The greatest challenge in planning a trip to Alaska is narrowing down your options. It’s not the worst job, mind you, but given the state’s vastness it can be daunting. To give you a hand, here’s a list of some of our favorites so you can determine the best place to vacation in Alaska.
1. Take the land and sea loop
The Alaska Highway, from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska offers spectacular vistas for thousands of miles and dozens of quaint and quirky communities along the way. Return on one of Alaska’s state ferries for a spectacular trip back through the famed Inside Passage. It’s the loop of a lifetime!
2. Experience gold rush history
Follow in the footsteps of Klondike-era stampeders and hike the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail from Skagway to Bennett Lake, British Columbia. While in Skagway, stay at the Westmark Skagway Hotel and check out Klondike Gold Rush National Park sites throughout town.
3. Explore the former Kennicott Mine and Wrangell-St. Elias
The Kennicott mill town is a National Historic Landmark that gives us a clear view of mining towns and technology in the early 20th century. Wrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park in the United States, and McCarthy is an off-the-beaten-path gem among Alaska’s visitor destinations.
4. Experience the northern lights
No Alaska vacation would be complete without experiencing the northern lights. The aurora borealis are an unrivaled spectacle of Alaska’s night skies. Come in winter for the most dramatic displays.
5. Bear viewing
Take advantage of the many day-trip options available to view Alaska’s iconic bears feasting on summer salmon runs, climbing trees, and snacking on berries. Local flightseeing providers take visitors to wherever the salmon are running, which most often means Katmai National Park and Preserve or Lake Clark National Park.
6. Cross the Arctic Circle
Book a tour that will take you by bus or plane up the famed Haul Road and across the Arctic Circle to the shores of Arctic Ocean.
7. See the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
While you’re in Fairbanks, be sure to check out the Trans-Alaska Pipeline viewing site, eight miles north of Fairbanks.
8. Sport fishing for salmon or halibut
Sink your hook into some of Alaska’s greatest treasures. Most fishing charter companies will flash-freeze your catch and ship it home for you. Opportunities to fish are plentiful statewide.
9. Drive up to a glacier
In Juneau, be sure to check out the uber-accessible Mendenhall Glacier and its surroundings. There are several places in Alaska to enjoy drive-up access to glaciers, including near Valdez and Anchorage.
10. Top of the World Highway
Take the ultimate road trip on this land-and-sea-route from Tok, Alaska to the western banks of the Yukon River. For a truly epic loop, continue by car ferry across the Yukon to Westmark Inn Dawson City, then south to Whitehorse and west back into Alaska.