The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular affairs.

A stunning show of illuminated streaks in the night sky, the Northern Lights are the result of particles from the earth and the sun colliding in the atmosphere, creating brilliant hues of green, red, purple and blue.

You don’t have to trek to Iceland or Norway for a chance to catch a glimpse of this natural wonder: You’ll find plenty of prime viewing areas in northern Canada. When it comes to seeing the Aurora Borealis in person, you’ll need to stake out a spot away from city lights – the darker, the better.

If you’re headed north of the border to catch the show, one of these three Canadian locales is a good bet.


In the winter months, head to Whitehorse in the Yukon for some of the best views of the Northern Lights. You can opt for a guided tour (some last for several days and offer an in-depth look at this natural phenomenon) or book a stay at one of the area’s lodges or yurts. Plenty of bed and breakfasts in the area also let you sleep under the dancing lights in Whitehorse.


The capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories is also one of the best spots in the world for taking in the Northern Lights. Set up your viewing camp at Aurora Village, where natural darkness sets the stage for Mother Nature to paint the night sky with hues of green and purple. The teepee-style campgrounds also welcome Northern Lights-seekers with heated chairs, a welcome perk in this rather chilly destination. Guides are also around to offer insights into the Northern Lights.

Fort McMurray

If you’re headed to Alberta, plan for a few nights in Fort McMurray to see the Lights. You can try to catch them on your own, but you may have better luck booking a tour with one of the handful of tour operators that specialize in the Northern Lights in Fort McMurray. Winter is prime time for viewing the lights, and many tours feature stays at a local hotel with nightly excursions to catch the light show.

(Main image: Image Editor)

About the author

Marissa WillmanMarissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.

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