Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the middle of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few massive landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually ignored because it’s not a cruise port. However that doesn’t imply that there should not loads of issues to do in Fairbanks year-round!
Fairbanks has been a essential hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It began as a gold rush outpost for the area after which advanced right into a essential pipeline outpost throughout its development. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.
I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 totally different occasions in summer season and winter. In truth, I really like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Fingers down Fairbanks is one of the best place to actually get to know the hearty individuals of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally one of the best place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September by means of April.
Residing on the sting of the Arctic Circle
With a inhabitants of 32,000, I used to be excited to go to Fairbanks and meet the individuals who dwell on this excessive surroundings on the sting of the Arctic. You must embrace change should you dwell in Alaska; daylight modifications drastically from everyday shedding 6 minutes of daylight (practically an hour each week!) because it heads in direction of December twenty first and positive factors 6 minutes after that.
With the darkness comes the chilly and parking heaps with electrical shops at each spot. As a result of excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks in the course of the winter, most autos are geared up with a number of electrical “heating” gadgets that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and ought to be plugged in to maintain heat.
“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” an area Fairbanks man instructed me after I requested how he survived the winters.
However with the summer season comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis middle in the summertime I used to be impressed by the entire outside trails and actions. Individuals in Fairbanks like to get outdoors in the summertime and winter, and so do I.
What To Anticipate From This Fairbanks Checklist
There are a selection of operators to select from which might be effectively established; nevertheless, in my travels, I wish to give attention to the brand new, distinctive operators. They are typically the smaller, youthful corporations which might be serving the impartial traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. When you simply dig a bit of bit, yow will discover these smaller, particular person experiences that may be more durable to get to or much more costly.
Fortunately although you don’t need to dig – I’ve compiled all of those superior Fairbanks issues to do into this record. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer season, winter, and each seasons. My purpose is that will help you expertise a novel Alaska winter journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer monitor and is extra built-in domestically.
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer time
Fairbanks typically goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however in fact, I used to be not going to miss this previous gold-mining city. Because of being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m at all times intrigued with cities and communities which might be landlocked and within the center, which might be overshadowed by their extra fashionable neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).
1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails
Simply outdoors my lodge was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a sequence of trails winding by means of the boreal forest, good for working and strolling. After spending per week within the treeless tundra round Nome I used to be excited to see timber once more after I bought again to Fairbanks!
I bumped into many individuals taking their canine out for walks and birdwatching as I did a bit of 3-mile run over wood bridges and across the lakes. The paths connect with the Creamer’s Discipline Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be completely happy I took my cellphone with me to take some footage alongside the way in which!
Extra Data: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary
2. Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market
That is the oldest established farmers market in Alaska and the one one positioned in its personal everlasting constructing. The Tanana Valley Farmers Market showcases all kinds of Alaska-grown produce, native Alaskan crops, and domestically made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.
Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you too can plan on having lunch…and you must go hungry! There was a stunning number of ethnic meals and I stuffed my face with Asian pork buns in addition to Mexican tacos.
I spent the remainder of my time wanting round on the large produce and unusual veggies that I had by no means seen earlier than. Everybody was so pleasant and it was a good way to spend a day studying extra concerning the neighborhood.
Extra Data: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Web site
The market is open from Could to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays
3. Georgeson Botanical Backyard
Be an newbie botanist for the day as you wander round Georgeson Botanical Backyard in the hunt for uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and timber which might be endemic to Alaska and find out how they dwell and thrive within the wild local weather of Alaska’s sub-Arctic inside.
This five-acre backyard is a part of the College of Alaska Fairbanks campus and was formally opened in 1989 as a analysis facility. It’s now a vibrant inexperienced house that’s stunning, particularly in spring and summer season.
Youngsters will love the Babula Youngsters’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander by means of lush greenery. Youngsters can discover totally different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species rigorously chosen to mirror parts from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!
Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Backyard
4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
All aboard! Prepare for a captivating journey by means of railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin prepare layouts depicting varied Alaskan landscapes.
Find out how steam locomotives performed a vital position in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars stuffed with intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a trip on one of many park’s miniature trains!
Extra data: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is quickly closed
5. Gold Dredge 8
Fairbanks owes its existence to the gold fever that descended on the Tanana Valley. Gold Dredge 8 takes you again to the late nineteenth century when prospectors flocked to Alaska in the hunt for fortune. This huge gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted tens of millions of ounces of gold from the icy floor.
Now retired however meticulously preserved, it’s a nationwide monument the place you’ll be able to study Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unbelievable engineering and willpower of those that sought their goals throughout this historic interval.
While you step onto Gold Dredge 8’s property, prepare for an immersive expertise. The educated guides right here will take you on a journey by means of time as they share charming tales and insights. You’ll study concerning the dredging course of that revolutionized gold mining and witness firsthand how these behemoth machines operated. Plus – you’ll be able to even pan for gold as a part of your go to.
Extra data: Gold Dredge 8
Issues to do in Fairbanks 12 months-Spherical
6. College of Alaska Museum of the North
As I pulled as much as the modern white constructing I used to be shocked to seek out fashionable structure in a small neighborhood. And the shock didn’t cease there. The reveals contained in the Alaska Museum of the North had been equally spectacular. There was a big Alaska pure historical past part that can totally educate you concerning the grand state.
And upstairs was a powerful array of up to date and fashionable artwork accomplished by Alaskan artists. I liked the upstairs reveals as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Lots of the works had an Alaska theme to them in a roundabout way – however some had been additionally simply nice items that had nothing to do with the state.
And naturally, I couldn’t miss out on Otto the Bear, probably the most recognizable specimen on the College of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown bear that has greeted friends for greater than 40 years. And sure – Ottsworld met Otto.
The museum has been engaged on restoring Bus 142 from the story Into the Wild for the previous couple of years. Hopefully, in 2024 it will likely be on exhibit for the general public to see and expertise. Try the museum web site for updates on its standing.
Extra Data: College of Alaska Museum of the North
7. HooDoo Brewing Firm
I had been listening to good issues concerning the Fairbanks craft brew scene, so I made a decision to test it out myself. After getting misplaced across the railroad tracks, I lastly got here throughout the massive industrial constructing that was HooDoo Brewing Firm. In true Alaska type – it was primary and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was practical.
Go inside and order a HooDoo beer after which head again outdoors to the picnic tables to take pleasure in your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make associates with some locals I shared the picnic desk with. HooDoo Brewing doesn’t have meals, as a substitute, they’ve varied meals vehicles that come every night time and park on the premises serving up meals to the hungry beer drinkers. I liked the outside vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.
8. Working Reindeer Ranch
As I pulled into the driveway two massive balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automobile I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of aid, it might have been fairly unhealthy if I had hit a reindeer as I entered the Working Reindeer Ranch!
As reindeer roamed freely within the Working Reindeer Ranch yard and across the automobiles the proprietor, Jane, greeted us and began filling our heads with fascinating reindeer information. I used to be there to not solely study reindeer however to additionally stroll with them by means of the forest – a novel Fairbanks exercise supplied year-round. Examine my total reindeer expertise and the way I practically bought myself run over.
My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I am going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on the earth that I’m not keen on do-overs. Nevertheless, as quickly as I knew I used to be going again to Fairbanks within the winter, I put Working Reindeer Ranch on my must-see record…once more. I visited Jane’s distinctive reindeer expertise after I traveled by means of Fairbanks in the summertime a couple of years again, however I used to be actually excited to see and stroll with the reindeer within the winter panorama.
