Alaska is an extraordinary destination; however, many people forget about this state that is slightly difficult to reach. While it does take a little bit of preplanning to travel to Alaska, once you are there, you are guaranteed to have experiences of a lifetime!
Here are 11 things to do in Alaska:
1. Visit Denali National Park
When you arrive at Denali National Park, you must stop into the Visitor’s Center before you do anything else. It is there that you will learn everything that you need to know before exploring this majestic sight.
After the Visitor’s Center, you can easily venture into the vast six million acres to capture a glimpse of the wildlife that lives there. If you are the adventurous type, then a hike to the top of Mount Denali is a must, if for nothing else but to say that you conquered the tallest mountain within North America.
Denali National Park & Preserve | +1 (907) 683-9532
2. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center
This heritage center can be found in Anchorage, and it is the best place for you to learn about the cultures of this beautiful area. You can wander through the exhibits before watching demonstrations and seeing people singing and dancing.
The best thing to do here though is to listen to the stories that are told within the Gathering Place. Although, after listening to the stories, you should venture outside to see the exhibits, which include six Alaskan Native dwellings.
Alaska Native Heritage Center | +1 (907) 330-8000 | +1 (800) 316-6608
3. Visit the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
If you are a fan of the Gold Rush, then this park is where you must be when visiting Alaska. There are numerous artifacts from the Gold Rush period on display and you can take one of the three tours that are offered. The best tour is the one that focuses on Soapy Smith, who was a conman that was killed in 1898.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park | +1 (907) 983-9200
4. Take a Ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
This railway was constructed back in 1900 for the Gold Rush and while it shut down for a time in 1982, the year 1988 brought it back to service. For now, you can ride the rails just as those seeking gold did, while seeing views that include waterfalls, rivers, gorges, and lush forests that haven’t seemed to change, yet have changed quite a lot in the last few decades.
White Pass and Yukon Route Railway | +1 (800) 343-7373
5. Go on a Whale Watch
Whale watches are popular up in Alaska because there are so many whales to see out in the water. In fact, if you are near the water, there is practically a guarantee that you will spot a whale out in the distance.
A whale-watching boat makes the sightings even better because you are up much closer to these massive sea creatures. Once the captain sees a whale, they normally turn off the motor of the boat, since the whales will then approach the boat to investigate.
6. Visit Jewell Gardens
You may not think that gardens can grow up in Alaska, but they can thrive within that climate if they are cared for properly. The Jewell Gardens can be found near the rock wall at the Garden City Glassworks building, so you basically get two attractions during your visit. Make sure you keep your eyes open, so you don’t miss all the glass art that has been installed amongst all the flowers in the garden.
Jewell Gardens | +1 (907) 983-2111
7. Visit Totem Bight State Historical Park
Totem poles share incredible stories, so you will want to take the time to see what each one of the fifteen inside this park are saying. There is also a model of an indigenous village here and past visitors have been amazed at both the size and décor of the clan house within the village.
8. Experience Wildlife at the Kroschel Films Wildlife Center
Steve Kroschel is a nature lover and filmmaker, and he combined his love of the two when he created this wildlife center. This area should not be mistaken for a zoo, because all the animals that live there wander around in their natural environment. As you take a stroll along the well-kept trail, you will have the opportunity to see fifteen different types of animals. These animals include moose, owls, grizzly bears, fox, reindeer, and wolves.
Kroschel Wildlife Center (DBA Kroschel Films) | +1 (907)-767-5464
9. Visit Nugget Falls
If you spend any time in Juneau, you must venture out to Nugget Falls. This waterfall is near the glacier and you must walk for approximately two miles to reach it. However, that walk is gorgeous, so you probably won’t realize that you have been walking that long, or far, when you get there.
10. Visit the Tracy Arm Fjord
This fjord is one of the most popular ones in the state and it is a must-see for most visitors. The best way to experience this fjord is by taking a small boat out towards it, as the smaller boats can get a lot closer than the bigger ones do. As you are out on the water, you will pass by waterfalls and you might even have a chance to see some wild animals off in the distance.
11. Check Out the Aurora Ice Museum
If you happen to be in Fairbanks, then a stop at the Aurora Ice Museum must be on your list of things to do while in Alaska. This museum can be found inside the Chena Hot Springs Resort and it is open all year long. The entire space was created using more than one thousand tons of ice and snow and it is kept at a cool twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t worry, they give you a parka, so you do not freeze while you are exploring! Inside, you will see different sculptures, three bedrooms, an observation tower, and an ice outhouse. Make sure you look up at the chandeliers because they change colors to mimic the Northern Lights.
There is so much to do during a visit to Alaska, but these eleven things will get you started! Once you are there, you will find that there is more beauty than you could ever imagine, and that it is impossible to experience it all in just one visit.
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