How Long to Spend
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 about as far away as you can get in Alaska while still enjoying the conveniences of the modern world. It offers an incredible mix of Native culture, rugged Alaskan adventure, dramatic scenery, world-class sporting events, rich history, and small-town friendly.
A first-class city, Nome is the most famous gold rush town in Alaska—home of the last great gold stampede in the history of the American West. In the early 1900s, Nome drew people to its shores from all over the world. They are still coming today, especially in March for the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and in late spring for the annual migration of dozens of bird species.
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 to speak of, you can see forever across a gentle landscape of rolling tundra, crystal clear rivers, and wide sandy beaches. Chances are you’ll spot muskoxen, 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.
While visiting, feel free to join in a celebration or sporting event to get a feel for Nome as a small, community-oriented town. You’ll find plenty of opportunities, from music jams and parades to wacky events like a golf tournament on ice or bathtub race down Front Street.
It’s true that there really is “no place like Nome.” It’s a small town, but not a small place. As Virginia “Bunny” Doyle Heiner, who grew up there, once said, “The sky is big, the ocean is big and the people are big. I have always felt very privileged when I can tell people I’m from Nome. I never say Nome, Alaska. ‘Cause I assume Nome is so important that everyone knows where it is.”
Two airlines serve Nome. Alaska Airlines offers daily jet service (90 minutes non-stop). RavnAir also flies to Nome, with at least one stop on the way.
Three Days - Three Ways, Exploring Nome's Road System
We recommend staying long enough in Nome to explore its road system. Go between late spring and early fall, rent a car and then head out on each of three different roads. It’s hard to pick a favorite out of these. They all offer dramatic scenery, wildlife opportunities and cultural and historical points of interest. You’ll just have to do all three!