Northern lights, untamed rivers, access to Denali—Fairbanks has it all.
The wilds of Northern Alaska surround you in Fairbanks—a town on the Tanana and Chena Rivers. Camping here puts you close to Denali, but you don't have to leave Fairbanks to find pristine woods where moose and grizzly bears roam. At the heart of Fairbanks, Chena River State Recreation Site is a natural haven. River's edge trails, waterfront picnic areas, and wilderness camping are right at your fingertips. Don't confuse it with the (very similarly named) Chena River State Recreation Area. A 30-minute drive from Fairbanks, this park spans 397 square miles. Explore the river wilderness by kayaking, canoeing, or fishing for Arctic grayling. When the snow falls, dog sledding is all the rage on the Chena Hot Springs Winter Trail. In downtown Fairbanks, check out Pioneer Park. Here you find museums, a carousel, and an old-time Gold Rush saloon where you can grab a beer. In the winter, you can't beat the drive up to Chena Hot Springs. Soak in the warm waters to energize for your next adventure. For a fun detour, stop by North Pole (the other one) just down the highway. You're sure to feel the Christmas spirit driving down Santa Claus Lane. This town is also home to Chena Lakes Recreation Area. This is your go-to spot for winter ice fishing and summer boating. When it comes to camping, Fairbanks has something for everyone. Choose from dozens of Alaska state parks, RV parks, and private campgrounds. Some boast amenities such as showers, dump stations, and laundry rooms. Winters are bitter cold, but a heated cabin gives you access to some great winter recreation. Cross-country skiing and ice skating on the frozen Chena River are a few favorites. Wherever you stay, camping in Fairbanks promises some rave-worthy Alaskan experiences. In April through August, you can get psyched for hiking or cycling under the midnight sun. The rest of the year is aurora season, so keep your eyes peeled for the northern lights.