There’s a feeling of undeserved shame that comes with visiting Alaska in the winter and not seeing the northern lights. If you went to the 49th state during aurora season — August 21 through April 21st — you can bet people will excitedly ask you, “Did you see the northern lights?” and wait hopefully for your response. Nevermind the epic dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, or other winter adventures you may have done; admitting that you missed the lights will be met with a deflated “Oh…” and a quick change of subject.
Alaska is almost synonymous with the aurora borealis; it captures our imaginations like a mythological phenomenon and many plan their entire vacations solely around seeing them. Although not seeing the lights won’t ruin your trip, let’s be real. Seeing them will make it a whole lot better. Whether you’re already planning an Alaska trip or heading to the Last Frontier specifically to chase the lights, make sure you budget a few days to see the northern lights in Fairbanks.