Feeling Like Family in Fairbanks, Alaska!


Have you ever visited a place and somehow felt so comfortable there that you even felt a part of the community? Like a local? Well, that pretty much sums up the sentiments of how I felt in Fairbanks, Alaska when I was there last month to visit a dear friend.

Fairbanks is the second most populous city in Alaska, after Anchorage. It is known as the Golden Heart City and is very warm and welcoming to its visitors! I spent a lot of time with friends and their family and got a great sense of the community. Although I didn’t do many touristy things, I did manage to find out a few things that were worth a visit. Best part, these recommendations came from the locals.

Things to do in Fairbanks

Chena River

While in Fairbanks, I was blessed enough to stay right on the Chena River during part of my stay. The highlight for me, besides staying with the friendliest of hosts, was getting a personal boat tour of the river from my friend’s father-in-law, David! He even let me steer the boat for a bit and taught me how to tie the boat to the dock properly! If you don’t have access to a personal boat tour, like I did, the best way to tour the Chena River is by taking a cruise on the Riverboat Discovery!

This three-hour cruise guides you along the Chena River. You’ll see a floatplane take off alongside the boat, you’ll visit champion sled dogs and see them in action, and you’ll even take a little tour of the Chena Indian Village that immerses you in Athabaskan Indian culture. Visit the link provided above to plan your tour.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Did you know about 20% of U.S. oil flows through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline? I didn’t. While you’re in Fairbanks, you should definitely pay a quick little visit to see one of the most difficult engineering accomplishments of modern time. I almost missed seeing this, glad my friends brought me here to witness it with my own eyes, pretty cool! Click here to learn more and to plan a free tour!

Panning for Gold

Shaky-Shaky. Dippy-Dippy. Find Gold. Repeat.

These are the words you’ll find on Gold Daughters website. Located very close to the Alaskan Pipeline on Streese Hwy, you can pan for gold! I didn’t do this, but I will if I ever come back with my kids. Seems like a fun family outing or even a fun date! Visit Gold Daughters Alaska to plan your visit!

Meet Santa’s Reindeer

When exploring the internet to see what I should do while in Fairbanks, I found a lot of amazing feed back about having an experience with reindeer! Sounded incredible! However, with prices starting at $55, I felt a little uneasy about booking my tickets. I’m sure the experience is worth the ticket price at Running Reindeer Ranch, but I was ecstatic to find a smaller but similar experience at Antler Academy of Flying & Reindeer Games only a short distance away in North Pole, Alaska! Don’t bother looking it up online, they don’t have a site as of yet. You can get all the ticket pricing, location, and read about my visit there if you click on the following link…Reindeer Games in North Pole, Alaska!

Northern Lights

I can’t fail to mention that many travel to Alaska to see and be mesmerized by the Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis! Unfortunately, because I visited in the summer, I was unable to see them. I hear the best time is between late August-early April. If you drive a short distance away from Fairbanks, you can enjoy relaxing in a hot springs while looking up at the lights dance above at Chena Hot Springs. Sounds magical, doesn’t it?! Just another reason for me to go back for another visit.

Where to Eat

I was fortunate enough to be spoiled quite a bit with home cooked meals from several of my hosts. Super yummy grilled salmon made by the ever so lovely, Marilyn…one of my best friend’s mother-in-law. I think she cooked something delicious from scratch every day, just like my mom does. *gooey warm-fuzzy feeling sigh* I had amazing French toast for Sunday brunch made by my friend Abby’s husband, Abe! I even had the chance to eat an assortment of homemade cookies and desserts at my friend, Jodi’s wedding! Yummy! You might not get the pleasure of enjoying such treats when you visit Fairbanks, but you can get an authentic feel for where the locals eat at The Turtle Club! The options at their salad bar was incredible and their prime rib, delicious! You also might like to check out the Fairbanks Farmer’s Market! They are only open on certain days, so be sure to check out their website before you make a visit.

Where to Stay

I was blessed to have stayed with friends during my entire stay in Alaska, however, if I return again with my family in tow, I would be more than happy to book a stay at my friend Abby’s best friend’s Airbnb!! I had the pleasure of seeing this beautiful Tudor-style home while I spent a day exploring! It is gorgeous! Click here to view pictures and to book your very own place to stay while exploring the charming city of Fairbanks, the heart of Alaska!

I am so grateful to have had the chance to visit Fairbanks! I want to say a warm “thank you” to all who made my stay so wonderful! Buchanan, Tolman, Ford, and now Mueller family you guys really made me feel like a part of the family and my heart is so full of gratitude to have you as my friends! *warm smiles all around*

…and for my readers, you should definitely put Fairbanks, Alaska on your list! Happy travels, everyone! Next post I’ll be sharing about my day trip to Denali National Park, where you can see the tallest mountain in North America!