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Complete Guide to Canada Northern Lights Hotel Stays

canada northern lights hotel resort

In this complete guide to Canada northern lights hotel and resort stays, we share some of the most popular and comfortable places to base and brace yourself for the stunning aurora borealis.

Planning a getaway to Canada to view the elusive Northern lights usually begins in the spring. By the time summer rolls around, all of the best locations in the Yukon, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories are fully booked.

If you’ve missed this season, don’t be worried, as the next few years from 2023-2025 are going to be spectacular for spotting the aurora, as we reach the peak of Solar Cycle 25. The peaks of the solar cycles are widely known by aurora hunters and astronomers to be the absolute best time to see the phenomenon, with the greatest aurora activity and most impressive light display.

But you’ll want to book quickly, before too many people become aware that the best years for northern lights watching are just ahead. To get you ready for the up and coming viewing season, here are some of the best destinations, resorts, spas, and northern lights hotels Canada has to offer.

Northern Lights Hotels Canada – Manitoba

CHURCHILL, MANITOBA

IceBerg Inn (Churchill, Manitoba)

Churchill is a remote town that is situated along the shores of the Hudson Bay. The frontier town is more than a thousand kilometers north of the bustling city of Winnipeg, and because there are no roads to the village, you will need to take either a plane or train. The IceBerg Inn is the pride and joy of Churchill, and provides visitors with access to the wildlife that calls this Arctic their home. Due to its isolation and size, preparation and careful planning is key.

  • Website: iceberginn.ca
  • Pricing: $110 to $150 per night
  • Location: Churchill, Manitoba
  • Amenities: Free Wi-Fi; Tour & Ticket Assistance; Cooked to Order Breakfasts
  • Accommodation Types: Lodge with Queen and Double Twin Bed Rooms

Aurora Tours & Northern Lights Viewing

There are several different Aurora Tours available in Churchill, and while some take visitors outside of the city limits, many of them make their way to the heated plexiglas Aurora Domes. These magnificently designed domes were created for viewing and photographing the elusive lights. They are situated far enough outside of the city limits, to ensure that there is no light pollution to interfere with the view.

Day Tours & Activities

During the daytime, you can take a day trip out onto the tundra, in order to get up close and personal with the wildlife. The Tundra Buggy Day Trip will take you through the Churchill Wildlife Management Area and provide you with some of the most awe-inspiring views of the sub-arctic environment imaginable. While you are out and about, you will have plenty of opportunity to view arctic hare, foxes, Carrabelle, as well as polar bears. There are more than 200 species of birds that call the Wildlife Management Area home.

SEAL RIVER, MANITOBA

Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge (Seal River, Manitoba)

Situated along the shores of the Egenolf Lake in the Seal River region of northern Manitoba, Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge is an amazing destination for anyone wishing to get up close and personal with the beauty of nature. There are no roads to the area, so the only way of reaching the lodge is to fly in and land on their private runway. While many of the hotels, motels, and lodgings throughout much of Canada can be reserved by the night, your trip to the North Seal River Lodge can only be attained by purchasing a complete getaway package that ranges from 4 to 7 days in length.

  • Website: ganglers.com
  • Pricing: $5,895 to $6,995 for a 4 to 7-day getaway
  • Location: Egenolf Lake, Manitoba
  • Amenities: Private Runway; Transportation Included; Free Wi-Fi In Main Lodge; Complimentary Coffee; Local Chef; Full-Service Bar.
  • Accommodation Types: Private Cabins

Aurora Tours & Northern Lights Viewing

In the northernmost parts of Manitoba, the view of the night sky is unobstructed by the lights of the big city, making it an excellent destination for capturing a glimpse of the elusive auroras. The best time for viewing the northern lights at the North Seal River Lodge, is between the months of August and October. While other more well-known destinations have to deal with overcast skies during the late fall months, due to the location of the lodge and the surrounding terrain, you can rest assured knowing that there will be at least 1 to 2 nights of perfect weather every single week. Sit back and relax near a campfire as you wait for the lights to make their appearance and dance across the night sky.

