The dancing Northern Lights in the night sky is one phenomenon that is on everyone’s travel bucket list. Otherwise known as as ‘Aurora borealis’ in the north, there’s some perfectly situated places to see the Northern Lights in North America.
Auroral displays appear in many colours although pale green and pink are the most common, while you’ll also spot shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Canada is a top spot for viewing, as well as northern parts of the US.
Tip: you can usually see the Northern Lights late August to mid April, so plan your trip then.
Best Places In North America To See The Northern LightsHow do these rankings work?
1. Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Fairbanks’ location is ideal for Northern Lights viewing because it is under the “Auroral Oval,” a ring-shaped zone over the far north where aurora activity is concentrated. More info here.
2. Yukon, Canada
In Canada’s Yukon territory, the Northern Lights can appear as soon as dark night skies begin to return, often before the first snowfall.
Its small population means that there is less light pollution, so chances of seeing the Aurora are high here. More info here.
3. Idaho Panhandle National Forest, Idaho, USA
Idaho probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when thinking of the Northern Lights! But the clear, dark skies over over Priest Lake and the Idaho Panhandle National Forest are ideal for an Aurora sighting. It often reflects off the lake, providing a special mirrored view of nature’s light show.
4. Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Maine, USA
Located on the U.S.-Canadian border, Aroostook County is sparsely populated, so there’s little to no light pollution to obstruct your aurora screening. Although the northern lights are more common near the Arctic, this county is far enough north for the Aurora Borealis to make an appearance. Set up camp overnight and get ready for the show!
5. Yellowknife, Canada
Widely known as one of the all-time best places to see the Northern Lights. Yellowknife lies on the north shore of Great Slave Lake.
6. Cook County, Minnesota, USA
Make your way to Cook County along the shores of Lake Superior for a beautiful sighting. This area is also home to Minnesota’s tallest mountain peaks and highest waterfall, High Falls, all of which offer a stunning backdrop for the multicoloured sky. It’s one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in North America.
7. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, USA
Aurora sightings are quite common in the region, with many locals able to catch the dancing lights from their backyards. For your best chance at catching the lights, head to Marquette, the major port on Lake Superior, or the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Check out the 20 best places in the world to see the Northern Lights here.