Low-Cost Activities in Fairbanks

Visiting Fairbanks on a budget? You don't have to be rich to enjoy this town. Low-cost activities abound, if you know where to look. We've compiled a list of just a few of the many different activities available to budget-weary travelers in the Golden Heart City.

Parks to Enjoy

  • Pioneer Park: This 44-acre historic park has a Gold Rush Village filled with authentic buildings from downtown Fairbanks, an art gallery, seven museums, a square and round dance center, and loads of historical displays and presentations. The children's playgrounds and four covered picnic shelters are heavily used by locals as well as tourists taking a break from sight-seeing.
  • Birch Hill Recreation Area: This 460-acre park has hiking, cross-country running, mountain biking, Frisbee golf, and bird watching in the summer. Located a few miles north of Fairbanks; just follow the signs off the Steese Highway.

Tours and Museums

  • The Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Center has audio walking tours of downtown Fairbanks available to borrow. Other tours include the wildlife refuge at Creamers Field and the Chena Flood Control Project. There are many different tours offered at the University of Alaska Campus in Fairbanks, and at Pioneer Park. Most of the above tours are free, with minimal charges for some.
  • The Fairbanks Community Museum, run completely by volunteers, is a warren of interconnecting rooms at 410 Cushman Street, where city government offices used to be. The walls are covered with memorabilia, showcasing photographs of Fairbanks in all stages of its development.

Exploring

  • A visit to Creamer's Field allows visitors to explore a two-mile trail that lets you see Alaska's plant and animal life "up close and personal." Creamer's Dairy and the refuge are located on College Road. The Alaska Bird Observatory, an organization dedicated to studying birds and educating the public, has a research station and a gift shop at Creamer's Field.
  • Viewing the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline at the turnout on Mile 8 of the Steese Highway between Fairbanks and Fox presents the opportunity for a close-up view of the Pipeline, plus informational displays about its construction. The turnout will be on your right as you drive north. The pipeline has been hailed as one of the greatest feats of modern engineering.

Recreational Sports

Summer

  • Biking and Rollerblading: There are smooth paved trails along the Chena River and along Farmers Loop. Ask the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center staff for a complete map of bike paths in Fairbanks.
  • Water Sports: You can visit Chena Lakes State Recreation Area in North Pole where there are camping sites, picnic tables and a beach. It's the warmest lake in the Interior.
  • Rent a Canoe: Rent a canoe for a day for the day and paddle along the Chena River.
  • Berry Picking: Berries are bountiful all over the Interior, and most ripen in late summer to early fall. Explore a guide to some of the most popular berry picking areas.

Winter

  • Cross-Country Skiing: Cross-country Ski Races are held throughout the winter at Birch Hill, the University, and local trails throughout the Interior.
  • Snowshoeing: Snowshoes can be rented from many local recreation companies