Lesser-Known Places In The US To See The Northern Lights

From remote wilderness areas to hidden corners of national parks, these off-the-beaten-path locations in the US offer equally stunning experiences as Alaska and Iceland
View of Aurora Borealis. Photo Credit Shutterstock
View of Aurora Borealis. Photo Credit Shutterstock

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, have long captivated the imaginations of travellers around the world. While renowned destinations like Alaska and Iceland are well-known for their spectacular displays of this natural phenomenon, there are lesser-known places in the United States that offer equally breathtaking experiences. From remote wilderness areas to hidden corners of national parks, these off-the-beaten-path locations provide the perfect opportunity to witness the mesmerizing dance of vibrant colours illuminating the night sky. Here, we unveil a collection of these hidden gems, allowing you to embark on an enchanting journey to witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights in lesser-known corners of the United States.


Observing the northern lights in north Idaho is possible during significant geomagnetic storms. To increase your chances of witnessing this natural phenomenon, consider visiting Priest Lake and the Idaho Panhandle National Forest.


Under specific conditions, the northern lights can be observed in parts of the Midwest, such as northern Minnesota. Cook County, in particular, is considered one of the prime locations to witness this natural spectacle among the contiguous 48 states. However, to view the lights, several factors need to align, such as a significant solar storm, a dark environment devoid of light pollution, and a strategic decision to venture out of urban areas. Find a secluded spot beneath the starry sky, patiently awaiting the potential display.


Pennsylvania offers a favourable opportunity for viewing the northern lights due to Cherry Springs State Park, recognized as a Dark Sky Reserve. This location allows visitors to stay overnight, participate in tours, and even attend photography classes to enhance their skills and potentially capture the aurora phenomenon. The Overnight Astronomy Observation Field provides a panoramic view of the night sky, granting a remarkable stargazing experience, regardless of whether the northern lights are visible.


Wisconsin has witnessed the appearance of auroras across its natural landscapes. Consider visiting the Apostle Islands or Washington Island in Door County to catch a glimpse of the lights. The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, are picturesque backdrops for viewing this fascinating phenomenon. Furthermore, Wisconsin provides an even more favourable environment for observing the northern lights when these lakes freeze over.

North Dakota

North Dakota, a northern state, is ideal for night sky enthusiasts hoping to witness the lights of the north. Scenic destinations like Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Mystical Horizons in the Turtle Mountains near Bottineau provide excellent opportunities for clear skies necessary to observe the auroras. A pair of cameras have been installed in North Dakota's Martens Observatory, offering a public live stream of the night sky. This resource allows viewers to witness auroras when they appear overhead, enhancing the accessibility of this natural phenomenon.


A predominantly rural state, Maine presents abundant opportunities for stargazing. It boasts the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it the premier destination east of the Mississippi River to witness the northern lights. The Appalachian Mountain Club's Maine Woods also hosts an International Dark Sky Park and other secluded locations that offer clear skies for potential aurora sightings.

Cover Photo Credit Shutterstock

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