HomeUncategorizedWhere to chase the midnight sun this summer

Where to chase the midnight sun this summer

When it comes to Arctic travel, the aurora borealis gets all the attention. There’s obviously something magical about seeing the shimmering Northern Lights display—but they can be a bit fickle. You can plan an entire trip around the aurora and never spot it. During the summer months, however, in the extreme northern reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, the night sky provides a decidedly more consistent pleasure, when the midnight sun blazes to life.
Depending on how far north you go, you’ll encounter either 24 hours of consistent sunlight or a few hours of twilight, but the effect is generally the same. Following harsh, dark winters, these endless summer days are an invitation to stay up late and soak up nocturnal outdoor pursuits, from midnight hikes and hot springs visits to teeing up on the golf course and whale-watching tours.
Ready to say “take me out to the midnight ball game?” Read on.

 

Fairbanks, Alaska

Borealis Basecamp in Fairbanks, Alaska
Borealis Basecamp in Fairbanks, Alaska

 

From May 17 to July 27, Alaska’s second-largest city enjoys 70 days without a proper sunset, and locals really take advantage of that extra daylight. You can play a nighttime round at the country’s northernmost USGA course, the Midnight Sun Golf Club (true to its name, the club has previously offered tee times as late as midnight); soak in the nearby Chena Hot Springs, which is open until 11:45 p.m.; or zip through the forest on a Midnight Sun ATV Tour.
Or, head to the century-old Midnight Sun Game, an amateur baseball game that’s played annually on the summer solstice at Growden Park (this year, that’s June 21). Since 1960, the game’s home team has been the Alaska Goldpanners, a collegiate summer baseball team whose ranks have included Barry Bonds, Tom Seaver, and Dave Winfield. First pitch is set for 10 p.m.
For unique lodging, head to Borealis Basecamp, a cluster of transparent geodesic igloos on 100 acres of boreal forest outside of town. While the lodge gets its name from the winter’s Northern Lights, experiencing the area during summer can be just as magical, as you ride along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline on a UTV, or utility task vehicle.

 

Reykjavík, Iceland

Kayaking during the Midnight Sun with Vestur Adventures in Reykjavik, Iceland
Kayaking during the Midnight Sun with Vestur Adventures in Reykjavik, Iceland

 

Iceland is so overflowing with natural wonders—geysers, glaciers, waterfalls, beaches lined with basalt columns, abundant marine wildlife—you can often leave feeling like there wasn’t nearly enough time to see everything. The joy of the summer months is that as long as you have a strong plan for steady caffeine intake, you can basically be out and about 24 hours a day. Take, for instance, the Magical Whales in the Midnight Sun tour from Elding Whale Watching, during which the sky glows pink and orange as you observe the nocturnal habits of minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, and humpback whales.

Across the island, you can take the night shift on outdoorsy adventures, whether you’re sea kayaking past Kirkjufell Mountain with Vestur Adventures, going for a snowmobile tour on the Langjökull glacier with Mountaineers of Iceland, or soaking in the silica-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, which stays open until 1 a.m. on the summer solstice. If you book a room at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, you’ll have private access to those healing waters late into the night.

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