If seeing the Northern Lights (AKA Aurora Borealis) has been on your bucket list since forever, you’ll definitely want to plan a trip to Rivers Edge campground. This is one of the best places in America to see the northern lights in all their glowing neon glory. The northern lights do in fact occur year-round, sadly, during the summer it’s very difficult to see them due to the fact that it’s daylight for much longer. In winter, on clear, dark nights you’ll be able to see the incredible displays of aurora activity. There are also some opportunities for sightings in Spring and Fall.
Alaska, in general, is without a doubt, one of America’s prettiest states. All of that rugged, untouched wilderness is begging to be explored, and there’s nothing else in the country quite like it. But Alaska is also massive (it’s bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined!), so deciding where to start your trip into the north can be a little overwhelming. Fairbanks makes a good starting point: It’s big enough that you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained, but it maintains a small-town charm. Load up the RV, and hit the road for Fairbanks—and the Alaskan adventure of a lifetime!
Rivers Edge Resort
Rivers Edge Resort is the perfect place to set up home base for your trip. The RV park has spacious sites with hookups right on the gorgeous Chena River and it even will provide ticketing for and transportation to some of the major attractions in the city, so you don’t even have to unhook to explore. Take some time to wander around the lovely lodge—the courtyard is a great place to relax with a cup of coffee. Bonus: Camping out in an RV means that hopping outside to see the Northern Lights is super easy!
You don’t have to go very far from Fairbanks to find yourself in the Alaskan wilderness: The White Mountains Recreation Area is about an hour away, and it’s absolutely worth the trip. There are tons of trails (the Table Top Mountain Loop is only about three miles and makes for a great day hike), great fishing, and serene camping, and you can even pan for gold, just like the old-time prospectors who first settled the state!
Georgeson Botanical Garden
Alaska isn’t a glacier-covered winter wonderland all year round… it features all kinds of plants and flowers! The University of Alaska Fairbanks Georgeson Botanical Garden is the foremost source on growing anything in subarctic climates. Not only is it a beautiful place for a stroll (they have some of the best displays of peonies), but the gardens also are doing research on growing important plants in Alaska. And, they have a children’s garden as well!
Morris Thompson Culture and Visitors Center
One of the things that make Alaska such a cool place is the culture—it’s so different from anywhere else in America. The Morris Thompson Culture and Visitors Center is a free museum that highlights the multitude of things that have combined to create the unique culture of the Alaskan interior. Inside, you’ll find Native American artifacts, displays about Denali National Park, info about dog sledding, and tons more. It’s a great introduction to Fairbanks!
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
Alaska is a pretty big and remote place, so of course transportation is super important to the state’s history. The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum does a great job of looking at Alaska’s unique motoring history, and it features an impressive collection of more than 80 vintage cars, from Victorian-era autos to more modern vehicles. Even if cars aren’t your thing, you’ll probably appreciate the unique displays of driving clothes!
Take a train ride back in time to Gold Dredge 8, where you’ll learn about Alaska’s gold rush history! You’ll see the gold dredge in action, learn how it dug up the precious nuggets, and even get to try panning for gold yourself. Who knows… you might even strike it rich!
Running Reindeer Ranch
The wildlife in Alaska is pretty unique, too. Where else in the country can you hang out with Rudolph and play some reindeer games? Running Reindeer Ranch lets you stroll around the forest with real, live reindeer and watch them in their natural environment. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable about the creatures and offer up tons of information and stories. Bring along a camera, because a picture with a reindeer will probably make for a good Christmas card photo.
Museum of the North
Prehistoric creatures, modern-day wildlife, the gold rush, the oil boom, Native tribes, the Aurora Borealis… there are so many things that make Alaska unique, and you can learn about them all at the Museum of the North. This incredibly well-curated museum—with its art gallery and hands-on science exhibits—has something for everyone!
It might not be the most expected vacation destination, but Fairbanks and the surrounding area offer an RV adventure unlike anything else—it will definitely be a trip to remember.
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