Welcome to ‘Interior Alaska’ – the land between the mountains. Fairbanks sits in the center of the state and is the jumping-off point for visiting the high Arctic. One of the few big landlocked towns in Alaska, Fairbanks is often overlooked since it’s not a cruise port. But that doesn’t mean that there are not plenty of things to do in Fairbanks year-round!
Fairbanks has been a critical hub in Alaska ever since its inception. It started as a gold rush outpost for the region and then evolved into a critical pipeline outpost during its construction. Now it acts as the outpost of Alaska’s Interior.
I’ve been to Fairbanks 5 different times in summer and winter. In fact, I love Fairbanks so much that I even run Ottsworld Tours there! Hands down Fairbanks is the best place to really get to know the hearty people of the interior of Alaska. It’s also the best place to have a chance to see the aurora from September through April.
Living on the edge of the Arctic Circle
With a population of 32,000, I was excited to visit Fairbanks and meet the people who live in this extreme environment on the edge of the Arctic. You have to embrace change if you live in Alaska; daylight changes drastically from day to day losing 6 minutes of daylight (nearly an hour every week!) as it heads towards December 21st and gains 6 minutes after that.
With the darkness comes the cold and parking lots with electrical outlets at every spot. Due to the extreme cold temperatures in Fairbanks during the winter, most vehicles are equipped with several electric “heating” devices that facilitate starting during the coldest time and should be plugged in to keep warm.
“When it gets cold, we just get close,” a local Fairbanks man told me when I asked how he survived the winters.
But with the summer comes the long days and a population with an abundance of ‘cabin fever’. As I drove around the city center in the summer I was impressed by all of the outdoor trails and activities. People in Fairbanks love to get outside in the summer and winter, and so do I.
What To Expect From This Fairbanks List
There are a number of operators to choose from that are well established; however, in my travels, I like to focus on the new, unique operators. They tend to be the smaller, younger companies that are serving the independent traveler and providing a more personal touch than the larger tour options. If you just dig a little bit, you can find those smaller, individual experiences…