Single Parent Holiday Ideas Travel Blog

Chasing Aurora: How to Experience the Northern Lights as a Family

Imagine standing under a vast, starry sky with your children, wrapped in warm clothes, as curtains of light dance above you in a silent, mesmerizing display. This is the magic of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, a natural phenomenon that has captivated humans for millennia. For single parents seeking a  unique and unforgettable holiday experience with their children, chasing the Northern Lights as a family offers an adventure that is as educational as it is enchanting.

Northern Lights: A Unique  Family Holiday Experience

The Northern Lights are not just a breathtaking spectacle – they are a gateway to numerous learning opportunities and bonding experiences for families. The phenomenon occurs in the polar regions, thanks to the interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles from the sun. This celestial show not only offers a practical lesson in geography and physics but also opens discussions about the myths and legends different cultures have created to explain the lights.

Experiencing the Northern Lights with kids can be a profoundly moving experience, strengthening family bonds whether this is your first holiday as a single parent or one of many. It encourages teamwork, as you plan your trip, chase the best sightings, and share the excitement of waiting for the lights to appear. The shared anticipation and awe of witnessing the Aurora Borealis can create lasting memories and stories that you and your children will cherish and recount for years to come.

Moreover, the journey to see the Northern Lights often leads to some of the most pristine and remote parts of our planet, offering families a chance to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with nature—and each other. From cosying up in a glass igloo in Finland to watching the lights reflect off the icy waters of a Norwegian fjord, the adventure is as much about the journey and the destinations as it is about the spectacle itself.

Aurora Borealis
Photo: Northern Lights in Yellowknife, Canada

The adventure of chasing the Northern Lights with kids presents a unique opportunity to share a magical experience that is both awe-inspiring and educational. It’s a chance to foster curiosity, encourage learning, and build deeper connections through the shared wonder of one of nature’s most spectacular displays.

Top Global Destinations for the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, with their ethereal beauty, can be witnessed from numerous locations across the globe. Each destination offers a unique experience, with various family-friendly amenities and accommodations to make your adventure comfortable and memorable.

1. Norway: Tromsø

Tromsø, well above the Arctic Circle, is renowned for its high frequency of Northern Lights occurrences. This city provides not just a high chance of witnessing the Aurora but also family-friendly activities like dog sledding, reindeer camps, and cultural museums. Many hotels in Tromsø cater to families, offering spacious rooms and amenities like heated pools to relax in after a night under the stars.

2. Finland: Rovaniemi

Rovaniemi, the official home of Santa Claus, is a magical destination for families. Here, you can stay in glass igloos or traditional log cabins, offering a comfortable base from which to view the Northern Lights. During the day, visit Santa Claus Village, enjoy a husky safari, or explore the Arctic Circle.

It’s an educational and fun-filled destination for both parents and children.

The northern lights in Rovaniemi
Photo: Northern Lights in Rovaniemi, Sweden

3. Canada: Windsor, Ontario

Surprisingly, Windsor, Ontario, offers unique Northern Lights viewing opportunities due to its southern location and occasional strong solar activity. Ideal for single parents, Windsor combines family attractions like Adventure Bay Water Park with cozy accommodations.

While it contrasts the wilderness of other destinations, its family-friendly activities and picturesque waterfront make it a noteworthy spot for aurora chasers.

4. Iceland: Reykjavik

Reykjavik and its surroundings offer a fantastic backdrop for the Northern Lights, with the added benefit of geothermal pools like the Blue Lagoon, where families can relax together.

Guided tours from Reykjavik take you away from city lights to better spots for Aurora viewing. The city itself is family-friendly, with interactive museums and the enchanting Hallgrimskirkja church.

5. Canada: Yellowknife

Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. The city offers a range of family-orientated activities, from snowshoeing to ice fishing, alongside the Northern Lights. Accommodations are varied, with options, such as cozy cabins and hotels equipped with Aurora viewing areas.

6. Sweden: Abisko

Abisko is famous for its clear skies, which make it an ideal spot for Aurora viewing. The Abisko National Park offers a serene setting away from light pollution, and the Aurora Sky Station provides a guided experience. Families can enjoy daytime activities such as ice skating and snowmobile tours.

Abiski national park
Photo: Aurora Borealis in Abisko National Park, Sweden

Planning Your Single Parent Trip

Embarking on a journey to witness the Northern Lights as a family is an adventure that requires careful planning to ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience. Whether you book a package via a reliable tour operator or plan your own single parent trip, it’s a good idea to do a little research before you book:

Best Times to Go

It’s important to note that the Northern Lights are typically most visible from late September to early April when nights are longest in the polar regions. Planning your visit during these months increases your chances of a successful sighting. Also, consider the moon phase: A new moon means darker skies and potentially a more dramatic Aurora display.

What to Pack

Prepare for cold weather by packing thermal layers, waterproof outerwear, hats, gloves, and warm boots for both you and your children. Don’t forget a thermos for hot drinks, snacks, and a portable charger for your devices. A good quality camera or smartphone with a night mode feature is essential for capturing the lights.

Photo: Reykyavik, Iceland

Making the Experience Comfortable for Kids

To keep the night-watch enjoyable for kids, bring along blankets, warm beverages, and snacks. Make sure your accommodation is child-friendly, with easy access to restrooms and a comfortable place to relax or sleep if they need a break from the cold.

Engaging Kids with the Aurora Before the Trip

Getting children excited and informed about the Aurora Borealis before your trip can make the experience even more rewarding. You could find children’s books about the Northern Lights and read them together as part of your bedtime routine. If your kids don’t enjoy reading, watch documentaries or short videos about the Aurora Borealis together, focusing on the science and mythology surrounding this natural phenomenon. Last but not least, why not create Aurora-inspired art projects, such as a painting or drawing, to spark their imagination about what they’ll see.


Witnessing the Northern Lights as a family is an extraordinary experience that your family will remember for a lifetime. It’s more than just a holiday: It’s an educational adventure that offers unparalleled beauty, learning opportunities, and the chance to strengthen family bonds under the spellbinding skies. Make sure to prep the kids before you set off, and your family will no doubt have one the most unforgettable experiences of their lives.

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