Alaska, the ultimate frontier of journey journey is on the prime of many bucket lists. The biggest state in the USA is a vacation spot that gives guests an unparalleled alternative to expertise the pure magnificence and rugged wilderness of the Arctic. Alaska is a spot that captures the creativeness and the spirit of journey. From the bustling metropolis of Anchorage to the distant wilderness of Denali Nationwide Park, there isn’t any scarcity of locations to go to in Alaska. And we’ve seen most of them.
High Locations to Go to in Alaska
Alaska’s panorama is numerous, starting from snow-capped mountains to glaciers, fjords, and an expanse of forests. We fell in love with Alaska the primary time we visited in 2011 and when taking my mother and father on a Holland American Cruise final summer time, we had been thrilled to have the ability to share its magnificence and introduce them.
When selecting your cruise or land tour by Alaska, it may be tough to determine the place to cease or what to see, so we’re rounding up a few of the finest locations to go to in Alaska that we’ve been that will help you plan your journey.
1. Denali Nationwide Park and Protect
There are 17 nationwide parks in Alaska, and Denali Nationwide Park and Protect is definitely the most well-liked of all of them. It can’t be seen from a cruise and must be added as a land tour or you possibly can journey to it independently. This huge wilderness space is positioned in central Alaska and is residence to North America’s highest peak, Denali (Mount McKinley) which stands at 6190 meters (20,310 ft),
One of many first issues guests often do at this nationwide park is to hop aboard transformed college buses to take pleasure in a guided scenic tour in the hunt for grizzly bears, moose, wolves, caribou, and Dall sheep.
We took this ATV journey which was a hoot driving alongside trails. The journey contains 360° overlook views of the Alaska Vary, Otto Lake, and the Healy Valley.
Probably the most well-liked actions in Denali Nationwide Park is mountain climbing. The park has a community of mountain climbing trails that vary from quick walks to multi-day backpacking journeys. It has 6 campgrounds which do get busy in the summertime months so it’s a good suggestion to make a reservation. Make sure to test in with the Denali Customer Heart earlier than venturing out into the park.
McKinley Chalet Resort
We stayed at McKinley Chalet Resort which was superior. Situated lower than 2 miles from the nationwide park entrance, we felt proper in the midst of the wilderness. The newly renovated suites in our wing had been stylish and trendy with that rustic mountain lodge really feel.
Our balcony seemed over the mountains. The property is massive with totally different areas indifferent from the primary lodge. We loved a enjoyable night right here watching The Music of Denali as we our servers carried out on stage whereas feeding us contemporary Alaskan salmon, ribs, and mashed potatoes, household model.
2. Denali – Mt. McKinely
In case you are fortunate whereas visiting the park, you might be able to spy the majestic mountain, Denali. It’s often overcast, however we’ve been fortunate sufficient to see it from our land tour and by a scenic flight.
A scenic flight was a completely attractive technique to expertise North America’s tallest peak. Seeing the glaciers and ice fields from above was an intimidating sight. At occasions it felt as if we may attain out and contact it. Guide this scenic flight over Denali the place you’ll fly near the summit of Denali, take pleasure in views of the Alaska Vary and witness the Tokositna and Ruth Glaciers. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime expertise.
Avid climbers can try to overcome Denali. However in contrast to Mount Kilimanjaro, it requires severe climbing expertise and winter tenting. In case you are new to mountaineering, it’s higher to stay to taking in scenic views.
3. Glacier Bay Nationwide Park
Glacier Bay Nationwide Park is among the most unusual locations on the planet. It’s designated a UNESCO World Heritage Web site and rightly so with historical past packed in each single molecule of its historic glacier historical past.
The Grand Pacific Glacier was greater than 4000 ft thick simply two centuries in the past however has shrunk considerably. As we speak the glacier has been divided into many small ones and plenty of of them are calving to today. Which means at any second a large block of ice may fall off of them, which additionally means lots of the glaciers must be loved from a distance.
The park is made up of greater than 3 million acres and may solely be reached by ship or float airplane. Alaska’s inside passage in Glacier Bay takes you from forest to ice and is breathtaking to expertise as you float the fjord. Whenever you’re within the inside passage it’s nearly as if nothing else exists.
Throughout our Holland America Cruise, we circled the bay having fun with panoramic views of the glaciers from the entrance deck. By having a balcony suite, we then retired to our room to benefit from the views with a glass of champagne as we relaxed in privateness taking on this marvel of the world.
