10 Ways to See the Northern Lights in Fairbanks
Fairbanks, Alaska is considered one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world. The city is located inside the Auroral Oval—the area that hovers over the North Pole—which means more chances to see the Aurora Borealis. And it's not just a winter thing. The official Aurora season is August 21 to April 21. If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list, watch them in style with these over-the-top excursions, from relaxing in hot springs to snowmobile adventures to sleeping under the lights in a trendy dome.
Photo By: Frank Stelges
Photo By: Michael Barriga
Photo By: Sherry Ott
Photo By: Todd Paris
Photo By: Sean Kurdziolek
Photo By: Frank Stelges
Photo By: Sherman Hogue
Photo By: Sadie Lambert
Photo By: Lisbet Norris
Photo By: Tim Mathews
Chena Hot Springs
Rent a Cabin
If you prefer home rentals over hotels, there are tons of cozy cabins and yurts around town. For the best Northern Lights photos, book a home a couple miles away from city lights with a north-facing vantage point.
Pair two iconic Alaskan experiences into one incredible excursion with nighttime Aurora ice fishing. And, if you want to document your adventure (and have the best Christmas card on the block), book local photographer Sean Kurdziolek for professional Aurora portraits.
Flying over the Arctic Circle gets a lot of hype but you can also drive to it! Fairbanks is just 140 miles below the circle via Alaska's Dalton Highway. Stop in the town of Coldfoot for incredible Aurora views framed by the snow-covered Brooks Range.
Aurora Borealis Lodge
Talk about a room with a view. If the Northern Lights are on your bucket list but you don't want to brave the Alaska cold, curl up with a cozy blanket, hot chocolate and just look out your window at the Aurora Borealis Lodge. Located about 20 miles north of Fairbanks, this lodge and the Cleary Summit area is considered to have some of the best Aurora views in the world.
On the Water
The Northern Lights are typically associated with the dead of winter but some of the best photographs are taken in late August and September at the beginning of Aurora season. If you can catch the Aurora on the water before the snow comes in and before the lakes freeze, you'll get a double view of the lights in the sky plus reflections dancing on the water.
Chase the Aurora With Huskies
For eco-conscious travelers, skip the motor and chase the aurora the old-fashioned way: dog mushing. Arctic Dog Adventure Co. is home to the oldest Siberian Husky kennel in the world and the company features nighttime Aurora treks with remote views you'll never forget. If you don't have proper winter gear, don't worry. They'll outfit you with pro-grade clothing to keep you warm and toasty all night long.
On a Full Moon
A lot of tourists think you can't see the Northern Lights under a full moon, but that's not true. It's not the same as city light pollution. If you visit during the winter, the full moon actually lights up the snow for a more vivid shot.