Seeing the northern lights grace the nightly sky is a real treat to behold. The northern lights is basically the appearance of natural lights of a color or colors that shows up in the sky at night. These are known as auroras. If you are dreaming of seeing the northern lights, you are probably wondering about where to view the northern lights. Good question as I have got you covered right here.
The United States isn’t as well known for the northern lights as Canada, Norway, or Iceland. But there are places in the United States where you can go to view the northern lights. As a general rule, the further north you go, the better chance you have of seeing the northern lights. For the most part, the time of the year with the best chances of an appearance by the northern lights is during the winter.
In order to get the best views of the northern lights, you will want the sky to be clear of clouds and be free of what you would call light pollution which is more common in towns and cities, especially larger ones. So, with all of this in mind, here are the best places where you can get the best possible views of the northern lights.
Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
The Denali National Park is located in the interior of the U.S. state of Alaska approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes drive southwest of Fairbanks via State Highway 3. The national park is home to Denali which is the highest peak in the U.S. at 20,310 feet high. The national park is renowned for its wide open spaces, breathtaking mountain vistas, and plenty of wildlife.
All of this combined with the northern lights makes for a stunning scenery at night. The best chances for seeing the northern lights here is during the fall season. I would recommend that you find a spot somewhere on Otto Lake at the northeast corner of the national park for viewing the northern lights as it will reflect on the lake too as well.
Suggested Hotel: Denali Lakeview Inn
This hotel is located on State Highway 3 about 10 miles north of the road entrance to the Denali National Park on the shore of Otto Lake. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There are a few restaurants, stores, and gas stations located a few miles away in the small town of Healy.
The rooms at this hotel are individually decorated and they each have their own compelling names such as Denali Floral and High Cloud. Many of them offer personal decks with views of Otto Lake, Mt. Healy, and Mt. Dora. Some rooms offers recliner chairs and dining tables. All of the rooms are equipped with kitchens/kitchenettes. There is WiFi in every room at this hotel.
The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $153 to $257. You can go here to book a stay and/or view some photos.
Idaho Panhandle National Forests, Idaho
The Idaho Panhandle National Forests is located in the entirety of the scenic Idaho Panhandle region of the U.S. state of Idaho. Coeur d’Alene is the main city in this area. I would suggest that you specifically head to Priest Lake to view the northern lights. Priest Lake is approximately two hours drive north of Coeur d’Alene via State Highway 57.
Viewing the northern lights at Priest Lake also offers breathtaking views of the reflected lake and the forested mountain ranges. The best chances of you seeing the northern lights here will happen during the winter.
Suggested Hotel: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sandpoint North
This hotel is located on U.S. Highway 95 in Ponderay, about one and a half hour drive southeast from Priest Lake via State Highway 57 and U.S. Highway 2. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and a hot tub at the hotel. A 24-hour fitness center is also available at this hotel. The hotel also offers complimentary breakfast.
Even though there is no onsite restaurants at the hotel, there are plenty of restaurants nearby, including Sweet Lou’s Restaurant and Bar and Fiesta Bonita. All of the hotel rooms offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $98 to $141.
Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Maine
The Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge is located in the northernmost corner of the U.S. state of Maine on the U.S. border with Canada. It is about one hour and 23 minutes north of the town of Houlton via U.S. Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 1A. The national wildlife refuge is renowned for its mixture of wetlands, grasslands, and forests.
The best position I would suggest you take up for viewing the northern lights would be along the south shore of Butterfield Brook Pond. This will also allow for breathtaking views of the reflected pond along with the forests and grasslands. The best chances to view the northern lights is in the winter.
Suggested Hotel: Ivey’s Motor Lodge
This hotel is located at the interchange of U.S. Highway 1 and Interstate 95 in Houlton. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. There is an onsite bar at this hotel. While there are no onsite restaurants at this hotel at the moment, plenty of restaurants await your hungry stomach nearby, including O’Kelley’s Irish Pub, Pizza Hut, and Tim Hortons.
It is also worth noting that charging stations are available at this hotel for these of you who have electric cars. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room at the hotel range from $77 to $120. Head here if you would like to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
Superior National Forest, Minnesota
The Superior National Forest is located in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of Minnesota just northeast of the city of Duluth. the national forest is a scenic forest area that is home to the highest waterfall in the state, at 120 feet high, called High Falls. The national forest is also home to Minnesota’s highest point, Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet high.
For viewing the northern lights, I suggest that you to head over to the Oberg Mountain which overlooks Lake Superior. That will offer a jaw-dropping views of the northern lights that will also reflect on Lake Superior. Winter is the best time of the year to view the northern lights as this is when it is the most likely to appear in the night sky.
Suggested Hotel: East Bay Suites
This hotel is located on Wisconsin Street in Grand Marais overlooking Lake Superior. At this hotel, you will have access to the beach on Lake Superior which will also include fire pits seasonally. In the Stones Throw gathering room at the hotel, there is a fireplace as well as a variety of other features such as board games, popcorn and hot chocolate bar (Friday and Saturday night), and live music (Friday night).
The hotel also has a gift shop onsite as well. There is unfortunately no swimming pool or fitness center onsite at the hotel. But, you will get a free pass to the nearby YMCA where you can use its swimming pool and fitness center. While the hotel itself doesn’t have any restaurants onsite, you can find plenty of restaurants within a few minutes walk from the hotel such as Blue Water Cafe, Gun Flint Tavern, and Sven & Ole’s.
Many of the suites at the hotel offers a full kitchen, an electric fireplace, a living room, a dining room, either a patio or a balcony. and breathtaking views of Lake Superior. All of the suites at the hotel have WiFi. The average rate for a standard room range from $103 to $238. You can go here to book your stay and/or view the photos.
Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan
Keweenaw Peninsula is located in the Upper Peninsula region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the northernmost point of Michigan. The Keweenaw Peninsula is renowned for its rugged, forested natural beauty that juts into Lake Superior. I would suggest that you head to the northernmost point of the peninsula to the small, quaint lakeshore town of Copper Harbor at the northern end of U.S. Highway 41.
Once you arrive in Copper Harbor, head up to the narrow Hunter’s Point Park. There, you can soak in the beauty of the northern lights that reflects itself on Lake Superior. Winter is the best time of the year to catch the northern lights there.
Suggested Hotel: AmericInn by Wyndham Calumet
This hotel is located on South Sixth Street in Calumet which is about 45 minutes drive southwest of Copper Harbor via U.S. Highway 41. This hotel offers complimentary breakfast. A few of the nearby restaurants include Michigan House Cafe and Brewpub, Toni’s Country Kitchen, and Cafe Rosetta. This hotel offers an indoor saltwater swimming pool, a hot tub, and a sauna.
All of the hotel’s rooms offers mini refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers and WiFi. The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $111 to $713. You can book a stay and/or check out some photos by going here.
These are the best places where you can go and see the northern lights. So, if you are wondering about where to view the northern lights, these places will get you in the best position to see it. What are your thoughts? Have you ever dreamt of seeing the northern lights? Feel free to leave a comment here.