One in every of our favourite locations to go to in Alaska is Ketchikan. The Salmon Capital of the world and Alaska’s first metropolis, it is a city the place most cruises cease both first or final. Situated on the Inside Passage in southern Alaska, this frontier city was as soon as a thriving settlement for the gold rush and as you stroll alongside the boardwalks of historic Creek Avenue, you possibly can see historic buildings from the crimson gentle district relationship again to the 1800s.
Ketchikan can also be among the best locations to see whales in Alaska and there are many boat excursions that can take you onto the water. We took a zodiac tour in Ketchikan the place we explored the coast, spied bald eagles and whales from our self-drive boats.
Ketchikan additionally has the world’s largest assortment of standing Native American totem poles. Make sure that to look as much as see all of them. If you wish to delve into Indigenous tradition, go to the Totem Heritage Heart and study in regards to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Peoples.
You can even see extra Totem poles on the Saxam Village in Ketchikan and we noticed Totem Bight State Historic Park on one other cruise in Alaska. Situated simply exterior of Ketchikan, it’s listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.
5. Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary
Ketchikan can also be residence to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary. It covers 40 acres of protected land and is residence to a various vary of wildlife, together with black bears, bald eagles, Sitka black-tailed deer, and salmon.
We took a float airplane out to Neets Bay to observe bears feast on spawning salmon as they fattened up for winter hibernation. This was among the best experiences we’ve ever had. Make sure that to ebook it early as these excursions replenish shortly. If you wish to see brown bears feeding on salmon as an alternative, the place to try this is at Katmai Nationwide Park and Protect.
6. Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument
One of many star points of interest is Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument which is positioned simply 22 miles east of Ketchikan. It’s made up of sheer rock partitions that attain 3000 ft straight out of the ocean. Take a scenic flight right here the place you’ll witness steep sea cliffs, steep fjords, and rainforests.
The place to Keep in Ketchikan
In case you are staying in Ketchikan, take a look at the Inn at Creek Avenue – These restored historic buildings provide distinctive lodging within the coronary heart of downtown. Most rooms have kitchenettes and fridges. Particulars right here.
The Touchdown – The Touchdown Resort is positioned in downtown Ketchikan. It has The Touchdown Restaurant & Jeremiah’s Pub on website.
7. Juneau – Mendenhall Glacier
Many cruise ships additionally begin and end their journeys in Juneau, Alaska. I do know we’ve got! Named after Joe Juneau, a French-Canadian miner, and prospector Juneau is among the extra taking place cities in Alaska. One in every of its major vacationer points of interest is the big Mendenhall Glacier positioned on the Juneau Ice subject.
Juneau is a spot in Alaska that requires a minimum of a few days to discover. The city itself has a enjoyable old-west vibe full with saloons, boardwalks, and loads of points of interest. It’s additionally one of many premier locations on the planet to identify bald eagles with them being so plentiful there’s a seashore truly referred to as Bald Eagle Seaside. Learn extra about all of the 28 Wonderful Issues to do in Juneau, Alaska
The place to Keep in Juneau
4 Factors by Sheraton – Situated on the waterfront we discovered this to be a really handy lodge. It was inside strolling distance to downtown plus it has quick access to the Seadrome Marina.
Ramada Inn by Wyndham – One other nice location in Juneau just a bit farther away from the historic downtown than the Sheraton. However nonetheless inside strolling distance and we beloved their restaurant and bar.
8. Mendenhall Ice Caves
The Mendenhall ice caves are one of many coolest issues to see in Juneau. This pure attraction will make you’re feeling as if you might have been transported to a planet of ice and glass. The Mendenhall ice caves are often accessible between July and September.
You’ll be able to take a tour to see the Mendenhall Glacier and benefit from the mountain climbing trails across the lake to see its totally different viewpoint.
- Guide this highly-rated Mendenhall Glacier Ice Caves Tour. For the journey of a lifetime, paddle the Mendenhall Lake to the Glacier the place you’ll get to discover the glacier up shut and private.
- Or you possibly can be a part of a canoe journey to the glacier the place you’ll seek for wildlife, paddle round ice flows and eventually step foot on the glacier.
9. Tongass Nationwide Forest
It’s exhausting to imagine that Alaska has a rainforest however Tongass Nationwide Forest is the biggest functioning temperate rainforest on Earth. The dimensions of Tongass is mind-blowing at greater than 16 million acres of land. From each Ketchikan and Juneau, you possibly can go to Tongass Nationwide Forest.
Within the forest, you possibly can take pleasure in its mountain climbing trails and in case you’re in Juneau, you possibly can take a mere 15-minute drive to the Mendenhall Glacier Customer Heart which is positioned throughout the forest. We took a fantastic guided hike to the glacier the place we watched salmon spawn and realized about its natural world. In addition to Mendenhall, there are quite a few different glaciers and mountain climbing trails unfold throughout the park.
