Nome Alaska has no rodes to it, so how do you get there? You’ll find a lot to see and do in this historic seaport city, but some may consider it a challenge getting there. It takes some ambition, and maybe even an adventurous spirit, to visit Nome. Or perhaps it’s not that complicated and just requires planning and making a few reservations.
So what’s the big deal about traveling to Nome, Alaska? Let’s find out.
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Where Is Nome, Alaska?
This city of about 3,700 people is on the Seward Peninsula (not to be confused with the town of Seward Alaska) of Alaska’s western coast. That coastline you see is Norton Sound, part of the Bering Sea. This area is across the Bering Strait from Russia, and the Arctic Circle is around 200 miles to the north. To give you an idea of how far it is from the U.S. mainland, Nome is 1,976 miles from Seattle, Wash.
What Is Nome, Alaska Known For?
If Nome rings a bell, maybe it’s because of a famous race. The city is the finish line site for the internationally known Iditarod dogsled event, held each March. The race starts in Anchorage, 1,049 miles to the east, and the lead dog usually reaches Nome eight days later. The annual event brings a festive atmosphere to Nome, with hundreds of tourists flooding the streets and businesses.
Nome is also known for its gold. During Alaska’s Gold Rush of the early 1900s, it was a boomtown, and gold mining remains an important industry. In fact, it’s the setting and filming location for the reality television show “Bering Sea Gold.”
Pro Tip: Didn’t make it in time for the Iditarod dogsled event? No problem! Visit one of these 8 Best Places to Go Dog Sledding in Alaska.
How Do You Get to Nome, Alaska?
Getting to Nome is tricky because you can’t simply drive in. That means that, other than dogsled, your options are limited to boats and aircraft. Thankfully airplanes regularly make runs to and from Nome, Alaska as well as the occasional adventurous, cruise ship. They’re part of what makes it an adventure to visit this special place.
Does Nome, Alaska, Have an Airport?
If you choose to arrive by air rather than water, your first stop will be Nome Airport. This small facility is just a few miles west of the downtown area. Alaska Airlines flies jets daily from Anchorage, and it’s a 90-minute nonstop flight. Another airline, Ravn Alaska, also makes regular trips to and from Anchorage. Several smaller regional carriers provide service from other towns and villages.
Why Can You Not Drive to Nome, Alaska?
You can’t drive into Nome because there aren’t any highways connecting it with other cities. The reason is that much of the surrounding terrain is mountains and wetlands. This makes it too difficult and expensive to build roadways. Of course, Nome does have some roads, but only in town or leading to nearby villages. The longest of three gravel highways leaving Nome ends at around 85 miles.
Do You Need a Car in Nome?
You could probably get along on foot in Nome and have a nice time or call a cab. However, if you want to appreciate this breathtaking wilderness area, renting a car is the way to go.
The three highways are essentially scenic drives that allow for extended adventures. While you drive, enjoy windshield tours of diverse scenery, wildlife, and Gold Rush ruins and relics. You can also visit a community of native Inupiat people. However, if you don’t want to have your own vehicle, you can book guided tours instead.
Pro Tip: Give RVing in Alaska a try with our Complete Guide to Alaska RV Rentals.
How Do I Get My Truck to Nome, Alaska?
If you want to drive your own vehicle when in Nome, that’s a possibility, too. You could have it flown in as cargo to the same airport. Alternatively, you could have it delivered by barge to Nome’s port. The cost depends on where you ship it from.
According to Jands Transport, shipping a truck from Seattle to Anchorage costs $2,605. Then add in the cost to get it to Nome, and you may pay much more. However, if you ship it from somewhere in Alaska, you can expect it to cost much less. You may recall that we had our Ram 5500 flatbed delivered by ferry from Kodiak Island.
Is Nome Worth Visiting?
If you’re anything like us, you find joy in discovering one-of-a-kind places with unique, somewhat quirky personalities. Though it’s somewhat isolated, Nome, Alaska, fits the bill.
Once you arrive, you’ll almost immediately discover friendly folks who have an oddly comforting pride in their little city. In fact, they have a saying, sometimes shared with a shrug: “There’s no place like Nome.”
You can enjoy walking tours, taking in the unique history and culture, or set out to see the magnificent scenery. Explore the beaches and mountains, too. When conditions are right, you may even see the northern lights.
It’s somewhat isolated, but Nome, Alaska, is worth seeking out. Just don’t expect a leisurely road trip.
Have you ever been to Nome, Alaska? Tell us in the comments!
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