Chena Hot Springs, near Fairbanks, is a truly Alaskan experience. Chena is best known for its natural hot springs and hotel. However, there is so much to this destination it’s landed a spot in my top Alaskan experiences of all time. Located approximately 1.5 hours northeast of Fairbanks, this is a must-see attraction for anyone in the area.
Still looking for a reason to visit this quirky resort in the middle of nowhere? Here are the top 6 reasons to visit Chena Hot Springs, near Fairbanks.
Pro tip: For a comprehensive view of what to do in Alaska, check out The Alaska Roadtrip Itinerary.
The hot springs (duh!)
You do not need to be an overnight guest to enjoy some time in the famous hot springs. In fact, you can access the hot springs for an entire day for just $15 per adult. Open from 7 am to 11:45 pm, there is plenty of time to enjoy a soak. Perhaps the thing I love most about the hot springs though is the enormous amount of space. With an inside pool, an outside hot tub, and a large outside rock pool, there is enough space for everyone to enjoy the springs in peace. Additionally, the outside rock pool is as picturesque as you could possibly imagine. No matter the season, this is certainly an experience that can’t be missed.
The aurora borealis, best viewed from hot springs near Fairbanks
Most noticeable from August to May, the aurora borealis is constantly hovering above Chena Hot Springs. Due to its location + distance from the light pollution of Fairbanks, this area presents an increased chance of seeing the famed northern lights. With the outdoor rock pool remaining open until 11:45 pm, you just may get a chance to soak underneath the show.
Spa service for maximum relaxation
Looking for more relaxation? Book a massage at the front desk. With several private massage “cabins”, it’s easy to work with a therapist to design your perfect massage. Chena offers appointments for 30, 60, and 90 minutes in a variety of modalities.
It’s not super obvious from the website, but the resort is actually half hotel and half campground. The campground portion of the resort is one of the most charming outdoor spaces I have ever seen. A mix of outdoor sculptures, various (rentable) camping structures, an oversized wood-burning stove, gardens, and a greenhouse make this one of my personal favorite places to camp.
The restaurant and bar
The restaurant and bar provide the ideal place to relax out of the water. With rustic decor and an actual farm-to-table menu (the veggies come from the aforementioned greenhouse!), dinner here is a great way to compliment your day at the resort. Want to save some bucks? Make your own food at the campground then visit the Trails End Lounge, for a craft Alaskan beer.
An array of actvities to chose from
Depending on the time of year that you visit, you can choose from an array of cute, outdoorsy activities to enhance your stay. Year-round you can visit the adorable huskies that live at the on-site dog kennel and stroll through the world-famous ice museum. Moreover, the year-round ice museum tour ends at an ice bar with a cocktail served in an ice glass! Additionally, in the winter, you can enjoy snowmobiling, ice fishing, and dog sledding.
While there are certainly a lot of possibilities in visiting Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks, it’s not the individual activities that make the experience. It’s the little touches of eclectic art, the fresh mountain air, and Alaskan charm that will make you never forget this place. In short, Chena Hot Springs is a truly unique travel experience.