19 Exciting Things To Do In Alaska For Your Bucket List!

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Alaska is one of the most adventurous destination in the United States, known for its vast wilderness, craggy mountain ranges, glaciers, rich cultural heritage and wildlife encounters.

road winding through the mountains in alaska
Source: Deposit Photos

If you’re looking for things to do in Alaska, then you’re spoiled for choice. It’s a destination that offers plenty for any type of traveler; whether you prefer to sit back and relax, immerse yourself in cultural activities, or venture into the unknown and explore numerous hiking trails and discover the most breathtaking landscapes.

In this guide, we’ve shared some of our top attractions in Alaska and places to add to your bucket list, so you can have the best experience possible.

If you’re ever unsure about what to do in Alaska, be sure to save this guide and add these experiences to your list.

Things To Do In Alaska

Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the culture, encounter the state’s majestic animals, or you’re charging your camera batteries for snaps of the most incredible vistas, be sure to add the following to your Alaska bucket list.

1. Witness Majestic Glaciers

BOAT IN FRONT O iceberg-in-alaska

Alaska is renowned for its breathtaking glaciers, so a visit to Alaska wouldn’t be complete without going to visit some!

Exit Glacier, located in Kenai Fjords National Park, is a relatively accessible glacier experience.

You can hike along well-maintained trails that offer impressive views of the glacier’s massive ice formations. What makes Exit Glacier unique is its proximity to Seward, making it easily accessible for those exploring the Kenai Peninsula.

Witnessing the powerful forces of nature at work as chunks of ice break off into the glacier-fed streams is a truly unforgettable sight.

Another well known glacier in Alaska is Mendenhall Glacier, near Juneau. Its magnificent blue ice and intricate network of ice caves make it an enchanting site to witness.

Hike along the West Glacier Trail to witness the glacier up close, and see Nugget Falls, a stunning waterfall that cascades down the mountainside, adding to the glacier’s allure.

2. Immerse in Native Culture

totem pole in forest

When visiting Alaska, taking the time to learn about Native Alaskan culture is not only important but also enriching. The state boasts a rich heritage shaped by diverse indigenous communities, and understanding their culture enhances the overall experience.

One of the best places to immerse yourself in Alaska Native culture is the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. Here, you can participate in interactive exhibits, watch traditional performances, and engage with Native artisans, gaining insights into their customs and traditions.

Be sure to pay a visit to Sitka, a historic city in southeast Alaska, which offers various cultural experiences. The Sitka National Historical Park showcases the vibrant Tlingit culture, with its iconic totem poles standing tall amid lush forests. Exploring this park provides an opportunity to learn about the significance of totem poles and their role in storytelling.

Ketchikan homes on river

Ketchikan, known as the “Totem Pole Capital of the World,” is another must-visit destination in Alaska for those wanting to learn about Alaskan heritage. The Totem Bight State Historical Park in Ketchikan is home to a stunning collection of intricately carved totem poles.

These totem poles serve as powerful symbols representing Native Alaskan clans and their stories.

3. Go Wildlife Spotting

beer and cub on edge of river alaska

When visiting Alaska, embarking on a wildlife spotting adventure is one of the top things to do. The vast wilderness of the state is teeming with incredible creatures that you won’t find anywhere else.

Start your journey by setting sail on the turquoise waters of the Turnagain Arm, where you can witness the majestic humpback whales breach and frolic in their natural habitat.

These gentle giants put on a captivating show, their massive tails plunging into the water, creating a spectacle you won’t soon forget.

As you venture further along the coast, keep an eye out for playful otters and seals, gracefully gliding through the icy waters. Brown bears, a symbol of Alaska’s untamed beauty, can be spotted fishing for salmon along the rivers and streams.

The sight of these magnificent creatures in their element is truly awe-inspiring.

Be sure to look above your head, where bald eagles soar freely, their piercing eyes scanning the terrain for their next meal. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the elusive wolves, their haunting howls carrying through the pristine wilderness.

For a more interactive experience, visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where you can observe rescued animals up close, including sea lions, recovering marine mammals, and orphaned brown bears.

This center plays a crucial role in preserving Alaska’s diverse wildlife and offers a unique educational opportunity for visitors.

4. Experience the Northern Lights

green northern lights alaska

One of the best things to do in Alaska at night is witnessing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis.

The Northern Lights are a breathtaking display of dancing lights in the night sky, painting the darkness with vibrant hues of green, pink, and purple. It’s a sight that will leave you spellbound.

Fairbanks is hailed as one of the best places in Alaska to view the Northern Lights. Its prime location, far away from light pollution, combined with long hours of darkness during winter, increases the chances of witnessing this natural spectacle.

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is between September and April when the nights are longer and darker.

Planning your visit during these months maximizes your chances of catching this extraordinary phenomenon.

5. Go dog sledding

dog sledding alaska

When visiting Alaska, an exhilarating and unforgettable experience awaits you: dog sledding. Dog sledding has been a vital mode of transportation for centuries in Alaska, particularly in remote areas inaccessible by roads.

Embracing this tradition allows you to connect with the rich history and culture of the region.

These incredible animals, bred for their endurance and strength, will forge a bond with you as they pull you through the snow-covered landscapes.

