29 Issues to do in Fairbanks Alaska Summer season and Winter

Welcome to ‘Inside Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits within the heart of the state and is the jumping-off level for visiting the excessive Arctic. One of many few huge landlocked cities in Alaska, Fairbanks is usually neglected 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 important hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It started as a gold rush outpost for the region after which advanced right into a important pipeline outpost throughout its development. Now it acts because the outpost of Alaska’s Inside.

I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 completely different occasions in summer time and winter. In actual fact, I like Fairbanks a lot that I even run Ottsworld Excursions there! Palms down Fairbanks is the perfect place to essentially get to know the hearty folks of the inside of Alaska. It’s additionally the perfect place to have an opportunity to see the aurora from September by way of April.

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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 stay on this excessive surroundings on the sting of the Arctic. You need to embrace change should you stay in Alaska; daylight adjustments drastically from daily shedding 6 minutes of daylight (practically an hour each week!) because it heads in direction of December twenty first and good points 6 minutes after that.

With the darkness comes the chilly and parking tons with electrical shops at each spot. As a result of excessive chilly temperatures in Fairbanks in the course of the winter, most automobiles are outfitted with a number of electrical “heating” units that facilitate beginning in the course of the coldest time and must be plugged in to maintain heat.

“When it will get chilly, we simply get shut,” an area Fairbanks man informed me once I requested how he survived the winters.

However with the summer time comes the lengthy days and a inhabitants with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove across the metropolis heart in the summertime I used to be impressed by all the outside trails and actions. Folks in Fairbanks like to get exterior in the summertime and winter, and so do I.

What To Count on From This Fairbanks Record

There are a variety of operators to select from which might be properly established; nevertheless, in my travels, I prefer to concentrate on the brand new, distinctive operators. They are usually the smaller, youthful corporations which might be serving the unbiased traveler and offering a extra private contact than the bigger tour choices. Should you simply dig a bit of bit, you’ll find these smaller, particular person experiences that is likely to be more durable to get to or much more costly.

Fortunately although you don’t should dig – I’ve compiled all of those superior Fairbanks issues to do into this checklist. I’ve organized the issues to do in Fairbanks by summer time, winter, and each seasons. My objective is that will help you expertise a singular Fairbanks journey that takes you a bit off the vacationer monitor and is extra built-in regionally.

Issues to do in Fairbanks within the Summer season

Fairbanks usually goes unnoticed by vacationers in the summertime, however in fact, I used to be not going to miss this outdated gold-mining city. Due to being introduced up within the Midwest, I’m all the time intrigued with cities and communities which might be landlocked and within the center, which might be overshadowed by their extra common neighbors (ahem…Anchorage).

1. Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary & Trails

Simply exterior my resort was the Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary – a collection of trails winding by way of the boreal forest, good for working and strolling. After spending per week within the treeless tundra around Nome I used to be excited to see bushes once more once I obtained 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 picket bridges and across the lakes. The paths connect with the Creamer’s Area Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. That is one run the place I used to be completely satisfied I took my telephone with me to take some photos alongside the way in which!

Extra Info: Fountainhead Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary

Discover out the place to go in Alaska for fall coloration

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 regionally made, Alaskan artwork and crafts.

Not solely can you purchase produce there, however you can even plan on having lunch…and it is best to 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 big 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 Info: Tanana Valley Farrmers Market Website
The market is open from Could to September on Wednesdays and Saturdays

3. Georgeson Botanical Backyard

Be an beginner botanist for the day as you wander round Georgeson Botanical Backyard in quest of uncommon, far-north crops. You’ll uncover uncommon species of flowers and bushes which might be endemic to Alaska and learn the way they stay 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 area that’s stunning, particularly in spring and summer time.

Youngsters will love the Babula Kids’s Backyard the place Alaska’s largest hedge maze beckons. Its well-designed pathways meander by way of lush greenery. Youngsters can discover completely different sections named after beloved storybook characters like Peter Rabbit or Cinderella. Every space options plant species fastidiously chosen to mirror parts from these timeless tales – really bringing tales to life!