Day Tours & Activities

After the sun has come up, head out into the sub-boreal forest on a guided tour, where you can encounter a wide variety of animals like pine martens, otters, minks, moose, wolves, black bears, and even wolverines. This part of Canada is home to more than 100 lakes and 12 rivers which provide the visitors to the region with one of the most unique wildlife viewing experiences imaginable.

Canada Northern Lights Hotel – British Colombia

EMERALD LAKE, BRITISH COLOMBIA

Emerald Lake Lodge

Nothing is more rustic than spending the winter along the shores of Emerald Lake in a hand-hewn timber lodge that features large fireplaces, elegant dining rooms, sitting rooms, a game room, as well as traditional conference facilities. This beautiful wood lodge is nestled between Mount Burgess and Emerald Peak, deep within the Yoho National Park. Due to its location far away from any major city, the Emerald Lake Lodge is the one of the best destinations in British Columbia for viewing the elusive lights.

  • Website: crmr.com/resorts/emerald-lake
  • Pricing: $150 to $200 per night
  • Location: Field, British Columbia (within Yoho National Park)
  • Amenities: Two On-Site Restaurants; Indoor Play Area; Business Center; Shared Lounge; Outdoor Firepit; Free Wi-Fi In Common Areas.
  • Accommodation Types: Lodge with King, Queen and Double Twin Bed Rooms

Northern Lights Viewing

Situated right next door to Banff, a renowned aurora hunting destination in Canada, Yoho National Park is just as good as it’s more famous neighbor. Although the Yoho National Park is not considered a Dark Sky Preserve, it nevertheless offers some amazing views of the night skies. When you stay at the Emerald Lake Lodge, there is no need to hire a local tour guide to take you out hunting. Instead, you can bundle up and make your way out to any one of the many balconies or verandas to hunt for the elusive lights on your own. If it gets too cold, simply head over to the main lodge where there is steady-burning fire in the lodge’s century-old stone fireplace.

Day Tours & Activities

During the summer time, there are a lot of things to see and do around the lodge including hiking, canoeing, and other popular wilderness activities. But once the winter months have set in, the most popular activity is to take a ski tour through the countryside. Don’t worry if you did not bring your own equipment, because the Emerald Lake Lodge has just about anything you will need.

Canada Northern Lights Hotel – Iqaluit

The Frobisher Inn

The Frobisher Inn is located in the magical village of Iqaluit. Here, the culture, heritage, and traditions that have been passed down for centuries still remain strong. Experience the history and wonder when you make the Frobisher Inn the basecamp for your northern lights expedition. Because of its unique location on the Arctic tundra, getting to and from Iqaluit can be rather difficult. As such, it’s important to make sure that you plan far enough ahead of time to ensure that there are rooms available.

  • Website: frobisherinn.com
  • Pricing: $250 to $325 per night
  • Location: Iqaluit, Nunavut
  • Amenities: On-Site Restaurant; Free Wi-Fi In Every Room; On-Site Mini Mart; Meeting and Banquet Facilities; Fitness Center.
  • Accommodation Types: Hotel with Superior Queen, Deluxe Queen, and Double Twin Bed Rooms

Northern Lights Viewing

Due to its location on the Arctic tundra, Iqaluit is a perfect destination for viewing the elusive lights. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities located in the southernmost parts of Canada, there is very little light pollution to interfere with the mesmerizing experience. In fact, during the peak of the solar cycle, it’s possible to view the aurora borealis from the center of town. Thanks to its location in the far north, you are almost guaranteed to capture a glimpse of the phantom lights.

Day Tours & Adventures

For over 4000 years, dog sledding has been the only way for the native population to get around. The first known sled dogs were bred by the Thule, who inhabited Nunavut 4000 years ago. The Paleo-Eskimo people who inhabited the region from 2500 to 1500 BC continued that tradition, and passed down their stories, myths, and legends to the present day Inuit who now call Iqaluit their home. With help from these revered sled dogs, they were able to hunt for caribou and seals for generations. Enjoy an invigorating ride a crossed the Canadian tundra as you head out for a dog sledding day tour through the vast snowscapes.