Feel the crisp Arctic air against your face as you glide across vast stretches of untouched wilderness. Dog sledding offers a unique perspective, allowing you to appreciate the beauty of Alaska’s landscapes in a way that few other experiences can match.

6. Try Your Hand at Salmon Fishing

people in river salmon fishing alaska

Another unmissable thing to do in Alaska is to partake in the thrilling experience of salmon fishing.

Alaska is home to numerous species of wild salmon, including the humpy, sockeye, and chinook. The state’s pristine waters boast some of the largest salmon populations, offering anglers ample chances to reel in their catch.

Salmon fishing is deeply ingrained in Alaskan culture, with generations of fishermen passing down their skills and knowledge. Engaging in this activity allows you to immerse yourself in the state’s heritage and be part of a time-honored tradition.

7. Hit the Hiking Trails

people snowshoeing through snow covered valley

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery is to hike. Alaska is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, and hiking offers an up-close and personal encounter with its majestic landscapes.

Chugach State Park is one of the best places to go hiking since it boasts an extensive network of trails suitable for all skill levels. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging ascent, you’ll find a trail that matches your preferences and abilities

From towering mountains to pristine lakes, Chugach State Park showcases the best of Alaska’s wilderness. Alaska is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bears, moose, eagles, and more.

Hiking in Chugach State Park provides an opportunity to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, creating unforgettable moments.

8. Take a Whale Watching Tour

whale tail out of water

Whale watching in Juneau is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. Juneau is renowned as one of the best locations in Alaska for whale watching.

Witnessing the majestic sight of humpback whales breaching, tail-slapping, and feeding in their natural habitat is a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Taking part in a whale watching tour not only means you can see whales up close but allows you to learn about these magnificent creatures and their vital role in marine ecosystems.

9. Cruise the Inside Passage

bouy in water in front of glacier

One of the most popular ways to see Alaska is on a cruise ship. Embarking on a cruise through the Inside Passage is an extraordinary way to experience the state’s natural wonders.

The Inside Passage is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes, featuring towering glaciers, lush forests, and pristine fjords. Cruising through this passage allows you to witness the grandeur of Alaska’s wilderness up close and personal.

The waters of the Inside Passage are also teeming with marine life. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic whales, playful seals, soaring eagles, and curious otters. It’s a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true.

You may like this Alaska cruise with our preferred tour group operator, Globus. It’s a 17 Day Tour from Anchorage to Vancouver includes Denali, Kenai Fjords, and Glacier Bay National Park. Don’t forget to use the discount below when booking!


We’ve secured an exclusive yTravel discount: Save $100 per person on select 2023 and 2024 Globus and Avalon Waterway Vacations. Use the code: YTRAVEL when booking online at the Globus, Cosmos, and Avalon Waterways websites, by calling Globus and Avalon Waterways directly, or booking with a preferred Travel Advisor. Terms & Conditions.

10. Try the Local Cuisine

salmon in pan on fire

When exploring the wonders of Alaska, be sure to immerse yourself in the local cuisine. Trying the local cuisine provides an opportunity to connect with the rich cultural heritage of Alaska.

Sample dishes that have been passed down for generations, discovering the flavors that define this remarkable region.

Alaska’s pristine wilderness offers a bounty of fresh and sustainable ingredients. From succulent seafood like salmon and halibut to game meats such as reindeer, the local cuisine showcases ingredients that are unique to this part of the world.

Anchorage, in particular, is known for reindeer sausage. This savory treat puts a delicious twist on a traditional dish, blending the flavors of the wild with modern culinary techniques.

11. Visit the Aurora Ice Museum

The Aurora Ice Museum showcases breathtaking ice sculptures created by skilled artists. From delicate carvings to intricate installations, the museum is a testament to the beauty and creativity that can be achieved with frozen water.

Stepping into the Aurora Ice Museum feels like entering a magical realm. The ethereal lighting and shimmering ice create an enchanting ambiance that transports visitors to a different world altogether.

Unlike many ice sculptures that melt away in warmer months, the Aurora Ice Museum maintains its frozen splendor all year round. This makes it a rare opportunity to witness and appreciate the artistry of ice regardless of the season.

Located within the Chena Hot Springs Resort, visiting the Aurora Ice Museum allows you to combine your icy adventure with a relaxing soak in natural hot springs, providing a perfect balance of hot and cold experiences.

12. Drive the Seward Highway

road in between mist covered forest

Embarking on a scenic drive along the Seward Highway is an absolute must thing to do in Alaska.

The Seward Highway offers unparalleled vistas, with towering mountains, sparkling waterways, and stunning glaciers. Every twist and turn of the road reveals a new breathtaking view that will leave you spellbound.

The highway is a prime spot for wildlife sightings. Keep your eyes peeled for majestic eagles soaring above, playful otters frolicking in the water, and even the possibility of catching a glimpse of whales in the distance.

The Seward Highway provides access to numerous outdoor activities. From hiking in the Chugach National Forest to fishing in the Kenai River, there are endless opportunities to connect with Alaska’s natural beauty.

