Top US Destinations for Witnessing the Northern Lights

Top US Destinations for Witnessing the Northern Lights

Natural Wonders 2024-01-23

Did you realize that the northern lights can be witnessed in the United States? If you happen to be in the northern region of the country this winter, direct your gaze towards the night sky to catch sight of the aurora borealis. The peak of the aurora season commences in November and extends until February, rewarding onlookers with a captivating display of vibrant colors against the backdrop of the darkest nights. Before embarking on your quest to witness this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon, don't forget to consult the official aurora forecast. Prepare your cameras, as we highlight the top US cities for experiencing the northern lights. Let's get started!

So where should one visit to experience such a breathtaking natural marvel?

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1. Fairbanks, Alaska

America's "Final Frontier" is the supreme location in the United States for observing the aurora borealis. Throughout the winter season, these captivating lights gracefully illuminate the entire state, yet Fairbanks stands out as one of the best spots in Alaska to witness this natural phenomenon. Situated just under 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks finds itself within the Auroral Oval, ensuring a higher probability of catching a glimpse of the enchanting lights. Given Fairbanks' reputation as a prime destination for experiencing the aurora borealis, there are several distinctive methods available for viewing them. Options include cozy heated igloos that offer a warm refuge from the chilly temperatures, as well as dedicated tours that specifically search for the magnificent aurora. In addition, guests can even request a wake-up call from their hotel should the lights make an appearance, enhancing their chances of witnessing this awe-inspiring spectacle.

2. Grand Marais, Minnesota

Located on the northeastern tip of Minnesota, Grand Marais is a top destination for those seeking to witness the mesmerizing northern lights in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Cook County, where Grand Marais is situated, offers a selection of recommended driving routes for northern lights enthusiasts. Among these routes are one that starts right in the town center and another that takes drivers an hour outside the city to Gunflint Lake. For an exhilarating experience, snowmobiling is a fantastic way to chase after this vibrant light display. Numerous trails are developed during the winter season, leading adventurers to remote areas that provide prime opportunities for spotting the northern lights. Similar to Kalispell, it's crucial to keep an eye on the KP-index to try and predict the potential appearance of the aurora borealis. In Grand Marais, a KP-index of 4 is often sufficient for a chance to see this captivating phenomenon. And if you're lucky, witnessing the lights reflecting off the frozen surface of Lake Superior adds an extra touch of magic to the experience.

3. Dickinson, North Dakota

Located right on the border of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Dickinson is an excellent location to consider for witnessing the breathtaking northern lights. With North Dakota being one of the least populated states in the country, there is minimal light pollution, increasing the chances of catching a glimpse of this natural phenomenon. Inkster, a town in North Dakota, is home to the University of North Dakota, which houses an observatory that constantly monitors the winter skies above the Peace Garden State for any signs of the aurora borealis. As soon as the auroras appear, subscribers receive a text alert, notifying them of the imminent light display. This is your signal to grab your camera and head out to the national park for unobstructed views of this awe-inspiring spectacle.

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