The park is residence to all kinds of wildlife like wolves, black bears, and deer. You’ll be able to even spot humpback whales and sea lions within the close by waters. Tongass Nationwide Park has the comforts of the town inside it in addition to the comforts of the wild all through.
The very first place we ever visited in Alaska was Fairbanks, Alaska and this city is superior. When visiting Alaska in the summertime it’s actually the land of the Midnight Solar. There are such a lot of issues to do in Fairbanks from studying about Native American Tradition and exploring the Chena River to stress-free within the Chena Scorching Springs.
One of many extra fascinating locations to go to is the Yukon Quest Alaska Headquarters. That is the beginning of the Yukon Quest canine sled race the place you possibly can study in regards to the well-known canine mushers and groups who’ve taken half over time. Together with our good friend Hank McCready who ran the prettiest group in Alaska. One other cease is the fountainhead vintage auto museum the place classic vehicles are on show. It’s persistently ranked as among the best auto museums on the planet.
The place to Keep in Fairbanks
For Aurora viewing take a look at Aurora Villa. This contemporary retreat is a boutique lodge providing views of the northern lights nestled within the mountains above Fairbanks.
A go to to Alaska wouldn’t be full with out seeing Anchorage. It’s the largest metropolis in Alaska and a global hub with entry to Alaska’s inside and coast. It’s right here which you could hop on the Alaska Railroad to discover the nice frontier.
Anchorage was the beginning of our cruise. After disembarking from the railway, we loved two nights in downtown Anchorage. With cafés and eating places, it has all of the facilities of an enormous metropolis. A spotlight to go to is the ultra-modern Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Heart and The Alaska Native Heritage Heart exploring the life and tradition of Alaska’s indigenous folks.
Skagway is a bustling city the place practically each ship stops. It may be overwhelming spending only a day in Skagway. This previous wild west city is full of power. On the town, you possibly can go to the Klondike Customer’s Heart to study all in regards to the Gold Rush that attracted folks to this a part of the world.
Take a step again in time and go to the Skagway Nationwide Historic District. It’s positioned within the city of Skagway and the Klondike Gold Rush Nationwide Historic Park has managed to make sure that historic buildings from the Gold Rush days are nonetheless intact. Simply strolling by Skagway downtown will make you’re feeling such as you your self have traveled again in time to when looking for gold and grabbing a pint after was all in a day’s work.
13. White Go Railway and Yukon Route Railroad
The classic locomotive takes you alongside the Chilcoot Path the place prospectors risked their lives in the hunt for gold. In case you are strolling round city, make your technique to Pullen Creek Stream Stroll to see the salmon run.
We took the most effective of all of Skagway by taking a helicopter flight over the glaciers out to the nationwide forest in the hunt for wildlife earlier than hopping on the historic White Go and Yukon Railroad. We have now carried out the railroad tour by itself, however extremely suggest the flight, hike, and railway tour as an alternative. You solely must experience the railway a method and this gave us the most effective of all worlds.
14. Dalton Freeway
If you wish to go much more distant, proceed on from Fairbanks to Deadhorse alongside the Dalton Freeway close to the Prudhoe Bay Oil fields and the Arctic Ocean. We haven’t carried out this drive, however we’ve got been as much as the Arctic Ocean within the neighboring Northwest Territories in Canada and the surroundings right here is really magnificent.
The Dalton Freeway is taken into account probably the most remoted roads in the USA. It crossed the Arctic Circle and we did this on the same Dempster Freeway. it’s the coolest factor to drive proper throughout the Arctic Circle. It’s actually a once-in-a-lifetime expertise. Take pleasure in studying our 15 Nice Street Journeys in America
Seward is a small city positioned on the Kenai Peninsula and presents many actions for outside fans. There are many issues you are able to do in Seward together with boat excursions to Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park, or the Alaska SeaLife Heart which is a superb place to find out about marine life in Alaska and see sea lions, puffins, and different animals up shut.
The encompassing mountains have loads of mountain climbing trails together with the Harding Icefield Path and the Exit Glacier Path.
16. Alaska Freeway
If you wish to attempt a really genuine expertise, be sure to drive the Alaska Freeway from Dawson’s Creek in British Columbia. This epic highway journey crosses by southeast Alaska letting you see a unique aspect of the sate. We made the same journey alongside the Dempster Freeway within the Yukon and let me let you know, there may be nothing prefer it on Earth.
