Fairbanks, Alaska Visitor Guide
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska, known for its vibrant arts scene, rich gold rush history, and unique natural attractions. This guide will cover the latitude and longitude of Fairbanks, directions from Anchorage, things to do, the area’s history, RV and camping information, and annual festivals and events.
Fairbanks is located at approximately 64.8378° N latitude and 147.7164° W longitude.
Getting to Fairbanks from Anchorage
Fairbanks is approximately 360 miles (579 km) north of Anchorage. The most common ways to reach Fairbanks are by air and by car.
There are regular flights between Anchorage and Fairbanks, with a flight duration of approximately 1 hour. Airlines such as Alaska Airlines and Ravn Alaska offer multiple flights per day.
The drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks typically takes around 6 to 7 hours, depending on road conditions and traffic.
1. Head north from Anchorage on the Glenn Highway (AK-1) towards Wasilla.
2. Continue on the Glenn Highway (AK-1) towards Glennallen.
3. At Glennallen, turn right onto the Richardson Highway (AK-4) and follow it north to Fairbanks.
Things to Do
Fairbanks offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors, including cultural sites, natural wonders, and outdoor adventures.
University of Alaska Museum of the North
The University of Alaska Museum of the North, located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, showcases exhibits on Alaska’s natural and cultural history. The museum features an extensive collection of artifacts, artwork, and specimens, providing a comprehensive overview of the state’s diverse heritage.
Pioneer Park is a 44-acre historic theme park that celebrates Fairbanks’ gold rush history. The park features numerous historic buildings, museums, and attractions, including a working narrow-gauge railroad, a replica Native Alaskan village, and the SS Nenana, a restored sternwheeler riverboat.
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum showcases over 85 pre-World War II automobiles, as well as historic photographs and artifacts related to the history of transportation in Alaska. It is a must-see attraction for car enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Chena Hot Springs Resort, located approximately 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Fairbanks, is a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation. Visitors can enjoy the resort’s natural hot springs, ice museum, and various outdoor activities such as hiking and dog sledding.
Fairbanks is an excellent location for viewing the northern lights, or aurora borealis, due to its position under the auroral oval and its relatively clear skies. The best time to see the northern lights is during the winter months, from late August to April.
Fairbanks was founded in 1901 by Captain E.T. Barnette, who established a trading post on the banks of the Chena River. The discovery of gold in the area in 1902 led to a rapid influx of miners and settlers, making Fairbanks a major hub during the Alaska gold rush.
The city continued to grow as a center for trade, transportation, and military activity throughout the 20th century. The construction of the Alaska Railroad, the Richardson Highway, and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System further solidified Fairbanks’ importance in Alaska’s economic and infrastructure development.
Today, Fairbanks is a thriving city that attracts visitors from around the world for its unique attractions, cultural sites, and outdoor adventures.
RV and Camping Information
There are several RV parks and campgrounds in and around Fairbanks, catering to a range of preferences and budgets.
Riverview RV Park
Riverview RV Park, located along the Chena River, offers full hookups, laundry facilities, restrooms, and showers. The park is conveniently located near major attractions and provides a picturesque setting for visitors.
Chena River State Recreation Site
The Chena River State Recreation Site, located within Chena River State Recreation Area, offers campsites for both tents and RVs with picnic tables and fire pits. There are no hookups available, but potable water and restrooms are provided on-site.
Annual Festivals and Events
Fairbanks hosts a variety of annual events that showcase the area’s culture, history, and natural resources.
Midnight Sun Festival
The Midnight Sun Festival is held annually in June to celebrate the summer solstice. This popular event features live music, food vendors, arts and crafts booths, and various family-friendly activities.
World Ice Art Championships
The World Ice Art Championships, held each year in February or March, brings together ice sculptors from around the world to create stunning works of art from massive blocks of ice. The event also includes ice slides, a maze, and other activities for visitors to enjoy the frosty fun.
Golden Days Celebration
The Golden Days Celebration, held annually in July, commemorates Fairbanks’ gold rush heritage with a week of festivities. Events include a grand parade, street fair, gold panning competitions, and historical reenactments.
Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race is a 1,000-mile (1,609 km) race between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon. The race is held annually in February, drawing mushers and sled dog teams from around the world. Visitors can attend the race start, finish, or various checkpoints along the route to experience this thrilling event.
Tanana Valley State Fair
The Tanana Valley State Fair, held in August, is a celebration of the agriculture, arts, and culture of the Tanana Valley. The fair features livestock exhibits, art displays, carnival rides, live entertainment, and a wide variety of food vendors.
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, held in July, is a two-week event that showcases local, national, and international artists and performers. The festival offers workshops, performances, and demonstrations in a variety of artistic disciplines, including music, dance, visual arts, and theater.
Winter Solstice Celebration
The Winter Solstice Celebration, held annually on December 21, marks the shortest day of the year in Fairbanks. The event includes a variety of activities, such as candlelit walks, ice skating, and bonfires, to celebrate the return of longer days and the beauty of winter in Alaska.
In conclusion, Fairbanks, Alaska offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that showcase the city’s rich history, vibrant arts scene, and unique natural surroundings. With its numerous cultural sites, outdoor adventures, and annual festivals and events, Fairbanks provides visitors with a memorable and authentic Alaskan experience.