13. Check out The Museum of the North, Fairbanks

Make sure to include a visit to The Museum of the North in your itinerary. The Museum of the North provides a captivating exploration of Alaska’s rich cultural heritage.

From Alaska Native cultures to the state’s diverse communities, the exhibits offer insights into the traditions, art, and history that shape Alaska’s identity.

The museum also hosts an impressive collection of Arctic dinosaur fossils and artifacts that date back thousands of years. It’s an opportunity to delve into the ancient past of Alaska and marvel at the remnants of prehistoric life.

14. Ride the Talkeetna Air Taxi

plane flying near two people standing on a rock

Talkeetna Air Taxi offers breathtaking flightseeing tours, providing you with awe-inspiring views of the majestic Alaska Range.

Soar above snow-capped peaks, turquoise glaciers, and stunning meltwater pools, immersing yourself in the wild beauty of the landscape.

One of the unique highlights of Talkeetna Air Taxi is their ability to land on glaciers, allowing you to get up close and personal with these icy wonders.

Step out onto the vast expanse of a glacier and feel the sheer magnitude of Alaska’s frozen landscapes.

Talkeetna Air Taxi is the preferred choice for visitors seeking glacier landings in Denali National Park. Enjoy exclusive access to the park’s remote areas, witnessing its pristine beauty from a truly unparalleled perspective.

15. Visit the Gold Rush Historical District, Skagway

The Gold Rush Historical District encompasses the towns of Skagway and Dyea, which were bustling centers during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of this era and gain a deeper understanding of the hardships and triumphs experienced by the gold seekers.

Wander through the streets lined with beautifully preserved and restored buildings, reflecting the architectural styles of the late 1800s. Each structure has its own story to tell, transporting you to a bygone era.

Visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center, where you can delve into interactive exhibits and learn about the history and impact of the Gold Rush.

16. Take the Kids to Santa Claus House, North Pole

If you’re looking for things to do in Alaska with kids, then take a trip to the Santa Claus House in North Pole.

At the Santa Claus House, you can immerse yourself in the festive spirit of Christmas no matter the time of year. Explore the winter wonderland filled with holiday decorations, Santa’s workshop, and a giant Santa statue that will fill you with childlike wonder.

The Santa Claus House hosts a variety of events and festivities throughout the year, such as parades, fundraisers, and themed celebrations.

17. Ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad

train going through snow covered mountainous land

When visiting Alaska, immersing yourself in the breathtaking landscapes and rich history is a must, and riding the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad is a unique way to do just that.

The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, making it an integral part of Alaska’s history. Experience the thrill of traversing the same tracks that gold seekers once depended on, and feel connected to the pioneering spirit of the past.

Prepare to be awestruck by the stunning panorama of mountains, glaciers, and gorges that unfold as you journey on the railroad. Marvel at the beauty of glacial rivers, waterfalls, and the untouched wilderness of Alaska, all from the comfort of vintage train cars.

18. Check out the National Parks

wilderness in alaska

Exploring the national parks of Alaska is an absolute must for any nature enthusiast.

Home to North America’s tallest peak, Denali National Park offers unparalleled mountain vistas, abundant wildlife, and breathtaking hiking trails. Experience the untouched wilderness, spot grizzly bears and caribou, and capture the beauty of the vast tundra.

For those looking to immerse themselves in the stunning coastal landscapes, head to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Witness towering glaciers calving into turquoise waters, spot humpback whales and orcas, and marvel at the diverse birdlife. Take a boat tour to explore the fjords up close and be awed by the dramatic scenery.

Perhaps the most famous national park is Glacier Bay National Park, where you can discover a world of ice and wonder at Glacier Bay.

Sail through icy channels, witness massive tidewater glaciers, and hear the thunderous crack of ice carving into the sea. Keep an eye out for seals, sea lions, and even the occasional glimpse of a breaching whale.

Katmai National Park is known for its thriving population of brown bears. Observe these majestic creatures as they fish for salmon in Brooks Falls and soak in the natural hot springs.

19. Witness the Bore Tide

The bore tide in Turnagain Arm is a breathtaking display of nature’s power, with waves reaching up to 10 feet high. Witnessing this massive wall of water thundering into the arm is a truly unforgettable sight.

Watching the bore tide is not just a passive activity; it’s an active and thrilling experience. Surfers take advantage of the tidal surge, riding the wave and showcasing their skills. You can join them if you’re a professional, or simply marvel at their daring feats.

The Turnagain Arm, where the bore tide occurs, is conveniently located just south of Anchorage, making it easily accessible for visitors. It’s a short drive from the city, allowing you to witness this natural phenomenon without venturing far from urban comforts.

Best Time to Visit Alaska

snow covered mountains beside lake

The best time to visit Alaska is typically between mid-June until the end of August. Sometimes the weather is fine up until the middle of September.

During these months, the weather is warm and the days are longer, which allows you to get outside and explore for longer!

April can also be a great time to visit Alaska for wildflowers and mosquito-free days, while the shoulder months of May and September offer better value and fewer crowds.

Final Thoughts

Alaska is a place known for adventure and excitement. It’s one of the most unique places in North America and offers experiences that will be lodged in your memory for a lifetime.

We hope this guide gave you some inspiration for what to do in Alaska and gave you a few things to put on your bucket list!

