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Set at the tip of the Seward Peninsula and overlooking the Bering Sea, Nome may well be Alaska’s most exciting destination for independent adventurers. It’s also the most famous gold rush town in Alaska—home of the last great gold stampede in the history of the American West.
Nome lies just 90 minutes by jet from Anchorage, but its remote location and 350 miles of roads radiating from town mean you can drive deep into some of Alaska’s most scenic, pristine country. With no trees around (the nearest tree is 100 miles away), you can see forever across a gentle landscape of rolling tundra, crystal clear rivers, and wide sandy beaches. Chances are you’ll spot musk oxen, reindeer, and other wildlife—but not many other cars. When that happens, you can be sure you’ll get a wave from the friendly locals.
It’s hard to believe Nome was once 10 times larger—that is, until you’ll find yourself surrounded by abandoned mining dredges and turn-of-the-century railroads melting into the tundra. And don’t think big strikes are a thing of the past, gold-rush fever lives on: pick up a gold pan and head for the beach where you’re free to keep what you find. You’ll also see modern-day prospectors at work.
Nome is also a great jumping-off point to explore the villages of the Bering Straits (or even Russia). Take a 30-minute mail-plane flight and you can be walking the dirt pathways of an Eskimo village still untouched by modern tourism: no hotels, no professional tour guides, few facilities—just you and friendly villagers who invariably come up and ask for your story.
The list of superlatives here is almost endless: Nome is so wild, it serves as the finish of the 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage each March. It’s one of the world’s top birding destinations, as it lies right on the Eurasian migratory path. And you’ll find Alaska’s best native ivory carvings, baskets, and skin sewing in this region.
Nome is your road to the past, about as far away as you can get in Alaska while still enjoying the conveniences of the modern world.
We recommend two hotels in Nome. Both of these Nome hotels are downtown and just a few blocks from each other. If you’re planning on visiting fly-in native villages in the Nome region, consider flying out for day trips and lodging in Nome for the night.