It really doesn’t get much more beautiful than a visit to Alaska! Known as “The Last Frontier,” Alaska boasts breathtaking landscapes, majestic animals and a serene presence that all travelers should experience at least once in their lifetime. There is nothing quite like the beauty that a trip to Alaska offers, so if you’re up for an adventure of a lifetime, here are some must-dos in the 40th state!
Wander Downtown Anchorage on Foot
As Alaska’s largest city, a trip to Anchorage is the perfect place to experience the best of Alaska. One thing you have to do is wander the quaint downtown area of the city on foot and soak in the magic around you. The town combines the conveniences of the modern world and a “small-town feel” type of atmosphere. The city offers a variety of shops and restaurants with the beauty of the great outdoors as its backdrop. The crisp, fresh air is intoxicating, while the calmness of the city is relaxing and comforting.
View the Northern Lights in Fairbanks
The Northern Lights are some of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see in life! A trip to Fairbanks, Alaska allows you to view the amazing phenomenon of mysterious lights. It’s ideal for seeing them because it’s under the “Auroral Oval,” which is a ring-shaped zone that’s over the city where the aurora activity is highly concentrated.
Cruise the Inside Passage
Now that the Norwegian Bliss is in Seattle, Washington, you can make your way to Alaska and experience the Inside Passage, which is the longest sheltered inland waterway on the planet! It’s located right along the coast of British Columbia and is a common route many cruise ships take to reach the historic Alaskan ports of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Here you’ll be able to spot humpback whales and orcas, and experience beauty in the water as well as around it.
Mountain Bike at Alyeska Resort
If you’re up for an adventure, try mountain biking or hiking at the Alyeska Resort, Alaska’s premier destination. Located in the Chugach State Park, the resort has built its reputation as being the best place to play in the snow in the winter. The summer is equally exciting! Take the tram up to the top of Mt. Alyeska and enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to bring your camera for beautiful photo opportunities, such as capturing panoramic views of the Turnagain Arm.
Walk or Hike on a Glacier
What’s more memorable than walking on a glacier? Many of the state’s most impressive glaciers are readily accessible and all you need is some good walking shoes to trek upon such majestic beauty. One of the best roadside glaciers is Mendenhall Glacier, which is right near Juneau and offers six different trails to see and experience the glacier up close.
Ride the Alaska Railroad
Enjoy a memorable Alaska adventure by taking a ride on the Real Alaska Railroad! The experience provides year-round trips throughout South, Central and Interior Alaska, traveling through almost 500 miles of remote wildlife. One of my favorite memories of riding the Alaska Railroad is relaxing in the plush seats with a glass of wine, and enjoying nature. There’s also an opportunity to see more of nature in the upper level viewing deck. I highly recommend booking either the Coastal Classic or Denali Star train, both of which offers the Gold Star Service.
See Wildlife in Denali National Park
One of the best things about Alaska is seeing wildlife up close! The best place to see animals is in Denali National Park. You’ll definitely see lots of the park’s smaller animals, like foxes and red squirrels. If you’re lucky, you’ll see black bears, wolves, moose or caribou! Here’s a tip: reserve your bus ticket ahead of time – as early as possible! There’s only one road into Denali, it’s mostly open to the bus tours. I recommend booking the 8 hour Tundra Wilderness Tour, which has been around since 1923! This is one of the best comprehensive tours in the park, and maximizes your chances to see wildlife.