Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   Fairbanks Activities in Feb for Aurora Viewing (

lisaroberts Jan 2nd, 2018 11:16 AM

Fairbanks Activities in Feb for Aurora Viewing
This February my husband, our 15 year old son and I will be traveling to Fairbanks February 15-19th. The main impetus for the trip is to (hopefully) see the Northern Lights. We are staying in the Log House at the Taste of Alaska Lodge. The new moon is February 15th. On our itinerary are Dog Sledding, Ice Fishing, Snow Mobiling, Chena Hot Springs, Ice Museum and potentially the Auto Museum and North Pole. No activities are booked yet and I want to do that this week. I've done a lot of research on the various tours but my main question is what activities to schedule during the day vs. the evening. I have read some of the active tours I mentioned also run during the evening with the hope of seeing the lights while on tour. Some of my concerns are...will the night activities be so cold as to diminish their enjoyment? Assuming we DON'T see the lights during the tour, will we wish we had simply booked for a day tour? If we are up all night chasing lights, will there be no time during the day for activities (sleeping or exhausted)? Is it better to use our daylight hours for activities and simply drive to viewing spots ourselves (or step outside our cabin) to view the lights should they occur? Advice from experienced travelers would be appreciated. Specific recommendations for providers especially appreciated, including any apps that are useful to predict/alert us to aurora activity.

WhereAreWe Jan 2nd, 2018 01:03 PM

Impossible to predict what the temps will be for your trip. Average low is about -10 F.

Of the activities you list, I definitely wouldn't want to go dog sledding at night (I doubt that's even an option). Snowmobiling would be better during the day as well - otherwise you miss all the scenery.

Ice fishing is fine whenever, you would probably have a heated shelter for that.

Chena Hot Springs is 18+ for the outdoor hot springs. That would be a perfect night time activity but what will your son do during that time?

Prime time for aurora viewing is usually 9 pm to 1 am but that varies. Does the Alaska Lodge provide any sort of wake up call when activity is occuring? Some lodging facilities will do that so I'd ask them about that option. Better to get a call when the aurora appears than stay up for hours waiting.

Also, twilight/daylight is 8 am to 6 pm. You'll have plenty of night time hours to catch up on sleep so I wouldn't worry about being exhausted and not getting enough sleep.

Personally, I would check some forecast websites, ask for a wake up call and just step outside or drive somewhere nearby rather than take an aurora tour. If there's a specific tour that looks great even if there's no aurora activity, go for it. But I wouldn't book a tour specifically for aurora viewing.

tomfuller Jan 2nd, 2018 03:06 PM

While in Fairbanks you will want to visit Pioneer Park.
There is a small aircraft museum in the middle of the park.
There is a great museum on the campus of UA Fairbanks.
Get away from the city lights of Fairbanks for the best view of the Northern Lights and the stars.
I read somewhere that there is a NL viewing shed at Cheena Hot Springs.
Go someplace that has people that watch the skies and will wake you if they show up.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:20 AM.