and forget about your busy life. That’s how I feel about this place. I come here and forget about my problems. The time kind of stops. It’s completely relaxing and really rejuvenating to come to Shelter Cove for a few days and recharge yourself, especially when you can fly in.” 

A video view of flying into Shelter Cove Airport in Northern California. [Credit: Kira Moore]
Grant Boyd is a private pilot with eight years of experience in aviation business, including marketing, writing, customer service, and sales. Boyd holds a Bachelor's and a Master's of Business Administration degree, both from Wichita State University, and a Doctor of Education degree from Oklahoma State University. He was chosen as a NBAA Business Aviation "Top 40 Under 40" award recipient in 2020.

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