Northern Lights Near Fairbanks
The old gold rush boomtown of Fairbanks is the undisputed capital of the northern lights hunt in Alaska. It’s not the very best place for aurora viewing it’s just below the Arctic Circle but auroras do occur frequently here.
Its popularity among;northern lights seekers has a lot to do with its accessibility. There are frequent flights and plenty of options for accommodations. Good places to head to in the vicinity include Cleary Summit, about 17 miles from Fairbanks, which is easy to get to, has good parking, and has a solid view of the horizon.
Other good observation places nearby, according to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, include Haystack Mountain, Ester, Wickersham, and Murphy Domes. Chena Lakes Recreation Area is a popular place to go to look for reflections in water . Nearby is Chena Hot Springs Resort, where you can watch the show from an outdoor hot tub. By day, try your hand at either cross-country skiing or ice fishing through pre-drilled ice holes.
Whats The Best Way To See The Northern Lights In Alaska
To give yourself the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska visit as close as possible to the Arctic Circle, but most realistically in a Northern city with an airport like Fairbanks. You can conveniently fly directly to Fairbanks International Airport and there are also plenty of cabins and hotels to choose from in this destination mainly popular for its Aurora Borealis accessibility. This is due to the many remote areas with little light pollution that surround Fairbanks.
To truly immerse yourself and get a real feel for Alaskas beauty, visit the closest thing to a metropolis you will find in The Last Frontier, Anchorage. This is one of the most popular cities in Alaska and is also access point to other Alaskan gems like Seward. It is about a one-hour flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks and you can also find amazing tour options connecting the two cities by bus and the iconic Alaskan Railroad.
A train passing through mountainous terrain on the Alaska Railroad on the way to Fairbanks in the Summertime.
Viking Ocean Cruises In Search Of The Northern Lights
Perhaps there is no more fitting cruise line on which to experience the northern lights in Scandinavia than one named after the Norse people of the Middle Ages whose legacy extends throughout Northern Europe and beyond.
Viking Ocean Cruises operates a cruise program aptly named In Search of the Northern Lights that embarks from London, England, and sails across the North Sea to Norway. There are six ports of call that await passengers, including four that lie north of the Arctic Circle.
Among the stops along the Norwegian coastline are Bodø, Tromsø, Alta, and Narviks seaport towns, all of which satisfy the prerequisite conditions for viewing the northern lights. In particular, Tromsø is well-known among aurora borealis aficionados for its clear skies and relatively mild winter climate.
The same can be said for Alta, which lies even further to the north. With its location within the Altafjord, Alta not only provides an ideal opportunity to experience the northern lights, but it is also a visually stunning and memorable destination in and of itself.
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Anchorage: Business As Usual
Alaskas biggest cityrich with museums, shops and restaurantssees the least amount of change as August turns into September. For one thing, since this is more of a business hub than a tourist spot, hotels stay open year round, though they can offer better rates in September than you would find during the peak summer months.
September in the Anchorage area has another unique draw: The Alaska State Fair, located just 40 minutes north of the city in Palmer. That brings concerts, plenty of local goods, and the world-famous, massive vegetables that have grown all summer long under the midnight sun. It may not be a huge fair, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character.
It’s also a popular time for multi-day photography tours. Between fall colors, bears gathering at salmon streams, and the possibility of seeing the northern lights, there’s plenty to fill your lens.
Southeast Alaska: Iffy Weather But Still Cruise
For most travelers, Southeast Alaska means cruisingand cruising in September offers just as much of a gamble as a land tour. You still have that increased chance of rain and clouds, so your shipboard views of the coastline could be shrouded in fog. On the other hand, if you get a nice day, your experience will be crisp and crystal clear. And, many cruise lines discount their September cruises.
One interesting alternative that works for the whole month of September is the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System . Its great for independent travelers, and most of its routes continue through September.
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Flattop Mountain And Chugach State Park
The Glen Alps Overlook provides excellent views. It is at 2,200 feet in elevation and is arguably the best location to see the northern lights in Anchorage. Visitors are high enough up that Anchorage is a distant urban glow and there are unobstructed views of the northern sky. The more adventurous can hike up the mountain for even better views. Toilsome Road, which leads up to Glen Alps, has very steep grades and sharp switchbacks. If it is snowy or icy, you will need good winter tires or all-wheel-drive to make it up to this area.
What Is The Best Month To Cruise Alaska
The best month to visit Alaska depends on what you hope to experience during your trip.
- Do you want as much sun and daylight as possible? Then book a June or July cruise.
- Would you like to see lots of wildlife? Then purchase a May, August, or September cruise as these months feature young animal families and migrations.
- Do you want to get into the interior and see Denali National Park or the Yukon? Then select July or August.
