The Last Frontier is calling your name! More than one million tourists visited Alaska in 2019.
An Alaskan vacation can help you see things you cannot find anywhere else. But you shouldn’t book your tickets and rent a room just yet. You need to do some research so you make the most of your Alaskan vacation.
Where should you go if you want to shop and visit museums? What are some of Alaska’s greatest natural wonders? How can you perform outdoor activities in Alaska?
Answer these questions and you can see all that Alaska has to offer. Here are five things you must do while you’re in Alaska.
When people think of an Alaska vacation, they often think about outdoor activities like salmon fishing. You can do many outdoor activities, but Alaska has several cities and towns that offer great attractions. You can also use them as travel hubs and shopping destinations for your activities.
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. The city has access to state highways, trains, bus systems, and international airports, making it a good place to travel to and from. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a hub for Alaska Airlines and other companies, including international airlines.
Anchorage does not have a sales tax, so you should do most of your shopping in the city. Most major retailers like Target and JCPenney have stores in town. You can also go shopping at many different small stores.
Depending on your interests, you can go sightseeing in the city for at least a few days. You can walk around the city and see various buildings and parks. The Alaska Botanical Garden has nature trails and small gardens you can stroll through with hundreds of species of plants.
Tourist attractions include the Alaska Zoo. You can see dozens of species of animals, including ones native to Alaska. The zoo is also home to special events like talks on wildlife conservation.
Flightseeing lets you fly on small airplanes and see the city from the air. Several tour companies offer flightseeing tours, and you can personalize your tour to see whatever you want.
The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts is home to many performing arts events throughout the year, including concerts and theatrical productions. If you prefer sporting events, you can see games at the Sullivan Arena.
Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. There are no roads connecting it to the rest of the state, so it’s hard to access by car or bus. You can fly into the city or use a boat to access it, which makes it a good place to visit on a cruise or fishing trip.
Juneau’s tourist attractions are smaller than Anchorage’s attractions, but you can still find a few days of activities in town. Perseverance Theatre is Alaska’s largest professional theater, and it focuses on plays based on Alaskan culture and history. You can attend plays year-round, including Shakespearean productions.
The downtown district contains many different art galleries. The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council runs gallery walks and tours throughout the year, so visit their website to see if their events are available while you are in town.
Juneau is also home to several festivals. If you like folk music, you can visit the Alaska Folk Festival in April. The Juneau Maritime Festival takes place in May, and you can view unique boats and learn about maritime history.
North Pole is a small town 15 minutes away from Fairbanks. It is a town geared toward tourists, making it a good place to stop for a couple of days.
As the name may suggest, the town is designed to be a Christmas wonderland year-round. The Santa Claus House is a gift shop where you can buy personalized Santa letters, ornaments, and other products. You can take photographs with reindeer and one of the world’s largest Santa Claus statues.
You can also walk through town and see Christmas decorations throughout the year. Many people like to take photographs at the town’s “Welcome to North Pole” signs or with the candy cane-colored street lights.
Besides Juneau’s art galleries, you can look at works of art from Alaskan artists at several museums. These museums also offer opportunities to learn about Native Alaskans and Alaskan history.
The University of Alaska Museum of the North is located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The museum is one of the biggest museums in Alaska, and it has outdoor and indoor art installations.
Totem poles and relics of trading houses and forts are located outside. The museum offers rotating exhibits of sculptures that you can see throughout the year.
Inside, you can find permanent collections of Native Alaskan art from thousands of years ago. Paintings, baskets, clothes, and beadwork are all on display. You can also find works of art about Alaska that non-residents and residents have made, including modern works.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is based in Anchorage. The museum is home to life-sized Native dwellings that you can look at and walk through. Each village site has a structure made by Indigenous artists and unique features like whale bones.
The main building on the museum grounds is home to a large collection of crafts. You can look at boots, tunics, baskets, and other pieces of handiwork from Indigenous artists. You can also examine posts, poles, and paintings from artists over the years and buy works from living artists.
Once you’re done visiting the cities, you can start to see Alaska’s natural wonders. Many of them are contained inside national parks run by the National Park Service, so you should spend most of your time in the parks. Research each park so you can plan ahead for the weather and rent the equipment you need.
Denali National Park contains Denali, the highest mountain in the United States. If you’re interested in mountain climbing, you can climb Denali, though you will need several days to do so.
If you’re not interested in mountain climbing, you can perform other activities. You can go for day hikes along trails or off-trail.
Most trails are short and will take less than two hours to walk, making them good for people new to hiking. The Rock Creek Trail is 2.4 miles and takes you through the woods while the Mount Healy Overlook Trail is 2.7 miles and lets you see Denali itself.
The Roadside Bike Path is open to bikers. You can ride on paved roads for 1.7 miles and see fields and forests.
Katmai National Park is in southwestern Alaska. You may need to fly a plane or rent a car to the park in order to access it.
The main attraction in Katmai is Brooks Camp. The camp has viewing platforms where you can view black bears, deer, and other wildlife. It’s also a hub for bus and plane tours, and you can plan the rest of your vacation from the camp.
Though the mountains in Katmai are smaller than the mountains in Denali, the park contains more active volcanoes than Denali. You may be able to take photographs of lava domes and plumes of smoke, and you can walk around the inactive volcanoes.
The park has a preserve where you can go hunting and trapping. However, you need to apply for a license and you must be careful not to intrude on private land. But you can hunt many types of game, including caribou and moose, during all parts of the year.
Kenai Fjords National Park is home to fjords, glaciers, and ice fields. There are many bodies of water in and around the park, and you can rent a boat to explore these areas. You can also hire a tour company to take you on half-day and full-day tours.
