Are you thinking about taking a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska? Before making Alaska your next stop on your bucket list, it’s always good to research your options. The city has a lot to offer and a lot to see, but it’s imperative to know the best time to visit.
Most know that Alaska can be frigid and the days are short, so it’s necessary to know what the weather is like throughout the year, the cheapest prices, and the best time to see the attractions to have the best trip to this adventurous place.
But don’t worry — our travel experts have put together the best, least busy, cheapest, and worst times to go, along with things to know before visiting. Read on to learn all you need to know!
Why You Should Visit Fairbanks Alaska
The short answer is — why not? Fairbanks has much to offer in nature, wildlife, and city life — it’s a beacon of wonder. And like most of Alaska, the city is surrounded by the beauty and wonder of nature.
If you or anyone in your family is a nature lover, Fairbanks, is the place to visit. Take a walk throughout the forests and observe the many forms of wildlife.
Not only will you witness the beauty of nature, but the town is also a vibrant river city with all the amenities and attractions of a thriving city. It has a growing downtown, a vibrant arts community, and endless activities and attractions to explore.
You can live it up in the city, or take a nice relaxing trip through the forests. You will enjoy another popular tourist attraction, the magnificent Denali mountain range, and whale watching.
There is something for everyone in Fairbanks: hiking, biking, deep sea fishing, mountain climbing, whale watching, skiing, Northern lights watching, snowmobiling, dog sledding, rainforest, and many more.
The city is also famous for being home to some of the country’s gold rush history. The gold rush of the 1800s spread to Tanana Valley, and in the process, Fairbanks was founded and established.
Read Next: What Does a Trip to Alaska Cost in 2023?
Overall Best Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska
At the top of any visitor’s concern is when is the best time to visit Fairbanks. Because of the weather, it’s not exactly your ideal summer resort, but don’t let that stop you.
Many tourists will visit Fairbanks during the summer, which is the best time to visit the city unless you love the cold and snow. Summer in Fairbanks runs from May through September. The days are generally longer during these months.
Temperatures don’t usually get too hot, and humidity is not much of a problem. And May is the driest time of the year. Inland temperatures can reach the 90s, but the average temperature averages in the 70s or low 80s.
Temperatures in the coastal communities rarely go above the 60s. The temperatures begin to cool in August and September, and the days become much shorter, but with that comes a beautiful display of fall colors in the tundra and forest landscapes.
Winter in Fairbanks begins in October and runs through March. It can become extremely cold in Alaska, and snow covers much of the State during this time.
Temperatures can range from a high of 20s to a low of -30 degrees, but the winter months are perfect for winter activities and visiting the snow-covered mountains. Spring and fall in Fairbanks can bring a wide range of weather events — snow, blizzards, rain, and sunny skies.
During the spring months, the weather is warm, but the nights are cold. The best time to visit Fairbanks will depend on what you plan on doing and the type of weather you like.
If you love warm weather and sunny skies, the best time to visit will be during the summer months — May through July and perhaps the first part of August. If you love the frozen tundra feeling and don’t mind the cold, the winter months are your best time.
Also, if you love winter sports — dogsledding, or snowmobiling — the winter months are the best option. If you’re more into city life, enjoying the outdoor festivals, and watching the wildlife roam, then the summer and spring months are best for you.
Fairbanks holds two annual winter events in February — The Alaska Quest Dogsled Event and The World Ice Art Championship. During Christmas time, you can visit St. Nicholas at the “North Pole” and watch him and his elves prepare for the holidays.
Fairbanks experiences hotter summers than many parts of Alaska. The summertime offers plenty of events and activities for the whole family to enjoy. Ride the Midnight Sun ATV tours way past dark, or take a stroll through the Georgeson Botanical Garden.
If you’re looking for bargains and great food, visit the area farmers markets or enjoy the Midnight Sun Festival with up to 30,000 others. This summer event is a 12-hour celebration with live music, performances, food, and souvenirs for your enjoyment.
You can also try out some gold panning and see if you can become the next millionaire, love on some sled puppies, and cheer for your favorite BBQ cook-off contestant.
If you visit Fairbanks, there are two attractions you must put on your bucket list — Denali National Park and the Northern Lights.