Extra data: Georgeson Botanical Garden

4. Tanana Valley Railroad Museum

All aboard! Prepare for an enthralling journey by way of railroad historical past with a go to to this pleasant museum located inside Pioneer Park. Marvel at classic locomotives and discover mannequin practice layouts depicting varied Alaskan landscapes.

Find out how steam locomotives performed an important position in shaping Northern Alaska as you discover classic railcars full of intriguing artifacts from yesteryear. You even take a experience on one of many park’s miniature trains!

Extra data: The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum is briefly closed

Plan an Alaska Railroad Hurricane Practice Tour

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 quest of fortune. This huge gold dredge, towering over the panorama, as soon as extracted thousands and thousands 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 find out about Alaska’s mining heritage. It stands as a testomony to the unimaginable engineering and dedication of those that sought their goals throughout this historic interval.

Once 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 way 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 Yr-Spherical

6. College of Alaska Museum of the North

As I pulled as much as the smooth 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 may totally educate you concerning the grand state.

And upstairs was a powerful array of latest and fashionable artwork achieved by Alaskan artists. I cherished the upstairs reveals as I’m a contemporary artwork buff. Most of the works had an Alaska theme to them indirectly – 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, essentially the most recognizable specimen on the College of Alaska Fairbanks Campus of the North. Otto is an 8′ 9” brown bear that has greeted visitors 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 few years. Hopefully, in 2024 will probably be on exhibit for the general public to see and expertise. Take a look at the museum web site for updates on its standing.

Extra Info: University 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 fundamental and rugged, not just like the craft breweries and bars in hipster neighborhoods that I’m used to. It was practical.

Hoodoo brewery fairbanks alaska
Have a couple of pints with locals at HooDoo Brewery

Go inside and order a HooDoo beer after which head again exterior to the picnic tables to take pleasure in your frosty brew. It didn’t take me lengthy to make pals 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 cherished the outside vibe; everybody absorbing the daylight and having fun with the outside and laid-back really feel.

Extra Info: HooDoo Brewery. Don’t miss Caturday at HooDoos on Saturdays when it turns right into a cat brewery!

8. Working Reindeer Ranch

As I pulled into the driveway two huge balls of brown fur ran out in entrance of my automotive I hit the brakes in a panic. I set free a sigh of aid, it will 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 find out about reindeer however to additionally stroll with them by way of the forest – a singular Fairbanks exercise provided year-round. Examine my total reindeer experience and how I nearly got myself run over.

Fairbanks Alaska things to do reindeer
Take a stroll with reindeer at Faribank’s Reindeer Ranch

My first go to to the ranch was in the summertime. There are few locations I’m going again to a 2nd time as a result of there are simply so many locations to see on this planet that I’m not keen on do-overs. Nonetheless, 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 checklist…once more. I visited Jane’s unique reindeer experience once I traveled by way 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 time go to. Along with the snow that was dolloped on the bushes, there was one factor that was vastly completely different on this go to to the reindeer – the folks! 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 once I got here there have been solely 3 of us. Nonetheless, within the winter there have been practically 18 of us! Fortunately there are many lovable reindeer to go round.

Take a stroll by way of the boreal forest together with the reindeer, get photos, and study concerning the fascinating lives of those mild animals. It’ll take you far past Christmas myths, and it’ll make you wish to come again for extra in different seasons!

The Working Reindeer Ranch is positioned close to the College of Fairbanks. It operates year-round aside from Christmas when the reindeer produce other ‘vital’ work to do. Ebook early because the tour has turn into fairly common and sometimes fills up within the winter!

Extra data: Running Reindeer Ranch Website. Learn Running Reindeer Ranch reviews on Trip Advisor

9. Morris Thompson Cultural Heart

Take a look at the Morris Thompson Cultural Heart and also you’ll rapidly have a full Fairbanks itinerary deliberate! The power was created by the Fairbanks Conference & Guests Bureau, the Alaska Public Lands Info Heart, and the Tanana Chiefs Convention.

Fairbanks Morris Thompson Cultural Center

The Morris Thompson Cultural Heart goals to encourage residents and guests to get out and discover Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska in addition to to protect Athabascan languages and stick with it conventional information by way of Elder teachings. Right here it is possible for you to to seek out all the data you’ll want on your Fairbanks go to to Inside Alaska and Arctic Alaska.

