24 Greatest Locations to Go to in Alaska In 2023
Alaska, the ultimate frontier of journey journey is on the high of many bucket lists. The biggest state in the US is a vacation spot that provides 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 all of them!
Prime Locations to Go to in Alaska
Alaska’s panorama is various, 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 way of Alaska, it may be troublesome to resolve the place to cease or what to see, so we’re rounding up among the finest locations to go to in Alaska that we’ve been that can assist you plan your journey.
Denali Nationwide Park and Protect
There are 17 nationwide parks in Alaska, and Denali Nationwide Park and Protect is actually the preferred of all of them. It can’t be seen from a cruise and must be added as a land tour or traveled independently. This huge wilderness space is situated in central Alaska and is residence to North America’s highest peak, Denali (Mount McKinley) which stands at 6190 meters (20,310 ft),
The nationwide park covers an space of greater than 6 million acres and is residence to a various vary of ecosystems, together with tundra, boreal forests, glaciers, and snow-capped mountains.
One of many first issues guests normally do is to hop aboard transformed college buses to take pleasure in a guided scenic tour seeking 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.
One of the crucial common actions in Denali Nationwide Park is climbing. The park has a community of climbing trails that vary from brief 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 examine in with the Denali Customer Middle earlier than venturing out into the park.
McKinley Chalet Resort
We stayed at McKinley Chalet Resort which was spectacular. 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 appeared over the mountains. The property is giant with completely different areas indifferent from the principle lodge. We loved a enjoyable night watching The Music of Denali as we our servers carried out on stage whereas feeding us contemporary Alaskan salmon, ribs and mashed potatoes, household type.
Denali – Mt. McKinely
If you’re fortunate whereas visiting the park, you might be able to spy Denali (Also called Mount McKinley). It’s normally 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 beautiful approach 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 might attain out and contact it. Avid climbers can try to overcome Denali. However not like Mount Kilimanjaro, it requires critical climbing expertise and winter tenting. If you’re new to mountaineering, it’s higher to stay to taking in scenic views.
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.
Glacier Bay Nationwide Park
Glacier Bay Nationwide Park is likely one of the most original locations on this planet. It’s designated a UNESCO World Heritage Website 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. At this time the glacier has been divided into many small ones and plenty of of them are calving to this present day. Meaning at any second an enormous block of ice might fall off of them, which additionally means most of the glaciers should 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 aircraft. Alaska’s inside passage in Glacier Bay takes you from forest to ice and is breathtaking to expertise as you float the fjord. While you’re within the inside passage it’s virtually 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 surprise of the world.
One among 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, Ketchikan is a premier place in Alaska to observe black bears feeding on salmon.
We took a float aircraft 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. Ensure to guide it early as these excursions replenish shortly. If you wish to see brown bears feeding on salmon as a substitute, the place to do this is at Katmai Nationwide Park.
Issues to do in Ketchikan
In addition to bear watching, there are many issues to do in Ketchikan. This frontier city was as soon as a thriving settlement for the gold rush and as you stroll alongside the boardwalks of Creek Road, you may see historic buildings from the pink mild district relationship again to the 1800s.
Ketchikan additionally has the world’s largest assortment of standing Native American totem poles. Ensure to look as much as see all of them. If you wish to delve into Indigenous tradition, go to the Totem Heritage Middle and be taught in regards to the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Peoples who’ve referred to as this land residence for 1000’s of years.
Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument
One of many star sights in Ketchikan is Misty Fjords Nationwide Monument which is situated simply 22 miles east of Ketchikan. Sheer rock partitions attain 3000 ft straight out of the ocean the place you’ll witness steep sea cliffs, steep fjords, and rainforests. That is finest seen by the float aircraft.
The place to Keep in Ketchikan
If you’re staying in Ketchikan, take a look at the Inn at Creek Road – 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 Lodge is situated in downtown Ketchikan. It has The Touchdown Restaurant & Jeremiah’s Pub on web site.