- Are you chasing bright tree foliage? Then book a cruise at the end of August or in September.
- Would you like to avoid mosquitoes? Then May and September are the best months for your cruise.
- Are northern lights on the itinerary? Then your trip will be in September or October. Would you like to fish for salmon? Then select any summer or shoulder month.
The good news is that no matter which month you choose, your Alaskan cruise will reward you with incredible experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
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Alaska Cruises To See The Northern Lights
In 2021, our cruises to Alaska will be sailing later than usual, kicking off the season in late July;and ending in early October. These exciting seven-night itineraries stop in stunning Alaskan ports, such as Ketchikan and Juneau, and spend a day sailing close to the majestic Dawes Glacier, a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many travelers.
One of the benefits of sailing to Alaska later in the year is that it increases the chance of seeing the breathtaking Northern Lights, as these are much more likely to be witnessed during the fall and winter months. If youre sailing on a 2021 cruise to Alaska, you might even have the chance to admire this natural phenomenon from the comfort of your private Veranda Stateroom or from one of the open-air decks on board.
Norwegian Cruise Line Denali/valdez Explorer
Alaska is the only U.S. state from which the northern lights can be regularly seen. Although the absolute best time of year is the dead of winter, the tail end of summer and the beginning of fall affords visitors ample opportunities to view the aurora borealis. This voyage consists of a 7-day cruise and a 7-day land tour of Alaskas interior.
The cruise begins in Vancouver, Canada, and winds its way through Alaskas Inside Passage, where passengers are treated to stunning views of the Alaskan coastline. A full day is spent at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, where 3.3 million acres of glaciers and mountains provide breathtaking scenery by day and an incredible backdrop for viewing the northern lights at night.
The land tour departs from Seward, Alaska, and treks inland to Fairbanks, which is widely considered to be Alaskas prime location for seeing the northern lights. Just venturing a few miles outside of Fairbanks city limits immerses visitors in complete darkness, which, if combined with clear skies, all but guarantees an aurora borealis sighting.
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Can You See The Northern Lights In Fairbanks In October
. Thereof, can you see the northern lights in Alaska in October?
Unfortunately for most visitors to Alaska, seeing the northern lights is not something that many people get to do, because most of our guests come in the summer, and the skies here in Alaska don’t get dark enough to see the aurora. The next best time to see northern lights is late August – .
Also Know, is October a good month to visit Alaska? , too, is a great time to view the Northern Lights. Overall, this is a great time to come enjoy authentic Alaskathe interim period between the height of summer tourism and the dead of hardcore winter.
In this regard, can you see 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 Ovalthe area that hovers over the North Polewhich 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.
What is the best month to see the northern lights in Alaska?
In 2020, the Spring Equinox occurs on March 19, and there is a new moon on March 24, so this would be a great time to visit. For the same reason, a new moon on 17 means that mid-to-late 2020 would also be a great time to go on a northern lights hunt to Alaska.
What Are The Best Months For Wildlife & Activities
Spotting wildlife is always unpredictable in Alaska, but your best bet of getting pics of wildlife ashore is probably late May and early June, when mothers and their calves or cubs tend to be out and about. One exception: If you want to do a bear-watching shore excursion, prime bear season is not until late June or early July.
Denali: If you want to do a land tour that includes the national park, dont come during the May shoulder season. Denali National Park doesnt open up until early June.
Want to fish ashore? Fishing is good during any monththere are just different species of salmon that peak as the weeks go by.
Summer berry-picking on shore is best late in August or early September.
If you want to see fall foliage ashore, wait until the first week of September. It remains good through the third week of September.
Hate mosquitoes? If youre doing a land tour, come during either shoulder season
See a full calendar of Alaskas natural events.
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When Is The Best Month To View The Northern Lights In Alaska
;The Alaska Aurora season in Fairbanks runs from September through April when the Earth is perfectly tilted in relation to the sun so that both its magnetic field and the solar wind are in sync.
But for serious Aurora hunters in Alaska, March is the best time to visit because of the clearer spring skies. Aurora viewing is also enhanced by the Spring Equinox and a new moon, making for a higher chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
It is not possible to see the Aurora Borealis during the summer in Alaska. The long summer days make it impossible to see any aurora activity.
To see the most up to date Aurora Forecast, visit:
Advantages Of Visiting Alaska In July
- Looking for warm weather? July is Alaskas hottest month, with daytime temperatures ranging between 50-70 degrees and 18-19 hours of daylight.
- If youre planning an arctic cruise, prepare for cooler weather, as the temperature up north dips down to 33-45 degrees. Also pack an eye mask for sleeping, as arctic cruises enjoy nearly 24 hours of daylight.