Kenai Fjords has several short trails for day hikers, though the National Park Service does not recommend off-trail hiking in the park. The Harding Icefield Trail is more than eight miles long and it goes uphill. However, you get incredible views of the glaciers and ice in the park, and the trail ends with a panoramic view of the ice field.
You can go fishing near cities, in national parks, and from boats in the ocean and rivers of Alaska once you get your license. The license lasts until December 31st of the calendar year, so you can go fishing as much as you want. You can get your license and pay your fee online before you travel to the state, or you get one from a state office.
The Kenai River is one of the best places in Alaska for salmon fishing, including king salmon. The salmon runs occur during the summer, though the exact dates vary from year to year. Check the salmon forecast to see when the runs will occur and then plan your trip with the help of companies like Kenai River Recon.
The Brooks River is located inside Katmai National Park. It is hard to access, but you will encounter very little competition while you are fly fishing. The sockeye salmon run during July, and you can keep and cook your catch in some areas of the river.
If you’re visiting Alaska in the wintertime, you can go fishing for rockfish. 33 species of rockfish live in the Bering Seas and Gulf of Alaska and in the waters around the Aleutian Islands. You can marinate your fish and cook it in a number of recipes, including by steaming and poaching it.
Fishing lodges are hotels catered to people coming to Alaska to fish. Many lodges offer luxury services like spas, on-site restaurants, and private airstrips. If you’re looking for maximum comfort, you should stay in a lodge.
Stargazing is a terrific activity when you are visiting during the fall and winter. You will need to dress for cold weather, and you may need to navigate over icy and snowy landscapes in order to access great destinations. But many tour guides are available to help you plan your stargazing.
Try to find a high point away from city centers. Murphy Dome is outside of Fairbanks and is located uphill, making it easy to see the stars.
If you’re worried about your safety, you can stargaze in small towns. Gustavus is near Glacier Bay National Park and it tends to have clear skies. You can enjoy the stars from the town piers and in fields in and around the national park.
Boating on lakes and streams can help you get away from light pollution and other tourists. You can also see the stars reflected in the water, which can make for incredible photographs, drawings, and paintings. The Lutak Inlet near Haines has many turnouts where you can park your boat and gaze at the stars.
While you are stargazing, you may be able to see the northern lights. You can go on a tour, but you have no guarantee of seeing the lights, even with an official guide. Look at an aurora forecast and try to plan your own trip.
Alaska has both urban and rural delights. Anchorage, Juneau, and North Pole are hubs for architecture, music, and culture. You can go to art museums throughout the state and learn more about Native Alaskans.
Head outside the city, and you can find incredible national parks with mountains, glaciers, and forests. You can also fish in nearly all bodies of water, catching salmon and rockfish for dinner. After you’re done fishing, you can look at the stars and northern lights. If you still don’t know what to do, keep researching Alaska. Read more Alaska travel guides by following our coverage.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].
From Waterfalls to Wildlife: Unforgettable Highlights of Rocky Mountain National Park Tours
The Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. If you’re looking for scenic beauty, wildlife sightings, and outdoor adventure, visiting this park offers the perfect mix.
With over 415 square miles of breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders, any Rocky Mountain National Park tour offers unforgettable memories that last a lifetime. This blog post will highlight some of the best experiences of visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park tours.
Read on to learn more.
The Rocky Mountain National Park boasts over 300 miles of hiking trails with various difficulty levels. The trails lead to some of the most iconic sights in the park, including Bear Lake, Longs Peak, Emerald Lake, and Trail Ridge Road. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, the park has something for everyone.
The hikes offer picture-perfect views of the mountains and valleys with abundant wildlife, wildflowers, and scenic vistas. Pack plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate gear before setting off on your hike.
The Rocky Mountain National Park is home to diverse wildlife, including elk, bighorn sheep, moose, black bears, and mountain lions. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you’re in for a treat. The park offers unique opportunities to spot these animals in their natural habitats.
The best times for wildlife encounters are early mornings or late evenings when the animals are most active.
The Rocky Mountain National Park has some of the most scenic drives in the country. The Trail Ridge Road, a 48-mile road that traverses the park, is a trip you do not want to miss. The road takes you through exhilarating landscapes with breathtaking Rocky Mountains and valley views.
Plenty of lookout points are on the road, so stop and take in the views. You can join a guided bus tour if you want to experience the road without driving.
The park offers various camping options, including backcountry camping and RV camping. The campsites are located near some of the most popular hiking trails, making it convenient for campers to explore right after breakfast.
Wake up to the sounds of nature, sit around a bonfire while gazing at the stars, and experience nature in its most pristine form. Book your campsite well in advance as they tend to fill quickly.
The Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of the best fishing experiences for anglers of all levels of expertise. The park has over 50 lakes and streams home to various fish species, including:
- rainbow trout
- brown trout
- cutthroat trout
Anglers enjoy fishing in peaceful locations with stunning mountain backdrops. Ensure you obtain the proper permits and follow the park’s fishing regulations.
In addition to the Rocky Mountain National Park, there are several other remarkable national parks near Denver. The Great Sand Dunes National Park is a sight to behold, located approximately four hours from Denver. This park features the tallest dunes in North America, nestled against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Understanding Rocky Mountain National Park Tours
A visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park tours offers something for everyone – whether you’re a hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or just looking to enjoy nature’s beauty. The unforgettable highlights of the park make it a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The park is a great place to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature. Plan your visit today and experience the magic of the Rocky Mountains.
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