My winter go to had some new surprises in retailer for me in comparison with my summer season go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the timber, there was one factor that was vastly totally different on this go to to the reindeer – the individuals! Jane was nonetheless there giving the fascinating historical past of reindeer and the way she ended up being what I name the ‘reindeer whisperer’, however the sheer quantity of people that had been additionally there to see the reindeer shocked me. In the summertime after I got here there have been solely 3 of us. Nevertheless, within the winter there have been practically 18 of us! Fortunately there are many lovable reindeer to go round.
Take a stroll by means of the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get footage, and study concerning the fascinating lives of those light animals. It would take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you need to come again for extra in different seasons!
The Working Reindeer Ranch is positioned close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round apart from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘essential’ work to do. E-book early because the tour has turn into fairly fashionable and infrequently fills up within the winter!
9. Morris Thompson Cultural Middle
Try the Morris Thompson Cultural Middle and also you’ll shortly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The power was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Data Middle, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.
The Morris Thompson Cultural Middle goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and keep it up conventional information by means of Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to seek out all the data you’ll want in your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.
Extra data: Morris Thompson Cultural Middle
10. Go to the Arctic Circle and Coldfoot Truck Cease – Day Journey
Fairbanks is the hopping-off level for the Arctic Circle, and the one option to get to the Arctic Circle is to take one of many many Alaska bush flights or drive the Dalton Freeway; I did each! When you’ve got time whilst you go to Fairbanks head north out of city the place the pavement ends and the freeway begins.
The Dalton Freeway follows the Alaskan pipeline from Fairbanks to Coldfoot Alaska (a halfway truck cease) and barely past. The freeway was constructed as a provide street to help the development of the pipeline in 1974. It’s a 414-mile street (nearly all of it filth) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily together with the pipeline at present for upkeep crews, transport…and a bit of little bit of…tourism.
You may suppose that this opportunity to go to the Arctic Circle and drive the Dalton Freeway is simply out there in the summertime – however you’re incorrect! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve really accomplished it in the summertime and winter and liked each journeys.
In the summertime, count on numerous daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some previous roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I really stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information mountaineering by means of the tundra and studying concerning the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush aircraft again to Fairbanks.
You are able to do the identical form of journey within the winter with a couple of additions. I flew as much as Coldfoot on an ideal winter day. It was spectacular to see the tundra from the aircraft coated in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot on the truck cease after which hopped within the van and began the lengthy and interesting drive again to Fairbanks.
We stopped to see the pipeline, do some sledding, and benefit from the Arctic Circle and the Yukon. Lastly – I selected to do an add-on expertise the place we stopped at a cabin about 90 minutes north of Fairbanks to look at for the aurora. As we had been within the van we might see the aurora beginning to seem and by the point we arrived on the cabin, it was in full swing.
This was the most effective aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin supplied a beautiful place to heat up and have snacks in between aurora viewing! It was a really lengthy day as we didn’t get again to Fairbanks till 5 AM! Nevertheless it was soooo price it.
Extra Data for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Firm – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer season
Hire your Personal Automotive from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed vehicle leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Freeway Shuttle
11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey
Positioned on the Chena Sizzling Springs Resort about an hour from Fairbanks is Alaska’s coolest museum! By coolest I imply, actually the best. At a chilling 25 levels Fahrenheit, the Aurora Ice Museum lives as much as its identify. It options the world’s largest year-round ice sculpture show. The sculptures within the museum are all created by Heather and Steve Brice who’re certainly very massive names in ice sculpting.
As you wander by means of the museum’s icy corridors, be ready to come across magnificent sculptures that appear virtually otherworldly. From life-sized animals to legendary creatures and complex ice chandeliers, every creation is meticulously carved. Each nook reveals one thing new and astonishing – play an ice xylophone, crawl into an indoor igloo, or go to a frosted chapel!
Have a Drink on the Well-known Ice Bar
One of many highlights of the Aurora Ice Museum is its well-known “Ice Bar.” Step inside this frigid lounge space adorned with icy furnishings whereas having fun with your favourite beverage served in -10°F glasses made fully out of ice! It’s a really chilling expertise that can make your coronary heart race whereas preserving you refreshed on the similar time.
