The vast wilderness that is Alaska beckons the hearts of many. With breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and wild animals such as whales and bears, it is a place that inspires epic adventures. From spotting wildlife to walking on glaciers, discover the best things to do in Alaska.
1. A glacier tour
Glacier tours are some of the best things to do in Alaska. After all, over five percent of the state is covered with them! Step back in time to the Ice Age and explore the millions of years old rivers of ice. These Alaska glacier tours will take you to visit the glaciers by car, train, boat, or even air. You can view them from the sky in a helicopter, from a boat, walk up to them, or even go on a thrilling dog sledding ride.
2. Visit the Arctic Circle
A handful of those who travel to Alaska make it to the Arctic Circle. And oftentimes if you join a tour, you even get a certification for it! Northern Alaska Tour holds one day and multi-day excursions, available both during summer and winter. The Fly/Drive Adventures tour starts with a flight from Fairbanks to Coldfoot, providing an aerial view of the vast Alaska wilderness. Then you’ll cross the Arctic Circle by car, stopping by the mighty Yukon River, Trans Alaska Pipeline and the Arctic Circle Trading Post. In the winter, you also have the option of stopping at some aurora spots!
3. Kenai Fjords National Park
Home to nearly 40 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield, there is much fun to be had at Kenai Fjords National Park. You can explore the fjords on a boat tour, and encounter wildlife such as gray and humpback whales, sea lions, orcas, seals and porpoises. Or join a kayak tour to view actively calving glaciers. Doing so with a guide is highly recommended as the currents can be strong. If you prefer to stay out of the water, you can hike the Harding Icefield Trail. The trail winds through cottonwood and alder forests, passes though heather filled meadows and ultimately climbs above the tree line to a breathtaking view of the Icefield.
4. Iditarod National Historic Trail
Iditarod National Historic Trail is Alaska’s sole National Historic Trail. Over 2,300-mile long, the winter trails connect Alaskan Native villages, establishing the dog-team mail and supply route during Alaska’s Gold Rush. Today, it serves as a vital recreation and travel link. You cannot pass much of the trail without snow cover, but there are sections in the Kenai Peninsula and along the coast in Nome that are accessible for year-round hiking. The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race also takes place here annually, where teams race through blizzards, sub-zero temperatures and gale-force winds.
5. Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a cultural center and museum in Anchorage. Through exhibitions, artists’ demonstrations, songs, dances, and stories, visitors can learn about the heritage of Alaska’s indigenous people. Exhibits span over 10,000 years of history and outside around Lake Tiulana there are life-size Alaskan Native dwellings. If you’re curious about their traditional way of life, this is the place to find out more. There are also local artists selling their crafts here – make sure to support them if you can!
6. Denali National Park
Denali is the third largest National Park in the United States, home to North America’s highest mountain. At 6.1 million acres, there are so many ways to experience the wilderness. Trails of varying difficulties offer many hiking opportunities, as well as operators doing ATV and jeep tours. A more dramatic way to see the park is from the window of a small aircraft. Flightseeing tours take visitors over gentle foothills, along meandering glaciers, and up to the rugged peaks of the Alaska Range. From the air, you can truly appreciate the enormity and diversity of the landscape.