Canada Northern Lights Hotel Options – Yellowknife

Yellowknife is one of the premier destinations in Canada for chasing the aurora, and as such, there are many Canada northern lights hotel and resort options to choose from in the region. One of the most popular spots to stay remains the Aurora Bayside Inn, featured below. Given the popularity of the region, in addition to the Aurora Bayside Inn, we’ve listed a few other popular accommodation options as well.

Regardless of the exact destination you choose, remember to give yourself a good length of time in Canada to see the northern lights, to maximize your chances for seeing it. One week is ideal. Accommodation may seem expensive when you add it all up, but a good way of reducing your cost is to look for rooms that have kitchens, so you can save some money by self-catering, instead of eating out for every meal. We’ve listed a couple of self-catering Yellowknife hotel options further below.

Aurora Bayside Inn

As one of the most popular destinations in all of Canada to view the aurora borealis, most of the accommodations in Yellowknife are booked a year in advance. The Aurora Bayside inn is no exception to the rule. This popular northern lights hotel in Yellowknife Canada offers both standard rooms as well as private cabins. The Inn offers a wide variety of amenities, and there is always something to do in the in the surrounding areas, to keep you busy until the elusive lights begin their mesmerizing dance across the heavens.

  • Website: aurorabaysideinn.ca
  • Pricing: $200 to $700 per night
  • Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
  • Amenities: Two Cafes; One On-Site Restaurant; Live Music; Outdoor Fireplaces; Free Wi-Fi; Lake and Garden Views.
  • Accommodation Types: Lodge with Standard, Deluxe Queen Rooms, Three-Bedroom Suite and Individual Cabins

Aurora Tours & Northern Lights Watching

When it comes to hunting for the elusive aurora borealis, the number one destination for anyone visiting Yellowknife, is the Aurora Village. While there are many different tour groups in the area to choose from, many people opt to skip the overloaded tour buses and make their way out to the Aurora Village instead. There are lanterns that light the way from the parking area out to the teepees, which are kept warm by carefully stoked wood fires. You’ll have plenty of hot chocolate, tea, and coffee to keep you warm as you stare out at the night sky viewing for the northern lights.

Day Tours & Activities

During the daytime, experience Yellowknife by taking a guided city tour. Join up with a small group and visit the many interesting hotspots located within the city. You will learn all about the geography, history, and culture as you make your way to several museums, monuments, and many other key landmarks. If you plan on taking the tour, you will need to set aside 3 or 4 hours to experience all that Yellowknife has to offer.

Other Northern Lights Hotels & Resorts in Yellowknife, Canada

Hotel, ResortPrice per night
(approx.)
Amenities
The Explorer Hotel
Visit website
From
$150 CAD
Restaurant, lounge, fitness center, hot tub.
Chateau Nova Yellowknife
Visit website
From
$130 CAD
Modern rooms, free WiFi, restaurant, fitness center, sauna.
Northern Lites Motel
Visit website
From
$70 CAD
Affordable rooms, free WiFi, restaurant, lounge.
Suitable option if you’re on a tight budget and only need basic amenities.
Capital Suites Yellowknife
Visit website
From
$150 CAD
Spacious rooms with kitchens, fitness center, laundry.
Good option for families, especially if you are planning on self-catering.
Stanton Suites Hotel Yellowknife
Visit website
From
$170 CAD
Suites with kitchens, fitness center, sauna.
Another good option if you’re self-catering.

Northern Lights Hotels Canada – Whitehorse

After Yellowknife, Whitehorse may be the next most famous destination for hunting the aurora borealis in Canada. In the region, the Northern Lights Resort and Spa is one of the most popular northern lights hotels and resorts here, but like Yellowknife, there are many other hotels and resorts through the town as well. Below is a detailed look at the Northern Lights Report & Spa, plus a few other popular options listed further down.

