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Fairbanks for 2 days in June

Fairbanks for 2 days in June

Old Jun 6, 17, 9:11 am
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Fairbanks for 2 days in June

I'll be flying in and out of FAI on Delta in June. First time visiting AK, any suggestions for a rookie Alaska visitor?
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Old Jun 6, 17, 11:56 am
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Are you just visiting on a MR or do you enjoy the outdoors? If I had two days out of Fairbanks I would head down to Denali National Park and spend a few days hiking and do one of the amazing glacier landing flights on the mountain. There's several lodges by the entrance to Denali which is where I would stay.
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Old Jun 7, 17, 11:40 am
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Denali is indeed one of the crown jewels of the US National Park System and well worth a visit, for sure. I've discovered that it really takes three days to do Denali, though: one day to drive there, one full, long day in the park, and one day to drive back. If you try to do the park and drive back in the same day, it's too long of a day. Though the park entrance is much closer to FAI (~2h) than ANC (~4h), so that does help. Still, to do Denali justice, you need to wake up early on your first full day there and catch the park shuttle deep into the park (at least Eielson Visitor's Center, if not all the way to Wonder Lake), and that makes for a full day. Absolutely worth doing, but allot your time accordingly. And that doesn't even take into account other activities in the Denali area, like the glacier landing mentioned above.

Plenty of interest closer to FAI, though, should you need. Wikitravel and TripAdvisor are both excellent resources. I'd say that some of the tourist highlights are:

-the UAF Museum of the North
-Pioneer Park (NB: the Salmon Bake there is way touristy but actually has surprisingly excellent fish)
-The Trans-Alaska Pipeline viewpoint just north near Fox
-Riverboat Discovery
-Gold Dredge #8
-El Dorado Gold Mine (these last three are somewhat touristy/kitschy but fun if you're in the mood for that)
-UAF is well known for its arctic-focused research. Several of the departments have fascinating behind-the-scenes tours at the work they do and the instruments they use. Details at https://uaf.edu/visituaf/
-North Pole is even more touristy than any of the kitschy touristy things above, but it's worth a stop to see Santa and mail a postcard
-Chena Hot Springs is a nice diversion but I prefer going there in the winter
-If you're feeling adventurous, drive the Dalton Highway north to the Arctic Circle. You won't have time to drive all the way to Prudhoe Bay, and the major rental companies will forbid you from travel on this road, but there's one local company in FAI that does specifically allow it (http://www.arctic-outfitters.com/dalton/)

FWIW, the Fountainhead auto museum and the Morris Thompson visitor's center both are very highly rated but relatively new, and I have not had a chance to see them yet so can't review them personally.

Have fun, and ask questions!
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Old Jun 18, 17, 1:53 am
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A few years ago I spent some miles on a 4-dayer in June. Mosquitoes can be thick. A good bit of the draw is the very long days, with a "night" of maybe 4 hours and it not getting that dark. One delightful thing was driving to Denali and getting there around sunrise (3:15 a.m.) and driving about 30 or so miles in and having that part of the park seemingly to myself for 3 hours or so at a time that felt like morning.

There's also the Pioneer Park salmon bake at that time of year. You don't get to see the northern lights, though.

All things considered, I'm partial to September, but am glad I went.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 12:03 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
FWIW, the Fountainhead auto museum and the Morris Thompson visitor's center both are very highly rated but relatively new, and I have not had a chance to see them yet so can't review them personally.
I had the chance to visit the Fountainhead museum last weekend, and it was fantastic. I was not expecting such an interesting, unique, and well-preserved selection of antique autos in a place like Fairbanks.

It was started fairly recently (2007-ish, I believe--shortly after I moved away) by the guy who owns the Wedgewood resort, and while the museum does have a section of automobiles that either were present in or represent early automotive history in Alaska, much of the collection was purchased and imported by someone who was very obviously interested not just in antique autos but very specifically autos that have a unique innovation. While there are lots of beautifully-preserved Packards and Cadillacs and the like (including the very first model year Cadillac ever built), there are early all-electric cars, early hybrid autos, innovations with enclosing the passenger cabin, etc. For those interested in period history, the collection of turn-of-the-century dress may be of interest as well. Everything in the museum is from between the 1890s and the 1930s, so it's quite specific to early automotive history.

There is a reason it is the #1 attraction on TripAdvisor. I assumed I would spend 45 minutes and ended up spending 2.5 hours. I took two friends to it the next day, neither one of whom is really into cars, and both were extremely impressed and glad they spent their time there.

We also visited the Large Animal Research Station (in the link to things to see at UAF I posted above) and found the tour there quite worthwhile--getting up close to the musk oxen and the reindeer and learning all about the two species and the work UAF is doing to understand them better. Say hi to Freya The Musk Ox for me.

We also drove about an hour out of the city along Chena Hot Springs Road and hiked Angel Rocks, which was quite nice. Fairbanks lacks large, jagged mountains, but the hike was fairly technical, and the views were quite nice from the rocks at the top. Bring bug dope. For a less vertical walk, the trails at Creamer's Field are lovely and offer sightings of many different types of birds (Fairbanks is famous for their sandhill crane migration, but they're only in town a short time) as you wander through the forests and wetlands. Again, though, bring bug dope--the good stuff. There's a reason the insect-eating birds like it there.

Also, I can't believe I neglected to mention this, but be sure to eat some Thai food while you're there. I have never been able to figure out why, but Fairbanks has attracted seemingly way more Thai restaurateurs per capita than anywhere else I've ever been outside of Southeast Asia. Yelp lists 26 Thai restaurants in a city of 32,000 (and a metro of 100,000). The local favorite--confirmed by me and pretty much everyone I know who has been--seems to be Thai House, though Lemongrass is a close second. The red curry halibut I had last weekend at Lemongrass was fantastic.
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