Juneau – Mendenhall Glacier
Many cruise ships additionally begin and end their journeys in Juneau, Alaska. I do know we now have! Named after Joe Juneau, a French-Canadian miner, and prospector Juneau is likely one of the extra occurring cities in Alaska. One among its predominant vacationer sights is the large Mendenhall Glacier situated on the Juneau Ice discipline.
Juneau is a spot in Alaska that requires no less than a few days to discover. The city itself has a enjoyable old-west vibe full with saloons, boardwalks, and loads of sights. It’s additionally one of many premier locations on this planet to identify bald eagles with them being so plentiful there’s a seaside really 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 and immediately throughout from the UnCruise port, we discovered this to be a really handy lodge. For us, it was inside strolling distance to downtown and numerous the highest issues to do in Juneau downtown. Plus it has easy accessibility 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.
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 normally accessible between July and September.
You may take a tour to see the Mendenhall Glacier and benefit from the climbing trails across the lake to see its completely 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. One thing that only a few folks have the possibility to do.
- Or you may 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 to discover.
If you wish to attempt a very genuine expertise, be certain to drive the Alaska Freeway from Dawson’s Creek in British Columbia. This epic street journey crosses by way of southeast Alaska letting you see a unique facet of the sate. We made an identical 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 undoubtedly be a visit you received’t overlook. In fact, you don’t should take the freeway, you may merely take a aircraft and land your self in one in every of Alaska’s massive cities.
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 really 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 Sizzling Springs.
One of many extra attention-grabbing locations to go to is the Yukon Quest Alaska Headquarters. That is the beginning of the Yukon Quest canine sled race the place you may be taught in regards to the well-known canine mushers and groups who’ve taken half over time. Together with our buddy Hank McCready who ran the prettiest staff in Alaska. One other cease is the fountainhead auto museum the place classic vehicles are on show. It’s persistently ranked as among the best auto museums on this 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 you can hop on the Alaska Railroad to discover the good frontier.
Anchorage was the beginning of our cruise. After disembarking from the railway, we loved two nights within the metropolis. 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 Middle and The Alaska Native Heritage Middle exploring the life and tradition of Alaska’s indigenous folks.
Skagway is a bustling city the place almost each ship stops. It may be overwhelming spending only a day in Skagway. This previous wild west city is crammed with power. On the town, you may go to the Klondike Customer’s Middle to be taught 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 Historic District. It’s situated 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 way of 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.
White Go Railway and Skagway Historic District
The classic locomotive takes you alongside the Chilcoot Path the place prospectors risked their lives seeking gold. If you’re strolling round city, make your approach 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 seeking wildlife earlier than hopping on the historic White Go and Yukon Railroad. Now we have completed the railroad tour by itself, however extremely advocate the flight, hike and railway tour as a substitute. You solely must trip the railway a technique and this gave us the most effective of all worlds.
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 completed this drive, however we now have 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 one of the vital remoted roads in the US. 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 really a once-in-a-lifetime expertise. Take pleasure in studying our 15 Nice Street Journeys in America
Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park
The Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park within the Kenai Peninsula is likely one of the finest locations to go to in Alaska with glaciers, an icefield, and bears and seals lolling about. One of the simplest 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.
Ensure to go to the Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park Customer Centre in Seward earlier than you head out to find out about path situations and the Kenai Peninsula earlier than you head into the park. And don’t miss seeing Exit Glacier situated simply 10 minutes Seward, it one in every of 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. At this time, the Kenai Peninsula is a beloved a part of the native Anchorage group because it’s only a two-hour drive exterior of town.
Tongass Nationwide Forest
It’s arduous to consider that Alaska has a rainforest however Tongass Nationwide Forest is the most important functioning temperate rainforest on Earth. The dimensions of Tongass is mind-blowing at greater than 16 million acres of land. It’s made up of a number of ice and rock in addition to that forest.
If you happen to’re in Juneau, you may take a mere 15-minute drive and are available upon the Mendenhall Glacier. The Mendenhall Glacier Customer Middle offers you the down-low of all that you must find out about your go to. You may also discover out about excursions on the Mendenhall Glacier Customer Middle. In addition to Mendenhall, there are quite a few different glaciers unfold throughout the park.
