Best places to visit in ALASKA
Are you planning a trip to Alaska and wondering what are the best places to visit in Alaska?
Alaska is one of America’s remotest states, and it’s the remoteness of it that makes Alaska such a unique destination.
Alaska boasts the largest wilderness area in the United States. Enjoy world-class national parks, some of the world’s most breathtaking natural landscapes, glaciers, majestic mountains, wildlife encounters and so much more!
But how to plan a trip to Alaska?
To start off, check out this list of some of the best places to visit in Alaska.
6 best places to visit in Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve
Wildlife in Alaska is spectacular, and one of the best places to witness it is Denali National Park and Preserve
The national park is home to a mountain of the same name, Denali. With an elevation of 6,190 m above sea level, Denali (also known as Mount McKinley), is the highest mountain peak in North America. Denali also is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth.
The landscape is varied at Denali National Park — there is a forest and taiga at the lowest elevations, tundra at middle elevations, and glaciers at the highest elevations.
Highlights of Denali National Park:
- Kahiltna Glacier — the longest glacier in Denali National Park.
- Denali — highest peak in North America.
- Polychrome Mountain — a prominent mountain with distinctive relief and brilliant colors.
- Ruth Glacier — one of the most spectacular places in Alaska
- Wonder Lake — a beautiful lake with Denali in the background.
- Hiking in Denali National Park — Mount Healy Overlook trail, Horseshoe Lake Trail, Triple Lakes Trail, and several more spectacular trails.
- Wildlife spotting — Reindeer, dall sheep, lynx, grizzly bears, moose, wolves, golden eagles, and many more animals call this national park home. Bring a zoom lens, as most of the animals are far away.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is a beautiful national park on the Kenai Peninsula, and one of the best places to visit in Alaska.
This picturesque national park is home to the Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States. Some 40 glaciers move down the mountains from this huge ice field.
Kenai Fjords National Park is named for the numerous fjords carved by the movement of ice from these glaciers.
Bear Glacier is the largest glacier within the Kenai Fjords National Park, but Exit Glacier is one of the most accessible ones in all of Alaska.
Not only the national park is popular for its glaciers and fjords, but it is also known for its abundant wildlife. The following animals can be found at the national park: moose, black and brown bear, beaver, coyote, river otter, lynx, marmot, porcupine, and others.
Anchorage is Alaska’s most populous city and home to around 40% of the state’s population.
There are several fun things to do in the city, but mostly Anchorage is known as a gateway to the nearby parks and mountains.
Alyeska Ski Resort, Churchgate State Park, and Portage Glacier are among the best places to see in the Anchorage area.
The most popular tourist attraction in the area, however, is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which is located some 50 miles from Anchorage. It is a sanctuary dedicated to conservation, research, and animal care. The sanctuary is also home to orphaned or injured wildlife, as well as a temporary home for animals born in captivity.
Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park is a large area of wilderness on the Alaska Peninsula. With an area of 16,564 km2, the national park is the size of a small European country (a bit larger than Montenegro).
The national park is named after the stratovolcano Mount Katmai which boasts a summit crater lake. Katmai National Park is known for the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and for its brown bears.
Exploring the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is one of the best things to do in Alaska. The valley is noted for its spectacular, out-of-this-world landscapes. Thanks to the landscapes and geological formations, Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, was used by NASA and the USGS to geologically train the Apollo astronauts.
One of the highlights of the national park is seeing brown bears fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls.
Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. It is unique among other U.S. state capitals in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of the state.
What to see in Juneau?
Take the Mount Roberts Aerial Tram to Mount Roberts (1,164 m) and enjoy beautiful views of the city below. If you love hiking, you can get to the top via Mount Roberts Trail.
Ziplining on Douglas Island (just west of downtown Juneau) is a must, too. Featuring several lines and platforms, as well as a suspension bridge, it’s a great way to explore the rainforest canopy.
Do not miss Mendenhall Glacier, a 21-km long glacier not too far from Juneau. Mendenhall Glacier and the frozen Mendenhall Lake are among the best places to visit in Alaska.
Explore Tracy Arm Fjord. It is a narrow inlet not far from Juneau featuring glaciers and floating ice. Local tour companies offer boat tours of this scenic inlet.
Juneau also is a gateway town to whale watching spots in Southeast Alaska.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is the largest U.S. national park. It is so big, it equals six Yellowstones!
The park includes several tall mountains and volcanoes of North America, including the 5,489 m Mount Saint Elias.
Wrangell-St. Elias is home to Malaspina Glacier, the largest piedmont glacier in North America, and Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska. There’s also Nabesna Glacier— the longest valley glacier in North America.
Being such a fascinating place, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is one of the best places to visit in Alaska.
Alaska travel tips
- Alaska is a state in the United States. So the same visa rules apply as with the rest of the United States.
- Citizens of many European countries don’t need a visa to travel to the U.S. but need to get an electronic authorization (ESTA).
- There is only one official ESTA website and that is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. The official fee is $14.00. All other sites offering this service are third-party, and they charge extra.
- It takes longer to get anywhere in Alaska. Alaska is really big, and there aren’t many roads to choose from. Fly to save time.
- As it’s far away from everywhere else, traveling to Alaska can be expensive. So plan and budget carefully.
- Travel to Alaska in the shoulder season in order to save some money and avoid crowds.
- Summer is the most popular season for traveling in Alaska. Winter is the second most popular.
- Weather is unpredictable in Alaska. Packing rain gear, water-resistant footwear, and warm clothes is a must.
- The Winter season is so popular because of the amazing winter activities (dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing) Alaska has to offer, plus opportunities to see Aurora Borealis.
- Renting a car is the most efficient way to get around in Alaska.