Extra data: Morris Thompson Cultural Center

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 technique to get to the Arctic Circle is to take one of many many Alaska bush flights or drive the Dalton Freeway; I did each! If in case you have time when 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 (the vast majority of it grime) starting on the Elliott Freeway north of Fairbanks and ending at Deadhorse close to the Arctic Ocean. And it’s nonetheless used primarily along with the pipeline at present for upkeep crews, transport…and a bit of little bit of…tourism.

Dalton Highway Cold Foot
The street previous Chilly Foot Camp

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 mistaken! You are able to do this tour within the winter too! I’ve truly achieved it in the summertime and winter and cherished each journeys.

In the summertime, count on numerous daylight to discover. You’ll cease at some outdated roadhouses, the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, and Coldfoot. I truly stayed in Coldfoot for an evening and did extra exploring with a information climbing by way of the tundra and studying concerning the historical past of this distinctive space earlier than flying in a bush aircraft again to Fairbanks.

What to anticipate from flying in Alaska bush planes

You are able to do the identical kind 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 lined in snow. We had lunch in Coldfoot on the truck cease after which hopped within the van and began the lengthy and engaging 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 probably the greatest aurora viewing nights I had in Fairbanks – the lights danced for hours. Plus – the cabin offered 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! However it was soooo value it.

Extra Info for driving the Dalton Freeway
Northern Alaska Tour Company – drive-up/fly-back variations in winter and summer time
Rent your Own Car from Arctic Outfitters – gravel road-allowed car leases for the Dalton Freeway traveler
Dalton Highway Shuttle

Uncover the place to go in Alaska off the vacationer path

11. Aurora Ice Museum – Day Journey

Positioned on the Chena Scorching 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 title. 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 huge names in ice sculpting.

As you wander by way 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 complicated 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 very chilling expertise that may make your coronary heart race whereas holding you refreshed on the similar time.

Should 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 a perfect vantage level for witnessing nature’s most mesmerizing gentle present – dancing curtains of vibrant colours portray an indigo canvas above your head.

Extra data: Aurora Ice Museum at Chena Hot Springs

12. Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum

Calling all automotive fans! Go to the Fountainhead Vintage Auto Museum to delve into automotive historical past. This treasure trove showcases uncommon and fantastically restored cars from as early as 1898. Uncover how automobiles 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 automotive museum. The actual attraction comes from the early fashions and the period clothes on show with every automotive. It homes many equipment that deliver the Artwork Deco interval to life. The museum is positioned on the grounds of the Wedgewood Resort.

Fountainhead Antique auto Museum Fairbanks Alaska

Extra data: Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

13. Pioneer Park

Not your typical museum or guests heart 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 points of interest.

Pioneer Park isn’t simply an strange park; it’s additionally house 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 remodeled 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 practice that circles the perimeter, it’s straightforward to see how the park is a enjoyable, family-friendly day trip.

Extra data: Pioneer Park

14. Fairbanks Group 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 frequently spotlight native artists and neighborhood occasions. You’ll acquire a deeper understanding of how this vibrant metropolis got here to be.

Extra data: Fairbanks Community Museum

15. Alyeska Pipeline Customer Heart

Located alongside the enduring Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), this distinctive attraction gives a captivating journey by way of the historical past, expertise, and environmental affect of one of many world’s largest pipeline methods. As you step into the guests heart, 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 in-built response to America’s rising demand for oil within the Nineteen Seventies and has been working safely ever since.

The customer heart offers a superb alternative to find out about how TAPS operates and its important position in transporting crude oil throughout this huge state. Partaking reveals showcase varied features of pipeline development, upkeep, and security protocols. You’ll acquire insights into the intricate engineering methods used to beat challenges comparable to permafrost situations and wildlife conservation efforts carried out alongside its route.

Pipeline Alley

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 capabilities. Marvel at its measurement and energy whereas studying concerning the revolutionary measures taken to guard it from excessive climate situations like earthquakes and avalanches.

