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Americans Can See The Northern Lights In These 5 U.S. States This Year

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This year is expected to be the best year in two decades for seeing the Northern Lights.

According to National Geographic, this year will bring the best auroras in 20 years due to the solar maximum, which will reach peak activity between January and October.

Northern lights near lake michigan

Simply put, if you've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, 2024 is the best time to do it!

And you don't have to travel far from home to somewhere like Iceland or Norway to see the Northern Lights. There are actually a handful of U.S. states where the aurora borealis is visible.

The best places to see the Northern Lights in North America are very far north (think northern Canada and Alaska.) However, there are also plenty of places in the continental United States where you can see them.

Woman with Northern Lights in the background

The best time to see the Northern Lights in 2024 will be February, March, October, November, and December. In order to see them, you will want to choose a night that is clear and free of cloud coverage. You will also want to be far outside big cities, away from light pollution.

You can use a tracker like this from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to check expected conditions for seeing the Northern Lights at any given time.

These are the best states for seeing the aurora borealis in 2024:

Northern Lights Over Michigan

1. Maine

Maine is your best bet for seeing the Northern Lights on the East Coast of the United States. It's the northeasternmost state in the country, and there are many places around the state where you don't have to worry about light pollution.

One of the best spots is Acadia National Park. You can also see the Northern Lights from around the town of Caribou in Aroostook County, which borders Canada.

Northern Lights in Bar Harbor Maine

2. Michigan

Another good spot for seeing the Northern Lights in the U.S. is Michigan. This state was just named one of the best U.S. states to visit in 2024, and it's home to tons of natural beauty. It also happens to be a great place to see the Northern Lights.

In particular, Michigan's Upper Peninsula offers the best viewing points. On a cold, clear night, you may be able to see the Northern Lights flickering over the shores of Lake Superior.

Northern Lights in Michigan

3. Minnesota

Minnesota is the farthest north state in the continental United States, which makes it a great option for seeing the Northern Lights and your best bet outside of Alaska.

As with any state on this list, you'll want to head as far north as you can to see the aurora borealis. In northern Minnesota, Cook County is one of the best places to spot the Northern Lights over Lake Superior. Another option is Voyageurs National Park.

Northern Lights at Voyageurs National Park

4. Montana

Nicknamed Big Sky Country, Montana is another great state for seeing the Northern Lights. This state has exploded in popularity with tourists recently, and you can add spotting the Northern Lights as another bucket list activity to do in Montana.

An excellent place to watch the aurora borealis dance across the sky in Montana is Glacier National Park. This park is a certified Dark Sky destination, so conditions are perfect for seeing the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights Over Glacier National Park in Montana

5. Washington

If you're located in the Pacific Northwest and want to see the Northern Lights, there are several places in Washington where you might have the chance.

You aren't likely to see them in Seattle, where there's a lot of light pollution and it's often cloudy.

However, just a few hours away, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park are two of the best places for glimpsing the Northern Lights.

Northern Lights in Washington

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