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The best hotels in North America to see the northern lights

The best hotels in North America to see the northern lights
Posted at 8:30 AM, Mar 27, 2024

If seeing the northern lights is on your bucket list, this coming fall and winter might be the perfect time to make it happen. 2024 is predicted to be one of the best years to see the northern lights, or the aurora borealis as they’re otherwise called, in decades. To see the northern lights, you’ll want to head to Canada and the northernmost parts of the U.S., like Alaska, during the peak viewing season. That’s typically thought to be around September 2024 through early spring 2025.

While you could plan a trip to Europe to view the lights, there’s no need to leave the continent if you don’t want to. There are more than a few places where you can see them in the U.S. and Canada. Here are some of the best hotels in prime northern lights viewing locations.

MORE: You’re guaranteed to see the northern lights on these cruises

Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks, Alaska

Want to enjoy the northern lights while relaxing in a warm, natural hot spring lake? If so, the Chena Hot Springs Resort in Alaska — where you can also catch the aurora borealis from a yurt on top of a nearby mountain — should be on your radar.

The resort offers a wide range of rooms and cabins to stay in during the winter season and will even provide a northern-lights wake-up call on request if you’re concerned you might accidentally sleep through it. Tours of the Aurora Ice Museum in Fairbanks, as well as spa treatments, dog sled tours and ice fishing are among the other activities you can enjoy while staying at the resort.

In this Facebook post, you can see one of the cabins available; they run $180-$300 per night. These have no running water. Other options include yurts at a lower price or Moose Lodge hotel-style rooms for $289.99 and up. You can also book your room on Expedia.

Alaska Grizzly Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Another option on the outskirts of Fairbanks, Alaska to see the northern lights is the Alaska Grizzly Lodge. This cozy bed and breakfast boasts 12 rooms with either a private balcony or deck to watch the aurora borealis. A wake-up call can be provided so you don’t miss the lights, and an aurora guide is available to answer any questions or provide tips on how to best photograph the lights. Afterward, enjoy the homemade breakfast that’s included in the nightly rate. A variety of winter activities can also be arranged for an additional fee, and moose and other wildlife are a common sight around the lodge.

As you can see, this place has great viewing of the northern lights. You can look for rooms on Expedia for the 2024-2025 season.

Aurora Borealis Lodge in Fairbanks, Alaska

Located 20 miles north of downtown Fairbanks, Alaska in a remote area, the aptly named Aurora Borealis Lodge offers prime northern lights viewing from any of its north-facing rooms during peak season (mid-August to mid-April). While there’s no restaurant on-site or nearby, every room comes with its own private kitchen. Additionally, the hotel offers nighttime aurora borealis tours for anyone not staying at the lodge.

Nightly rates start at $229 for the 2024-2025 season. Here’s a Facebook post showing the site at the beginning of the year.

Borealis Basecamp in Fairbanks, Alaska

Also located in the Alaskan wilderness 25 miles from Fairbanks, Borealis Basecamp boasts northern lights igloos and family-friendly cube rooms to take in the northern lights. The fiberglass igloo rooms feature a 16-foot window on the roof, so you can take in the northern lights even while lying down. The cube rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows. The hotel offers two-, three- or four-night packages that include accommodations and shuttle transportation to and from the hotel or Fairbanks International Airport. You can also experience dog sledding and snowmobile tours and there is a restaurant on-site.

The viewing has been great in this area in March, according to the Facebook page. These pictures showcase the glass-windowed igloos that offer such great northern lights viewing. And two-night stay packages start at $980 per person for winter 2024-2025.

Northern Lights Resort & Spa in Whitehorse, Canada

For a unique way to experience the northern lights, look no further than the Northern Lights Resort & Spa in Canada. This adults-only Yukon igloo hotel offers glass chalet rooms that feature floor-to-ceiling windows to better view the aurora borealis. The resort also offers four traditional log cabin rooms — but the glass rooms are truly the draw with their wrap-around windows. During the day, you can also enjoy a massage at the resort’s spa, explore the Yukon area with a guided tour, or go snowmobiling or dog sledding.

In this Facebook post, you can see both the Aurora Glass Chalet rooms and the log cabins, which they call Alpine Chalets. Packages here cost $1,025 USD per person and up.

Blachford Lake Lodge & Wilderness Resort in Yellowknife, Canada

Overlooking a beautiful lake in Northern Canada, this five-cabin lodge is located in a remote location that’s only accessible by a 25-minute bush plane on skis. It once hosted Prince William and Princess Kate during their royal tour of Canada. Because of its remoteness, it offers a fantastic viewing location of the northern lights that is unhampered by city or street light pollution.

The lodge’s accommodations feature rustic rooms with wood-burning stoves and large windows. Some have bunk beds to accommodate families. Keep in mind that showers are shared facilities in the main lodge, although there is a wash basin and composting-style toilet in each room. Activities available at the lodge include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even seasonal igloo-building.

Check out this view! Even if you don’t see the northern lights, you’ll love the landscape. Three-night packages cost $1,902 USD and up.

Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park, Alaska

If money is no object, consider the Sheldon Chalet located inside Denali National Park. To access it, you’ll be picked up by helicopter from Anchorage or Talkeetna and flown to the chalet’s remote location that’s perched on top of a ridge overlooking fields of ice.

Although the chalet is truly off the grid with no internet access, you can take in your environment during the day by skiing, sledding or hiking through the glaciers. At night, enjoy a chef-prepared meal and view the aurora borealis from the chalet’s incredible vantage points, including any of its five guest rooms.

In this image from several years ago, you can see a hint of the spectacular early-morning mountain scenery available from your accommodations. According to Travel and Leisure, your stay will cost $32,000 a night and there’s a three-night minimum.

Hill’s Resort in Priest Lake, Idaho

To see the northern lights without leaving the lower 48 states, the 58-room Hill’s Resort in northern Idaho may be a great option. The hotel’s lakefront dock and beach are prime viewing spots to try to catch the aurora borealis, while its rustic rooms all come equipped with a fireplace to warm you up when you come back inside. During the day, the hotel offers a variety of activities to keep you busy, from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to sledding and snowmobiling. A restaurant is also located on the property.

Remember, seeing the northern lights is never a guarantee. For the best opportunity to see them, you’ll need clear, cloudless weather and a view unhampered by mountains or tall trees. But if you’re lucky enough to glimpse the aurora borealis, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Check out this view! This looks like a great place to stay, northern lights or not. Check the website for nightly rates.

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