Bucket List: Top 12 Best things to see and do in Alaska
Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun, where the sun doesn’t shine for two months every year, the State of Alaska is a famous tourist destination for everyone who likes to go on challenging adventures and explorations. Alaska is one of the most beautiful countries, blessed with breathtaking natural wonders such as mountains, lakes, glaciers, riverways, and fjords. It even has 17 out of the 20 tallest mountains in the entire United States of America!
It’s like Alaska was genuinely built for adventurers! Despite being the largest state in the US, it currently ranks 48th in its total population. Imagine enjoying all the wonders of nature all by yourself in this spectacular paradise. So, are you ready? Here are the 12 Best Things to do in Alaska!
Discover Denali National Park and Preserve
If you want to catch a glimpse of Alaska’s breathtaking wilderness, then visiting Denali National Park and Preserve should be on the first of your list! This national landmark features North America’s highest mountain, Mt. Denali, and a massive 6 million acres full of natural wonders such as lakes, rivers, forests, and grasslands. Denali National Park and Preserve also serve as a natural habitat for several animals such as grizzly bears, wolves, moose, and deers.
Some of the popular activities here throughout the year are hiking, backpacking, fishing, and mountaineering. It is indeed a perfect place to relax, unwind, and be closer to nature.
Meet the Lovely Animals of Anan Wildlife Observatory
The Anan Wildlife Observatory is widely known as an extraordinary bear viewing facility. Located about 30 miles southeast of Wrangell, this popular tourist destination attracts all kinds of visitors to meet lovely animals and enjoy breathtaking sceneries. The sanctuary’s top attraction is the Anan Bears Tour, which gives visitors a chance to meet Alaska’s friendly black and brown bears.
The Anan Wildlife Observatory houses Alaska’s largest salmon runs; therefore, it also attracts several other animals such as eagles, seals, river otters, and more! A day trip to this beautiful sanctuary is totally worth it if you’re a nature lover, so be sure not to miss it!
Experience Ultimate Nostalgia on the Alaska Highway
One of the best things about road trips is the breathtakingly beautiful sceneries along the way. Seeing the seemingly endless country roads leading to the feet of majestic snow-coated mountains is definitely one of the fantastic and addictive feelings travelers could ever ask for. Well, all of those things and more are waiting for you here at the famous Alaska Highway.
Be sure to prepare your best poses because it’s not every day that you’ll get a chance to enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular creations!
Cruise Along the Inside Passage
Next up, the Inside Passage is one of the most scenic coastal routes in Alaska and the whole world! The passage is a popular cruise ship route between the Gulf of Alaska and Puget Sound known for its calm waters, rich history, and breathtaking scenery.
The Inside Passage Cruise spans 500 miles, where guests are guaranteed to explore and discover everything that Alaska has to offer at its finest. From abundant wildlife, dramatic sceneries, and the rich culture of Native Alaskan villages.
Fall in Love with the Northern Lights
The mesmerizing Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights are one of Earth’s most beautiful natural phenomena. And the best way to witness them is no other than at the Land of the Midnight Sun! Nothing beats the spectacular sight of these dynamic patterns of lights that seemingly cover the majestic mountain ranges of Alaska, and it is truly worth seeing.
The best time to witness the Northern Lights in Alaska is between August and April, when daylight shines shorter and night skies are darker. Oh, and there are also several inns and lodges available that are specifically built for those who want to enjoy viewing the Northern Lights, so you might as well check them out!
Visit the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Another popular tourist attraction in Alaska where visitors are given a chance to witness Alaska’s raw and untouched beauty is the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve. This unbelievably massive natural park is the same size as six (6) Yellowstone National Parks combined. Yup, that’s massive! This is basically the largest national park in the entire United States.
