With its gorgeous shoreline, massive mountains, and sparse population, Alaska really is a playground for anyone who loves the outdoors. Whether it’s fishing or hiking, photography or animal-watching that attracts you to “the last frontier,” you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. With so much to do and see, it’s not filling your itinerary that’s difficult, but deciding what activities you’ll have to leave out. Here are six of the best options to consider for your epic Alaskan adventure.
What To Do When You Travel to Alaska
Go Charter Fishing
Alaska is famous for its fishing, and there’s no reason you can’t get yourself a piece of the action on your trip. Like almost anywhere else in the world, you can increase your odds of fishing success by hiring a charter. With decades of experience and insider knowledge, charter captains know how to get you on fish. Halibut fishing is perhaps the most popular outing, and for a reasonable price you can take a shot at these monster-sized flounder. For the price of the charter you’ll get a day on the water, a chance at some serious excitement, and, if you’re lucky, some delicious filets that’ll provide a hard-earned dinner you won’t ever forget. Fish never tastes as good as when you caught it yourself.
Take a Fjords Tour
The coast of Alaska is unlike anywhere else on Earth,and Kenai Fjords National Park showcases the landscape in all its splendor. Taking a tour gives you an up-close look at glaciers, cliffs, and fjords, all of typically-Alaskan dimensions. If you’re lucky, you’ll also glimpse some of the state’s most impressive marine life, from sea lions to porpoises, orcas to humpback whales. Between the gorgeous waters and the life that calls it home, the Alaskan fjords will simply demand your attention.
Check out the Aurora Ice Museum
When people think of Alaska, they often think of the cold. This is no surprise, since, at such a northern latitude, Alaska really is a fair bit colder than the continental United States. With so much frosty weather, ice has become an ever present part of Alaskan culture. Nowhere is this tradition more keenly felt than the Ice Museum, where the work of top ice-carvers resides in the climate-controlled facilities. For a look at gorgeous sculptures and to get a sense of Alaskan chill, take a stroll through this one-of-a-kind museum.
Visit the Kodak Laboratory Aquarium
Fishing and fjord-touring offer great opportunities to see fish and animals out in the wild, but sometimes the confines of an aquarium provide a more intimate (and guaranteed) look. The Kodiak Aquarium features a massive touch tank where children and adults alike can get up close and personal with some of the area’s most prominent species. Crabs, starfish, and shrimp are among the aquarium’s most popular denizens.
Peruse the Sealaska Heritage Institute
Alaska might be famous for its natural beauty, but it also boasts a unique heritage and culture, derived from centuries of idigenous habitation and subsequent colonial projects. The Sealaska Heritage Institute showcases the brightest lights of Native art and culture, focusing on the Tlingit Tsimshian and Haida cultures. A stop at the institute is a great way to learn more about the hearts and souls of people for whom Alaska isn’t the “last frontier,” but a long-cherished home.
Visit Denali National Park
Mt. Denali is both a cultural lodestone and the highest peak in North America. While even seeing the peak requires patience and a bit of luck, it is still worth the effort. Beyond the mountain itself, the entire park warrants a visit. The visitors center provides information about the mountain and surrounding landscape. It also includes a gift shop and restaurant, allowing you to stock up on souvenirs and fill your stomach before embarking on your adventure into the park’s many trails.