For these occupied with environmental stewardship, there are interactive shows that delve into Alyeska Pipeline Service Firm’s dedication to minimizing impacts on native ecosystems. Uncover their intensive monitoring applications 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 folks – this can be 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 knowledge and observations into data helpful for state, Arctic, and nationwide priorities.

World-class researchers examine all the things from the middle of the Earth to the middle of the Solar. After I was researching a narrative concerning the northern lights in Fairbanks, I truly was capable of meet with a few of the scientists at GI and speak to them about aurora on different planets.

Nonetheless, for the vacationer – you can even go to the institute and study extra about their analysis. They provide free public excursions in the summertime weekly on Wednesdays at 1 PM. Should you can’t make that point, they’ve self-guided excursions you are able to do. Additionally they run excursions out at Poker Flat Analysis Vary. Poker Flat is the most important land-based rocket analysis vary on this planet and the one high-latitude rocket vary in america. Be part of a tour to study concerning the thrilling science that occurs on the vary and see a few of the services, together with the blockhouse complicated and the launch pads.

Extra Info: Geophysical Institute | Poker Flat Tours

Take a look at the Fairbanks meals scene

Most individuals come to Fairbanks for journey – and there’s loads of that. Nonetheless one of many stunning issues about Fairbanks is the meals scene. For a city of 30,000 folks, 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 once 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 folks into the Alaska inside for gold mining; when that didn’t pan out, many stayed needing a livelihood. Eating places adopted. I recommend you attempt Thai Home and Bahn Thai – all the things is scrumptious – and genuine!

Extra data: Thai House Restaurant

18. Attempt Moldovan Meals at Soba

Sure – you learn that proper – there’s a Moldova restaurant in Fairbanks. I’m fairly certain my house 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

Photo of sign above restaurant The Crepery in Fairbanks

The Crepery is the place to be in downtown Fairbanks. It’s a well-liked cease for locals and vacationers. They serve up candy and savory crepes and it’s a favourite place of mine for lunch. Well-liked fillings embrace 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 considered one 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. In all places 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 move and the float planes land. The Pump Home serves extra conventional Alaskan truthful comparable to steaks and seafood. Count on huge parts and nice drinks too.

Extra data: The Pump House

Fairbanks Alaska – Your House Base for Winter Enjoyable

Fairbanks is the place all of the Alaska winter enjoyable appears to occur. Not like summer time the place so many tour choices are about cruises, the winter in Alaska is concerning the inside and survival.

Touring overland in summer time is a troublesome course of; Alaska’s panorama is made up of numerous spongy tundra (permafrost covers half of Alaska) and there are few roads. However winter immediately makes all the things accessible. Rivers freeze and turn into highways to maneuver round on. The bottom hardens and immediately 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’re pondering – it’s too chilly, there’s an excessive amount of snow, it’s too darkish. Nonetheless, if you’re going for a winter trip – don’t you need snow? And if you’re going to see the Northern Lights – don’t you need darkness?

You is likely to be shocked to seek out out that the coastal areas don’t get as chilly as you suppose – they not often fall beneath 20F aside from the occasional storm. Up within the Arctic areas, they don’t get a lot snow as a result of it’s thought of a desert.

Nonetheless, Alaska’s inside does get chilly and has plenty of snow. There chances are you’ll expertise temperatures dipping into the -20F vary and get plenty of snow that may stick round all winter from October by way of March. All Alaskans know that you simply fight winter climate with the appropriate gear. If in case you have the appropriate gear – you’ll be able to take pleasure in Alaska winter – even in Fairbanks!

I’ve traveled to some fairly chilly locations world wide and have discovered some key gear that I tackle each winter journey. Take a look at my list of extreme winter gear I use

Month-to-month temperatures Coastal and Inside Alaska

See the current Alaska weather conditions here.

Alaska Winter Driving

Most of those locations I’ve talked about do require a rental automotive, but it surely’s value it to courageous the winter roads in an effort to get out and have all of those great experiences. It’s straightforward to hire a automotive on the Fairbanks airport. I used Avis, however there are a selection of choices.

I’d completely get an all-wheel drive car although as it’s essential and there have been a couple of occasions once I was driving by way of numerous snow on not-so-well-plowed again nation roads!