The Alaska Freeway is a 1400-mile journey that ends in Fairbanks, Alaska. Alongside the drive, you’ll encounter glaciers and mountains and grizzly bears, and extra and it’ll positively be a visit you received’t neglect. After all, you don’t must take the freeway, you possibly can merely take a airplane and land your self in one among Alaska’s huge cities.
17. Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park
The Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park within the Kenai Peninsula is among the finest locations to go to in Alaska with glaciers, an icefield, and bears and seals lolling about. One of the best ways to see this distant vacation spot is to get out on a cruise the place you will get out on kayaks to discover the fjords.
Make sure that to go to the Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park Customer Centre in Seward earlier than you head out to find out about path circumstances and the Kenai Peninsula earlier than you head into the park. And don’t miss seeing Exit Glacier positioned simply 10 minutes from Seward, it’s one among Alaska’s most accessible roadside glaciers.
Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park was a nationwide monument after which grew to become a Nationwide park designed to guard the misty fjords, rainforest, and wildlife that make up the realm. As we speak, the Kenai Peninsula is a beloved a part of the native Anchorage group because it’s only a two-hour drive exterior of the town.
18. Wrangell Elias Nationwide Park
It’s bigger than Yellowstone Nationwide Park, in reality, it’s bigger than all North American nationwide parks, Wrangell St. Elias Nationwide Park is America’s largest nationwide park at a whopping 13.2 million acres. It’s a nationwide treasure that few folks get to see. Try America’s first nationwide park: Greatest issues to do in Yellowstone NP.
The park is filled with volcanoes and glaciers and the distinctive panorama attracts all kinds of wildlife like mountain goats and brown bears (similar as grizzly bears) Wrangell St Elias Nationwide Park is a component tundra and temperate rainforest. It is usually residence to moose, Dall sheep, bison, goats, and caribou.
Probably the most fascinating stuff you would possibly see is ice worms. From the identify, you’d assume they need to be see-through or white, however ice worms are literally black and you’ll see them by frozen surfaces. If you happen to’re a chook watcher, you’ll love the Copper River Basin Space which is a part of the migratory route of quite a few chook species. Moreover, you’ll seemingly see bald eagles, swans, ravens, and owls too.
19. Northern Lights
Whereas summertime in Alaska offers guests the possibility to expertise the midnight solar with practically 24 hours of daylight, when the cooler temperatures arrive you can also make a visit to Alaska to see the Northern Lights.
The very best time to see the northern lights in Alaska is in winter or late autumn and early spring. Gentle air pollution shall be your enemy so if you wish to get the actual Aurora expertise, the most effective locations to go to shall be exterior of Alaska’s huge cities. You’ll be able to ask the lodge that you just’re staying at to wake you when the lights are out as fairly a variety of motels in Alaska provide this service.
To view the Aurora Borealis keep on the Northern Sky Lodge in Fairbanks. The lodge is nestled amongst 21 acres, solely half-hour from Fairbanks Worldwide Airport and 90 minutes from Denali Nationwide Park. It makes for an amazing base to discover the inside of Alaska.
20. Alaska Native Heritage Heart
To really recognize the Alaskan local weather and life-style it’s positively a good suggestion to study in regards to the indigenous historical past of the state. Your go to to the Alaska Native Heritage Heart offers you a glimpse into the lives of 11 Alaska cultures together with the Haida and Tsimshian First Nations whose territory goes proper into Canada and down into British Columbia.
You’re going to get to observe conventional dancing, meet Indigenous artists, and even go to dwellings that offer you an opportunity to expertise how the Indigenous folks lived within the winter in Alaska earlier than there was electrical energy.
21. Iditarod Nationwide Historic Path
The historic Iditarod Path is finest identified as of late for the Iditarod Canine Sledding Race however previous to the race, it was a route utilized by Native People previous to the introduction of different automobiles.
This path took people 50 miles north of Seward all the way in which to Nome. They weren’t simply going for a leisurely mush nonetheless, these people carried heavy provides to distant communities. Canine sleds performed an necessary half in Native transportation and Europeans that got here after additionally adopted this environment friendly transportation methodology within the harsh northern local weather.
As of late you can also make your individual recollections on the path by strolling it or utilizing a tour operator that can take you on a standard canine sled on the path. The Iditarod Canine Sledd Race takes place in March and attracts a number of consideration. If you happen to occur to be there throughout that point it’s positively one thing you shouldn’t miss.
22. Alaska Railroad
If you happen to’re a little bit of a romantic then the concept of taking a railroad throughout the wilderness will get you excited. The Alaska Railroad was established in 1903 and nonetheless runs at the moment. It traverses nearly 500 miles from Seward as much as Fairbanks with stops alongside the way in which.