The park is residence to all kinds of wildlife like wolves, black bears, and deer. You may even spot humpback whales and sea lions within the close by waters. Tongass Nationwide Park has the comforts of town inside it in addition to the comforts of the wild all through.
Wrangell Elias Nationwide Park
It’s bigger than Yellowstone Nationwide Park, actually, 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. Take a look at America’s first nationwide park: Greatest issues to do in Yellowstone NP.
The park is stuffed with volcanoes and glaciers and the distinctive panorama attracts all kinds of wildlife like mountain goats and brown bears. (identical 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.
One of the crucial attention-grabbing stuff you may see are ice worms. From the title, you’d suppose they need to be see-through or white, however ice worms are literally black and you may see them by way of 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 possible see bald eagles, swans, ravens, and owls too.
You have to take a look at the Wrangell St Elias Nationwide Volcanic Subject once you’re on the park. It’s unbelievable to see steam rising out of Mt. Wrangell’s vents on chilly days. The park can also be an absolute playground for mountain climbers with among the highest peaks in the entire US sitting within the park.
In truth, the second-highest US Peak is Mt. Elias, which sits within the Wrangell St Elias Nationwide Park and towers as much as 18,000 ft. The best US peak is in Alaska too we’ll let you know about it in only a bit. The park can also be residence to the Hubbard Glacier. The Hubbard Glacier is the most important tidewater glacier within the US and all of North America.
Whereas summertime in Alaska offers guests the possibility to expertise the midnight solar with almost 24 hours of daylight, when the cooler temperatures arrive you may make a visit to Alaska to see the Northern Lights. The most effective time to see the northern lights in Alaska is in early fall or spring in addition to winter. Of us say the inside and extremely north of Alaska are the most effective locations to view the lights, however even in case you’re not in these locations, you may nonetheless see them.
Gentle air pollution will probably be your enemy so if you wish to get the actual Aurora expertise, the most effective locations to go to will probably be exterior of Alaska’s massive cities. You may ask the lodge that you just’re staying at to wake you when the lights are out as fairly plenty 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 a fantastic base to discover the inside of Alaska.
Alaska Native Heritage Middle
To actually respect the Alaskan local weather and life-style it’s undoubtedly a good suggestion to be taught in regards to the indigenous historical past of the state. Your go to to the Alaska Native Heritage Middle 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’ll get to observe conventional dancing, meet Indigenous artists, and even go to dwellings that provide you with an opportunity to expertise how the Indigenous folks lived within the winter in Alaska earlier than there was electrical energy.
It doesn’t matter the place you land in Alaska, there will probably be a ship tour ready for you. It is likely one of the finest methods to see the totality of what Alaska is. You may journey alongside coastal waters and in fjords to get an up shut and private take a look at glaciers in addition to the ocean life.
The wonderful thing about taking a ship tour is the views in fact, but in addition you’ll have an knowledgeable information who may give you detailed descriptions of what you might be seeing. With that, you’ll get the historical past of the locations in addition to a bit of little bit of science so your journey won’t solely be an attractive one however one through which you get to do some studying too.
Cruise ships additionally make viewing the coastal areas beneficial by the Nationwide Geographic Society east. Bu t you don’t must take a cruise to enter and exit glacier house, you may take a smaller non-public boat tour too.
Iditarod Nationwide Historic Path
The historic Iditarod Path is finest recognized 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 of us 50 miles north of Seward all the best way to Nome. They weren’t simply going for a leisurely mush nevertheless, these of us carried heavy provides to distant communities. Canine sleds performed an essential half in Native transportation and Europeans that got here after additionally adopted this environment friendly transportation technique within the harsh northern local weather.
Today you may make your individual reminiscences on the path by strolling it or utilizing a tour operator that may take you on a standard canine sled on the path. The Iditarod Canine Sledd Race takes place in March and attracts numerous consideration. If you happen to occur to be there throughout that point it’s undoubtedly one thing you shouldn’t miss.
If you happen to’re a little bit of a romantic then the thought of taking a railroad throughout the wilderness will get you excited. The Alaska Railroad was established in 1903 and nonetheless runs in the present day. It traverses virtually 500 miles from Seward as much as Fairbanks with stops alongside the best way.