Plan a relaxing but exciting four-hour train ride through the forest areas of Anchorage and the tundra regions located northward. On a clear day, you can see the magnificent Denali, the largest mountain in North America, and perhaps catch a glimpse of wildlife along the way.
Let’s not forget the spectacular Northern Lights, known as the aurora borealis, a colorful display of lights that move about in the dark sky.
The best time to see this display is between August and April, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. Yes, it will be cold at night, but the experience is worth it.
Cheapest Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska
The cheapest time to visit Fairbanks may or may not be determined by the weather or times of the year like in other places. Some people are drawn to Alaska during the winter because of the numerous available winter activities, so visiting in the winter may not be cheaper.
Of course, others travel to Fairbanks in the summer because that’s the warmest time of the year, and they can enjoy the outdoor and city festivals and events. The cheapest time may be the spring and fall months, but that may not be a guarantee.
The cheapest time to visit will depend on the cost of flights and hotels. If you can find discounts through various club memberships or student, military, senior, and corporate means, that would help you save on your trip.
Compare prices from various airlines. Airline prices are usually cheaper in the winter, so that’s something to remember. If you plan to visit in the summer, it’s best to research and compare airline prices and hotel rates in advance to get the cheapest rates.
To help save on attractions and events happening in Fairbanks, purchase tickets well in advance — and if possible, purchase group rates. The best way to save money on travel expenses is to look into airline and hotel packages instead of purchasing them individually.
It’s also a good idea to purchase tickets through companies like Expedia and Cheap Flights. Some companies allow you to make monthly payments on airline tickets and even airline and hotel packages.
Least Busy Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska
The least busy time to visit Fairbanks is hard to pinpoint. The cold winter months could keep large crowds away but will attract snow lovers. As a result, April and September are probably the least busy times of the year.
April and September are probably the cheapest times to visit too. Airline tickets run less, car rentals will cost less, and some attractions may offer discounts during this time.
The best way to score deals on flights during the least busy time is to purchase in advance and compare airline prices. The winter months may also be cheap, but winter activities may cost more.
Worst Time to Visit Fairbanks Alaska
The worst time to visit Fairbanks is when the weather is bad. Avoid visiting when the weather is extremely cold when there are possible blizzards and during the rainy season which is late August and September.
It will be necessary to check the weather before you plan your trip. April can also be the worst time to visit. The snow has melted, and it’s too early for the summer events.
Things to Consider
- The days get short. The days get shorter starting in August.
- Fairbanks has alternative places to stay other than hotels. You can book a bed and breakfast, cabins, lodges, campgrounds, and vacation rentals.
- September is a gamble. Although September is one of the best times to view wildlife, it’s usually the least busy time of the year. The locals say September is a gamble for a reason — it can be rainy, freezing cold, or warm weather.
- Indian culture is a part of Alaska. There are wonderful activities, arts and crafts displays, and other attractions of Indian life in Fairbanks.
- Fairbanks is rich in history. You can learn a great deal by visiting their museums and historical events.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Fairbanks, Alaska:
How do I get from Fairbanks to Denali National Park?
There are several ways you can get to Denali. Fairbanks is about a four-hour train ride from Denali. It takes 2.5 hours by car or van.
In the summertime, the train ride to Denali leaves around 8 am and arrives in Denali around noon in the summer. The tour van leaves the station around 7:30 am and gets to Denali around 10: a.m. Or, you can drive yourself, it takes about 2.5 hours.
How long should I stay in Fairbanks?
At least one full day, but to experience everything Fairbanks has, especially if you visit during the summer months, we recommend a two-day stay.
What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights are a spectacular display of bright illuminating lights in the night sky.
When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
The best time is when it’s darkest the longest. This also means it will be colder outside so dress warm.
What are the best places to stay in Fairbanks?
The best place to stay is an area called Chena River because of its peaceful and picturesque scenery.
What’s the best way to get around Fairbanks?
The best way is by car. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle, you can always use a car-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.
So, When Is the Best Time to Visit Fairbanks?
Fairbanks has a lot to offer, from historical events to Northern lights spectacle. The best time to visit will be determined by what activities you plan. If you love snow and snow activities, the winter and fall months are for you.
If you love the summer months and the nice weather, May through August is the best time to visit.
Do your research, compare prices, find the best deals, and find out when certain activities and attractions happen, and you’ll have the best vacation Alaska can offer. Happy travels!