Should you visit Denali National Park or Fairbanks?
Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Denali National Park and Fairbanks can help you decide which place is right for you.
Denali National Park
There is a place in Alaska, 240 miles wide, where you can be a part of the wild frontier. The expansive and untouched area of Denali National Park welcomes thousands of visitors ever year with stunning natural wonders and incredible wildlife like grizzly bears, wolves, moose, caribou and more.
As home to North America's tallest peak, Denali has attracted nature adventurers from all over the world. Established in 1917 as wildlife refuge, Denali National Park contains areas of tundra and taiga. Taiga zones are covered in evergreen, spruce and aspen trees, while tundra zones are full of miniaturized versions of the plants including flowers, mosses and shrubs.
Remember that the weather changes without warning in Denali. It is a well known to the locals that you can expect sun, wind, rain and clouds in the same day. Pack accordingly.
Fairbanks is the only 'city' in the interior region of Alaska, and the largest settlement for hundreds of miles, but it has many characteristics of a small town where everyone seems to know everyone. Because the city sits at the nexus of some truly epic routes - north to the Arctic, east to Canada and south to Denali - you'll almost inevitably end up spending time here, and that time is rarely boring. The residential streets of compact downtown are pretty as a picture, and during winter, this is ground zero for viewing the aurora borealis.
Which city is cheaper, Fairbanks or Denali National Park?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Denali National Park is $175, while the average daily cost in Fairbanks is $218. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Denali National Park and Fairbanks in more detail.
Double occupancy rooms typically run around $186 in Denali National Park For nicer amenities and a premiere location, you can expect to pay a bit more.
An average hotel room with basic furnishings costs about $246 in Fairbanks For the most convenient locations and nicer amenities you can expect to pay a bit more.
Hotel or hostel for one person
Denali National Park $93
Typical double-occupancy room
Denali National Park
Denali National Park food costs typically run travelers around $45 per day. Eating every meal in a nicer restaurant will drive the cost up, and grabbing fast food or casual meals will help you save money.
On average, meal and food prices in Fairbanks cost around $50 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $20.
Meals for one day
Denali National Park $45
Typical Food prices in Fairbanks
For Fairbanks, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:
Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Fairbanks
For Fairbanks, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Northern Lights Experience and Cabin Dinner:
Late Night Yurt Dinner and Northern Lights:
Moonlight Dog Sled, Dinner, & Northern Lights:
Northern Lights Viewing including Dinner and 1-Hour Dog Sledding:
Public transportation tends to be much less expensive in Denali National Park than paying for a taxi or private car service, as is expected. Typically, people spend $61 on transportation in Denali National Park on average per day.
Fairbanks's transportation costs can vary by the type of transport chosen by visitors. Naturally, taxis and private drivers cost much more than public transportation options. On average, visitors spend $53 per person, per day on transportation in Fairbanks.
Typical Local Transportation prices in Fairbanks
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Fairbanks:
Hired Cars and Shuttles in Fairbanks
Also for Fairbanks, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Fairbanks International Airport One Way Transfer:
Sightseeing expenses in Denali National Park, including the cost of admission tickets for day tours, museums, and attractions, usually cost an average of $24 per day, per person.
Sightseeing, admission tickets, things to do, and other entertainment expenses in Fairbanks can vary widely by price. On average, visitors spend around $52 per person, per day on entertainment and sightseeing here.
Typical Entertainment prices in Fairbanks
Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Fairbanks's activities, tours, and tickets:
Tours and Activities in Fairbanks
For Fairbanks, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:
1-Hour Snowmachine Tour:
2-Hour ATV Tour:
2-Hour Snowmachine Tour:
3-Day Arctic Circle of Alaska Northern Lights Tour From Fairbanks:
7 Day Northern Lights Tour w/ Aurora Wake-Up Calls, Unique Lodging/Activities:
Alaskan Heritage and Sightseeing Tour in Fairbanks:
Arctic Circle Aurora Driving Adventure:
Arctic Circle Aurora Fly Drive Adventure - Southbound:
Arctic Circle Full-Day Adventure from Fairbanks:
Arctic Circle Journey Tour:
Arctic Circle Winter Fly Drive Adventure - Southbound:
Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks:
Alcoholic beverages can often be a significant portion of a traveler's budget, and the costs can vary greatly from person to person. In Denali National Park, the average amount that a visitor spends on alcoholic beverages per day is $9.71.
Typically, people visiting Fairbanks spend on average $21 on alcoholic beverages per person, per day.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Denali National Park and Fairbanks, we can see that Fairbanks is more expensive. And not only is Denali National Park much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Denali National Park would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Denali National Park and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Fairbanks would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Fairbanks than you might in Denali National Park.
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