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Best Spots for Northern Lights Viewing in Alaska

Next on your bucket list is seeing the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights but you don’t know which is the best place to view the northern lights in Alaska?

Well, Alaska has many great places from where you can spot these elusive lights and all you need to do is to dress up warm, get your camera and start chasing the Aurora.

The good news, if you are an American citizen, is that you don’t even need a passport to travel to Alaska as this is the 49th state of the USA.

where to go to see the Northern Lights in Alaska
where to go to see the Northern Lights Alaska

Where to go to see the Northern Lights in Alaska

Alaska is a big state with stunning landscapes and a lot of things to see and explore.

Aurora Borealis can be seen in the northern part of the state, close to the Arctic Circle.

The best time for Northern Lights viewing is from mid-September to mid-April when there are many hours of dark.

From May to August the Aurora Borealis is not visible with naked eyes because of the midnight sun.

Here are the best places where you have to go for viewing the Northern Lights dancing on the dark sky:

1. Fairbanks

By far this is the best place to go for viewing the lights on the Alaska ski as it is located just 150 miles south the Arctic Circle.

You can get here by plane as Fairbanks has its own airport, Fairbanks International Airport and there plenty of flights from all over the United States to this destination.

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For chasing Aurora you can choose to get a tour with a specialised guide who will take care of everything, or you can do it on your own.

Tours are stressless for you as they take care of everything related to transportation, the best place to view the lights and food.

All you have to do is to dress warm and take your camera and of course, extra batteries to catch the lights dancing on the sky.

One of the best Northern Lights tours you can book while in Fairbanks is From Fairbanks: Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour which is a complete tour which starts at 2 p.m and lasts for 14 hours.

You will see the imposing Yukon River Bridge while travelling along the famous Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle.

You have snacks, sandwiches, hot punch and beverages included and at the end of this day tour you will receive the Arctic Circle certificate as a proof that you crossed the Arctic Circle.

From Fairbanks Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour Guide Tour
From Fairbanks Northern Lights and Arctic Circle Tour Guide Tour

Or, you can choose to rent a car and chase the lights on your own in the nearby areas considered the best place to view the Northern Lights in Alaska and here I am talking about Murphy Dome or Chena Lake.

Don’t forget to book some extra time for a bathe in Chena Hot springs resort located in the national park!

If you choose to rent a car we recommend you to rent a four-wheel-drive car and always have with you hot drinks and blankets as weather can change in a moment.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Where to sleep

Fairbanks, the place where to go to see the Northern Lights in Alaska offers a large variety of hotels and lodges where to stay when chasing the lights.

A Taste Of Alaska Lodge is a beautiful lodge located 30 minutes outside Fairbanks and offers one of the best views of the aurora.

During the day you can walk, ski or take a dog mush, while at night admire the stars and the Alaska Northern Lights dancing on the sky.

2. Denali National Park

Located between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Denali National Park is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights and also is home to the highest mountain peak in North America.

Far from city lights, with zero light pollution but still close enough to Fairbanks, it is ideal for chasing Northern Lights in Alaska.

Alaska Northern Lights Aurora Borealis
Alaska Northern Lights Aurora Borealis

Take your camera and a good tripod with you to catch the best photos with Aurora dancing in the sky.

Where to sleep

Denali Lakeview Inn Alaska is a wonderful inn overlooking the Denali Lake with its private beach area near the lake.

All rooms have a kitchenette, private bathroom, while some of them have their own balcony with lake view.

The lodge is located in a quiet area, far from any light pollution, making it a great place to stay when chasing Northern Lights.

3. Nome

Another best place to view the Northern Lights in Alaska is Nome, a remote town located 520 miles away from Fairbanks and inaccessible by car, but which have to be included in your Alaska tour.

You can reach this amazing village only by air or water and during winter with a snowmobile or dog sledge.

There are daily flights from different Alaska big towns to this remote town operated by Alaska Airlines which transport tourists and goods.

The place is also famous for the Sled Dog Race which starts in Anchorage and lasts over 2 weeks and goes over 950 miles through the state of Alaska.

4. Anchorage

Where to go to see the Northern Lights in Alaska if not to Anchorage, the biggest city of the Alaska state, a beautiful settlement located right on the Eagle River.

If you want to spot the Aurora Borealis in this area you need to travel a little bit outside the city to the coast to avoid any light pollution.

The best time to visit the place is during the months of September and March.

Around the equinox when the solar activity is higher than usual.

Where to sleep

One of the best hotels from the whole area is Hyatt Place Anchorage Midtown Alaska a clean and modern hotel located 4 kilometres away from the city centre, with private parking and a good start when chasing Northern Lights.

5. Coldfoot

Primarily known as a truck stop on the Dalton Highway in the Yukon territory in northern Alaska, Coldfoot begins to appear in more and more articles with the best place to view the northern lights in Alaska.

The place is located directly under the Auroral Oval so it is a great spot to observe the Aurora lights dancing on the sky.

Why don’t you rent a van and start chasing the lights all along the Dalton highway around the spring and autumn equinox?

I am sure you will get some incredible moments and photos of this natural phenomenon.

6. Barrow

Located 330 miles north of the Arctic Circle the small town of Barrow is the most northern point of Alaska.

Being so far north, it is one of the best places where to go to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

You don’t even need to book a tour or to rent a car to chase the Northern Lights.

Just look at the window and here it is, the lights are dancing in the sky.

If you decide to go to Barrow, pack all the thermal clothes you have as it is extremely cold out there.

Most of the time the temperatures are negative, so if you don’t like cold weather this is not the place to go.

Northern Lights Alaska Aurora Borealis USA
Northern Lights Alaska Aurora Borealis USA

There are frequent flights to Barrow from Anchorage operated by Alaska Airlines which carries not just tourists but also materials and food so needed for survival out there.

Each of these towns and villages are the best place to view the Northern Lights in Alaska.

Still, the most accessible one which offers facilities for tourists is Fairbanks.

But if your journey takes you to Seward, Valdez or Skagway, any of these could also be a good place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.

I strongly recommend you to put this town on your list and once you have the occasion book a flight and go there to see with your own eyes the amazing lights show on the Alaska sky.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.

Nora Smith

Thursday 18th of August 2022

We will be on a Viking Cruise traveling through Sitka, Ketchikan, juneau, Skagway, Valdez, and Seward, Sept 1-10th. Where would be the best place for us to view the Northern Lights? Thanks

Alex Hash

Wednesday 31st of August 2022

Hey there, depending on the weather in my opinion you have the best chance to see the Northern Lights in any of the following: Seward, Valdez, even in Skagway. You need a clear sky without clouds and a higher solar activity to see the Northern Lights in Alaska. We wish you a safe trip and good luck to see it during your trip!