Nome, AK, USA
As the locals like to say, “There’s no place like Nome.” Set at the southern tip of the Seward Peninsula and only accessible by air or the Bering Sea, this Arctic Alaska town offers a rich mix of gold rush history, Inupiat Eskimo culture, rugged adventure, and abundant wildlife. Gold was first discovered here in 1898; a year later, the population had ballooned to more than 20,000. (Nome has around 3,500 residents today.) Gold mining remained a vital industry well into the 20th century, and the region’s retreating sea ice has brought a new generation of treasure hunters who dredge in converted fishing boats just offshore. You can learn more at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum, and snap a selfie next to the “World’s Largest Gold Pan.” During the winter of 1925, a diphtheria epidemic raged among the area’s Alaska Natives; when fierce blizzard conditions prevented airplanes from leaving Anchorage with the life-saving serum, a rescue effort was organized to deliver it via dog sled. The annual Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race still follows the same path as those heroic mushers.