With three days in Fairbanks, you’ll be able to see the city’s most popular sights and still have time for an adventure above the Arctic Circle. Guided outdoor excursions offer a chance to reach remote areas and enjoy the outdoors in every season. Here are just a few suggestions for how to spend your three days in Fairbanks.
Day 1: Enjoy the City Sights
Kick off your trip to Fairbanks with a history and culture-focused tour of top city sights. Visit the Museum of the North to see Alaska’s largest public display of gold, then head to the Santa Claus House in the town of North Pole, where Christmas is celebrated all year round. Don’t miss the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint and the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.
In the afternoon, get a hands-on lesson about Alaska’s gold rush history: Take a narrow-gauge train ride to the Gold Dredge 8 historic mining site, and learn how to pan for gold. If you strike it rich, you’ll be able to take home whatever you find. In the evening, check out one of Fairbank’s many breweries or distilleries, or head out of the city for a northern lights viewing tour.
Day 2: Venture Above the Arctic Circle
Fairbanks is often referred to as the gateway to the arctic, so on your second day, take a trip above the Arctic Circle for a glimpse into the real wilds of Alaska. Several companies offer tours into the Arctic, which range from simple driving tours to flightseeing adventures that take you to remote villages.
To go it alone, take a drive on the Dalton Highway, one of only two roads in North America that crosses the Arctic Circle. Before you go, just make sure your rental car agreement allows travel on this rugged dirt highway; the road can be rough and difficult to travel on during inclement weather. Alternatively, spend the day touring the White Mountains National Recreation Area and enjoy a guided hike to Wickersham Dome (in summer) or a snowmobile tour (in winter).
Day 3: Nature and Outdoor Fun
Spend your last day in Fairbanks enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds the city. The nearby Chena River State Recreation Area offers ample outdoor adventures including hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and paddling. During the winter, the park offers several guided snowshoe hikes, ice fishing excursions, snowmobile trips, and dog-mushing adventures.
Go all out on your final evening in Fairbanks, and enjoy a soak in the Chena Hot Springs. The springs were discovered over a hundred years ago when miners saw steam rising out of a distant valley. Today the springs are part of a full-service, year-round resort. Evening tours to Chena Hot Springs depart from Fairbanks, and many include a northern lights experience. While in the area, be sure to check out the quirky ice sculptures at the nearby Aurora Ice Museum.