My name is Sara and thanks for stopping by my article on the Chena Hot Springs of Alaska. I’m 29 years old and was born in Turkey. I came to Minnesota in 2014 as an exchange student and started traveling around the USA. Honestly, studying in a small (also usually cold) town in Minnesota inspired me to explore more of the American states and other countries.
One experience that was on my bucket list for a while was seeing the northern lights. I searched for the best aurora viewing destinations in the world and Fairbanks, Alaska was in the top five. So I planned a trip there for five days because a lot of northern lights chasers mentioned that you get a higher chance of seeing the auroras if you spend at least five nights there.
Chasing the northern lights was the most exciting part of my trip to Fairbanks. That is what I thought until I landed in Anchorage. I was amazed by the view of the glaciers and mountains throughout the journey. We stopped by Denali National Park and Preserve on the way to Fairbanks and experienced wildlife by seeing lots of reindeer (caribou) and wolves.
We didn’t want to take a direct flight to Fairbanks because there was a lot to see around the Anchorage area. It took us about six hours to drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks and the views on the road were breathtaking!
Good Times at Chena Hot Springs
Alaska has a lot to offer and there is more than just the northern lights. I started researching different attractions around Fairbanks and I came across the Chena Hot Springs. The resort had many attractions that we wanted to see, so we thought it would be worth visiting. The hot springs are located an hour from Fairbanks. We drove there twice, it was worth it!
The activities we joined were soaking in the hot springs, dog sledding, puppy mushing, ice museum and reindeer walking. I loved them all. P.S. Having a martini in a glass made of ice (at the Ice Museum) was epic!
My favorite activity was soaking in the hot springs. I definitely recommend this activity, especially in the winter. The water was warm even though it was snowy. The resort provided towels for us at an affordable price. I think everyone should have this experience on their Alaska bucket list.
We didn’t get the chance to stay overnight at the resort but I would love to stay one day. The resort has a lot of attractions and it’s also a wonderful spot for the northern lights. Another reason to visit or stay is the restaurant on the premises. It was one of the best ones that I have ever been to in Alaska. We had salmon and came back twice! The staff were kind.
Pike’s Waterfront Lodge, Fairbanks
I stayed at Pike’s Waterfront Lodge in Fairbanks and I was satisfied with their service. The place was close to everything. I would recommend Chena Hot Springs Resort if visitors want a resort vacation with not much driving. If that is not the case, Pike’s Waterfront Lodge would be helpful for visitors who don’t mind driving much and want to chase northern lights.
More Epic Places to Visit in Alaska
On my trip to Alaska I visited the North Pole, known as the “Top of the Earth”. There was a gift shop there with Santa inside. I recommend checking it out. I also suggest the coffee shops in Alaska – the coffee is outstanding. Lastly, there are other places to experience dog sledding, reindeers, etc. but if you stay at Chena you won’t need to go there.
It’s a good idea to plan everything a couple of weeks in advance before your Alaska trip (depending on the season and time of year, you may need to check the availability of the attractions a couple of months before you go).
Tips for Visiting the Chena Hot Springs
You shouldn’t have high expectations of seeing the northern lights because it’s all about the right time, place, conditions and sometimes it’s down to pure luck. Depending on the season you go, the attractions will differ – so you should look at the resort website before making plans. Attractions are fully booked in peak season, so make plans accordingly.