When you’re fortunate sufficient to go to throughout winter months when Alaska’s well-known Northern Lights illuminate the sky, put together your self for an much more enchanting encounter. The museum’s location gives an excellent vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing mild present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.
Extra data: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Sizzling Springs
12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
Calling all automobile fanatics! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and fantastically restored vehicles from as early as 1898. Uncover how autos have advanced all through time whereas appreciating their intricate designs and craftsmanship. Don’t miss the horseless carriages and the cycle automobiles.
However wait…the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum is a lot greater than a automobile museum. The actual allure comes from the early fashions and the period clothes on show with every automobile. It homes many equipment that deliver the Artwork Deco interval to life. The museum is positioned on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.
Extra data: Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum
13. Pioneer Park
Not your typical museum or guests middle per se, Pioneer Park is a dwelling testomony to Fairbanks’ previous. This attraction in Alaska was created for the Alaska ‘67 Centennial Exposition to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the state’s buy from Russia. It showcases 5 family-friendly instructional and neighborhood sights.
Pioneer Park isn’t simply an abnormal park; it’s additionally dwelling to a number of partaking museums that supply insights into Fairbanks’ cultural historical past. Nestled alongside the Chena River, this park recreates an early 1900s gold rush city with genuine log cabins reworked into quirky outlets and eateries.
Make a journey again in time on the Pioneer Air Museum the place you’ll be able to marvel at classic plane or hop aboard a reproduction paddlewheel riverboat at The Riverboat Nenana Museum for a scenic cruise. With its playground, carousel, and prepare that circles the perimeter, it’s simple to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly day trip.
Extra data: Pioneer Park
14. Fairbanks Neighborhood Museum
Discover Fairbanks’ colourful previous at this charming neighborhood museum positioned within the coronary heart of downtown Fairbanks. Hear tales about its pioneers, gold rush historical past, and the numerous position that the railroad performed in shaping this frontier metropolis. View fascinating reveals on native industries like mining and canine mushing. Don’t neglect to take a look at their rotating reveals which regularly spotlight native artists and neighborhood occasions. You’ll acquire a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.
Extra data: Fairbanks Neighborhood Museum
15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Middle
Located alongside the enduring Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction gives an interesting journey by means of the historical past, expertise, and environmental influence of one of many world’s largest pipeline techniques. As you step into the guests middle, put together to be amazed by the sheer scale of TAPS. The pipeline stretches a powerful 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope all the way in which to Valdez on its southern coast. It was inbuilt response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Nineteen Seventies and has been working safely ever since.
The customer middle offers a wonderful alternative to study how TAPS operates and its vital position in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Participating reveals showcase varied facets of pipeline development, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll acquire insights into the intricate engineering strategies used to beat challenges corresponding to permafrost circumstances and wildlife conservation efforts applied alongside its route.
One spotlight of your go to will undoubtedly be exploring “Pipeline Alley.” This outside exhibit options an precise part of pipe permitting you to see up shut the way it features. Marvel at its measurement and power whereas studying concerning the modern measures taken to guard it from excessive climate circumstances like earthquakes and avalanches.
For these excited by environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their in depth monitoring packages geared toward safeguarding wildlife habitats and making certain clear waterways all through TAPS’ operation.
Extra data: Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint
16. Go to the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute
For these science-y individuals – it is a tremendous cool factor to do in Fairbanks. Go to the Geophysical Institute positioned on the College of Alaska Fairbanks. Because it was established by an Act of Congress in 1946, scientists on the Geophysical Institute have studied geophysical processes from the middle of the Earth to the floor of the solar and past, turning information and observations into data helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.
World-class researchers research every part from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. Once I was researching a narrative concerning the northern lights in Fairbanks, I really was in a position to meet with a few of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.
