Seems like nothing awesome is within striking distance of Fairbanks. Looking at about 2-3 hrs radius, driving one way. Any suggestions? Must-see or do ideas? (Sure, I could fly to the artic circle, but let’s not go pricey!)
People seems to like Chena Hot Springs.
When we were on our recent trip, we went to Chena Hot Springs, which was underwhelming (to us, possibly because we got lost on the trails that day), but they have a nice restaurant, an ice museum, and um…some hot springs.
Thanks! I’ll check these ideas out! Googling around stayed too close to Fairbanks…more like city attractions (museums, etc.). I want to see the Last Frontier!
Fairbanks is my hometown. Ask me anything!
Chena Hot Springs is great. If you want a long hike, on the way out Chena Hot Springs Road is the Granite Tors trail. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chena/granitetorsho.pdf
There’s always the Riverboat cruise up the Tanana River for half-day excursion: http://riverboatdiscovery.com/.
The Musk Ox farm is just outside of town: Home | Large Animal Research Station
A trip south to Denali is a must (about a 2 hour drive), particularly on a sunny day. You could also drive north and onto the pipeline road (Dalton Highway), just to say you did it. I seem to recall that there is an old gold mining dredge around FBX somewhere that you can tour.
You’re really not going to see “the last frontier” on any of the roads, although you’ll get an idea of the hugeness of the place. You could always charter a plane and fly out to some village like Anaktuvik Pass.
Just curious… why are you going to Fairbanks with nothing to do? Is it a layover?
May be of no interest whatsoever but on any routine day the collection of aircraft at the Fairbanks airport can be fascinating. Lots of WW II and slightly later planes used to haul freight and commerce all over AK.
There are knick knacks made of moose turds for sale in the Fairbanks airport (or at least there used to be) if you want to commemorate your visit.
If you want to touch the pipeline you can do that near Fairbanks: Gold Rush History | Explore Fairbanks, Alaska
Yes, but all you have to do to is drive along a highway, park your car, and walk for 10 minutes and you’ll be totally alone. Does he want to see village life, or wilderness? Or gold rush stuff, or hunting/fishing?
All true. I’d caution Jinx about just parking on the roadside and then wandering off over the next couple of hills without having a GPS to get him back to his car. People get lost all the time up there without meaning to. I was going to suggest driving south to Cantwell, and then turning east on the Old Denali Highway, which is very scenic, but then I remembered that rental car agencies in Alaska have contract language that prohibits renters from driving on secondary unpaved roads like the Dalton, etc.
One thing I truly miss is our annual Fall drive from Paxson to Cantwell, stopping along the way to pick blueberries and to fish for grayling.
I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. You should have been around long enough to know that Jinx practically never posts a follow-up to his OP. It has happened upon occasion. . . but don’t count on a response.
Much depends on time and money.
Alaska is phckn HUGE and most people have no grasp on this. I don’t shy at a 5-6 hour drive to go camping, whereas some people down south may see this as too much time. Of course the distances we travel in the time frame may be different from people in the lower 48.
Cost is an issue, costs are higher in Alaska. You can do budget trips, if planned properly. However food/fuel alone is a bit higher than down south.
A person driving for only 2-3 hours may only see from the highway; trees…trees…trees…water…water…OMG WILDLIFE…trees…water…trees. But that is not the same as seeing Alaska.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about the rail tours around Fairbanks. If you can make it to South Central the sea/ocean tours are awesome. If you have money look into private small plan tours. Proper tours are crazy aweome. Bring cameras.
Alaska if beautiful from the highway and you can see wildlife…but it is nothing compared to what is possible.
It all depends on what you have available.
Santa Claus house in North Pole AK. my kids were so impressed that I had been to Santa’s actual house.
Yeah, I replied before I realized who posed the question. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have bothered.
I’m a horticulture hobbyist and spent a fascinating half day at the university’s horticulture dept.
I’ll never visit Alaska. Nothing to see except a bunch of damn trees, and we’ve got too many trees around here already.
Whip over to the Yukon and visit Dawson City, it is a great place to visit.
You’re right, but it’s much more than a 2-hour drive from Fairbanks; more like 3 1/2 hours just to get to Tok. Then you face the drive over the Taylor Highway and Top of the World Highway, which is no picnic and could take up to four hours.
Well then I reckon one wouldn’t just whip over, but it would be a spectacular drive!
It’s not bad, but the Taylor is, in my extensive driving experience in Alaska, the worst road in the state, bar none. Rutted, potholed, narrow and washboarded. It’s a 25mph road at best. If it’s raining, it’s even worse because of washouts and soft shoulders near shear drops. Once you cross into Canada, things improve markedly.