Do notice that Fairbanks and the encompassing space don’t use salt on their roads, however that doesn’t appear to hassle the locals a lot and I used to be capable of get round nice.

Plus should you go to Alaska within the winter, you get launched to the distinctive Alaska winter tradition of plugging in your automotive at night time! Sure, that’s proper, your rental automotive will include an electrical chord that you should use to plug in your automotive in every single place you go and keep the engine block from freezing.

Extra data: Fairbanks Rental Cars

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. Nonetheless, that’s the precise purpose why I assumed Fairbanks can be the right place to go for an Alaska winter journey – I wished 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 time costs, and fairly a bit lower than different hearty additional flung Scandinavian winter locations.

And whereas a Fairbanks Northern Lights trip 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 fans! Should you’re trying to expertise the fun of catching fish by way of a frozen lake’s icy floor, look no additional than this unimaginable 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 gorgeous frozen lakes and rivers that rework right into a winter playground for ice-fishing fans. 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 comparable to Arctic char, northern pike, rainbow trout, and burbot.

Fairbanks ice fishing

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. Should you go along with a information – you’ll have all the things 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 Guide 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 gorgeous 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 method of transportation by indigenous peoples, at present it has advanced into a well-liked leisure sport and vacationer attraction. In Fairbanks, the place winters are lengthy and snow is ample, canine mushing stays deeply ingrained in native traditions.

The true stars of canine sledding are undoubtedly the unimaginable sled canine themselves. These extremely educated canine athletes possess exceptional endurance and energy. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Alaskan Huskies are generally discovered breeds in sled canine groups as a consequence of their distinctive cold-weather adaptability.

Fairbanks boasts an in depth community of well-groomed trails that wind by way 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 comparable to Denali Nationwide Park – there’s one thing for everybody!

Go to Mushing Faculty and discover ways to function a canine sledding crew

There are such a lot of decisions and types to select from round Fairbanks for canine mushing. Nonetheless, I used to be on the lookout for a extra hands-on expertise as I wished to study extra about how one can mush my very own crew. Discover Fairbanks beneficial I take a look at a brand new, younger operation in Two Rivers, The Last Frontier Mushing Co-op.

Not solely did I discover ways to mush your personal crew in a half-day ‘mushing faculty’ tour, however I additionally discovered 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 wish to supply guests an actual immersive expertise at their sled canine kennels. Their objective is to have folks see how a lot the canine love their job and expertise the true Alaska.

alaska dog mushing last frontier

However I have to warn you, when you discover ways to mush your personal crew of canine, you’ll by no means wish to return to easily driving in a canine sled once more. I used to be bitten by the dog sledding Alaska bug and may’t wait to return once more!

Extra data: Last Frontier Mushing Co-op. Positioned simply half-hour exterior of Fairbanks, the Co-op gives day excursions, expedition-style excursions, and aurora excursions! Examine and see my mushing school experience.

23. Winter Heat-Up at Chena Scorching Springs – Day Journey

One of the vital common stops round Fairbanks is a visit to Chena Scorching Springs. Simply hop on the Chena Scorching Springs street and drive it till the top – about an hour from Fairbanks. You’ll arrive at a heat and toasty Alaskan winter wonderland.

This can be a greater vacationer operation than the others I discussed above, nevertheless, it’s value a cease – particularly within the winter! It’s not simply concerning the sizzling 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.

Nonetheless, we booked a bit of cabin set away from different housing and loved our heat cozy spot whereas the snow fell exterior. After an enormous hike, we went for a soak within the sizzling springs at night time. The wind was blustery and the snow was flying whereas we had a surreal expertise floating across the many artifical sizzling spring swimming pools within the night. It was simply what our sore legs wanted! Sadly the gorgeous snowfall ruined our possibilities to see aurora there, but it surely’s an awesome spot to situate your self to see the aurora!

Extra data: Chena Hot Springs Resort. Spend an evening or two off-grid on this idyllic spot and spring! Learn reviews of Chena Hot Springs on Trip Advisor.

