2021 August Featured Destination of the Month: Explore Fairbanks, Alaska

Explore Fairbanks is a non-profit destination marketing and management organization (DMMO) with the mission to be an economic driver in the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors and optimizing the visitor experience. Explore Fairbanks markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions, and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners, and the media. In July 2014, Explore Fairbanks was awarded accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International. Explore Fairbanks was the first destination marketing organization (DMO) in Alaska to attain the DMAP accreditation.

1. ) What is your destination most known for? 

Deep in the wilds of Alaska, tucked in between two immense mountain ranges and nestled up against a winding river, you will find a gem of a little city known as Fairbanks. The magical northern lights dance across the sky nine months of the year during Aurora Season and the sun shines up to 24 hours a day during the Midnight Sun Season.

Fairbanks is renowned for two amazing natural phenomena. As one of the best places on earth to view the aurora borealis and as one of the best places on earth to experience 24 hours of light. In fact, from May 17 to July 27 we bask in 70 straight days of light.

2.) During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?

Summertime’s everlasting sunshine makes Fairbanks an amazing destination! You can chase sunsets and sunrises in the middle of the night, get lucky panning for gold, float the Chena River, mingle with reindeer and musk oxen, cool off in an ice museum, take a refreshing hike and look for birds and wildlife. Be inspired by art galleries, museums, farmers markets, the botanical garden, and historic sites.

Winter offers aurora viewing, dog mushing, winter activities, and indoor attractions.

3.) What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?

Gold Nuggets are the “gems” of Alaska! Most gold destinations smelt their gold and turn the melted gold into jewelry and more. In Alaska, we consider the uniqueness of each gold nugget and often turn them untouched into jewelry. They may be embellished with a diamond or jewel, but the original nugget stays the same.

In addition to gold nuggets …. another unexpected indulgence in Fairbanks is all the surprising number of superb breweries, distilleries, and eateries. We now have six breweries, four distilleries, and loads of eateries including 20 plus Thai restaurants and numerous food trucks and coffee huts. Indeed, our little river city has debuted onto the food and drink stage with flair and flavor. Whatever you might yearn for you won’t be disappointed—Vietnamese, vegan, award-winning BBQ, Japanese cuisine, Alaskan comfort food like salmon, king crab and reindeer sausage, freshly roasted coffee beans, and hand-crafted honeys, jams, mustards, and more all await you.

4.) What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?

Heads up! Check our one-of-a-kind Aurora and Midnight Sun Tracker on the Explore Fairbanks website. The aurora borealis and the midnight sun, two natural phenomena integral to Fairbanks, draw visitors from around the world. The Aurora Tracker offers real-time and three-day forecasts of northern lights data correlated to six different locations. The Midnight Sun Tracker calculates the number of daylight hours any time of year for three different locations.

The Midnight Sun Tracker calculates the number of daylight hours, including civil twilight, which people can experience in the Far North areas of Fairbanks, Coldfoot and Utqiaġvik (formerly named Barrow). Because Fairbanks is on the 65th parallel there are 70 straight days of sunlight from May 17th through July 27th, and conversely, during the Winter Season, there is a significant reduction in daylight hours.

5.) How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?

It’s no secret that NATJA is one of the premier associations for professional media in the United States and due to the fact that we host a robust number of journalists and content creators we decided to attend a conference and were quite impressed with your outstanding membership. We look forward to having a long and engaged alliance with NATJA and all of the professionals that belong to the association.

6.) Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?

We are a wilderness destination- in the Interior and Arctic caribou outnumber people five to one! Fairbanks is the perfect basecamp to explore Alaska’s wild places. Denali National Park is just two hours away (or a four-hour train ride), the Arctic Circle and Yukon River are an accessible four- to five-hour drive; road trips to colorful Interior towns and lodges are easily within reach.

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