The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is an amazing phenomenon! The closer you get to Earth’s northern pole, the greater your chances of seeing the Northern Lights. True, there are other countries (Canada, Norway, Denmark, etc.) where you get the greatest amount of aurora. However, there are several places within the United States where you can witness these amazing ribbons of light. Here are eight of the most likely places to see the Northern Lights. Of course, it helps if you live in one of these northern states, but if not, make one of them your next vacation destination. You might just get a peak at the Aurora!
Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park is an amazing place to view the Northern Lights! This six million acre park is quiet, serene, and best of all – has no light pollution! That means that when the Northern Lights are at their peak, you’ll be able to see them in all their glory!
Priest Lake, Idaho
I live close to the Idaho panhandle, and I’ve seen the Northern Lights (albeit at 3am) from my hometown. If I was further north, I’m sure I would have been able to obtain an much better view! The Idaho Panhandle National Forest is in close proximity to Priest Lake, and they make excellent areas for viewing the Northern Lights. Again, no light pollution from surrounding cities makes this an ideal location.
Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Maine
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region / Flickr
Situated right up against the Canadian border, it’s not a place where you can regularly see the Northern Lights. However, if you’re here at the right time, it is quite possible to catch a glimpse of them! If not, stay for the stunning variety of wildlife. Sightings are most common in the spring and fall seasons.
Isle Royal National Park, Michigan
Photo by Ray Dumas / Flickr
This park actually closes during the winter, so you’ll want to hit it up between Spring and September. However, this is one spot where you can really get a good look at the Northern Lights. Call the Houghton Visitor Center to learn the best time to stop by.
Cook County, Minnesota
Photo by Andrew Smith / Flickr
Nestled at the far-right tip of Minnesota, right on Lake Superior, this is another fabulous location for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Head up to Oberg Mountain for the best view between late fall and early spring.
Photo by Trace Nietert / Flickr
The Aurora may not be in full ribbon effect over the Big Sky Country, but it still puts on quite a show! Showcasing colors of reds, yellows, and purples, it almost looks like a moving sunset. The Aurora is lower in the sky here, so you might have a harder time viewing it if you’re not on higher ground.
Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr
Cherry Springs State Park is an official Dark Sky Preserve, meaning that it has little to no light pollution. This makes it an ideal location for catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. It’s a relatively small park (about 50 acres or less), but it offers photography workshops and stargazing tours.
Puget Sound, Washington
Photo by Jonathan Miske / Flickr
Believe it or not, you can actually see the Northern Lights from the Seattle area. It’s a little harder to view due to the light pollution of the bigger cities, but it’s possible. If you stay in some of the smaller towns around the Puget Sound (Bremerton, Sequim, Keyport, Whidbey Island, etc.), you’ll have a much higher chance of viewing the Aurora.
To find the best times for seeing the Aurora, check out the forecast.
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