Aurora Borealis in Stowe Vermont, USA

The Best Places in The US to See The Northern Lights in 2024

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are among the most captivating natural phenomena on Earth. This stunning light display in the sky, caused by solar particles hitting the Earth's atmosphere, is a bucket-list experience for many. Astronomy enthusiasts, travel lovers, and nature seekers are all enchanted by its vibrant colors and dynamic patterns.

While Norway and Iceland are popular spots for seeing the Northern Lights, the United States also offers excellent opportunities to witness this celestial event. Whether you want to explore locally or plan an adventurous trip, here are the best places in the US to see the Northern Lights in 2024.

Fairbanks, Alaska

Beautiful aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fairbanks, Alaska is renowned as one of the top spots in the US to see the Northern Lights. Besides this natural wonder, Fairbanks has several other attractions worth visiting. Just an hour drive away, Chena Hot Springs Resort offers a mix of relaxation and adventure. You can soak in the mineral-rich hot springs and enjoy a clear view of the Northern Lights away from city lights in the evening.

The University of Alaska Museum of the North allows you to take in Alaska's cultural history and natural wonders. It features exhibits on Native Alaskan art and the state's wildlife, providing context for the region you're exploring. Pioneer Park in Fairbanks combines historical insight with family-friendly fun. It includes museums, replicated pioneer buildings, and an old sternwheel riverboat, making for an engaging daytime visit before the night sky lights up with the Aurora Borealis.

Denali National Park, Alaska

Northern Lights in Denali Alaska.

Denali National Park in Alaska is a fantastic place to observe the Northern Lights. Spanning over 6 million acres of untouched wilderness, the park is home to diverse wildlife and North America's tallest peak, Denali. The Eielson Visitor Center is a key spot within the park, offering educational displays about the ecosystem and serving as a great vantage point for viewing the aurora.

For a comfortable stay, McKinley Chalet Resort provides luxurious accommodations at the park's edge, making it an ideal base for exploration. Don't miss Savage River, where trails offer stunning views of the landscape and night sky during aurora season. Denali's remote location and minimal light pollution ensure an unmatched Northern Lights experience, set against some of the most dramatic natural scenery in the United States.

Coldfoot, Alaska

Camping and bonfire underneath the Aurora in Coldfoot Alaska.

Coldfoot, situated in the Brooks Mountain Range, is a hidden gem for Northern Lights fans. This small community, established during the gold rush and known for its mining history, offers an excellent spot for witnessing the auroras due to its remote, high-latitude location. Visitors can stay at the Coldfoot Camp, which provides cozy lodgings and guided aurora tours to maximize the chances of seeing the lights. Beyond aurora hunting, the area is rich in history and natural beauty.

The Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot offers valuable information about the region's ecology, geology, and cultural heritage, ideal for educational day trips. Additionally, travelers often visit the nearby Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, one of the last truly wild places in the United States, offering breathtaking landscapes and the chance to experience Alaska's rugged wilderness. Coldfoot's mix of historical charm and stunning natural scenery makes it a must-visit for anyone looking to add wonder and adventure to their Northern Lights experience.

Anchorage, Alaska

Aurora Borealis glowing green and pink over large canvas luxury camping tent in Alaska.

Anchorage, Alaska, the state's largest city, is a vibrant hub that combines urban amenities with stunning natural beauty, making it an ideal spot for viewing the Northern Lights. Though slightly further south than other prime locations, Anchorage offers great vantage points for aurora viewing along with plenty of attractions. A visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center provides insight into the rich cultural history of Alaska’s indigenous peoples, featuring traditional crafts, performances, and recreated village sites.

For those wanting to mix aurora viewing with outdoor adventures, Kincaid Park offers extensive trails and open spaces perfect for night sky observation. Additionally, the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, an 11-mile scenic path, provides beautiful views of both the city and the surrounding wilderness, making it a great daytime outing that can extend into an aurora viewing spot at night. Anchorage's mix of cultural landmarks, breathtaking scenery, and lively city life ensures a memorable Northern Lights experience with diverse and enriching activities.

Cook County, Minnesota

Northern lights over a tree in northern Minnesota.

Situated along the North Shore of Lake Superior, Cook County in Minnesota combines natural beauty with cultural landmarks, making it an excellent spot to see the Northern Lights. The region's remote location, minimal light pollution, and broad northern skies make it ideal for aurora viewing. Start your visit at Lutsen Mountains, where you can enjoy skiing or gondola rides during the day and view the night sky's auroras. For local history, check out the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center, which offers insights into the area's indigenous peoples and logging history, along with hiking trails.

Another must-see is Grand Marais, a charming harbor village known for its arts scene and scenic views. The harbor area is perfect for nighttime aurora viewing and is surrounded by unique shops, art galleries, and eateries. Whether exploring the rugged Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or enjoying the local culture, Cook County's mix of natural and historical attractions makes for an unforgettable experience.

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Northern Light on the night sky in Eagle Harbor, Michigan UP.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is a unique and often overlooked spot for observing the Northern Lights. With its vast wilderness and minimal light pollution, the region offers perfect conditions for aurora viewing. Begin your visit at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where dramatic cliffs and serene beaches provide a stunning backdrop for the night sky. During the day, explore the area's hiking trails, waterfalls, and boat tours to get a closer look at the region's natural beauty.

For a deeper nature experience, head to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. This vast park offers excellent hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting opportunities, along with numerous spots for aurora viewing. The mix of natural wonders and historical landmarks in the Upper Peninsula makes it a compelling destination.

Witness The Northern Lights In 2024

The United States offers numerous exceptional spots to experience the Northern Lights, each with its own blend of natural beauty, cultural history, and adventure. Alaska is a standout, with Fairbanks' relaxing hot springs, Denali National Park's dramatic wilderness, Coldfoot's rich mining history, and Anchorage's vibrant urban amenities. Cook County, Minnesota, combines the rugged charm of Lake Superior's North Shore with a rich cultural scene, making it ideal for aurora viewing.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan offers serene natural settings like Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, perfect for nature enthusiasts. Whether you seek remote wilderness, cultural exploration, or scenic beauty, these destinations guarantee a memorable and awe-inspiring Northern Lights adventure.


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