Nevertheless, for the vacationer – you too can go to the institute and study extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. When you can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. In addition they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the biggest land-based rocket analysis vary on the earth and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be a part of a tour to study concerning the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a few of the amenities, together with the blockhouse advanced and the launch pads.
Try the Fairbanks meals scene
Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there may be loads of that. Nevertheless one of many stunning issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 individuals, I’m amazed on the ethnic variety and high quality of meals in Fairbanks. And it’s not all seafood and steak! These are all locations that I take my tour teams after I’m there.
17. Thai Meals in Fairbanks
The Thai Home Restaurant was the primary to deliver Thai meals to Fairbanks, in 1989. Now there are over 20 Thai eating places within the comparatively small city of Fairbanks. It’s the Thai capital of Alaska! There was a migration of Thai individuals into the Alaska inside for gold mining; when that didn’t pan out, many stayed needing a livelihood. Eating places adopted. I counsel you strive Thai Home and Bahn Thai – every part is scrumptious – and genuine!
Extra data: Thai Home Restaurant
18. Strive Moldovan Meals at Soba
Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly positive my dwelling in Denver doesn’t also have a Moldova restaurant. Soba serves genuine Jap European meals and Moldovan wines. It’s the right hearty meals within the winter.
We tried the potato pierogies, pelmeni pork dumplings, cabbage wraps with rice and pork, beet soup, and don’t miss out on the bitter cherry crepes. It’s all so good!
Extra data: Soba Restaurant
19. The Crepery Restaurant
The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a preferred cease for locals and vacationers. They serve up candy and savory crepes and it’s a favourite place of mine for lunch. Fashionable fillings embody Brie and pear, in addition to smoked salmon. Gluten-free variations can be found.
Extra data: The Crepery
20. Pump Home Restaurant
The Pump Home is one in every of my favourite upscale eating places in Fairbanks. The historic constructing alongside the Chena River was reconstructed within the spring of 1978 giving a nod to the 1890’s “Gold Rush” motif and environment. All over the place you look you will notice relics from the wealthy and illustrious previous. In the summertime months, sit on the deck overlooking the historic Chena River and watch the Riverboat Discovery cross and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan honest corresponding to steaks and seafood. Anticipate massive parts and nice drinks too.
Extra data: The Pump Home
Fairbanks Alaska – Your Dwelling Base for Winter Enjoyable
Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. Not like summer season the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is concerning the inside and survival.
Touring overland in summer season is a tricky course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of numerous spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter abruptly makes every part accessible. Rivers freeze and turn into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and abruptly Alaska sled canine can take you wherever.
Watch my winter adventures in Fairbanks beneath! Video by Michaela Potter
Alaska Winter Climate
I do know what you might be pondering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nevertheless, if you’re going for a winter trip – don’t you need snow? And if you will see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?
You may be shocked to seek out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you suppose – they hardly ever fall beneath 20F apart from the occasional storm. Up within the Arctic areas, they don’t get a lot snow as a result of it’s thought-about a desert.
Nevertheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has plenty of snow. There you might expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get plenty of snow that can stick round all winter from October by means of March. All Alaskans know that you simply fight winter climate with the proper gear. When you’ve got the proper gear – you’ll be able to take pleasure in Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!
I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations around the globe and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Try my record of maximum winter gear I take advantage of
Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska
Alaska Winter Driving
Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automobile, but it surely’s price it to courageous the winter roads in an effort to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s simple to hire a automobile on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a selection of choices.
I might completely get an all-wheel drive car although as it’s obligatory and there have been a couple of occasions after I was driving by means of numerous snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!
Do be aware that Fairbanks and the encompassing space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to trouble the locals a lot and I used to be in a position to get round wonderful.
Plus should you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automobile at night time! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automobile will include an electrical chord that you should utilize to plug in your automobile all over the place you go and hold the engine block from freezing.
