Vacation spots in Alaska are numerous, and the largest state the US is particularly well known for its unparalleled outdoor scenery. From cities serving as ports for cruise ships to smaller mountain towns and the many national parks, the size of Alaska allows vacationers to choose from a variety of interesting and entertaining places to go and things to do. Alaska has a diverse history and cultural background, including both its native Alaskan culture and a strong Russian influence. Whether you’d rather learn the history, see historic buildings and native totems, or go for a lengthy backpacking trip in the wilderness, determining the Alaska vacation ideas is simply a matter of choosing how you like to travel.
The time of year you plan to travel gives you many choices for Alaska vacation ideas. Summer is by far the most popular time to go, as there is nearly 24 hours of daylight and, most important for many travelers, the temperatures are far from the frigid lows they reach in the winter. Cruises are a very popular way to travel to Alaska, with ships departing from Seattle, Vancouver BC, and Long Beach, and typically stopping in Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau, among other towns. Flights to Alaska depart from many airports in the US and often go to Anchorage or Fairbanks.
If any of these vacation spots in Alaska are on your itinerary, you won’t lack for things to do. While staying in Sitka, which is located on Baranof Island, many travelers take sightseeing tours of St. Michael’s Cathedral (a National Historic Landmark), the 200-year-old Russian Cemetery, and the Raptor Rehabilitation Center. You can also take a helicopter or boat ride to Kruzof Island for day or overnight guided hiking and camping tours to the top of Mt. Edgecombe, the island’s inactive volcano. In Juneau, learn how to handle a team of sled dogs book a dog sledding tour then take the team across Herbert and Mendenhall Glaciers. Ketchikan has numerous fishing charters, wildlife and whale watching tours, and guided crabbing excursions for the day. If you’re traveling with kids, a visit to North Pole can be one of the best things to do in Alaska—this quaint and colorful must-see city is all about Christmas year-round.
Alaska’s diverse environment offers dozens of opportunities for fishing, hiking, camping, backpacking, whale watching and other outdoor activities. Many travelers come here to ski or watch the famous Iditarod dog sled race, which goes for 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome, or to explore the wilderness areas and take wildlife tours. There are tour options that combine the chance to see bears, puffins, or whales with cruises and rafting trips, for instance, or with visits to an authentic native Alaskan village.
One of the biggest draws to Alaska is Denali National Park, home to the massive mountain that is one of the state’s best known features, but this is far from the only national park. Kenai Fjords is a great option for cruise travelers, and other visitors come to see Glacier Bay, Gates of the Arctic, and Wrangell-St Elias National Park, which covers more than 20,000 square miles and is by far the largest national park in the country—it’s comparable in size to the entire Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
If you are traveling by air or ship to Alaska, you will most likely arrive in Juneau or Sitka as these cities are only accessible by air or ship. Other cities accessible only by air or ferry include Ketchikan, Nome, Barrow, and the Aleutian Islands. If you’ve got time for a long vacation, driving to or around Alaska is a wonderful way to see the state, and you can drive directly to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Skagway, Seward, Valdez, and Homer, as well as the entrance to Denali National Park.
Alaska Cruise Vacation
Alaska Cruise Vacation
Alaska cruise vacations are among the most unique travel experiences in the world. No where else do the majesty of ocean glaciers loom so close to cruise ships, or the intrigue of wildlife exist so near to Alaska’s most popular tours and day trips. From white water rafting tours to hiking and fishing, Alaska cruise tour vacations offer a chance to the best of Alaska from the comfort of a private guestroom on board a ship captained by knowledgeable guides. Alaska cruise discount vacations are an excellent way to enjoy the fun of a cruise at a lower cost.
Alaska cruise vacations can last anywhere from 4 days to more than 10. Many Alaska cruise tour vacations move through the Inside Passage, touring Prince William Sound and Sitka. Tours of the Inside Passage of varying lengths are the most popular. Specific Alaska cruise vacations with particular themes can be booked for wildlife lovers, fishermen and more. These specific cruises and tours are meant to last for a day and are usually an additional cost.
The Resurrection Bay Cruise is one of the best Alaska cruise tour vacations for wildlife lovers. This is a one-day cruise lasting from 7:30am until 7:30pm, and costs between $35 (children) and $139 (adults). Resurrection Bay is off the coast of the Alaska town of Seward, where the cruise departs. Touring the area and watching for wildlife, passengers will see sea lions, mountain goats, otters, bald eagles and often whales. The cruise makes a stop during the day at the Alaska SeaLife Center, which is a marine research facility where guests will see puffins, seals and even more local marine life. Lunch is included in the cost of the cruise, which runs February and September.
Alaska Adventure Travel
Alaska Adventure Travel
Given its great location in the spectacular Denali National Park, an infinite variety of Alaska adventures can be had on Mount McKinley. The highest mountain in North America offers amazing experiences for hikers and backcountry enthusiasts. Your Mount McKinley Alaska adventure travel choices include day hikes, mountain bike excursions, or month-long mountaineering expeditions to the mountain summit. All of these Alaska adventures will be memorable experiences.
If you plan to visit the south central region of Alaska, you will discover at least four mountain ranges that are within driving distance of Anchorage. Alaska adventure travel in this area features day hikes in the mountains of Chugach State Park or multi-day excursions to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and the Kenai Peninsula. Other Alaska adventures in this region include camping, hiking, fishing, backpacking, mountain biking, river kayaking and rafting.
As you head to the western part of the state, a number of exciting Alaska adventure travel experiences can be found on the water. You can go sea kayaking on untamed Aleutians while you enjoy the company of sea otters and puffins. This is where you can experience the wonders of the coastal regions, wild rivers, granite peaks and majestic glaciers. Alaska adventures in this area can also include an exploration of the 4 million acres of expansive wilderness at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve.