Where is the weirdest place you’ve ever been? Some place that’s completely different than every other place you’ve ever visited? For me, that place is Alaska!
I’ve lived in Alaska, specifically in Fairbanks, for 4 months back in 2011 and it goes without saying that it’s the most beautiful and the weirdest place I have ever been. A lot of strange things happen. Imagine that 8 months per year, the land is covered with snow; with temperatures way bellow zero (sometimes even -50°C), and very few hours of sunlight.
An endless winter? Not so fast! The other seasons happen in the remaining 4 months and everything comes to life.
DID YOU KNOW?
The state government pays every Alaskan citizen $1000 every year if they continue to live there!
Okay, that’s weird.
REASONS TO VISIT ALASKA
- Aurora Borealis – Have you ever heard of the Northern Lights, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world? Well, that’s like a normal thing in Alaska. Starting in the fall, Aurora regularly shows up in clear night sky, all throughout the winter. I was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on my own that September of 2011, and it was one of the most remarkable experiences of my whole life! Aurora usually shows up for 10-15 minutes, and sometimes, when it’s stronger, it actually moves and changes colors.
Lucky for me, the one I saw was a “good” one. Check out the amateur picture in the slider.
- June Solstice – The natural balance to all that cold and darkness during the winter appears in June. BUT: There are almost no nights! It’s a really weird feeling – it definitely makes it hard to sleep. After you get used to it though, you can start enjoying the amazing nature that synthesizes the most amazing, summery landscapes. Flowers are everywhere, the weather is ideal for long walks by the lake, and the sunsets are simply magical.
The long summer days are celebrated at the June Summer Solstice Festival in Fairbanks, where both tourists and locals enjoy concerts, food trucks, carnival rides, and many other activities.The weirdest part? Walking out on a balcony of a nightclub at 2 am into broad daylight!
- Chena Hot Springs and Ice Museum – The Alaskan wilderness is full of hot springs and natural spas! One of the most popular is Chena Hot Springs. This natural hot spring is set in beautiful scenery, an hour drive away from Fairbanks. The exterior pool with its 4 hot springs is divine in the summer, but if you are brave enough, I heard that going there in the winter is the real deal.
Right next to Chena Hot Springs is the Aurora Ice Museum. It was initially an Ice Hotel with 4 rooms, but it was later transformed into a museum with ice sculptures, an ice bar and ice rooms!
The museum is really worth experiencing, and at the end of the tour you can relax with apple martinis in ice glasses (duh), served on an ice bar, while sitting on ice chairs. Supercool!
- Valdez and Meares Glacier Excursion – One of my favorite parts of the Alaskan experience was a road trip to Valdez. An area in the southern part of Alaska, where I had a 9-hour boat tour to Meares Glacier. That excursion was worth every penny, as you get 9 hours of uninterrupted contact with nature and wild animals. We saw seals, sea lions, beavers, and dolphins, even a blue whale AND an orca! Highly recommended!
- Fairbanks – As I lived there, I couldn’t leave Fairbanks out of my list! It only makes sense to tell you about all the fun stuff close to the area. Fairbanks is a great base if you want to explore a little bit of everything Alaska has to offer, as it is relatively close to multiple national parks, lakes, mountains and other attractions.
The second biggest city in Alaska has a lot of things going on. Great restaurants (personal favorites: Pump House Restaurant & Saloon on Chena river), amazing hipster cafes, plus stores with: local art, craft, and products. Not to mention the summer and winter: events, concerts and festivals. Add to that list hunting, fishing, camping in the wilderness, hiking trips and kayaking. Activities for all tastes!
When it comes to accommodation, you can choose from a variety of hotels and B&B cottages. the most popular hotels are Pike’s Waterfront Lodge i Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge. Here you will find premium accommodation for reasonable prices.
If you prefer to stay at a smaller, more isolated place, check out these cool B&B options:
MORE TO DO and SEE
- Denali National Park – a preserve located on Denali, the highest mountain in North America.
- Anchorage – the biggest city in Alaska.
- North Pole, Alaska – where the spirit of Christmas lives all year long.
- Arctic Circle – you can book a one-day tour to go north of the Arctic Circle. Incomparable scenery guaranteed!
- Salmon Fishing
- Book a trip with the Princess train (glass ceilings everyone!!!) from Fairbanks to Anchorage. A 13-hour trip with amazing views everywhere you might look! A great way to see a long stretch of Alaska’s nature.
There you have it! Now, the only thing left is to decide which part of the year you want to experience Alaska. You will only then realize why Alaska has my heart forever.