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snowy mountains next to a lake

Are you thinking of a trip to Alaska and have some other ideas for your bucket list? Let us know in the comments!

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45 thoughts on “19 Exciting Things To Do In Alaska For Your Bucket List!”

  1. Hi,
    I like looking at all the places you’ve been and have been following you on Pinterest. I live here in Anchorage, Alaska so I have s couple Alaska travel tips.

    Cities and towns? Anchorage being the largest, also recommend driving to Seward and Homer.

    Hiking? So much to do up here, lots of talks and mountains even close to Anchorage. The most popular in Anchorage is Flat Top mountain. Also go to Hatchers Pass, Exit Glacier in Seward, Byron Glacier in Portage.

    Road trips? To Girdwood, Portage, Hope, Seward, Kenai and Homer. North is Talkeetna and Denali.

    Lakes? Eklutna lake is close to Anchorage. Kepler Lake is 45 minutes north of Anchorage and you can rent a little boat by the hour to go fishing.

    Eat & drink? Everyone will tell you to eat at Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage and yes it’s delish. I’d also recommend Spenard Roadhouse and The Pantry (in the Captain Cook).

    Things to do with kids? Be outside.

    Campgrounds? http://www.campground alaska.com is a great resource

    Accommodation in cities? Summer is our tourist season in Alaska so things aren’t cheap. Consider renting an RV?

    Best time to visit? Summer. June, July, August

    Anything else you want to shareโ€ฆgo fishing, raft the Kenai River, cruises out of Whittier are nice. Take a fishing charter. Don’t be afraid to camp outside of a campground.

    1. Wow, thanks so much Rachel, appreciate all the great tips. These are the tips we love from a local. Alaska sure looks beautiful in photos and we can’t wait to see it with our own eyes!

    2. Hi Rachel,
      I plan a trip to Alaska next summer with my 18 years old daughter.
      We’re looking to travel around the best place of the resident people who actually lived there.
      We sure want to see some tourist places, but we prefer to see best places to everyone.
      So if you have good contacts that you can share ..we would be very happy to inviting you to join us for a part of our trip and maybe you could come to visit us to our places.
      Thanks to U

  2. I love the town of Talkeetna that functions as a gateway to Denali National Park. The Talkeetna Roadhouse has a fantastic breakfast and atmosphere. The whole town is like a movie set of a rustic Alaskan town and there are activities to do all over town. A local dogsledder will take you out on his training cart or go fishing in the nearby rivers. It also has good internet available and I’ve seen several RVs camped there but I’ve never used an RV there. It is a fantastic stop as you head inland into the Alaskan wilderness, especially Denali National Park, and I highly recommend it.

    1. Hey Eric, appreciate the great tips for Talkeetna. Love the sound of a “rustic Alaskan town” and that it’s a gateway to the Alaskan wilderness!

  3. I forgot to add my restaurant recommendation in Anchorage. The Glacier Brewhouse has fantastic King Crab and salmon. It also has several of it’s own micro-brews (it’s a brewhouse, duh) and for the kids and non-drinkers they also have house made cream soda and root beer. We go there every time we are in town!

  4. My dream is to travel the length of the Marine Highway. With 33 ports over 3,000miles to Dutch Harbour. You can even ‘pitch your tent’ on deck and sleep under the stars instead of sleeping in a cabin.

  5. My five cents:
    – If you book cars, do that WELL in advance. Good cars are gone quickly. 4WD is actually not necessary – most of the roads are either passable with a regular car or good only for ATV.

    Alaska can be roughly divided into six very different travel zones. I’d plan to visit all of them: North of Fairbanks, Fairbanks and South of Fairbanks, Kenai peninsula, Katmai and Kodiak, Central Alaska and South-Western Alaska.

    – If you can afford hiring a float plane, it is always fun to do, especially if you opt to visit very remote locations like Yukon delta (wouldn’t recommend), Kobuk Valley NP (best option for seeing caribou and wolves), Katmai or Kodiak (both are must for grizzly bear viewing at salmon runs). We usually use float planes for our canoe trips drop-ins/take-outs. Speaking of canoe I would recommend Birch Creek canoe trip (starts from Circle Highway, 2 hours drive from Fairbanks), it doesn’t require floatplane drop-off, but float plane pick-up is desirable unless you want to float Yukon, which I wouldn’t recommend at this location (due to silty waters and bleak environment on riversides) but would highly recommend to do at Whitehorse area of Canada’s Yukon territories.
    Back to travel zones:

    North of Fairbanks:
    – Drive as long portion of Dalton Highway as you can afford. Part from Livengoot (slightly north of Fairbanks) to Arctic Circle is rather boring, some highlights are fishing wheels on Yukon, Yukon Bridge layered by wooden planks and Alaskan pipeline that zig-zags parallel to the road. If you’ll travel in summer, some forest fires should certainly be flaming somewhere by the road, it is part of nature environment and usually interesting to watch at almost barren lands (close to Fairbanks they are not that funny, smoke problems are real). To my taste the road is getting nicer and much more scenic the further north you go, the best part of the road is roughly from north of Arctic Circle to at least Wiseman, but I would certainly recommend to drive through most mountain passes all the way to Galbright Lake (nice campground there). Driving further north to Prudhoe Bay is much more boring, but may be done to get “sense of accomplishment”. Take your time at Gates of Arctic NP. It is the park for “non-tourist minded” people, for those seeking solitude and serenity. It resembles a mixture between southern Chile and central Iceland, something like that.
    – drive to Circle via Steese Highway. Highlights are few interesting Alaskan gold-digger villages (with many old mining equipment on display), fields of fireweed, viewing the results of total dredging of most of Alaskan creeks and rivers, fishing for grayling.
    – drive to Chena Hot Springs. It is 1 hour easy drive, hot spring are pretty nice (and hot), although crowded. Chena river has good population of grayling, salmon runs on June and then later toward fall.