Extra data: Fairbanks Rental Vehicles
Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Winter
Whereas Alaska is a well-liked dream vacation spot in the summertime, it will get little respect within the winter. The concern of frigid temperatures, lack of sunshine, and heavy snow scare off most individuals. Nevertheless, that’s the precise cause why I assumed Fairbanks can be the right place to go for an Alaska winter journey – I needed to see how the hearty Alaskans lived and performed within the low season.
Plus you get a few bonuses to the Fairbanks winter, like Northern Lights and cheaper costs. My airfare from Denver to Fairbanks was solely a mere fraction of summer season costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.
And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights journey could have introduced you to this lesser-known a part of Alaska, there are many different issues to do which makes Fairbanks the right spot for an Alaska winter journey trip!
21. Ice Fishing
Fairbanks is a winter wonderland for ice-fishing fanatics! When you’re seeking to expertise the joys of catching fish by means of a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unbelievable vacation spot. Nestled amidst scenic landscapes and frigid temperatures, this charming metropolis gives an exhilarating expertise for each novice and seasoned anglers alike.
Fairbanks is famend for its beautiful frozen lakes and rivers that rework right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fanatics. With over 100 lakes inside a 50-mile radius, you’ll have limitless alternatives to discover new spots and discover that good catch. The area boasts quite a few lakes teeming with varied fish species corresponding to Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.
Rods Alaskan Information Service gives a ton of various winter tous within the space and that features ice fishing. Don’t fear about getting chilly – you fish from inside a heat little hut/cabin on the ice. When you go together with a information – you’ll have every part you want, tools and a heat place to attend for the fish to chunk! They even supply an aurora tour additionally – so you’ll be able to snag that Arctic Char beneath the northern lights!
Extra data: Rods Alaskan Information Service
22. Canine Mushing
Expertise Alaska’s primary winter sport – canine sledding. Any Alaska winter journey wants to incorporate some canine mushing! Fairbanks, with its beautiful landscapes and frigid local weather, gives an ideal setting for this conventional mode of transportation.
Canine mushing has been an integral a part of Alaskan historical past and tradition for hundreds of years. Initially used as a way of transportation by indigenous peoples, at present it has advanced into a preferred leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is considerable, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.
The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unbelievable sled canine themselves. These extremely skilled canine athletes possess exceptional endurance and power. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups as a result of their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.
Fairbanks boasts an intensive community of well-groomed trails that wind by means of breathtaking forests and frozen landscapes. Whether or not you’re a newbie or an skilled adventurer, there are alternatives out there for all talent ranges. From shorter introductory rides to multi-day expeditions throughout distant territories corresponding to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!
Go to Mushing College and learn to function a canine sledding crew
There are such a lot of decisions and types to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nevertheless, I used to be in search of a extra hands-on expertise as I needed to study extra about how you can mush my very own crew. Discover Fairbanks really helpful I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Final Frontier Mushing Co-op.
Not solely did I learn to mush your individual crew in a half-day ‘mushing faculty’ tour, however I additionally realized a wealth of details about the canine racing tradition of Alaska and what it takes to run a racing kennel. The younger homeowners of the Co-op all have critical backgrounds in racing and due to that, they need to supply guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their purpose is to have individuals see how a lot the canine love their job and expertise the actual Alaska.
However I need to warn you, when you learn to mush your individual crew of canine, you’ll by no means need to return to easily using in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the canine sledding Alaska bug and might’t wait to return once more!
Extra data: Final Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour outdoors of Fairbanks, the Co-op gives day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing faculty expertise.
23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Sizzling Springs – Day Journey
Probably the most fashionable stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Sizzling Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Sizzling Springs street and drive it till the tip – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.
It is a greater vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nevertheless, it’s price a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply concerning the scorching springs, the resort additionally gives snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and canine sledding.
I like to recommend merely making this a day journey because the lodging choices aren’t that nice except you get a cabin.
