Alaska Travel Guide
Alaska tourism relies on the magnificent beauty of the state; the wildlife, the majestic mountains and awesome glaciers and the wilderness that attracts thousands of visitors to its towns and cities each year. It is not just Alaskan cruises that have become a popular vacation choice, as vacationers glide through the Inside Passage and stop at such towns as Ketchikan and Skagway, but travel to the state itself to realize all of its hidden gems and breathtaking landscapes.
If you partake in Alaska travel, chances are you will head to a big city like Anchorage, located in the southeast of the state. Here the lovely Prince William Sound full of fjords, mountains, waterfalls and glaciers, not to mention the marine life like sea lions, dolphins and whales makes an exquisite Alaska tourist attraction. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is 11 miles long and takes tourists and locals alike on a trip overlooking the ocean, a lagoon and Earthquake Park to name but a few of the lookout points, and if you are looking for a taste of Alaskan heritage, look no further than the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Here through crafts, dance, storytelling and simulated life size villages, your Alaska vacation can take on an educational tone as you learn more about the great state and her native peoples. The Imaginarium Discovery Center is a great hands- on science center which is fun for the whole family and if you like aviation, don’t miss the Alaskan Aviation Heritage Museum where vintage aircraft and the history of bush pilots are on display.
Not far from Anchorage is the seaport of Seward and the gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park where those traveling in Alaska can partake in many different tours, either by boat or kayak to whale watch, and see the towering glaciers up close.
Just off the coast of Seward is Kodiak Island, home of the Kodiak bear, the largest brown bear sub-specie, that lives in unmatched wilderness on Alaska’s ‘Emerald Isle’ where hiking, whale watching, tide pooling and fly fishing are a travelers dream.
Traveling northeast of Anchorage, your Alaska vacation can take you to Fairbanks where the whole family will revel in Running Reindeer Ranch, a unique vacation experience which allows you to walk in a forest surrounded by tame reindeer. Fairbanks is also a depot for the Fairbanks to Anchorage McKinley explorer train which is a scenic railway line connecting the two cities that offers fabulous views from its domed cars.
If your Alaska travel adventure brings you to the Gold Dredge #8 you have found an authentic gold mining site and can view the famous 1928 Dredge that they used to use to pan for gold. You can also try your hand at panning and take a step back in time. Most people who travel to Alaska have never felt the extreme temperatures that are quite common this far north. With 40 Below, you can. Here tourists can put on parkas and enter a room that is always at -40 degrees where they can hit a nail with a frozen banana, throw hot water into the air to watch what happens and sit in an ice chair. If that doesn’t satisfy the curiosity for cold, then how about the Aurora Ice Museum? Here, visitors can see all things ice, sculpted of course from an ice bar to ice bedrooms to ice statues and the like. Alaskaland rounds out our little tour of Fairbanks as visitors can take in a mock gold rush town see authentic pioneer log cabins, mining equipment, a museum a Native American village, a train and even a dry docked sternwheeler.
Alaska’s vast wilderness also includes some breathtaking national parks which contribute significantly to Alaska’s tourism industry. Perhaps the best known of the parks is Denali National Park that offers 6 million acres of wild land that is home to 650 species of flowering plants, 39 species of mammal and 169 different species of birds. Streams, ponds, lakes, tundra, glaciers, and deciduous taiga all make up the spectacular beauty of the park that is a mecca for hiking, cross country skiing, mountaineering and dogsledding.
A mammoth Alaska tourist attraction is North America’s highest mountain Mt. McKinley and the town nestled at its base, Talkeetna. Here your Alaska vacation is filled with magnificent views, float trips, flightseeing, mushing, river boating and other outdoor pursuits.
Katmai National Park on Alaska’s south coast is home to many volcanoes, and is a popular Alaska tourist attraction thanks to Brooks Camp bear viewing where visitors can go and watch bears catching sockeye salmon on specially constructed platforms.
The US’s northernmost national park has no roads, no trails and lays above the Arctic Circle meaning if you want to visit the Gates of the Arctic National Park you must do so by bush plane. If your Alaska vacation takes you to the great north of the great northern state, you will see vast wilderness that not many have ventured into, though the experience will be once-in-a-lifetime for many.
Juneau is in the panhandle of the state, and is a great area for Alaska’s tourism industry as many cruise ships also make it a port of call. One of the biggest Alaska tourist attractions can also be found here in the Mendenhall Glacier or check out the Juneau Ice field, hike, fish, take a zipline, kayak or visit Glacier Bay where a cruise or kayak tour can take you beside calving glaciers amid the beautiful mountains and wildlife that call the area home.
Sitka is also located on the panhandle and as an old Russian outpost is filled with the heritage of a nation while being nestled between majestic mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Alaska’s tourism industry is booming thanks in large part to the many cruise lines that make it a destination and bring thousands of people to the state each year. Alaska travel that brings people further inland and to places no cruise ship can reach are also gaining in popularity as people come to explore the vastness of the last great frontier.