The Northern Lights: one of the great, natural wonders of the world. We checked seeing them off our bucket list last fall on a flight to Paris (out the plane window!) and now, March, is your last chance to see them until next September. Below, Contiki, a social tour company for 18-to-35-year-olds, has helped us round up when and where (outside of the Northwest Territories and Yukon) to see the Northern Lights.
When: It turns out the Northern lights are most visible from September to March as they are historically related to periods of more solar activity! Meaning we have one full month left until we have to wait another six.
Where: Historically, you’d think that you’d have to travel to the Northwest Territories or the Yukon to see the Northern Lights. But did you know you can also see them in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia?
Banff and Jasper, Alberta: Jasper National Park is protected as a Dark Sky Preserve, making it a great spot to catch stars at any time of the year.
Manitoulin Island, Ontario: The area is protected by the Canadian government as a Dark Sky Preserve as part of the Bruce Peninsula National Park, giving off some of the darkest skies in Ontario. Its conditions make it the perfect spot to catch some bright stars and Northern Lights.
Squamish, British Columbia: Porteau Cove Provincial Park has little light pollution and the beach area is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Canada.
Churchill, Manitoba: Churchill is located in Canada’s subarctic region, which makes it an ideal location for viewing the Northern Lights. The best time to see the northern lights in Churchill is during the winter months (November to March), when the skies are clear and the nights are longer. Churchill is also known as the Polar Bear Capital of the World, so you can combine a Northern Lights viewing trip with a polar bear watching expedition.
Pinehouse, Saskatchewan: It is possible to see the Northern Lights in Pinehouse, although it is not as reliable a location as some other areas. It’s important to keep in mind that the Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and can be unpredictable, so there is no guarantee that you will see them on any given night.