Every year, people travel far and wide during the Winter to see the Alaska Northern Lights! This magical array of lights vary from bright yellows and greens to pinks and reds. If you are one who’s up for Winter adventure, then touring Alaska this Winter may be on your travel list. Below, we explore getting to Alaska in the Winter, local tips, and or course, the best viewing spots!
Commercial Flight Options
For most, Alaska seems daunting to travel to, especially in the Winter season. Rest assured, traveling to our home state is easier than you think. There are many commercial airlines that travel here year round. The two most popular are Alaska Airlines and Delta. Alaska has two major cities in which you can fly into- Anchorage and Fairbanks. From here, you will be able to either hop on a local flight via Ravn Air or Grant Air and travel to a smaller city of choice, or you can rent a vehicle and make the scenic trek across the state!
Local Touring via Rental Car
As a local ourselves, renting a car and making the scenic trek (Anchorage and Kenai Peninsula) is a great option to consider. This biggest reason is that the Alaska Northern Lights span widely over the state and can be spotted in many different areas! Renting a car also gives you the flexibility to bounce around towns with ease. Always make sure you are renting a vehicle that has properly been maintained with fluid changes, clean exterior lights, and proper winter tires. This will ensure you are ready to hit the road safely! Don’t forget to give yourself enough travel time to drive slower and don’t forget to watch for our wildlife along the way!
Winter Items to Bring
Alaska is rather chilly in the Winter to say the least! When traveling to see the Alaska Northern Lights, you’ll want to make sure you are equipped with the best gear from head to toe, as this is an outside show after all! Layered clothing such as warm base layers are always recommended. To accompany your base layer, sturdy outer layers such as insulated overalls/bibs, warm pants, sweaters, and insulated jackets are best. Don’t forget insulated boots, warm socks, warm headwear, and of course- insulated gloves!
With longer dark hours and frosty weather, Fairbanks is widely known to be the best location for Alaska Northern Lights. With only roughly 4-6 hours of daylight in the peak of Winter, Fairbanks has the perfect conditions and more viewing opportunities for travelers! Though rated for the best Northern Lights show, there are set backs to this Winter city to be aware of. Some include extreme weather temperatures (can reach -20 degrees F) and extensive dark hours. These setbacks could limit some from being able to fully explore local attractions. Lastly, to get to Fairbanks, most book a flight to and from Anchorage, as the drive can be a long 6 hour trek on Winter roads.
Another great location that offers beautiful Alaska Northern Light shows is Anchorage! In addition to being easy to travel to and from, Anchorage also offers a wide variety of eateries, shopping, and local attractions. Additionally, Anchorage offers a bit more daylight during the Winter months, giving you more opportunity for outdoor adventures! The only setback we can offer is that you will need to get out from the city lights and on the outskirts of town for best viewing opportunities.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
The Kenai Peninsula is one of the best places to travel to for Alaska Northern Lights! With only being 4 hours south of Anchorage, this drive is easy and gives you access to Seward, Kenai, Soldotna, and Homer! All of these cities have exciting Northern Lights viewing opportunities and so much more! From local eateries and shopping to Winter King Salmon Fishing trips, these local towns are our go to for recommendations! If you want to get out of town for the night, the Kenai Peninsula is widely known for it’s camping and forestry cabins! These options give you the chance to get out of town and into the wild for better viewing opportunities.