24. View the Northern Lights

Fairbanks is among the prime spots on Earth for witnessing the breathtaking spectacle often 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 situations for recognizing these shimmering Northern Lights.

Location issues! To maximise your probabilities of recognizing the Northern Lights, escape from town lights. Head out to distant areas away from gentle air pollution or get cozy at considered one 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, remember that one of many the reason why Fairbanks (the inside) is such an awesome place to view the northern lights is as a result of it’s inland and normally has clear skies. Not like the coastal areas and nations like Iceland.

In the case of witnessing the celestial Aurora Borealis portray its method throughout Alaska’s skies, persistence is vital — except you’ve been blessed by some kind of cosmic cheat code! Typically the Northern Lights seem early; typically they make you wait.

Have an Alaska Aurora Expertise at Aurora Bear

Frank and Miriam will gladly welcome you into their house and Alaska lifestyle on their off-grid house an hour north of Fairbanks. They provide nightly Northern Lights tours and images instruction. They solely tackle small teams to allow them to present an intimate stage of service since they’re internet hosting you of their house. They’re located completely for Northern Lights viewing north of Fairbanks beneath the aurora oval and amongst a backdrop of gorgeous forest.

As well as, they share their attention-grabbing perspective on Alaska since they each got here from Germany not too long ago and determined to make this their new house. They fell in love with the Alaskan wilderness and have embraced it as their new house.

All of us grew to become quick pals and even got here again out to satisfy 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!

Extra data: Watch the aurora or discover ways to {photograph} it at Aurora Bear. Learn reviews of Aurora Bear on TripAdvisor.

25. Go to Denali and experience the Winter Aurora Practice – Day Journey

Alaska Train trips winter

Most individuals suppose that Denali Nationwide Park is simply open in the summertime, but it surely’s truly open year-round! Winter is a good time to go to Denali Nationwide Park because the crowds have all left, and also you’ll discover that you’ve got the place to your self! Cease in on the customer heart and ask to ‘borrow’ some snow footwear and poles, and also you’ll be capable to tackle a few of the winter trails.

Denali is a couple of 2-hour drive south of Fairbanks, however if you’d like an actual distinctive journey take the Denali in a Day Alaska winter train trip the place you’re 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 through the Alaska Railroad!

Today tour permits you to go to Denali Nationwide Park, and experience the winter practice all utilizing Fairbanks as your hub! Read about my winter train experience here.

Extra data: Denali in a Day on the AKRR Website

All aboard the Alaska Railroad: See the final frontier by practice

26. Snowshoeing Nature Walks

Numerous locations in Fairbanks supply snowshoeing excursions within the winter. However should you actually wish to get out and respect the outside, study concerning the winter natural world, and the ecosystem of life amongst all of the snow – you then wish to take a look at Leaf Out Excursions.

This can be a native small operator that I take advantage of on my Ottsworld Alaska winter excursions. I like to help small companies once I journey, so once 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 discovered SO MUCH. I performed “Guess that Skat”, discovered about studying animal tracks within the snow and understanding which method they had been strolling, and discovered that squirrels are messy eaters!

If you’re touring independently round Fairbanks – make sure to search for Leaf Out and meet Shannon for a hike or snowshoe – she’s a wealth of data and a type of superior bad-ass Alaska girls.

Extra Info: 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 all the time 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. Should 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.

Fairbanks Curling Center

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’s all the time 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 discover ways to curl your self! I’ve this as an exercise in my Ottsworld Alaska winter tour and it’s all the time a spotlight. Or you’ll be able to all the time go to the Fairbanks Curling Membership web site and ask about newbie programs!

Extra Info: Fairbanks Curling Club

28. Fairbanks Ice Carving

Fairbanks is house to the World Ice Carving Championship. Every February the perfect ice sculptors on this planet compete. So in fact, if you’re visiting in the course of the championship – it is best to positively head to the Ice Park and test it out and see the artists in motion.

Fairbanks Ice Sculpture Park

Even after the competitors is over – the ice sculptures stay on show and you’ll stroll by way 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 value it to see these distinctive artworks. It’s notably stunning at night time when the sculptures are lit up and appear to glow.

Fairbanks Ice Museum

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 courses so you’ll be able to discover ways to carve your personal ice artwork!

