Borealis Basecamp: Best Place to View the Northern Lights
My husband is from Colorado and had yet to experience the beauty of the Alaskan Northern Lights. Growing up in Anchorage I’ve seen the lights faintly a few times but felt I still needed the real deal. We decided that for our anniversary we would take a trip north. It was the perfect time to book a much-needed getaway.
Anchorage to Fairbanks Travel
We flew from Anchorage to Fairbanks and as always it was a very short trip. Alaska Air had great service and there was no need to get to either airport early.
Explore Fairbanks… and it’s Thai Food
Before we headed up to Borealis Basecamp from Fairbanks (about a 40-minute drive) I had to get a taste of the amazing Thai food Fairbanks has to offer!
Our first stop before heading to Borealis Basecamp was a little local Thai restaurant called Lemongrass that was highly recommended by my sister who attended school in Fairbanks. It was by far the best yellow curry I have ever had. Great customer service and will definitely be coming back. I could drink that yellow curry. My plate was licked clean and I’ll be placing an order if any friends happen to visit again before me.
Best Entrée Dishes: Yellow Curry and Gaeng Pa-Nang
Lulu’s bagels was right next door to Lemongrass so while waiting for our Uber, I stopped in to grab a bagel as a snack for later, ended up with 2 because I couldn’t choose. You won’t regret the breakfast sandwich. YUM!
Savory recommendation: salmon cream cheese with an asiago bagel
Sweet Recommendation: honey nut cream cheese with cinnamon sugar bagel
After Lulu’s we took an Uber over to Pike’s Waterfront Lodge because the Basecamp shuttle only picks up from hotels or the airport. Honestly, I would have loved to stay a night at Pike’s. They have a really fun atmosphere with a library, theater, speakeasy and aromatherapy room! AND they are dog friendly!! Our shuttle driver was right on time and we departed from Pike’s around 3pm to head to Basecamp.
Borealis Basecamp: Igloos to see the Northern Lights
The check in lodge had a great space to hang out in with tea, coffee and comfy couches. It also housed the restaurant and a common area to sit and enjoy the view. I liked spending time there after breakfast to do a little computer work and enjoyed their fresh coffee. Every day we had a continental breakfast. I typically got a breakfast burrito and a slice of homemade bread with salmon cream cheese.
The igloos were very cozy and included a shower, toilet, comfortable bed and table space to eat and work. They had a great heating system which was what I was worried about and provided plenty of coffee, tea and hot chocolate options in the room. Honestly lying in bed looking out at the views and sky through the window was one of my favorite parts. Just to be present.
Highlights from our trip to Borealis Basecamp
Day 1 Thursday:
Miso salmon, butternut squash soup, house salad and brownie with ice cream. Heavenly. Show up a little early prior to your reservation so you can get a table by the window. All meals are made from scratch by George Easter, you can check out his Instagram to see his latest creations.
Day 2 Friday:
Our dog sledding 1 hour ride with Dave Turner was a blast! Dave was very knowledgeable and provided great information about the sport and the history of dog sledding. The pups were so sweet and of course my favorite part was meeting all of them. Delta, the lead lady was my favorite. It was a bit chilly but Basecamp provides gear and I packed hand and foot warmers.
Basecamp had a wood fired sauna that is right next to the igloos. It was a great way to warm up and relax. They provide robes and you can rent by the hour.
Day 3 Saturday:
We did the 1-hour snow machine trip through trap lines, along the pipeline and got up to some really cool viewpoints. I have only snow machined a couple times in my life and it was not as intimidating as I thought. The trails were easy to navigate and I actually had a lot of fun going a little faster as I got more comfortable. Beautiful views and our tour guide was the activity director who had great information to share.
2021 World Ice Art Championship
We took the shuttle back in to Fairbanks to see the ice sculptures and meet up with friends which was really fun! Giant ice slides, games made out of ice and unique sculptures created by people all over the world. Dress warm!
Day 4 Sunday:
Enjoyed a slow breakfast after a night of watching some incredible lights.
Borealis Basecamp Northern Lights Reviews
They were amazing on Friday and Saturday night. Both nights we got 2 shows starting around 8pm. Greens and purples mainly. It’s truly unforgettable scenery that is difficult to put into words. We stood out on our igloo deck to admire them way past my usual bedtime and tried to soak every minute in.
I would recommend booking the photographer that Basecamp provides. He was amazing and using a camera to capture the northern lights is not easy!
Things to Pack for Fairbanks, Alaska:
Wine (at this time Borealis Basecamp does not have the ability to serve alcohol at the restaurant, our shuttle driver was so kind to let us stop by the liquor store before heading up)
Snacks: Rx Bars, Nuts, Dried Fruit, Oatmeal
Hand and Foot Warmers
Heavy Duty Down Jacket or Insulated Coveralls
Body Wipes (if you don’t feel like using the shower)
Camera for the Northern Lights
Stopping in Anchorage on your way up? Check out my favorite Anchorage restaurants!