10 Unique Destinations to Watch the Northern Lights

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Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.

Many people want to watch the Northern Lights sometime in their life. The collision of particles from the sun with Earth’s atmosphere charges this stunning light show.

There are many places throughout the globe to watch the Aurora Borealis. However, they’re all very far north, as the lights are only visible within 1,500 miles of the geomagnetic North Pole.


Wrangell Mountains Alaska
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As the United States’ most northern location, Alaska is the clear winner to see the Northern Light show.

A cruise to Alaska is a typical vacation to see enormous glaciers, polar bears, and the Aurora Borealis. Usually only visible from October to February. However, when going this far north, you might be able to see the display at any time of the year.


Northern Lights in Norway
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Well-known as one of the five countries intersecting with the Arctic Circle, Norway is a stunning location.

The country is so far North that Oslo gets up to 18 hours of complete darkness in the winter, with its longest day with 19 hours of sun in the summer.

Norway makes a fantastic vacation getaway. The country looks similar to Northern Canada and Alaska. The Scandinavian cuisine contains salted fish, reindeer, and root vegetables.


Huskies in Lapland Finland
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Lapland sits north of the Article Circle in Finland. Many tourists come here to experience the thrilling husky safari that takes you through a winter wonderland with these powerful dogs.

Several hotels cater exclusively to seeing the Northern Lights. Kakslauttanen Artic Resort has dozens of igloos that guests can stay in. The round igloos have glass ceilings and walls so visitors can fall asleep to the fantastic blue and green light show.


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Greenland is one of the most fascinating places in the world to visit. With a tiny population and industries, the country experiences very low levels of light pollution, making seeing the aurora borealis a brilliant experience.

Visible from September to early April, the Northern Lights are on full display thanks to the 300 clear nights a year that the area gets.


Yukon Canada
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Nature and science lovers, when visiting Yukon in Canada, stop by the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre in Watson Lake.

The lights here swirl and dance for hours from August to April. Whitehorse is the main city in this secluded province and can be one of the best places in the world to see the lights from one of the glass chalets at the Northern Lights Resort and Spa. 


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Although the lights are visible throughout the UK, going further north into Scotland is the best place to see them on the island.

Known as the “Mirrie Dancers” by Scots, the lights can be seen from most locations in this ethereal country. Stay close to the ocean and sit over the epic cliffs and fjords.


Churchill Manitoba
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Head to remote Churchill in Manitoba to see the Northern Lights for more than 300 nights a year.

The lights are spectacularly easy to see, thanks to the low levels of light pollution and prairie dry weather. Churchill is also a post to visit if you want to learn more about northern animals.

Polar bears, moose, elk, and bobcats can all be seen in the areas protected by the Natural Habitat Adventures group.


Cherry Springs State Park Pennsylvania
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The Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania is a surprising oasis to see the Northern Lights. Secluded from bigger cities like Philly and Pittsburgh, the park is classified as a gold-tier International Dark Sky Park.

This distinction means the park is committed to keeping its night skies exceptionally dark. The Northern Lights are only visible during the winter this far away from the North Pole, but even without them, you’ll be amazed by what you can see in space.


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Iceland has recently become a booming tourist destination. Many visit to see the outstanding natural environments such as waterfalls, fjords, and glaciers.

When visiting Reykjavik, consider staying at the Ion Adventure Hotel’s Northern Lights bar, which has glass walls and ceilings for guests to see the Northern Lights all night long.


Ice Hotel
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Staying at an Ice Hotel in Sweden can be one of the most unique travel experiences. The draw of these hotels might seem gimmicky, but sleeping in a bed surrounded by ice walls is an exceptional experience.

Take a snowmobile or photography tour to see the Northern Lights at their best, or visit the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko. The station is 3,000 feet above sea level to see the Aurora Borealis without any sources of light pollution.

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Bison Calf
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Brown Bear and Cubs
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