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Aurora borealis vacation

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Mendocino, CA
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Aurora borealis vacation

We are hoping to make a trip to Alaska during February or March, 2006 specifically to see the aurora borealis. We know that whether the "lights" are seen is a gamble, but we'd sure appreciate any information that could help put the odds in our favor. We would like some suggestions where to stay during our trip and if any lodgings specialize in aurora borealis vacations. Thank you.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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1. Re: Aurora borealis vacation

For Aurora Borealis, there is a great place 50 or so miles from Fairbanks....called Chena Hot Springs


This is a really neat hot springs resort with great views of the aurora borealis.

They also have a fair number of outside activities


Aurora Borealis is amazing to see.....

(Note: Just be prepared for it to be dark most of the time during these 2 months. For example, Dec. 21,

daylight hours is: Fairbanks, 3 hours, 42 minutes)

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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2. Re: Aurora borealis vacation

Well, we don't get many tourists wanting to come up here in Feb, that is for sure! You would get some great deals on hotels and such. :) The prices usually drop in half in September-April. The interior tends to have colder and clear weather, whereas the Anchorage area is warmer, but can be overcast. Just to warn you, it could be bitterly cold in February - 50-60 below zero. March is generally a bit warmer and the sun is beginning to come back some. As recommended, you would probably enjoy Chena Hot Springs. There are several nice hotels in Fairbanks: The Princess Hotel, Pike's Landing, Springhill Suites (Marriot). There are also many fine B&B's, too. You would also be able to check out the museum at the University, too. Many typical tourist attractions will not be open then, but you could do something totally different, like go on a dog sled ride. Hope this helps some in your planning. :)

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3. Re: Aurora borealis vacation

My partner & I took a trip to Fairbanks & Chena Hot Springs on 23rd March 2005 and stayed for 5 nights in a bid to see them (unfortunately we did not). However the general stat to be aware of that I have found on a couple of websites is that if you are in Fairbanks for 3 nights or more in mid to late March you have an 80% chance of seeing the lights. We found that just as we left Chena and went to Fairbanks the lights came out and as we were downtown Fairbanks the city lights meant we didn't get to see them. However we did attend the World Ice Art Championship and saw a glow. If you are planning on going to Fairbanks, check to see if they have any Ice Art competitions on as these are worth checking out.

Chena arrange for a snow cat at a cost (check their website) for trips to a higher point so you can get a good view of the lights. A word of warning - keep an eye on the weather conditions and if you book and find the night is going to be cloudy make sure you give enough notice to cancel. Otherwise you may only get a 50% refund.

If you stay in Fairbanks it's worth knowing the bigger chain restaurants are located on the outskirts (we found them when we were on our way back to the hotel as we hadn't hired a car). We stayed in the Springhill Suites which was a great hotel and cheap too (in comparison to other larger hotels). It's also located across the road from the Visitors Convention Bureau and next to The Fudge Pot (worth a look).