Why Fairbanks, Alaska Is An Incredible Vacation Destination
Fairbanks, Alaska is a unique place to visit year-round. It’s considered one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights (aurora borealis), and in the summer the “midnight sun” is an incredible experience. Whatever time of year you decide to visit, be sure to check the Aurora and Midnight Sun Tracker to make the most of your time there. Keep reading to learn about the different things you can do in Fairbanks, Alaska that make it an incredible vacation destination.
See the Northern Lights
Many travelers think they need to go to Europe to see the northern lights, but Alaska is actually one of the best places in the world to view this famous phenomenon, and for our US travelers, you don’t have to leave the country. The northern lights almost always appears late at night during the aurora season from August 21 to April 21, when the sky is relatively dark and clear. If you can catch the aurora on the water before the snow and the lakes freeze, you’ll get a double view of the lights in the sky plus their reflection on the water. If you go during the winter months, be sure to bundle up because the winter temperatures sometimes get as low as -62°F. If you just can’t brave the cold but still want to witness the beauty, you can stay at the Aurora Borealis Lodge, located about 20 miles north of Fairbanks.
Visit the Hot Springs
Near Fairbanks are incredible hot springs, and they are also a great way to enjoy the northern lights. You can relax and enjoy the views even when the temperature outside is below freezing; the 104 degree, mineral-rich waters are perfect and will keep you warm and comfortable. Just outside of Fairbanks are two great options: 1) Tolovana Hot Springs offers a more remote, backcountry experience and 2) Chena Hot Springs offers a more popular, resort experience.
Go Dog Mushing
Fairbanks is also known for dog mushing, (dog sledding) during the winter, and this fun, outdoors activity is another great way to experience the aurora. There are multiple companies that feature nighttime aurora treks that allow you to experience amazing views that you’ll never forget. If you prefer a daytime trek, that’s an option too. You can go on a guided tour and ride in the sled, and you can even take a turn behind it. This Alaskan tradition is great for all ages.
Experience the Midnight Sun
If you prefer endless days of sunshine, you should visit Fairbanks between April 22 to August 20. Known as “the Land of the Midnight Sun,” if you visit during this season Fairbanks gets extremely long days of sunlight. And for seventy days of the year, between May 17 to July 27, the sun doesn’t set at all! That’s right, endless days to fill with hiking, golfing, bird watching and opportunities to mingle with oxen and reindeer. If you can make it for the Midnight Sun Festival around the summer solstice (approximately June 21st), you can enjoy the all day and night celebrations with live music, a semi-pro baseball game starting at a late-night hour, and a Midnight Sun Run in the evening.
Fairbanks is one of our Top Destinations for 2018 and it’s definitely worth it to try and see the grand show that is the aurora borealis. You’ll need to plan to go during the right time of the year, but it’s unlike anything else you’ll ever see, and will certainly take your breath away. If you go during the aurora borealis off-season, with its incredible summers and so many things to do, Fairbanks will still be an unforgettable trip.