The Aurora Borealis, or northern lights as they are more commonly called, are a prominent feature up north. There are only a few places where you can see these dancing lights in the nighttime sky. Alaska is one of those destinations. If you have been wanting to see the northern lights, a family vacation in Alaska is exactly what you need. This guide to northern lights in Alaska will help you understand what you need to know to enjoy this magnificent experience. And make memories your family will remember forever.
Before we get into seeing the northern lights in Alaska, let’s discuss what these lights are. The Aurora Borealis are waves of color and light. Those waves are created by energized particles from the sun. The particles reach speeds of up to forty-five million miles per hour. They then crash into the Earth’s atmosphere. The interaction of the particles with the Earth’s magnetic field creates the colorful dancing lights.
The northern lights are actually in the atmosphere every day of the year, all day and all night. But you heard it hear first, they can only be seen when the conditions are optimal.
When you take your vacation in Alaska, you must go during specific months if you want to catch the northern lights. The best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is from the end of August until April. The lights are best seen during the darkest nights of the winter, as long as the skies are clear.
There are so many places to see the northern lights in Alaska. You can be practically anywhere and catch a glimpse of this phenomenon. But if you want to see the best northern lights, you should choose one of these locations.
Fairbanks is one of the best places to see the northern lights in Alaska. You won’t be able to see the lights right in the city. But you can travel a few miles outside the city to where there are dark skies with amazing views. I can easily arrange for you to take one of the many northern lights tours from Fairbanks when I am planning your vacation in Alaska.
If you want to keep up with when the northern lights are near Fairbanks, you can check out the city’s Aurora Tracker.
A little more than one hundred miles to the north of Anchorage is a town called Talkeetna. This town is also located at the base of Denali Mountain. It is a perfect location for family fun, including checking out the northern lights.
Your nights may be filled with the dancing lights up in the sky. But during the day, you can explore the historic village. The shops, restaurants, and galleries will keep you busy for hours. And during the month of December, they hold Winterfest. The festival includes a parade, food, tree lighting, Bachelor Auction, and Wilderness Woman Competition.
One of my favorite spots to view the northern lights in Alaska is Denali National Park. There is very little light pollution within the park. This means that as long as the skies are clear and dark, you can see the Aurora Borealis quite well.
It can be difficult to access this park during the winter months. I recommend you keep that in mind when deciding where to catch the northern lights during your vacation in Alaska.
Nome is the town where the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race ends. While the town is popular when the race is happening, it is much quieter the rest of the year. Therefore, it is the perfect destination for a little northern light viewing.
Anchorage is another larger city in Alaska. Many people check this city off their list for viewing the northern lights, because it is a city. However, you can see the northern lights without traveling too far from Anchorage.
A quick drive can have you at Beluga Point, Flattop, Potter Valley, or Hiland Road to capture the beautiful sky on dark nights.
This is your guide to the northern lights in Alaska. While I listed many incredible places to see the northern lights, please know there are other destinations. I can share them with you, as I am planning your vacation in Alaska. Oh, and if you prefer to cruise in Alaska, I can arrange for you to take a northern lights cruise during your vacation.
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