Wrangell – St. Elias houses extraordinary features such as historical mining sites, sparkling rivers, glaciers, waterfalls, and stunning geography. Oh, and it is also where four (4) major mountain ranges of the US meet! Including sixteen (16) of the highest peaks in the entire country. Amazing, right? I’ll bet you’ll fall in love with this fantastic attraction over and over again.
Explore the Totem Heritage Centre
Another one of the best things to do in Alaska is to explore the famous Totem Heritage Centre of Ketchikan City. This museum houses one of the largest and extensive collections of 19th-century Totem Poles. These are monuments created by the pioneer and ancient nations of the Pacific Northwest. Totem Poles are made of red cedar, which is malleable wood with exquisite designs representing the people, history, and events of the past.
It’s best to spend an hour or two here at the Totem Heritage Centre to know more about Alaska’s rich and cultural heritage.
Spend a Day at Kenai Fjords National Park
Known as the place where the Ice Age events still linger, the Kenai Fjords National Park is a popular attraction for everyone who wants to enjoy the natural wonders of nature. The park is where the mountains, ocean, and ice meet. And it is indeed a spectacular scene to see! The park is also home to thriving animal and plant species that are truly worth seeing.
Moreover, there are endless activities to do here at the Kenai Fjords National Park! From hiking the famous Harding Ice Trail, kayaking, joining a Ranger-Led Program and exploring the fjords by boat, I’m sure that you’ll never run out of things to do in this park.
Visit the University of Alaska Museum of the North
UAMN is one of the most important academic institutions in the entire US. Not only that, but it is also a thriving tourist destination thanks to its massive research collection of more than 2.5 million historical artifacts and specimens. These are all vital to the world’s entire history because the collection represents millions of years’ worth of biological diversity.
From Archaeology, Earth Sciences, Ethnology, and more, the University of Alaska Museum of the North is definitely one of the must-visit destinations in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Not only will you be able to enjoy it, but you’re also guaranteed to learn more about the history of the world.
Drive Along the Scenic Dalton Highway
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. Nothing beats the unique feeling of driving down a remote country road with mesmerizing scenery around. It’s just the best! Well, if you agree with me, then driving along the Dalton Highway should definitely be on your list. This 500-mile country road has the highest pass in Alaska, where you’ll also be able to cross the Arctic Circle! It is also the only highway to cross the famous Yukon River. So buckle up your seats because this is indeed the best road trip in Alaska!
Drop by the Iditarod National Historic Trail
The Iditarod National Historic Trail is a network of Alaska’s 2,300-meter winter trails that connect the Alaskan Native Villages. Back in the day, these trails were used by natives for hunting and traveling. It was also primarily used as a route to supply the miners of Iditarod during the Gold Rush of Alaska. This was when dog teams became significant in the history of the US.
Nowadays, the town of Iditarod is already a ghost town. However, it still attracts thousands of tourists because of the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Visit the Beautiful Community of Seward, Alaska
Finally, the wonderful town of Seward, Alaska, is probably the perfect place for travelers to discover Alaska. Known as the beginning of the historic Iditarod Trail, Seward is a classic Alaskan town where tourists can enjoy the beautiful sight of glaciers, mountains, and forests.
There are tons of fun and exciting activities to look forward to in Seward, such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and mountaineering!
Our Top Hotel Picks for Alaska, USA
- Hyatt Place Fairbanks [check rates and availability] – Situated off Route 4, this contemporary hotel is a 1.4-mile drive from the Creamers Field State Migratory Waterfowl Refuge and a 7.3-mile drive from Fairbanks International Airport.
- Aurora Villa [check rates and availability] – Aurora Villa has mountain views, free WiFi, and free private parking, located in Fairbanks, 18 mi from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The aparthotel offers a seating area with a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a hairdryer, complimentary toiletries, and a shower.
- Alyeska Resort & Hotel Alyeska [check rates and availability] – Set in a modern, chateau-style property surrounded by mountain peaks, this upscale ski resort is 2 miles from Girdwood Forest Fair Park.
Alaska Travel and Tour Packages
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