Nevertheless, we booked a bit of cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell outdoors. After an enormous hike, we went for a soak within the scorching springs at night time. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying whereas we had a surreal expertise floating across the many artifical scorching spring swimming pools within the night. It was simply what our sore legs wanted! Sadly the attractive snowfall ruined our possibilities to see aurora there, but it surely’s an ideal spot to situate your self to see the aurora!
Extra data: Chena Sizzling Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn critiques of Chena Sizzling Springs on Journey Advisor.
24. View the Northern Lights
Fairbanks is likely one of the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle generally known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. It’s really a paradise for aurora borealis hunters; nevertheless, catching sight of these elusive inexperienced waves dancing throughout the sky isn’t only a piece of cake. Plan your go to between September and April when nights are longer and darker – good circumstances for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.
Location issues! To maximise your possibilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from the town lights. Head out to distant areas away from mild air pollution or get cozy at one in every of Fairbanks’ charming lodges the place you’ll be able to stare upon stars with none interference. Bear in mind: It’s all about discovering that candy spot the place darkness reigns supreme.
Additionally, take into account that one of many the explanation why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an ideal place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and often has clear skies. Not like the coastal areas and international locations like Iceland.
In terms of witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its manner throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is vital — except you’ve been blessed by some form of cosmic cheat code! Typically the Northern Lights seem early; generally they make you wait.
Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear
Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their dwelling and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid dwelling an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights excursions and pictures instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate stage of service since they’re internet hosting you of their dwelling. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks beneath the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of lovely forest.
As well as, they share their attention-grabbing perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany just lately and determined to make this their new dwelling. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new dwelling.
All of us turned quick associates and even got here again out to fulfill them for a day of snowshoeing earlier than we departed! Their hospitality was phenomenal to not point out their darn cute canine you’ll fall in love with. Aurora Bear is by far my favourite place to attend and look ahead to Northern Lights. It’s also the place I take my Ottsworld Tour Group!
25. Go to Denali and trip the Winter Aurora Practice – Day Journey
Most individuals suppose that Denali Nationwide Park is simply open in the summertime, but it surely’s really open year-round! Winter is a superb time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve the place to your self! Cease in on the customer middle and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow footwear and poles, and also you’ll be capable of tackle a few of the winter trails.
Denali is a couple of 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you would like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter prepare journey the place you might be pushed all the way down to Denali (with a couple of scenic stops alongside the way in which), snowshoe within the nationwide park there, after which hop on the northbound Aurora Winter Practice and slowly come again to Fairbanks by way of the Alaska Railroad!
This present day tour permits you to go to Denali Nationwide Park, and trip the winter prepare all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Examine my winter prepare expertise right here.
Extra data: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Web site
26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks
A lot of locations in Fairbanks supply snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However should you actually need to get out and respect the outside, study concerning the winter wildlife, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – then you definately need to take a look at Leaf Out Excursions.
It is a native small operator that I take advantage of on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to help small companies after I journey, so after I met Shannon from Leaf Out a nature information working her personal little guiding enterprise I used to be fairly excited. She took me out round her cabin to go snowshoeing within the woods. She’s a naturalist and the snowshoe hike was extra like an interactive classroom – I realized SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, realized about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which manner they had been strolling, and realized that squirrels are messy eaters!
If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – you should definitely search for Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of information and a type of superior bad-ass Alaska ladies.
Extra Data: Leaf Out Nature Guides
27. Go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership
We’ve all seen it in the course of the Winter Olympics – the unusual and overseas sport of curling. I’m at all times intrigued by issues which might be particular to a area – and the game of curling is unquestionably particular to the far north. The Fairbanks Curling Membership is proud to be the oldest organized sports activities group in Alaska. When you go to Fairbanks within the winter and marvel, “What do the locals do throughout these lengthy, chilly winters”, simply head to the curling membership and also you’ll get your reply.
There’s league play virtually each night time within the winter – so why not head to the Fairbanks Curling Membership, sit up within the viewing space, seize a beer (sure – there may be at all times a bar), and watch the locals play on this fascinating sport! Plus – there can be loads of different native spectators there to reply your many questions on the game.
