If you have never seen Alaska, its beauty and scale are hard to describe. Approximately 600,000 square miles, Alaska is the biggest state in the United States, offering endless opportunities to lose yourself in its natural beauty; the difficult part is deciding where your journey starts. With its glistening waters, jagged coastline, wildlife, glaciers and more, there is no shortage of things to occupy your time. If you want to visit Alaska but are not sure where to start, take a look at these ideas to get you on your way.
Visit the Denali National Park and Reserve
Denali National Park is a spectacular park with six million acres of glittering lakes and towering mountains including Mount Denali, making it one of the stunning places in Alaska. However, 92-mile Park Road is a must-see attraction. Private vehicles are not permitted past Mile 15, so you’ll need to use a tour bus to go the distance. Once you are on, you can get off at almost any point. Additionally, you have the chance to see several of the park’s mesmerizing creatures, including caribou, grizzly and black bears and moose all while taking in the iconic scenery.
See What Kodiak Island has To Offer
Famous for its bears and fishing, this destination offers you the chance to catch different fish such as halibut, trout and various types of salmon. Make time to view the bears whenever possible at Kodiak National Refuge, which protects almost 3,000 miles of land and animals from wetlands, rugged mountains and the alpine meadows. With over 3,500 bears living on the island, some males weigh over 1,500 pounds and stand 10 feet tall. The refuge has no roads, so tourists must rely on planes or excursions from one of the several wilderness lodges to experience what Kodiak Island offers.
Visit the Beautiful City of Ketchikan
Ketchikan got its nickname, first city, due to its location on the southern tip of Inside Passage, making it the first city passengers see when they go north. If you are a fishing buff, take the Bering Sea Crab tour and catch a glimpse into how diverse sea creatures are trapped and caught. When you feel adventurous, try zip-lining through the towering trees over streams and a mix of wildlife. Whale watching is another must on your visit to Alaska. The summer months are the best time to spot them returning home from the warm waters of Mexico, California and Hawaii. Who knew one town would have so much excitement.
See the Sites at Skagway
Skagway, formerly known as the starting point for the Klondike Gold Rush, was bustling with people hoping to earn a fortune. However, today, visitors go there to relive the glory days of the Alaskan frontier. For example, taking a ranger-led walking tour is the most incredible way to learn about the park’s accurate history. You will see things like old cemeteries, home to the graves of local legends, outlaws and gold miners. Of course, there are more than enough outdoor activities for you to choose such as the Chilkoot Pass Trail, which crosses through the Coastal Mountains from Skagway to Canada.
Visit Homer, the Art Town of Alaska
As you approach Homer, you are welcomed by a breathtaking view of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, mountains and the legendary Homer Spit, a land strip jutting into a vivid, sapphire bay. Homer has a reputation as Southcentral Alaska’s cultural hub, with art galleries and museums, live theater and music venues. Not to mention the delicious restaurants and coffee shops to choose from on almost every corner.
Beachcombing, fishing, and bird viewing are recommended on Homer Spit since it is across the bay from Kachemak Water State Wilderness Park. This park is a 350,000-acre wonderland of glaciers, mountains, bays for canoeing, and a wonderful trail system waiting to be explored.
Alaska has so much to offer you on your trip. There really is something for everyone with options such as art galleries, whale watching, zip-lining, and seeing the beautiful landscape. Pack up the family, or head out by yourself and get the Alaskan experience.