The first thing everyone thinks about when it comes to Alaska is cold. And yes, it’s cold there. But our 49th state is one of the coolest places to explore. Not only in the US, but in the world. Here are 9 epic things to do in Alaska.
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1. Denali National Park
When people are looking for the best things to do in Alaska, they’re usually coming to Denali National Park. This spectacular area gives you everything you could want from the state at any time of the year – bus trips, hiking, rafting, fishing, rafting, and flightseeing tours. And that doesn’t take into account you being able to climb Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain peak in North America. This park has everything you’d expect to see in the Last Frontier.
2. Glacier Bay National Park
How often can you visit a park and it actually be bigger than an entire state? Glacier Bay National Park is actually larger than the state of Connecticut, just to give you an idea of what sizes you’re dealing with at this park. You can always cruise through the park as part of the Alaska Inside Passage cruise so they can see awesome waterfalls from glacial melting, along with the chance of seeing pods of humpbacks and dolphins. But the real fun is had when you visit in a more traditional manner. There’s mountain climbing, hiking, kayaking and Alaska sightseeing to be enjoyed at any time of the year.
3. Museum of the North
Take a trip to Fairbanks with cheap tickets from Skyscanner and the University of Alaska for a solid dose of history. The Museum of the North is one of the top attractions in Alaska with exhibits that cover anything you could possibly want to know about the state. From ancient Eskimo carvings to displays of gold and gold nuggets to coverage of mastodons and mammoths, this is an incredible museum to explore during your vacation.
4. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
People stopped wisecracking about Alaska as Seward’s Folly in 1897 when headlines throughout the country proclaimed gold was found in the state. And with that we saw the Last Grand Adventure – the Klondike Gold Rush. This visitor center in Skagway gives you an amazing look via film at what the stampeders had to deal as they dreamt of finding their fortune in the unforgiving conditions. After visiting the center, you can take a tour of the town that’s still home to several buildings that came to life in this historic boomtown.
5. Mendenhall Glacier
Traveling to Juneau, Alaska’s capital, isn’t the easiest place to reach since you can only get there by plane or boat. And when you’re flying into town you won’t be able to take your eyes off of Mendenhall Glacier. This beast of a glacier (it’s 12 miles long) is visible from almost anywhere in town since it is only 13 miles from downtown. You can get a great look at it and the recently revealed land from deglaciation. But take a helicopter tour to get an overhead view of this beauty.
6. Aurora Borealis
Who says you need to pay to see the top attractions in Alaska? The Aurora Borealis is hands down the most popular attraction in the state. The northern lights just show up in the night sky with very little rhyme or reason. To get a great look at Mother Nature’s show is to visit in the fall or winter, have little to no light city light, and minimal moonlight.
7. Katmai National Park
Many visitors to Alaska want to see bears, but not a lot of them are very successful at seeing some since bears like their privacy. That’s because many of them aren’t going to Katmai National Park, located southeast of Anchorage in King Salmon. This park has the world’s largest brown bear population, so you’ve got a great chance of getting a picture of them.
8. The Inside Passage
Make sure to take a ferry ride through what is the longest, and deepest, fjord in all of North America. The boat tours can range from two to six hours long as they spirit you from Juneau to Skagway. You’ll see parts of Glacier Bay National Park, as well as some of the area’s more interesting wildlife.
Riverboats? In Alaska? Oh, yes! If you’re staying in Fairbanks you’ll want to hop onboard this riverboat for a very memorable three-hour tour. It covers the modern way of life, as well as the traditional customs, of people in the area. You’ll even get to stop at the Chena Indian Village for look at how people were able to brave, and thrive, these conditions for generations.
Did we miss your favorite spot to see in Alaska? Let us know in the comments section below.
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