12 Day Winter Highlights & Northern Lights

12 Days

Season

Nov 15 - April 1

Transportation

Car Airplane

Why This Trip?

Alaska is a special place year-round, but it's truly unique in the fall and winter. There's world-class skiing along with classic cold-weather activities like dog sledding, ice fishing, and the thrilling opportunity to witness the northern lights. This trip gives you a chance to experience it all from both the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas. You'll also visit two special places: the glacier-filled waters of Resurrection Bay and the rugged land above the Arctic Circle!

Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive & Overnight in Anchorage


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Welcome to Anchorage! Take today to explore Alaska's largest city. Go on a city tour via trolley or bike to get an overview, or join a brewery tour and sample some of the innovative suds being brewed here. Then get an in-depth picture of the city and state at the Anchorage Museum, or visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a dose of history and culture. Of course, you'll also want to experience the city's fantastic bars and restaurants.

Day 2

Day & Overnight in Girdwood


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Today you'll be making the 45-minute drive to Girdwood, home to the world-renowned Alyeska ski resort. Get an early start if you want to hit the slopes; you could also go fat-tire biking. Or simply check into the Hotel Alyeska and bask in the luxurious surroundings. Here, you'll have the unique opportunity of looking for the northern lights; ask the hotel for an aurora wake-up call and they'll notify you if the famed aurora borealis light up the night sky.

Day 3

Day & Overnight in Girdwood


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Take advantage of another day in this world-class wonderland. Spend the day schussing down the slopes or exploring the wilderness on cross-country skis. Up the adrenaline by taking a snowmachine ride through the backcountry or taking a winter flightseeing trip. And don't forget to ask for an aurora wakeup call.

Day 4

Drive from Girdwood to Seward


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Drive the 90 miles to the quaint seaside town of Seward, where you can explore the shops and galleries. Make time for a visit to the Alaska SeaLife Center—an aquarium and research facility where you can get an up-close view of Alaska's unique marine creatures, like Stellar sea lions and harbor seals, as well as birds like puffins.

Day 5

Day & Overnight in Seward


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Take a charter cruise out on the shimmering waters of Resurrection Bay; while you won't sail super-close to glaciers, the waters are calm and you'll have plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife like whales and sea otters. Then, go cross-country skiing on some of Seward's scenic trails.

Day 6

Drive from Seward to Anchorage


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Today you'll make the 2.5-hour drive to Anchorage. If you have time, drop by the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you'll get an up-close view of some of the state's unique creatures.

Day 7

Fly from Anchorage to Fairbanks


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Catch a quick, one-hour flight to Fairbanks. If you have time once you arrive in the largest city in Alaska's interior, start exploring. Begin at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where you'll get a fascinating glimpse of the cultures and wildlife that call this part of Alaska home, as well as a deep dive into contemporary Native Alaska art. Then experience a winter activity like dog sledding, ice fishing, or snowmachining. Of course, you'll want to see the northern lights if they appear; ask your hotel to give you an aurora wake-up call.

Day 8

Day & Overnight in Fairbanks


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Take today to go on another exciting winter tour and try one of the very Alaskan sports you didn't get the chance to do yesterday. Then be sure to squeeze in a nap; you'll be taking an evening northern lights viewing tour tonight, and you'll want to be sure you're rested and ready for this magical experience.

Day 9

Day & Overnight in Fairbanks


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After a night of aurora viewing, sleep in so you'll be ready to stay up again tonight to see the lights. Take the afternoon and enjoy an activity. Then get your camera charged up so you're ready for an evening tour to look for those magical lights dancing across the sky.

Day 10

Day & Overnight in Fairbanks


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Today, you'll drive over to Chena Hot Springs, about 90 minutes away. It's a beautiful area with a fascinating history, as the springs were discovered in 1905 by gold prospectors; just seven years later, a resort built there had become the premier resort of Interior Alaska—and still is! You could choose to go with a winter sightseeing tour, where you can tour the Ice Museum, soak in the hot springs, and get another chance to see the northern lights!

Day 11

Day in Fairbanks or Anchorage


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Today you have a choice: Spend another day in Fairbanks and enjoy more activities, or make the one-hour flight back to Anchorage. If you fly back, go exploring in Alaska's largest city. Walk or bike the dramatic, 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. And go on a city tour via trolley or bike to get an overview, or join a brewery tour and sample some of the innovative suds being brewed here.

Day 12

Day in Anchorage


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It's your final day in Alaska, so enjoy it! If you've stayed in Fairbanks, you'll fly back to Anchorage today. If you're already in Anchorage, spend some more time exploring. Get an in-depth picture of the city and state at the Anchorage Museum, or visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center for a dose of history and culture. Don't forget to pick up some souvenirs before you depart!