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 top 10 Alaska vacation ideas from your friends at Alaska’s Westmark Hotels.
- Drive to Alaska on the Alaska Highway and return home via the Alaska Marine Highway – 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!
- 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.
- Explore the former Kennicott Mine and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve – 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.
- 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.
- Bear viewing – Take advantage of the many day-trip options available from the Westmark Anchorage Hotel 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.
- Cross the Arctic Circle – Book a tour from the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel that will take you by bus or plane, up the famed Haul Road and across the Arctic Circle to the shores of Arctic Ocean.
- See the Trans-Alaska Pipeline – While you’re in Fairbanks, be sure to check out the Trans-Alaska Pipeline viewing site at the Fox visitor center, eight miles north of Fairbanks.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Westmark Whitehorse Hotel and west back into Alaska.
That’s our top 10 Alaska vacation ideas – what are yours?