If you need a cushty go to in Alaska entire testing the Alaskan wilderness whereas driving a line of us did a century in the past, it’s best to guide a seat on the Alaska Railroad. The ticket value will fluctuate primarily based upon how far you journey and which cabin you resolve to guide. Moreover, you may take pleasure in breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees in your journey whereas having fun with the fantastic thing about the Pacific Ocean, Alaska glaciers, rivers and mountains.
Prince William Sound
It’s really 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 situated on the south finish of Alaska with unbelievable surroundings and is likely one of the prettiest locations you’ll go to. You may take a ship tour out to go to the sound and in addition take pleasure in a scrumptious meal on the water. The Sound is surrounded by glaciers and the most important tidewater glacier is the Columbia Glacier.
You’ll really feel like what a goldfish seems like as the environment appear greater than life. There may be additionally numerous wildlife within the space so maintain your digital camera helpful for epic pics you may take a look at again and again. This won’t be one of the vital well-known Alaska locations, however you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring scene in case you resolve to be one of many few that go to.
Chugach State Park
You may keep within the lap of consolation whereas additionally having fun with outside adventures within the wilderness in case you go to Chugach State Park. A lot of the park sits in Anchorage which is the most important metropolis in Alaska when it comes to inhabitants. It has trendy motels and eating places and is a good place to remain.
There are quite a few trails for mountain biking and plenty of climbing trails in Chugach Nationwide Forest such because the Satan’s Go Path which sits within the Kenai Mountains. For a enjoyable day outing, you may take the Glacier Discovery Practice and discover Spencer Glacier Whistlestop and take a look at the Chugach Mountains.
There are alternatives for kayaking among the many glacial parts on this arctic nationwide park too. There are greater than 20 campgrounds within the park to actually expertise the Alaskan outside and don’t overlook your fishing rod as there may be some nice salmon fishing within the park too.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Middle
If you wish to assure viewing Alaska’s wildlife then it’s best to take a look at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Middle. The middle goals to guard and protect the wildlife of Alaska by way of schooling and analysis.
The middle is situated off the Seward Freeway close to the Portage Valley Glacier on Turnagain Arm. It’s 200-acres of pure surprise 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 may drive by way of, park your automobile after which take a walkthrough.
Kodiak Nationwide Wildlife Refuge
First established to guard the good brown bears that dwell on Kodiak Island, in the present day the Kodiak Nationwide Wildlife Refuge protects an entire lot extra. Sitting near 2,000,000 acres the refuge encompasses Ben Island and elements of Kodiak Island, Uganik Island, the Purple Peaks, and Afognak Island.
It is stuffed with rivers and streams and is a nesting floor for a number of hundred species of birds together with the Bald Eagle. At this time the mission of the refuge isn’t solely simply shield the brown bears, but in addition to preserve all wildlife, sea lions, and fish populations within the space.
It’s a massive breeding floor for 5 species of salmon that additionally feed the a whole lot of birds that dwell on the island. That is fingers down among the best locations to go to in Alaska. The realm is just accessible by floatplane or boat so if you wish to go to, you undoubtedly ought to plan forward.
Regularly Requested Questions
What are the prettiest locations in Alaska?
If you happen to go to any of the nationwide parks in Alaska, you can be assured of discovering a reasonably place. Nothing actually beats Glacier Bay Nationwide Park however Katmai Nationwide Park is likely one of the prettiest locations round. Katmai Nationwide Park can also be among the best locations to see brown bears within the wild.
What must you keep away from in Alaska?
If you’re not a seasoned hiker or climber, it’s finest to keep away from 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 except you might be very skilled and don’t enterprise to the backcountry except you might have expertise.
What’s one of the best ways to see Alaska in 10 days?
One of the simplest 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 means up from there.
And these are the most effective locations to go to in Alaska. Have you ever been to Alaska? Alaska is one in every of our favorite journey locations on earth and we sit up for going again quickly. What did we miss and the place ought to we go subsequent?