Northern Lights Resort & Spa

While the town of Whitehorse is situated at the southern edges of the Yukon Territory, it is still one of the best locations in Canada to hunt for the elusive lights. You will find the Northern Lights Resort & Spa situated a mere 25-minute drive outside of the city, making it close enough to access easily, but far enough away to ensure that the bright lights of the city do not interfere with the viewing of the phantom lights. This popular resort and spa is the perfect destination for those who are looking for a little bit of rest and relaxation. During the daytime, you can enjoy the many amenities that the resort has to offer, and ensure that you are properly rested for the nightly hunt.

  • Website: northernlightsyukon.com
  • Pricing: $225 to $350 per night
  • Location: Whitehouse, Yukon Territory
  • Amenities: Two Nearby Restaurants; Fitness Center; Free Wi-Fi In All Areas; Mountain and Garden Views; Multilingual Staff.
  • Accommodation Types: Queen. Deluxe King, Superior Twin Rooms, Superior Glass and Cabin Chalets.

Aurora Borealis Tours & Viewing

Due to its proximity to the town of Whitehorse, there are plenty of options when it comes to viewing the aurora borealis. Some people opt to take a tour out into the countryside, while others simply choose to stay in one of the unique Aurora Glass Chalets at the resort. These specially designed chalets were created to provide the perfect view of the Yukon landscape, as well as allow visitors to stay warm as the mesmerizing lights dance through the night skies. The floor-to-ceiling windows wrap around the northern face of the chalets, where you can snuggle up in a queen-size bed and gaze upon the vistas.

Day Tours & Adventures

Regardless of the time of year, one of the most popular destinations around the Northern Lights Resort & Spa are the Nordic Hot Springs. You can relax as you take a dip into the mineral rich waters which stay between 36°C and 43°C year-round. There are covered walkways and indoor changing rooms that will keep you warm as you throw on a swimsuit and make your way to the pools.

Other Northern Lights Hotels & Resorts in Whitehorse, Canada

Hotel, ResortPrice per night
(approx.)
Amenities
Best Western Gold Rush Inn
Visit website
$129 to $249 CADRestaurant, fitness center, business center.
Edgewater Hotel
Visit website
$119 to $219 CADStunning views of Yukon River and mountains, restaurant, fitness center, free Wi-Fi
Canadas Best Value Inn
Visit website  
$70 to $140 CADRestaurant, free Wi-fi. Basic rooms and amenities, good if you’re on a budget.
Yukon Inn
View website
$89 to $209 CADDowntown location, restaurant, bar, free Wi-Fi, pet-friendly.
Midnight Sun Inn
Visit website
$85 to $135 CADRange of room options, downtown location, basic amenities.
Raven Inn
Visit website
$70 to $100 CADModern décor, free wifi, downtown location, budget-friendly.

Final Tips for Choosing Canada Northern Lights Hotel & Resort Stays

This brings us to the conclusion of our complete guide to Canada northern lights hotel and resort stays. As mentioned at the top of the article, Canada is very popular with aurora chasers given its close proximity to the United States, and as such, accommodation is often booked out very far in advance.

With the next solar cycle peak occurring in 2023-2025, we suggest you start booking your vacation now to coincide with the solar peak, which is when the best aurora displays are predicted. And of course, make sure to plan your trip during the most appropriate months.

In the northernmost regions of the world, this means avoiding the summer months, and instead opting for the cooler part of the year from late-Autumn to early-Spring when the days are shorter and the nights are darker, as discussed in our guide to the best time to see the aurora borealis in Canada.

Make sure to allow yourself enough time for your aurora hunting vacation; one week is ideal, but at least 4-5 nights. Even during a solar peak there are other environmental conditions that can impede your view, such as clouds, so allowing enough time in the region allows you some buffer in case unfavorable weather occurs. You can learn more about choosing the best time, season and months to see the northern lights in Canada in our next article.

Happy aurora hunting!

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