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Alaska's State Flag

Favorite Alaska
Emphasis on Interior Alaska

Out of hundreds of interesting places, these are some of our favorites, categorized by type -- food, sightseeing, natural wonders, etc. It is by no means all inclusive. We are from Interior Alaska so most of our interests will be focused there (with links), and a few links to other "must see" places in the state.

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The State of Alaska


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Earrings on Red!

Discovery III

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The Tip of the Iceberg
There is so much more than this!

We will NOT cover cruise line-owned and operated facilities,
nor the national fast food and restaurant chains, of which there are plenty.

No times of operation, prices, etc., are shown here.
Times, dates, prices, and even phone numbers are subject to change.
Use the provided links for current information.

DINING and LODGING: For fine dining near Fairbanks nothing beats Pike's Landing on Airport Road, on the banks of the Chena River. DIII up river Pike's is a Fairbanks landmark, started decades ago by Bill Pike as watering hole near the airport where bush pilots gathered. Today it is a premier fine dining establishment. The current owner started out as a college student creating his own business delivering "buffalo wings" in the 1970s. He created two other enterprises. One is "The Food Factory", a popular dining place in Fairbanks (no website links known). The Pump House Restaurant and Saloon was originally designed to house pumps delivering Chena River water to the gold fields. It shut down after the Gold Rush. In the 1970s an entrepreneurial pilot turned it into a popular watering hole. It is comfortable, relaxed with traditionally excellent American and Continental fare. When people ask if Pike's or The Pump House is better I suggest if you want romance on an upscale, choose Pike's, if you want comfortable family dining choose the Pump House. Downtown, the finest dining is probably Lavelle's Bistro in the Marriott Hotel's Springhill Suites. The website is minimalist, but don't let that fool you! It is NOT a hotel restaurant. Lavelle's is definitely upscale and features an excellent wine cellar with its excellent menu.

For great truly casual dining consider either the Alaska Salmon Bake and/or Ester Gold Camp. Ester GC The Salmon Bake is in Pioneer Park (formerly Alaskaland) in Fairbanks. They serve salmon, halibut, and prime rib with all the fixin's. The Gold Camp, in the historic gold mining community of Ester (even has its own Zip Code!), features all-you-can-eat Alaska crab, other seafood, and reindeer stew in a buffet format. Part of the Ester Gold Camp offering is a show featuring the poetry of Robert Service (Who?), superbly done by a professional cast.

Excellent lodging is Pike's Waterfront Lodge on the Chena River adjacent to Pike's Landing listed above. The hotel was built in the late 1990s, tends not to cater to large tour groups so it is generally not crowded with mobs of visitors. If you are looking for something more rural, Chena Hot Springs Resort about an hour's drive north of Fairbanks is delightful. It features a natural hot springs where early miners would come to soak their weary bones and relax. There are soaking pools, a swimming pool, good hiking and high probability you will see moose in the evenings. The accommodations are a bit rustic but comfortable. The food is acceptable. This is not a luxury "resort". We are also partial to the River's Edge Resort and RV Park. It has a small hotel, plus dozens of adorable and comfortable modern cabins on the banks of the Chena River. It is close to Fairbanks and has a good restaurant called Chena's Fine Dining on site. There is also an excellent RV Park.

This covers some of our favorites in this subject area. There is a website which lists numerous Fairbanks area dining establishments.

ATTRACTIONS and THINGS TO DO: Fairbanks's two premier attractions tap into the Gold Rush Era which first brought people in large numbers to Fairbanks in 1903. I am personally affiliated with one of them (disclaimer!) and it has been a major Fairbanks attraction since 1950.

*** Use the controls under the picture for a short video of Discovery III! ***

The Sternwheel Riverboat Discovery III makes twice daily four-hour excursions on the Chena and Tanana Rivers stopping at the home of the late Susan Butcher, four-time winner of the 1100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Susan died on August 5, 2006, at the age of 51 after a long battle with leukemia.) The riverboat tour also spends an hour at a model Athabascan Indian Village, and provides detailed narration on the natural and cultural history of Alaska. On board the boats are complimentary coffee and donuts and a sample of Alaska's finest smoked salmon. gold pan gold For an equally interesting insight into Interior Alaska and the Gold Rush, visit Eldorado Gold Mine and enjoy a two-hour adventure, a train ride through a permafrost tunnel, an informative field demonstration on how to find and pan for gold, and a chance to pan for, AND FIND gold yourself! This tour includes complimentary fresh home-made cookies, and hot beverages. Now, for insights into Alaska cultural and natural history it is hard to beat the University of Alaska Museum of the North. The facility in on the Fairbanks campus of the University of Alaska and has just undergone a multi-million dollar expansion. The University is also home to the Musk Ox Farm, sometimes known as The Large Animal Research Station and the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The garden is particularly photogenic, featuring flowers which flourish under long daylight hours; including species which may surprise you.

SEASONAL EVENTS: What we list above is available throughout the short tourist season which runs from Mid-May to Mid-September. Some operators run from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some events are seasonal. weio contestants In July Fairbanks celebrates its gold rush heritage with Golden Days, and the Native Cultures celebrate with the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. The young ladies in the picture are from the villages of Tanana and Bethel. They wear traditional garb for the Miss WEIO Pageant. Golden Days and WEIO are exciting, and informative.

Summer is also time for the nationally acclaimed Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.

If you have wanted to experience Fairbanks in the winter, how about the 1000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territories (or the other direction on alternating years)? It happens every February. It is exciting! You can bet there are not too many visitors in town! Dress warm! In March Fairbanks is home to the World Ice Art Championships where you can watch or even compete in some of the most amazing ice carving on the planet. Bring your camera!

Geese in Flight Pattern!

Creamer's Field Migratory Wildlife and Waterfowl Refuge is a great place to watch huge flocks of lesser sandhill cranes, Canada geese and other waterfowl as they stop near Fairbanks to rest and refuel before flying north to their breeding grounds. They come north in late April and head south in mid-September -- feathered bookends to our tourist season! Here is website featuring an excellent photo essay of the Refuge. Another great viewing area for these birds are the open fields of the University of Alaska Experimental Farm near the Parks Highway and Geist Road.

For more information on visitor related activities in Interior Alaska you can contact the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Bureau's website is amazing!

Here are a few links to other places in Alaska which we have enjoyed.
Denali National Park is glorious! Alaska has 17 of the 20 highest peaks in North America! There is a lot of hotel space around Denali, but during the busy season (June, July, August) it can be hard to find a room.
Seward, Alaska This is a great website! I spend many years in this part of Alaska. One major attraction is the annual July 4th Mt. Marathon Race. The fishing and scenery are incredible.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Follow the race!
Anchorage Native Cultural Heritage Center You can never know too much about Alaska's many Native American groups! The Center touches on all of the major Native cultures in Alaska for a broad overview including static displays and young Native guides.

For more information about Alaska as a travel destination, or to order a free visitor's packet contact the State of Alaska Division of Tourism.


Need More Information? You can Google from here!

Flowers, like this delphinium thrive in local outdoor gardens.

Many people are surprised that lillies do well here. This one is at the University of Alaska Experimental Farm.

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