If you’d like a snug go to whereas trying out the Alaskan wilderness, you must ebook a seat on the Alaska Railroad. The ticket value will differ based mostly on how far you journey and which cabin you determine to ebook. Moreover, you possibly can take pleasure in breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees in your journey whereas having fun with the great thing about the Pacific Ocean, Alaska glaciers, rivers and mountains.
23. Prince William Sound
It’s actually a surprising sight to see so many salmon multi functional place. If you happen to’re on the lookout for a enjoyable day journey then look no additional than Prince William Sound.
The Sound is positioned on the south finish of Alaska with unimaginable surroundings and is among the prettiest locations you’ll go to. You’ll be able to take a ship tour out to go to the sound and likewise take pleasure in a scrumptious meal on the water. The Sound is surrounded by glaciers and the largest tidewater glacier is the Columbia Glacier.
You’ll really feel what a goldfish appears like as the environment appear larger than life. There’s additionally a number of wildlife within the space so hold your digital camera useful for epic pics you possibly can take a look at over and over. This may not be probably the most well-known Alaska locations, however you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring scene in case you determine to be one of many few that go to.
24. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Heart
If you wish to assure to view Alaska’s wildlife then you must take a look at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Heart. The middle goals to guard and protect the wildlife of Alaska by training and analysis.
The middle is positioned off the Seward Freeway close to the Portage Valley Glacier on Turnagain Arm. It’s 200 acres of pure marvel as you get an opportunity to see bison, coyotes, bears, and different wildlife up shut. The conservation middle is sectioned off into areas for various wildlife. You’ll be able to drive by, park your automobile after which take a walkthrough.
25. Kodiak Nationwide Wildlife Refuge
First established to guard the nice brown bears that reside on Kodiak Island, at the moment the Kodiak Nationwide Wildlife Refuge protects a complete lot extra. Sitting near 2,000,000 acres the refuge encompasses Ben Island and components of Kodiak Island, Uganik Island, the Crimson Peaks, and Afognak Island.
It is filled with rivers and streams and is a nesting floor for a number of hundred species of birds together with the Bald Eagle. As we speak the mission of the refuge just isn’t solely simply shield the brown bears, but additionally to preserve all wildlife, sea lions, and fish populations within the space.
It’s a huge breeding floor for 5 species of salmon that additionally feed the a whole lot of birds that reside on the island. That is arms down among the best locations to go to in Alaska. The realm is barely accessible by floatplane or boat so if you wish to go to, you positively ought to plan forward.
Bonus Alaska Journey
In case you are trying to go off the overwhelmed path, you might need to ebook a visit to the Gates of the Arctic Nationwide Park and Protect. It’s positioned in northern Alaska, excessive above the Arctic Circle. It is among the most distant and least visited nationwide parks in the USA.
The park covers 8.4 million acres and contains each the Brooks Vary mountains and the Arctic tundra. There aren’t any roads or trails within the park, and guests should be self-sufficient and ready for the difficult circumstances of the Arctic wilderness.
Entry to the park is proscribed to small planes and helicopters, and guests should get hold of permits earlier than getting into the park. Regardless of its remoteness, Gates of the Arctic Nationwide Park and Protect is a well-liked vacation spot for backpackers, hikers, and outside fans who’re drawn to the pristine wilderness and beautiful landscapes of the Arctic.
Steadily Requested Questions
What are the prettiest locations in Alaska?
If you happen to go to any of the nationwide parks in Alaska, you’ll be assured of discovering a reasonably place. Nothing actually beats Glacier Bay Nationwide Park however Katmai Nationwide Park is among the prettiest locations round. Katmai Nationwide Park and Protect can also be among the best locations to see brown bears within the wild. Many individuals ebook this tour at Brooks Camp.
What do you have to keep away from in Alaska?
In case you are not a seasoned hiker or climber, it’s finest to avoid the glaciers and simply view them from afar or rent a information or tour to see them with an expert. Moreover, it’s best to remain off unmarked trails until you might be very skilled, and don’t enterprise to the backcountry until you might have expertise.
What’s one of the best ways to see Alaska in 10 days?
One of the best ways to see Alaska in 10 days is to take a cruise ship down or head to the capital metropolis of Juneau and make your approach up from there.
And these are the most effective locations to go to in Alaska. Have you ever been to Alaska? Alaska is one among our favorite journey locations on Earth and we stay up for going again quickly. What did we miss and the place ought to we go subsequent?