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The 3 Best Places See the Midnight Sun

The midnight sun is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomena that you have to experience, and depending on where you see it, it could change your life forever.

By: Jason Horstman + Save to a List

The midnight sun is something I hadn't really heard much about before until I got into hiking and photography, and as every photographer knows, it can be difficult to capture the best light that lasts for only moments during dawn and dusk. Throw those limitations out the window and what you have is a natural phenomena that many can only dream of - perfect light that lasts all throughout the night and into the morning. This phenomena occurs near or above the Arctic Circle, which is so far north that it causes the sun to hover above the horizon until around midnight, and in some cases even into the morning. There's no other feeling quite like being on top of a mountain or near any beautiful scenery in the middle of the night and watching the sky being illuminated in color, only to last for hours on end. It's an experience one will always remember.

There are some pretty incredible places out there to witness this unparalleled event, and I've come up with three of my favorites which are sure to leave anyone speechless, including myself.

1. Lofoten Islands - Norway

Photo: Reinebringen

I had only seen this place through numerous pictures before I finally decided it was time to see what all the hype was about. If there's one place that will leave your jaw dropping around every corner, it's this place. Situated on an archipelago in northern Norway, the Lofoten Islands consists of jagged peak rising out of the ocean in every direction, paired with crystal clear waters that can almost look tropical at times. The midnight sun lasts from late May to mid July here, and lasts all throughout the night starting around early June. This makes it very easy to lose track of time with the amazing scenery and long lasting light. The only downside is that the weather can be a little extreme at times, but is well worth putting up with. On the plus side, they endorse wild camping, which means you can camp on nearly all uninhabited land (leaving no trace of course), and allows you to set up camp in some pretty epic locations. This place gets my #1 vote when choosing a destination to watch the midnight sun.

2. Iceland

Photo: Kirkjufell

I'm sure you've all heard of this place before, and it comes as no surprise that it's also one of my favorite places for watching the midnight sun. With unique primordial landscapes around every corner, it's pretty hard not to see something incredible you've never seen before in Iceland. Although the weather can also be challenging here, it can pay off greatly if you're patient enough. Midnight sun season is also around the same time here, with the sun setting just after midnight and rising again right around 3am during the summer solstice. The best part about Iceland is that it's very easy to hit a couple different spots during the midnight sun, as you can drive along the ring road and hit one of the many scenic locations. With all the mossy covered lava rocks and mountains, and countless roadside waterfalls and hidden treasures around every corner, this place gets my #2 vote for places for viewing the midnight sun.

3. Alaska

Photo: Reed Lakes

My last location might not technically fit the criteria for the midnight sun, but the sun doesn't set until almost midnight and rises around 4am during the longest days of summer, leaving plenty of hours of daylight to get outside. If you want a place that leaves you in awe and makes you feel small compared to the massive mountains and glaciers you find around every corner, then Alaska is your place. I've never been to a place that's left me so mesmerized and curious as it did here. With all the expansive, untapped, untamed wilderness that exists here, it's no wonder it's called The Last Frontier. Some of the crown jewels include Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Lake Clark National Park, the Chugach Mountains, and Hatcher Pass. There's never been a place that's left me wanting to see more than Alaska. With it's proximity to the lower 48, and all the different options to explore, this place makes the final spot on my list.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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