    Fairbanks and south of Fairbanks:
    – City itself is not much to write home about. University is OK to visit. City center, except “plaque tree”, is not very well developed tourist-wise. Interesting is to stay at local houses (pick B&B by Chena River, once we have stayed here https://www.vrbo.com/118558, it was good)) and see everyday Alaskans life, that still include fishing, hunting, vegetable and fruit growing, berry picking etc… One other piece of advice: due to proximity of the city to large Air Force bases, many old planes ended up as “sheds” or even “houses”, so drive side streets for a funny pictures of such planes.
    – Drive to North Pole. Santa Claus is always present there (at Santa Claus House – it is a shop, obviously) and is a most authentic one from all I had ever seen. Also on the same road from Fairbanks toward Eleison AFB keep an eye to the right for an interesting wood shop; you’ll never miss it cause it marked with pretty interesting wooden sculptures outside.
    – Denali NP. Prepare to some disappointment, as it is not allowed to drive your own car there.

    Kenai Peninsula.
    This area share first place among my loveliest parts of Alaska (based on my taste, of course).
    – choose two pretty different “base camps” here: Seward and Homer. You can easily spend whole week in each of this places, and that is why:
    – it is nice (pretty crowded in season) campground in Lowell point few kilometers from Seward. Other good accommodation in Lowell is Saltwater lodge, it is easy to book most boat trips through the lodge here.
    – Fishing trips are a must. It is tons of fun, both for childrens and adults. Easy trips are for salmon (a lot of sight seeing during the trip, too), halibut fishing is for serious fishermen, but also very rewarding.
    – Glacier seeing trips. Very relaxing and extremely picturesque, if weather is cooperative. – Kayak trips to glaciers. Guarantee to see bears, too. Bear glacier is closest, Holgate, Alalik, Northwest and many others are not far away. Scenery is incomparable.
    – Hike from Lowell to Gaines Head recreational area. Very nice hike, be prepare to wet your shoes.
    – Climb Mount Marathon. It is not very difficult climb.
    – Just stroll along the shore or walk the harbor. It is impressive.
    – Watch wildlife, from a shore or via boat trip. The place is ideal for wildlife viewing.
    – Do canoeing at Swan Lake canoe area http://www.alaskacanoetrips.com/Kenaicanoesystem.html
    – Watch bears salmon fishing on Kenai or Russian rivers.
    – Visit Russian Ortodox villages in Soldotna area (keep in mind that Ortodox religion is not opened toward outside world).
    – Take a halibut fishing tour, the best in the world halibut fishing is right here.
    – Take a ferry to one of the islands in Katchemak bay or to Seldovia for a relaxing wildlife viewing (sea otters are plentiful, whaling is not bad).
    – Take a Grace Ridge trail. It is a bit challenging, but views are magnificent.
    – Relax and enjoy views. It is on pair with the best parts of New Zealand + plenty of wildlife.

    Katmai and Kodiak Island:
    – This parts should be visited for two reasons: unspoiled natural beauty and wildlife. Not much of social life here.
    – take one of a float plane excursion to sea a wildlife (http://www.seahawkair.com/ and http://www.kingfisheraviation.com/index.php are both very good) on Kodiak Island. Mostly focus on seeing bears, of course, Kodiak bears are rightfully claimed to be largest bears on planet. To see them from a close distance is both fascinating and scary, a lot of excitement for sure. Go right in season (August is a no brainer, usually). Kodiak is remote and for the reason is much less touristy than Katmai NP, where wildlife viewing regulations sometimes may drive you even more craisier, than in Denali (is it possible?).
    – Kodiak has sizeable presence of old Russian ortodox churches.
    – Get to Brooks Falls at Katmai NP, of course. Brooks lodge is a good place to stay nearby, they are renovated a lot of dilapidated houses recently.
    – Katmai NP is mostly for those who like to hike a lot, if this is your passion, you’ll find it fascinating.

