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There are spots in the U.S. where you can catch this stunning celestial show, which occurs when charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere to create the vibrant colors. Not necessarily. There are spots in the U.S. where you can catch this stunning celestial show, which occurs when charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere to create the vibrant colors — greens, blues, violets, reds, pinks and yellows — that shimmer and swirl in the night sky. Though showtimes are never guaranteed, here are some of the best spots across the U.S. to experience this enthralling natural phenomenon
One of the most stunning places to see the lights is in Voyagers National Park, a 218,000-acre maze of labyrinthine lakes, thick forests, and 500 islands. It's located along the U.S. and Canadian border, and is officially certified as a “dark-sky park” because of its lack of light pollution. The park has cabins, campsites, and lodges, but the best seat in the house just might be in a jacuzzi on the top of a houseboat. The luxurious vessels are available to rent from locally owned Ebel’s Voyageur Houseboats.
The Idaho Panhandle National Forest is one of the best places in the state to maximize the chances of viewing the aurora. Priest Lake, located in the national forest, has the perfect conditions for spotting the Northern Lights, and light chasers and photographers flock to the area each winter to spot the auroras, which are often reflected in the water's still surface.
The night sky is one of the biggest attractions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula since almost the entire 51,000 square miles offers front row seats to some of the most stellar shows on earth. Copper Harbor, tucked on the northernmost tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula on the shores of Lake Superior, is a particularly good bet. This tiny hamlet sits 30 miles from the nearest town, creating a near-complete lack of light pollution making it easier to see the colors dance across the sky.
Sparsely populated Aroostook County, located on the U.S.-Canadian border, makes for a perfect spot for sky watching in Maine. There's little to no light pollution near the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, upping the odds that you have an incredible light show. The refuge includes wetlands, forest and grasslands and is home to many types of wildlife, including black bears and moose.
While the aurora can appear over every part of Alaska, from Barrow to Ketchikan, the chances improve with latitude. The main auroral band usually crosses the state in an arc north of the Alaska Range. This makes the inner city of Fairbanks and the surrounding area (including Chena Hot Springs) the sweet spot for northern lights viewing in this magnificent state.
If seeing the aurora borealis is on your bucket list, head to one of these spots in the States to catch the light show of a lifetime.
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