Nome, like many other cities in Alaska, was born out of a gold rush. In 1898, three Swedish-Americans discovered gold in the area, on Anvil Creek, and it didn't take long for word to get out. Once it did, people started flooding in looking to make it rich. Within a year's time, the population of Nome reached 10,000 people, and the early term that was applied to the settlement was the Nome mining district. After gold was found along the coast as well as in the river, even more people arrived, and in 1900, the resulting tent city stretched for some 30 miles.
Nome was once the largest city in all of Alaska, and this had everything to do with the gold rush. When the gold started to run out, the population began to fall, and unfortunately for today's visitor, much of the structures that were built during the early days were destroyed by fire or storms. That doesn't mean that the city lacks historic appeal, however. A few historic sites managed to stand the test of time, and they include a saloon and a church.
You can learn all about Nome's interesting gold rush history at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum. Found at 200 E. Front Street, this small museum also offers insight into the Eskimo history of the Bering Strait region. Highlights include many historical photographs. It should be noted that when the Inuit population of the Nome area was plagued by diphtheria in the winter of 1925, a set of dog sled teams delivered the much-needed serum. Planes from Anchorage could not fly to Nome due to blizzards. Hence the inspiration of the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race. There is actually a statue of Balto in Nome AK. It honors Balto, the lead dog on the last required diphtheria serum run.
The history of Nome, much like the history of Alaska, is an interesting one, and to some extent, parts of it are still alive. Along the town beach, for example, you can often find small mining camps. It's actually possible to purchase a gold pan in Nome and sift the sand for gold yourself. Big finds are rare, as many have come before looking to find their own slices of fortune. Even if you don't find any gold on the town beach, it can make a good place to enjoy a relaxing stroll. You can find the beach just southeast of the town core. The Bering Sea waters are cold, so swimming might not be the best idea.
There are a lot of fun and interesting things to do during a Nome Alaska escape. Birding is among the more rewarding pursuits during the peak summer season, and shopping enthusiasts might keep an eye out for native arts and crafts. Walrus ivory carvings are among the most highly sought after works. Nome's own Front Street is home to some fantastic arts and crafts outlets.
Perhaps you'll bring your mountain bike along with you to Nome and take to the roads in and around town. There are hundreds of miles of area roads, and they are delightful to explore, partly because of the fact that you are likely to pass reindeer along the way. Mid-May through to the end of October is when the area roads are open. When it comes to Alaska weather, the end of October basically means the beginning of snow season, and things start to shut down on a grand scale in places like Nome, including most of the area roads. There are no bike rental shops in Nome, though it is possible to rent a two-wheeler in Anchorage and then bring it to Nome if you are serious about riding.
If you don't want to tour the Nome Alaska area on a mountain bike, you can do so in a car. Car rentals are available, and since Nome isn't a heavily trafficked city, you will find that fighting traffic isn't common. In fact, you might have stretches of area roads completely to yourself, which lends to the great wildlife viewing possibilities. In addition to reindeer, the creatures that are commonly spotted on area biking or driving tours are bears, moose, and musk oxen, just to name a few. Bush plane tours and helicopter tours can also be arranged in Nome, and they allow visitors to get a whole different perspective on things.
Alaska is a very large state, and Nome's location on the southwest side of the Seward Peninsula doesn't exactly put it close to larger cities, such as Anchorage and Fairbanks. Luckily for travelers who wish to visit, Nome AK has an airport. Some Alaska cruises visit the city's port, but generally speaking, most visitors arrive by way of plane. A connection must often be made in Anchorage, with the duration of that flight being around 90 minutes.
Regardless of how you decide to get to Nome Alaska, you might drop by the Convention and Visitors Bureau before you dig in. Found at the point where Division and Front streets mix, it offers info on all kinds of things, including the Nome lodging options. Most Nome residents are friendly and have a good sense of humor, so you might turn to locals in the street as well when looking to get tourism tips. Alaska vacation packages that include a Nome visit are out there if you wish to take advantage.