Alaska is the largest and northernmost US state. With a population of fewer than 800,000 people, it’s perfect for those looking for some peace and quiet. Nature lovers can soak up Alaska’s rugged landscapes, breathtaking glaciers, and incredible peaks, while more cosmopolitan travelers can enjoy its quirky towns and cities.
Juneau may be Alaska’s state capital, but it’s very far from a modern metropolis. Once you’ve explored the shops and cafés in the Downtown neighborhood, follow the hiking path to the Mendenhall Glacier. The route will take you past Nugget Falls, where you could spot black bears. Once at the glacier, enjoy the incredible blue colors and the 550-meter-deep ice.
|Juneau is the capital of Alaska.
Day trips from Juneau include the beaches of Douglas Island and the beautiful waters of the Tracy Arm Fjord, which are best explored by boat.
|The Tracy Arm Djord is best explored by boat.|
While Juneau is the state capital, Anchorage has the largest population in Alaska, and offers great seafood restaurants, breweries, and museums. Homer, meanwhile, is a popular boating and fishing destination, which is only a short boat ride away from the seaside communities of Seldovia and Halibut Cove.
|Homer is popular for fishing and boating.
If you’d prefer a secluded escape, head to Fairbanks. There’s not much to do in this sleepy town, except catch the most exceptional views of the colorful Northern Lights!
Denali Mountain, the tallest mountain in North America, reaches heights of over 6,000 meters, making it perfect for hiking, climbing, and winter sports. It’s located in the Denali National Park, where you can spot 40 mammal species, including moose and grizzly bears.
|Denali Mountain is the tallest mountain in North America.
Be sure to visit other parks in the state, such as the Kenai Fjords National Park. Chill out at one of the hundreds of quiet bays and coves, where you could spot dolphins, otters, and seals.
|Kenai Fjords National Park is home to hundreds of quiet bays and coves.
Alternatively, head to Katmai National Park for one of the country’s largest population of brown bears. Watch them catching salmon in Brook Falls before fishing, hiking, rafting, and kayaking elsewhere in the park.
Wrap up and head out to one of Alaska’s incredible glaciers. Many of these are located in Glacier Bay National Park, where you can also hike to 4,800-meter-high peaks. While in the park, be sure to check out beautiful rainforests, coastlines, and deep fjords. Wildlife enthusiasts can also spot orcas, sea lions, and seals swimming around the icebergs calved into the water by the glaciers.
|Glacier Bay National Park features many incredible glaciers.
Additional glaciers in the state include the Hubbard Glacier, which is consistently active, with two surges in the last 30 years. Matanuska Glacier, meanwhile, is the largest in the US that’s accessible by car, measuring over 40 kilometers in length.
With such high peaks and chilly weather conditions, it’s no surprise that Alaska is a fantastic winter sports destination. Check out the world-renowned Alyeska Resort for the longest continuous double black diamond ski run in North America. It’s also a great spot for night skiing, as the main runs are well-lit until 9:00pm.
|Alaska is a fantastic winter sports destination.
For an alternative experience, head to the town of Valdez for snowboarding and heli-skiing. While there are lots of challenging steep slopes, you’ll find plenty of gentle runs, too.
|You can go snowboarding and heli-skiing in Valdez.
Beginners should also check out Eaglecrest, which has a fantastic spa and luxurious lodges if you’re sore after your first time on the slopes.
Alaska is probably the last destination you’d think of for a beach vacation, yet it has the longest coastline of any of the US states, measuring nearly 9,000 kilometers. One of the most scenic beaches is the Black Sand Beach in the Glacier Bay National Park. While the black sand isn’t great for sunbathing, it’s the perfect spot for gorgeous walks with snowy mountain backdrops.
|Alaska has the longest coastline of any of the US states.
Schooner Beach is famous for the historic Satsuma Maru wreckage and is a great surfing destination, if you can brave the Alaskan waters. If you’re looking for a bit more of a buzz, head to Homer Spit, one of the state’s most popular beaches. Here, you’ll find lots of waterfront shops and restaurants, and peaceful boats bobbing on the crystal-clear water.
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Alaska is an AMAZING place. From the scenery, the hikes, the camping, to the food, people, and long road trips. If you are into the outdoors at all this is a MUST visit destination.