As well as, there are some alternatives to get hands-on and learn to curl your self! I’ve this as an exercise in my Ottsworld Alaska winter tour and it’s at all times a spotlight. Or you’ll be able to at all times go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!
Extra Data: Fairbanks Curling Membership
28. Fairbanks Ice Carving
Fairbanks is dwelling to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February one of the best ice sculptors on the earth compete. So in fact, if you’re visiting in the course of the championship – you must undoubtedly head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.
Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you may stroll by means of and look at them for the rest of the winter…or till they soften! It does require a ticket to get in – but it surely’s price it to see these distinctive artworks. It’s notably stunning at night time when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.
As well as, you’ll be able to study extra about Alaska ice carving on the Fairbanks Ice Museum. This museum is open year-round and can take you thru the historical past of carving and the competitions. As well as – in the summertime they provide lessons so you’ll be able to learn to carve your individual ice artwork!
29. Snow Machining
Whereas in Fairbanks, be sure you attempt to journey across the Alaska wilderness like an area – on a snow machine! We name them snowmobiles within the decrease 48, however if you wish to slot in whereas touring in Alaska – you higher name it a snow machine!
There are a selection of locations the place you’ll be able to e-book a tour – from a couple of hours to a snowmobile multi-day tour. If you wish to simply get your toes moist and see what it’s like, then take a look at Rod’s Alaskan Information Service. They provide quite a few totally different excursions and you may mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.
I did a half-day tour with them and I used to be actually impressed with the standard of their tools and the extent of instruction. They are going to present the entire heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally liked that they gave you time by yourself to simply zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to at all times observe the group!
Now you might be all set to expertise winter and summer season adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!
The place to remain in Fairbanks
It is a very nice lodge positioned in Downtown. It’s an ideal location to have the ability to stroll to all of these nice ethnic eating places, and bars, get items, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do quite a few good walks across the river.
Examine costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn critiques for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Seek for different accommodations in Fairbanks
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge
Positioned on the banks of the Chena River – this massive lodge is a superb location for the airport and the prepare station. It has a stunning restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you’ll be able to hold heat whereas ready. There’s at all times numerous hustle and bustle at this lodge!
Examine costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn critiques for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different accommodations in Fairbanks
Bear Lodge at Wedgewood
That is additionally a fairly large lodge typically utilized by cruise corporations in the summertime. The lodge is good and it’s positioned by many issues on this record – like Creamers Discipline, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.
Lodging outdoors of Fairbanks
If you wish to get actually off the overwhelmed path, then go spend an evening outdoors of Fairbanks on the Lodge at Black Rapids.
Lodge at Black Rapids – a Fashionable-Day Roadhouse
A 2 hour drive south of Fairbanks you’ll go deep into the Alaskan wilderness and historical past on the Lodge at Black Rapids. This spectacular lodge fabricated from slate and timber was made by hand by homeowners Annie and Mike Hopper.
It took them 10 years to construct it! Now it sits completely perched on a hill overlooking the Black Rapids Glacier located on Richardson Freeway, what was the previous predominant freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nevertheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route by means of the Jap Alaska Vary has turn into the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.
Uncover all of the issues to do in Anchorage in Summer time or Winter
As well as, this route was additionally dwelling to historic roadhouses that had been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In truth, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ challenge at the moment restoring the previous Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.
Black Rapids Lodge is form of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a snug mattress, and native hospitality. However in contrast to conventional roadhouses, you’ll need to keep some time as a result of Annie and Michael have an unbelievable record of out of doors winter adventures so that you can pattern.
Among the finest actions they provide is a snowshoeing journey to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped the entire gear and are completely happy to lend additional heat climate gear should you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent an area information by way of Black Rapids.
The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you need to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, snug place to return ‘dwelling’ to with a bit of pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at dwelling.
Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn critiques for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor
See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook