Fairbanks Travel Guide

USA  
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Courtesy of Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images

Best Times to Visit Fairbanks

The best time to visit Fairbanks is from July to August. Shoulder seasons, including May to June and August through September, are also ideal. Although peak season brings the highest accommodation rates and the largest crowds of the year, it also welcomes the warmest weather, with average temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees. You can save money and still enjoy pleasant, cool climes in the late spring and early fall. For the lowest rates, visit during the offseason, which begins after Labor Day and runs through Memorial Day. If your main objective is to see the northern lights, the late fall and winter are peak viewing times.

Weather in Fairbanks

Switch to Celsius/MM
Average Temperature (°F)
1.8
-13.6
12.1
-8.5
27.2
0.6
45.8
20.9
60.9
37.6
72.3
49
73.6
51.6
65.9
46
55.1
34.8
32.4
17
11.3
-3
5.2
-9.2
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Average Precipitation (in)
0.55
0.42
0.26
0.31
0.8
1.91
2.42
2.1
1.29
0.86
0.68
0.71
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

June-August

Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, Fairbanks experiences extended daylight in the summer with 19 hours of sunshine on the summer solstice (which usually occurs between June 20 and June 22). June is dry and features blooming wildflowers, but beware of mosquitoes. The flying pests disappear by August, killed off by night frost and dropping temperatures. Note that there may still be significant snow in June if you plan on hiking in the high country, and temperatures may drop into the 40s at night. Daytime temperatures generally average in the 70s, with highs in the 80s in July. Expect occasional rain, but be aware that the sun's intensity on the longest days of the year is much greater than in the lower 48. At 6 p.m., the sun will feel the same as it does at 1 p.m., so be sure to wear sunscreen, even in the evenings.

Key Events:

September-November

Autumn brings crisp, sunny days and golden foliage, as well as dropping temperatures and increased rain. Plan to dress in layers, as the weather can go from sunny in the 60s to rainy in the 40s in a nanosecond. That said, it's a great time for hiking, and the darkening skies herald the beginning of the aurora borealis viewing season. Accommodation rates drop significantly in September, but note that many attractions are closed or have limited hours. Although packaged Alaska cruise and train tours have ended for the winter, you can book tours of varying lengths to view the northern lights. Expect significant snowfall beginning in October.

Key Events:

December-March

Winters are cold and dry with temperatures dipping well below freezing at night and daytime highs in the 20s. It's not unusual to go from 25 degrees to minus 25 degrees in the same day. December, January and February are the coldest months, with November and December seeing the highest snowfall totals. But if you can tolerate the snow and cold, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular nature show in the northern lights (winter is peak viewing season). All-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for navigating snowy roads, and it's a good idea to pack an emergency kit for your car if driving in remote areas (where you'll have to go to view the aurora borealis). 

Key Events: 

April-May

Compared to the lower 48, spring comes later in Fairbanks. Temperatures in April can still sink into the teens, and snow stays on the ground into June. However, spring is an excellent time to see the northern lights. By May, the geese have returned and trees are beginning to bud, but dress in layers as temperatures can still hover in the 40s and 50s, although May is generally a dry month. April and May are still part of the offseason, so hotel rates will be at their lowest.

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