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Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Is Winter A Good Time To Visit Fairbanks?
Many people are curious to know if the winter season is a good time to visit Fairbanks, Alaska. Well, if you are a fan of winter sports and enjoy outdoor activities, winter in Alaska certainly is for you! Alternatively, if you want to see the Northern Lights dance across the nighttime sky, the winter months provide clear skies and many opportunities for some of the best Aurora sightings near the Arctic Circle.
Why plan a Fairbanks, Alaska winter vacation? Fairbanks is the largest city in the interior region of Alaska and has an international airport. There are not many direct flights into Fairbanks, but it is still easy to book a flight for yourself through Seattle. Approximately 35,000 people live in the city and more than 100,000 live in the surrounding area. The city itself is in the northernmost area of the interior region – in fact, it sits only 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is located in what is known as the Auroral Oval, an area where conditions are such that the Northern Lights sightings are more common than not. This makes Aurora Borealis tours from Fairbanks a very popular activity for visitors.
When Can You Take Northern Lights Tours From Fairbanks, Alaska?
Fairbanks Aurora Season runs from August 21 to April 21. However, between November and January, the aurora activity is very high. The nights are also long and dark, which means aurora sightings are a strong possibility as long as the skies are clear. If you’re interested in a Fairbanks, Alaska winter vacation that includes a Northern Lights tours from Fairbanks, Alaska consider planning your trip during the last three months of the year.
It's no surprise that with Fairbanks’ location, it is frequently referred to as the best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska, the United States, and in many cases, across the globe. And, once you arrive in Fairbanks, you will realize that there are many different ways to hunt for the Aurora! Either you can drive to a nearby vantage point and wait for them to appear, or you can join one of the many Aurora Borealis tours from Fairbanks that guide you on the search for this phenomenon! Watch for the lights from a heated cabin, yurt, dome, or lodge, or book a trip with a dogsled team to watch the lights as you mush across the frozen landscape. Some tour operators even offer flights above the Arctic Circle during periods of intense Aurora activity!
If you have your heart set on chasing the Aurora on your own, however, it’s actually pretty easy to spot this natural light show around Fairbanks without driving too far. Here is a list of the top spots for Aurora Viewing on your Fairbanks, Alaska winter vacation:
- Creamer’s Field – this bird sanctuary is located within the town of Fairbanks. If you don’t want to venture too far on your Aurora Viewing expedition, this spot is perfect for you. This open area is on the north side of Fairbanks and features great visibility and very little man-made light, which makes it excellent for aurora viewing. Just take a headlamp or flashlight with you!
- Chena Lakes – one of the more popular Northern Lights tours from Fairbanks, Alaska is to --Chena Lake! The Chena Lake Recreation area is a 2,000-acre park featuring wide open areas and a large lake. The lake is far away from the city lights, and is perfect for aurora viewing. There are also several winter trails around the lake, if you want to explore before the light show starts.
- Steese Highway to Cleary Summit – there are many wide areas along the Steese Highway where you can pull over and park for an aurora sighting. The following mile markers indicate where areas to pull over are marked off: miles 16.6, 17, 19, and 20. A word of warning, however, Cleary Summit is located at mile 20. This is a very popular location for Aurora Borealis tours from Fairbanks because the Tanana Valley and White Mountains are visible on clear days. You may encounter tour buses or a lot of vehicular traffic, so just be cautious as you approach!
- Murphy Dome – this location is the highest point that is close to Fairbanks. To get there, you will drive through lowland forest on your climb up toward the dome. Once at the top, you’ll be able to enjoy unobstructed views of the night sky for excellent aurora viewing.
- Chena Springs Resort – located an hour outside of Fairbanks, this popular resort is a hot viewing area for tourists. Soak in the hot springs while searching the skies for the Northern Lights. You can see why this luxurious option is such a draw for tourists – it’s one of the more comfortable ways to chase aurora during the wintertime in Alaska!
Winter In Fairbanks
Of course, there are plenty of other things to see and do on your Fairbanks, Alaska winter vacation. One of the best suggestions for guests is to stop at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor’s Center early in your trip. The center has a lot of great resources for travelers and provides information about the exciting activities offered in Fairbanks, even during the winter. Here are a few of the most popular winter activities in Fairbanks for you to explore:
- Visit Chena Hot Springs and the Aurora Ice Museum to see fabulous ice sculptures.
- Get up close and personal with Reindeer at Reindeer Ranch.
- Visit Santa at the North Pole – especially if you’ve brought the family to Alaska. This activity is great for the little ones and is extremely family-friendly.
- Take a train ride to Denali National Park and visit Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America!
- Go Ice Fishing. No Fairbanks, Alaska winter vacation is complete without an ice fishing lesson. Rent an ice hut for a day on the ice or book a guided ice fishing tour if that makes you feel more comfortable. Ice fishing usually runs from December through March, depending on weather conditions.
- Last but not least – try your hand at dog sledding!
Fairbanks, Alaska is a winter paradise! If you love snow and winter sports, this is a great place to plan a winter getaway for yourself or your family. Enjoy all the activities Alaska has to offer, and don’t forget to book one of the many Aurora Borealis tours from Fairbanks that are popular with tourists. Get ready for an icy adventure in the far north on your Fairbanks winter getaway