- Grizzlies, black bears, and mountain goats dot the landscape. In the sea, humpback whales and otters splash about, and overhead you can spot millions of migrating shorebirds.
- For the anglers, July is spawning season for salmon, making it perfect for fishing trips.
Alaska State Fair. Photo by Matt Hage/State of Alaska.
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What Is Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis are magical bands of neon green light that spontaneously burst and dance in the sky. And there are only a few places on the globe where it can be viewed. Specifically, it occurs within the Northern Lights zone .
The Borealis is composed of solar particles shooting into the magnetic field of the earth and appear more than 60 miles above the earth’s surface. Natives have believed the lights have a mystical force or even marked the appearance of spirits who have passed on.
If Youre Interested In Wildlife Viewing
In addition to having the warmest temperatures, June and July are the best months to see the humpback whales when they migrate to Alaskas Inside Passage. But as long as nature parks and trails are on your itinerary, you can pretty much count on spotting wildlife from late May through mid-September. Angling to get an up-close look at a grizzly bear? Take a guided tour into Denali National Park and keep your eyes peeled for these solitary giants along rivers and among blueberry bushes, where they like to feast. In Ketchikans Tongass National Forest the largest national forest in the country be on the lookout for deer, seals, black bears and bald eagles. And in Skagway, you can mingle with a playful team of huskies and take part in the traditional practice of dog sledding, still Alaskas state sport.
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Looking For The Best Time To Visit Alaska This Is It
An Alaska adventure belongs at the top of your bucket list. Nows the best time to start planning.
Americas Last Frontier is a land of endless new discoveries, breathtaking landscapes, and off-the-beaten-path trails that lead to bucket list adventures. From glacier gazing and wildlife watching to catching a glimpse of the elusive Northern Lights, youll find plenty of ways to fill your days with awe-inspiring thrills. But like many of the worlds most incredible destinations, figuring out the best time to visit Alaska depends a lot on which experiences interest you. And with cruise itineraries that run from spring to the start of fall, getting there is easy.
If You Want To See The Northern Lights
There are only a few places in the world where you can see the aurora borealis. Fairbanks, Alaska happens to be one of the greatest spots to catch them. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is in September when the sun sets earlier, yielding darker skies that are ideal for witnessing the aerial lightshow. Temperatures start to drop around this time of year, but its a small price to pay to cross this awe-inspiring natural wonder off your bucket list. Whats more, prime time for viewing the Northern Lights coincides with Alaskas transition into its off-season, which means youll be able to take advantage of Alaska cruise deals and discounts on onshore activities across your adventure a triple win for any savvy traveler.
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What You Need To Know About Viewing Northern Lights In Alaska
When it comes to seeing the Northern Lights, Alaska and the Yukon are two of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis. This is because they are very far north. So far north that they stretch into the Arctic Circle. However, you dont need to be north of the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights.
Fairbanks, the second largest city in Alaska, is south of the Arctic Circle but is still one of the best places to view the Aurora in Alaska.
You can view the Northern Lights in Alaska from September to April, however, the darker winter months are best for Aurora viewing.
What’s An Aurora Vacation Like
Think of it as a quest. You are trying to witness one of the grandest spectacles in nature. The aurora can be elusive and must be pursued. Its an adventure!
Youre going to be up late. Most tours focus on the hours between 10pm and 3am. Many tour operators will provide large parkas and bunny boots to keep you warm, as well as warm beverages and light snacks. If youre at a lodge, you can arrange for a wake-up call if youre not able to stay up. Youll sleep in late the next morning . You might spend the afternoon enjoying an exhilarating winter experience like dog sledding or snowmobiling. Youll return to your hotel or lodge for an early evening nap, and get ready to do it all again!
Here are our top tours for seeing the northern lights in Alaska:
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Silversea Cruises Arctic & Greenland Cruise
This 15-day voyage provides an intimate view of Icelandic life before venturing across the Denmark Strait and exploring Greenlands eastern side for 8 straight days. All the while, each night aboard the Silver Wind provides an ideal setting for viewing the northern lights in comfort from the passengers private verandas or in the company of other aurora-seekers on the ships observation deck.
Silverseas Silver Wind has the sleek look of a modern luxury cruise ship, only on a smaller scale. Outfitted with a newly strengthened hull to take on Arctic seas with ease, the Silver Wind boasts a nearly one-to-one ratio between passengers and crew , resulting in an Arctic voyage that has a level of personalized care and attention like no other. The Silver Wind is an all-suite vessel.
While the exploration and appreciation of Iceland and Greenlands incredible natural features are major themes of this voyage, these areas also serve as habitats for whales, walruses, and polar bears, so passengers will be treated to rare, up-close views of these creatures as they are rarely seen. All told, this is one cruise that is guaranteed to provide the individual experiences that will make up the trip of a lifetime.