    Central Alaska:
    – Anchorage is a big city, and I had never came to Alaska with a purpose to stay in a big city, so I cannot be helpful in recommending something about it.
    – Independence mine in Wasilla is cool to visit with children, they’ll love to ride a miniature train there.
    – visit one of Mat-su valley (Wasilla, Palmer or elsewhere) food stands or local garden shops. I had been impressed with the sizes of vegetables they grow here, you need to see it to believe it (“regular” carrots of 3+ kilos weight each blew my mind – and they are surprisingly very tasty).
    – Matanuska Glacier – easy to reach by foot (15 minutes walk from a parking lot), easy to walk on the glacier without any guides, very picturesque.
    – Whole road between Palmer and Glenallen is pretty nice.
    – Cantwell to Paxson drive (so called Denali Highway). You can do it in a regular car, if driving slow (speed limit is 30 mph anyway), but spare tire and tire repair kits may be very essential here. This is a road for those who want to experience “real” Alaska how it portrayed – i.e. hunting grounds for a real Alascans.
    – Alaskan Rt. 4 from Delta Junction to Valdez (Richardson Highway) is one of the most picturesque in Alaska. Northern part is most beautiful between Delta Junction and Paxson. Lots of moose and bison here, sightings are nearly guaranteed. High alpine lakes near Black Rapids Glacier are very picturesque, Black Rapids Lodge and two campings (one at Fielding Lake is good) are the only places to stay here. South part of the Highway from Willow Creek to Valdez runs through fantastic mountain scenery, photo opts are countless on each road turn, Worthington Glacier is mostly photographed, but glacier hike is much less pleasant here that the one to Matanuska Glacier.
    – By any means, do not miss a side trip to McCarthy. It is one of the very interesting places in Alaska. Road to McCarthy starts from Tonzina on Richardson Highway and takes at least 2 hours one way without stops. However, you will likely stop a lot on the way, for watching fishing wheels near Chitina River Bridge, then near old wooden railroad bridge, then to picture your car at narrow bridge, crossing one of the creeks, or to watch occasional moose or bear. You should plan to stay at least few days in McCarthy, up to a week. Place to stay is Kennicott Glacier Lodge http://www.kennicottlodge.com/?gclid=CLvKzquMpMsCFQkfhgod-zADHA , I recommend to book it well in advance. Things to do here:
    — Hike Root Glacier. The lodge has excellent guides: all levels of expertise are welcomed, all are carefully sorted to groups based on interests and taken full care of without unnecessary tight supervision (in a good way);
    — do a river rafting. It is really interesting and not very challenging, children can even float their own vessel;
    — walk along the Root Glacier. Icefall wall at the beginning of the glacier is one of the most majestic and picturesque (weather permitted) in the world in my opinion.
    — Explore the old Kennicott Mine. It is pretty unique experience.
    — hire a small plane at Mccarthy and fly to one of the mountain valleys for an unforgetable picnic in one of the most untouched wilderness areas in the world (many peaks and valleys still has no names here);
    — Walk through and around tiny and pretty town of McCarthy, where many artists now live permanently.

    Southwestern Alaska.
    It is likely my most favorite part of the state, if not of all USA. I doubt I would be able to describe everything I want, so let it be just brief guidelines for places to visit.
    The best (and in most situations the only) way to get from one town to another in this part of Alaska is by ferry or by plane. Car ferries are good, not overly expensive and run on schedule, booking in advance is not vitally necessary if you travel without car, but absolutely essential if you want to have your own car with you (which I certainly recommend to do)

    – drive Dalton Highway from Haines Junction (Yukon Territory, Canada – Haines, AK)

    – Stay at Haines for several day. Here:
    — Visit Chilkat river for bald eagle viewing;
    — Mosquito lake is picturesque;
    — Salmon fishing on Chilkat and Chilkoot rivers (they are different) are fun to watch and easy to participate;
    — Chilkat SP trail (on Chilkat peninsula) is very interesting, especially if you like mushrooms or berries, moose or porcupine sightings are common;
    — Hike Battery Point Trail;
    — Ferry to Scagway (without your car, passenger ferry between Haines and Scagway is easy and pleasant). I wouldn’t recommend to stay in Scagway. It is plainly touristy city. It’s population is 600 (in summer, threefold smaller in winter), cruise ships bring 9,500 passengers a day. It is insane. Tuesday and Thursdays are the busiest days, with at least four cruise ships docked there. When in Scagway, you may take one of the excursions (all are too touristy in my taste) or walk through the town. Don’t expect to find -good restaurants, they are all touristy, except, maybe, few Filipino restaurants (most crews on Alaska cruise lines are from Philippines).

    – Juneau:
    – drive (or take bus) to Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. No access to glacier itself here, just a view point and several trails runs from here. However, at least one tour company http://beyondak.com/ do a guided tours to glacier, and they even do a kayaking tour to the glacier. I didn’t use it, but my friends did and were pretty happy;
    – do a trip to Tracy Arm Fiord.
    – Hike to Nugget Falls. Can be combined with Mendenhall Glacier visit;
    – Take a Tramway from the city and than do hike from up there to Mt. Roberts. The Tram is very popular with cruise ship hordes, so better plan this trip for the day, when the city is less crowded with cruises (my guess Monday and Wednesday are the busiest days, but better check ii out);
    – take one of the city nature trails. Some other trails ideas can be found here http://www.alaska.org/destination/juneau/trails;
    – drive to Eagle Beach, that may be bears here (beside eagles) at low tide even from July till October;
    – also in the city: zip lines, breweries, gardens, some good japanese restaurants.

