Alaska covers over 663,268 sq mi, and boasts of some breathtaking landscapes. The state is covered with a number of glaciers making it the ideal destination for adventure and nature loving tourists.
Places to Visit
Alaska's natural beauty attracts a large number of the visitors to this state. The state has about fifteen national parks, which are its key attractions. The following are the major tourist attractions of the state -
Denali National Park: The Denali National Park is home to the magnificent Mt. McKinley, the highest peak of North America. The snow covered peak attracts thousands of visitors and climbers each year. Claims are that this national park has the best wildlife viewing safari in the continent. The national park is home to a variety of wildlife including the grizzly bear, fox, caribou, moose, and lynx. It is a tourist destination which is open all through the year.
Kenai Fjords National Park: The Kenai Fjords National Park covers a tidewater glacier and the Harding Ice Field - the major attraction for most visitors. Home to variety of marine wildlife, the park offers many tour boats and great cruise options. The biggest king salmon fish is found in the Kenai River.
Glacier Bay National Park: Home to twelve tidewater glaciers, the Glacier Bay National Park is the largest water-area park of United States. It is also one of the highest places for whale watching.
Prince William Sound: Named by George Vancouver, the Prince William Sound is a sound or strait in the Gulf of Alaska. Some of the amazing tidewater glaciers are found in this sound. Some of these glaciers descend from the Chugach Mountains.
Anchorage: Anchorage is the largest city of Alaska and is famous for its museums. Anchorage also offers a number of cultural attractions, fine dining options, and luxurious hotels. This city has the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which is must-visit for visitors. In winter this city also offers great skiing opportunities.
Fairbanks: Located north of the Denali Park, Fairbanks is the second largest city of Alaska and is famous for the occurrence of the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights, the astrophysical phenomena. Between the months of April and August, the Northern Lights illuminate the night sky and provide some very picturesque views. During the summer months Fairbanks receives 22 hours of sunlight. The Ice Museum and Alaska Museum are also the major attractions of the city.
Juneau: Juneau is the capital city of Alaska and is one of the top most tourist destinations of the state. Here one can enjoy the pristine scenery and the adventurous activities the city has to offer. Whale watching, hiking, and cultural activities attract most tourists to the city.
Homer: The unique feature of the Alaskan town, Homer is five mile long spit jutting into the sea. Migrating shorebird visit the town in early May, making the city a great attraction for ornithologists. The Pratt Museum is a well-known local attraction where one can see native artifacts and the display of marine animals and birds.
Barrow: The northernmost town of United States, Barrow, has the largest Inupiat community. This town experiences extreme winter conditions. Tourists mainly visit this town to watch the midnight sun, which does not set for 82 days from May to August. Summer is the best time to visit this part of Alaska.Besides the above mentioned places, Alaska has many other destinations, which attract tourists such as Nome, Talkeetna, Kodiak Island etc.
- Since many parts of Alaska are prone to extreme weather conditions, the summer months are the best time to visit the state. Fall is the most beautiful time of the year but is short-lived.
- It is wise to book your stay in advance as hotels and other accommodation options tend to fill up quickly especially over the summer months. Hotels offer sizable discounts over the fall shoulder season (two three weeks before summer) and the spring shoulder season (two three weeks after summer). At any rate it is wise to do some research before booking your accommodation. Many hotels run special offers even during the peak summer season depending on the hotel's occupancy.
- If planning to lodge in Denali, bookings have to be made well in advance; also do remember that Denali town remains inactive from September to May.
- Renting a car in Alaska is a good option to travel at your own pace. If you are planning to rent a car, it is wise to rent a car from one of the main cities such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, or Whittier to get better service.
- If you intend to travel by train or motor coach in Alaska, make your booking in advance.
- If traveling to Alaska during the winter season, remember to carry your full winter gear including blankets, winter clothing, shovels, water, snacks, paper towels, gloves, boots, mittens, jackets, and scarves etc. These items may also be needed while traveling through some Alaskan cities like Barrow in summer.
- In Alaska you should be prepared to encounter wildlife especially when traveling by car. Usually the animals so not approach or harm unless threatened but it is a good idea to stay calm and armed.
- Do carry a road map of Alaska. Detailed maps of Alaska are available for download on our site.
- The natives of Alaska are generally friendly and helpful by nature and the locals are good guides in suggesting routes and places to visit.
Alaska Travel Adventures and Cruise
Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska offer the best cruises in the state. Inside Passage covers the southeastern part of Alaska. Your cruise ship may stop at the city of Juneau and the beautiful ports of Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Petersburg.The south-central Gulf of Alaska is the other cursing area also referred as the 'Voyage of the Glacier'. A cruise through the 'gulf' covers the Prince William Sound, the city of Anchorage, the Cook Inlet, the Matanuska and Susitna valleys etc. Unlike the small ship cruises the big ship cruise lines offer shore excursions, which take the visitors beyond the port cities to explore different aspect of Alaska. Big ship cruises are best suited for those who like resort-like amenities, while small ship cruises are the best option for those who enjoy crowd-free and casual experiences of natural surroundings.
A good travel planner or tour organizer is your best bet at enjoying a great vacation in Alaska. Some of the following trip organizers come highly recommended -
Ask Matt Alaskan Tours and Travel
P.O box 110261, AK 99511
Alaska Tours and Travels
Toll free: 800-208-0200,
Sport Fishing Alaska
9310 Shorecrest Dr, Anchorage, AK 99502.
Tel: (907) 344-8674
Alaska Denali Tours
Toll Free: 888-900-1992
Level 7, Suite 702 28, Foveaux Street
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010