Extra Info: Fairbanks Ice Museum | Ice Alaska – Ice Carving Championship and Ice Park

29. Snow Machining

Whereas in Fairbanks, ensure 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 variety of locations the place you’ll be able to ebook 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 a variety of completely different excursions and you’ll mix them with issues like ice fishing or canine sledding.

Fairbanks Alaska Winter Chena hot springs

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’ll present all the heat winter gear you want together with boots and gloves. The snowmobiles are additionally in actually nice situation. I additionally cherished that they gave you time by yourself to simply zip across the lake and have a look by your self with out having to all the time comply with the group!

Extra Info: Rod’s Alaskan Guide Service Snowmobiling Tours

Now you’re all set to expertise winter and summer time adventures in and outdoors of Fairbanks!

The place to remain in Fairbanks

Springhill Suites

This can be a very nice resort 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 presents, and the Ice Museum. Plus, it’s near the river and you are able to do a variety of good walks across the river.

Fairbanks Springhill Suites

Test costs and availability for the Springhill Suites Downtown | Learn reviews for the Springhill Suites on TripAdvisor | Seek for different hotels in Fairbanks

Pike’s Waterfront Lodge

Positioned on the banks of the Chena River – this huge lodge is a good location for the airport and the practice station. It has a beautiful restaurant related to it and within the winter they even have some particular aurora viewing areas arrange the place you’ll be able to preserve heat whereas ready. There’s all the time numerous hustle and bustle at this lodge!

pikes waterfront lodge fairbanks

Test costs and availability for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge | Learn reviews for Pike’s Waterfront Lodge on TripAdvisor | Seek for different hotels in Fairbanks

Bear Lodge at Wedgewood

That is additionally a fairly large resort usually utilized by cruise corporations in the summertime. The resort is sweet and it’s positioned by many issues on this checklist – like Creamers Area, Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary and Trails, and the Vintage Automotive Museum.

Test costs and availability for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood | Learn opinions for Bear Lodge at Wedgewood on TripAdvisor | Seek for different hotels in Fairbanks

Lodging exterior of Fairbanks

If you wish to get actually off the overwhelmed path, then go spend an evening exterior of Fairbanks on the Lodge at Black Rapids.

Lodge at Black Rapids – a Trendy-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 product of slate and timber was made by hand by homeowners Annie and Mike Hopper.

Alaska winter Black Rapids
Visiting an ice cave close to Lodge at Black Rapids

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 outdated foremost freeway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Nonetheless, now for the reason that new Parks Freeway has been constructed, this route by way of the Jap Alaska Vary has turn into the street much less traveled and is seldom seen by vacationers.

Uncover all of the things to do in Anchorage in Summer or Winter

As well as, this route was additionally house to historic roadhouses that had been constructed to serve vacationers again in 1904 touring the Valdez-Fairbanks path. In actual fact, Annie has a ‘labor of affection’ undertaking at the moment restoring the old Black Rapids roadhouse that sits just under the brand new lodge.

Black Rapids Lodge is kind of like a modern-day roadhouse; a spot to cease, get a heat meal, a snug mattress, and native hospitality. However not like conventional roadhouses, you’ll wish to keep some time as a result of Annie and Michael have an unimaginable checklist of out of doors winter adventures so that you can pattern.

The most effective actions they provide is a snowshoeing adventure to a close-by ice cave. Black Rapids equipped all the gear and are completely satisfied to lend further heat climate gear should you want it. You are able to do these hikes or snowboarding independently or rent an area information through Black Rapids.

The rugged luxurious lodge is simply the way you wish to spend your winter in Alaska; having fun with the outside after which having a heat, comfy place to come back ‘house’ to with a bit of pampering. It’s a spot the place you’ll really feel instantly at house.

Keep at The Lodge at Black Rapids for a weekend and have a number of adventures! Learn reviews for The Lodge at Black Rapids on TripAdvisor

See my tales on different ‘underdog’ cities and areas you shouldn’t overlook

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Thuringia Germany Highway Journey
Southern Queensland Australia
Costa Brava because the ‘new’ Tuscany

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