    – Gustavus:
    It is mainly a hub for Glacier Bay NP. Book a tour and have fun;

    – Petersburg:
    Very authentic fishing village in a nice low-lying fiord settings. Best part of ferry passage starts here. Worth staying for a few days or just ferry through. Relatively easy kayak trips from here to LeConte glacier. Same is applicable for Wrangell, however, Wrangell is closer to very nice bear viewing river (Anan River Near Observatory);

    It is a hub for floatplane excursions. City itself is mostly touristy in its central and most interesting part, place to visit is Ketchikan Creek area with its salmon runs and picturesque old houses on stilts.

    – Prince of Wales island
    This pretty big island (accessible from Ketchikan via float plane or easy 3 hours car ferry) has largest paved road network from all Alaskan islands. It is one of the best islands in the world for salmon fishing or for salmons run watching. Plenty of bears, also. Nice and very well maintained trails, funny fishing villages. I love this island.

    – Hyder. This tiny village is accessible from Stewart, BC. The place is must to visit (best way to drive from Cassiar highway, BC). Stay at Stewart at Ripley Creek Inn, best rooms are 301 and 306. The reason to visit this place is Salmon Glacier. It is most likely the best glacier view easily accessible by just driving your car. And the glacier is majestic! Added bonus is wonderful Bear glacier on the way to Stewart from Cassiar Highway and plenty of black bears along the road (sightings are guaranteed).


    1. WOW. Ivan this is incredible!!!

      I don’t know where to start. Greatly appreciate the time it took for you to share all your tips on Alaska. Some awesome insights here and these tips will be super useful when we visit. Love these type of tips from others who have traveled their previously. It seems like you know Alaska well ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Happend to find this blog randomly and am so happy i did!!!! Going to Alaska next week and loved reading all the information you shared!

  6. I was in Alaska for just over three weeks last summer and loved it! My favourite places were Seward – make sure to do a day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park, Sitka – my favourite little town in Alaska with tons of hiking trails, salmon run, close knit community and kayaking around the small offshore islands, and Talkeetna – a gorgeous historic town where you can take flightseeing tours around Denali from and make sure you eat breakfast at The Roadhouse. Breakfast at the Snow City Cafe in Anchorage – King Crab Eggs Benny is one of the best breakfasts I have EVER had. I have tons of Alaska posts on my blog if you want to take a look http://theworldonmynecklace.com/category/destinations/north-america/usa/alaska/ ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Awesome Katie. Appreciate your tips. Alaska is getting better by the second and we’ll need longer than I thought ha ha. Will check out your posts. Cheers!

  7. Go to Moose’s Tooth, (Anchorage) a very busy place, but really good. You may want to get there a hint early for lunch, they have take out,

    For great view of Denali, I hear Byers Lake is a good location. En route to Denali park, I believe north of Talkeetna. You may have to get the milepost marker.

    So far, my favorite for very large glaciers was Columbia Glacier outside of Valdez, AK. Gray whale watching, Seward, AK. Humpback whale watching, Gustavus,AK in Or near icy straits.

  8. I’ve been working up a similar list! Here’s my short hand notes of things we don’t want to miss before leaving Alaska, plus things we’ve already done and really enjoyed!


    Nome to see end of Iditorid.
    Barrow- top of world sign- touch Arctic Ocean
    Kaktovik for Polar Bears.
    Weekend camping in Homer.
    Katmai NP and Brooks Falls to see bears catch salmon
    Sitka- totem park
    Castner Glacier -Delta Junction- 20 mi. RT
    Ice caves at mendenhall & Byron glaciers
    Beach/sand dunes in Anchorage
    Arctic valley hike
    Waterfall tour: http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/alaska/ak-road-trip-waterfalls/

    Winner creek hand team
    Hike Virgin Creek Falls
    Portage Glacier tour

    Chena Hot Springs, Ice museum
    Santa’s house
    Pioneer park
    Ice fishing

    Flight seeing tour of Denali
    Photograph around Wonder Lake

    private Orca island
    Halibut charter
    Dog sled tour

    Things we’ve already enjoyed:

    Ice park & ice art championships
    Midnight sun
    Children’s museum
    Cookie Jar (restaurant)

    Glacier Brewhouse
    Snow City Cafe
    Hiking @ Eagle River Nature Center
    Alaska Zoo
    H20 Oasis
    Hockey games

    Exit Glacier
    Sea Life Center

    Random (Matanuska-Susitna Valley):
    Matanuska Glacier
    Wildlife viewing
    Talkeetna (northern lights & meet the mayor, who is a cat!)
    Williams Reindeer Farm
    Hatcher Pass (hiking & Northern Lights)
    Alaska State Fair
    Hike the Butte

    Byron Glacier
    Wildlife Conservation Center
    Tram and Seven Glaciers Restaurant @Alyeska

  9. We’re heading to Alaska for a month in August and are so excited! We’re renting a jeep with a pop up roof tent so are hoping to be able to explore off the beaten track. Really excited for Chena Hot Springs and Circle, you’re supposed to be able to see the Northern lights from there sometimes! Also the McCarthy Road sounds awesome. Will be looking back to see what other suggestions people come up with so we can add some of them to our itinerary! Will post back after our trip with any cool places we find ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Love what you guys are doing. We almost did a road trip through America November / December last year but we felt the weather in certain states would prevent us from visiting some of the places we wanted to. We ended up choosing to visit Japan & Bali instead so America is still on our bucket list!

  11. Hey Caz & Craig , You made an excellent post for things to do in Alaska. Both your post and the comments are exceptionally informative for a traveler. Great Job! I appreciate that effort.

  12. Alaska was breath taking! We did not have plans when we got there just went on an adventure. The drive from Anchorage to Seward is amazing! A must do! Plus the town of Seward is quaint and adorable with great seafood. Loved Punch bowl Glacier too. We went around June 1st when tourist season just opens and we were the first ones to do everything that we attended. Awesome adventure!

  13. I lived in alaska for three years. Some of the places we went to was homer, it’s a sweet little town and I would recommend you take a fishing charter. To catch some salmon and halibut. Also another great place to go is Seward, the drive there is just beautiful. There is hiking, fishing, just to name a few things. One more place for you is Valdez, you can go kayaking through ice caves, walk on glaciers. Lost of places to hike and there’s two beautiful waterfalls right by the road. I miss alaska.

  14. I lived in “The Interior” for several years and absolutely loved it. When you arrive in Anchorage make sure you visit the Kenai Peninsula. Some of the most beautiful scenery and coolest towns in the world – I was especially fond of Soldotna and Homer. If you love sports the halibut fishing is the absolute best in the world off of Homer – there are amazing national parks everywhere, and I recommend the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks. It’s a slow moving 10-12 hour trip – but the food is great, you can walk around and relax, and the views on the tour are spectacular. If you’re there in the summer and want to spend some time exploring in and around Fairbanks, check out the university (UAF) – they used to rent out apartments like hotel rooms over the summer. There are miles of hiking trails right on campus. Alaska’s incredible – give yourself twice as much time as you think you’ll need. There’s just so much to see and experience. Have fun!

  15. Not sure if you’re still looking for recommendations, but we just got back from Alaska and it was amazing. Denali is a given, but Wrangell St. Elias is an equally beautiful park. We took a bush plane over the Wrangell Mountains and it was definitely on of the highlights of the trip. We stayed in Chitina right outside of the park at the Chitina House B&B and we’d highly recommend it. There isn’t much going on in the town but it felt like an authentic small Alaskan town and the surroundings were gorgeous. Also, you should drive the Denali Highway. The views are incredible.

  16. Hi! Lots of great tips here! A few other things…please remember the public libraries for free wifi access and FREE community performances or events. The Milepost is such a useful travel reference book, consider purchasing your own copy. If you prefer to blend in when visiting, let your jeans get dirty! Nobody cares about mainstream fashion in Alaska and looking freshly-pressed is an easy way to stand out. Buy a growler from any brew house, brewery, grocery store, wherever. There are lots of great microbrews available throughout the state.

  17. Another 5 cents ๐Ÿ™‚

    – Mendenhall Ice Caves
    – Ressurection Bay cruise
    – Tracy Arm Fjord
    – Whitepass & Yukon route (by train)
    – Kenai Fjords National Park
    – Skagway
    – Take a photo in the “Magic Bus” used in the movie “Into the Wild”

    Blog Pegadas na Estrada

  18. Love that you have an Alaska Bucket List! I live in a village here in Alaska and I definitely recommend to everyone travelling here to visit a village if you get the chance. The Alaska Railroad is also an amazing trip!

  19. We called Anchorage home for 3 years, and I still miss it every single day. I definitely recommend visiting Kincaid Park (and the stone beach there), saying hi to the animals at the Alaska Zoo, taking a wildlife/glacier cruise out of Whittier or Seward and definitely going halibut or salmon fishing! Denali is also a must, but it looks like you already know that! Enjoy your journey ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. We just spent 4 weeks exploring Alaska and it was Amazing! So many adventures to list a few off the top of my head that we loved… Our new favorite city is Juneau Alaska. We did it all from Hiking, Glacier Ice Climbing, Ice Caving, Gold Panning, Heli-hiking, to Cruising. One huge one was wild bear viewing and camping in Lake Clark NP. It is a worlds top 100 travel adventure and an experience of a lifetime. Another great adventure was Visit the Mendenhall Ice Caves Before They Melt https://www.divergenttravelers.com/mendenhall-ice-caves-guide/

  21. Our family rented an RV and Loved our time in Alaska. The Russian River Campground was our favorite–walking on the Fisherman’s Path and watching a young grizzly fishing for salmon. . Turnagain Arm ran a close second as we watched the harbor seals and beluga whales come in with the tide. Out of all our trips so far, this is the one everyone wants to repeat!

  22. Sitka Alaska: raptor sacuarty where they help injured raptors heal so they can be released back into the wild. Fortress of the bears is self funded by a gentleman and awesome to see the bears that would have been put down if not for this sanctuary

  23. Where ever you travel in the states, get off the interstate and wander around. You will come across so much that you would have missed at 70mph. You donโ€™t need to completely bypass the interstate because we are a big country but there is so much off the beaten path.

    Enjoy your trip. My husband and I are headed to Alaska in a couple of years and we will finish out all 50 states.

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