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The 5 Best Alaskan Vacation Ideas

The word “Alaska” is sure to leave you imagining diverse wildlife, swaths of untamed wilderness, and aurora borealis: the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. Indeed, if that’s what you’re looking for, then a vacation destination in Alaska is just the place to be. Of course, this state has even more than that to offer, such as fishing, luxury, and rich culture. Here are the best vacation ideas in Alaska.

When you are deciding where to go in Alaska, places to visit and activities to do can seem overwhelming. However, categorizing your options can often give you the focus and clarity you need to plan your perfect Alaska vacation. To help you plan, we’ve combined the best Alaska vacation destinations into five themes. We know where to go in Alaska for nature, culture, and everything in between, so let us share our knowledge and aid you in your quest for the perfect Alaska vacation.

trees and in the back mountains covered with snow in alaska

Top 5 Alaska Vacation Ideas

Enjoy an All-Inclusive Alaska Vacation

Enjoying the wilds of Alaska doesn’t require extensive camping or survival knowledge. In fact, you can base yourself in a luxurious wilderness lodge and do as you please every day! 

Instead of picking and choosing between various activities, go on an all-inclusive vacation to one of Alaska’s fishing lodges. Let expert guides, master chefs, and dedicated staff help you curate your experience according to your party’s tastes. Fish on the Inside Passage, go whale watching, or kick back in your wilderness lodge. It’s your call! 

Because the experience is all-inclusive, you’ll rarely (if ever) have to worry about conflicting schedules or additional costs, making this a great option for travelers looking to spend less time planning and more time adventuring.

Related Read: Unique Things to Do in Alaska

Explore Alaska’s National Parks

Part of the reason Alaska remains so wild is that 60% of the state is protected as part of its eight national parks. Arguably the most famous of these is Denali National Park, named after the highest mountain in North America, but they each have something unique to offer. For instance: 

  • Kenai Fjords National Park has the remarkable Exit Glacier.
  • Katmai National Park has the largest number of protected brown bears in the world.
  • Wrangell–St. Elias National Park is the largest of its kind in the United States. 

If you love nature and are looking for Alaska wilderness tours, any of its national parks will leave you in awe.

Related Read: How to Plan a Wilderness Adventure in Alaska

Experience Alaska’s Cities

As beautiful as the wilds of Alaska are, the state’s cities are also packed with enough culture to make the trip worthwhile. If you are wondering where to visit in Alaska, consider Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, which is home to some exquisite museums, such as the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum. The capital, Juneau, is also well-known for its historic district, including several museums of its own. 

Given their locations, both cities make terrific home bases for your journey into the wild, with easy access to cruise ships, wildlife viewing, and even gold panning. Even if you were to stay within the city limits for your entire trip, you’d never have a boring day in either of these vibrant, convenient cities!

Take in Alaska’s Indigenous Culture

Though the United States is only a few centuries old, Alaska has over 10,000 years of indigenous history for you to discover, as well as 229 tribes who are most likely happy to share their culture with you. While the aforementioned museums provide an invaluable glimpse into indigenous life, there are many more museums, collections, and exhibits throughout the state, such as the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan. 

If you want to go all-in and explore Native Alaskan life for yourself, sign up for a cultural tour where you can observe traditional woodcarvers performing their craft or hear stories and songs passed down by generations of performers.

Traverse Alaska’s Railroads

Love trains? See all that Alaska has to offer from a cozy train seat on the Alaska Railroad. This century-old railway spans 470 miles from Seward in the south to Fairbanks in the north, with 11 stops along the way, including Denali and Anchorage. 

Even if you don’t ride from one end to the other, you can still make use of this train to conveniently travel between Alaska vacation destinations. Along the way, you may encounter glaciers, cliffs, forests, or even wildlife! 

With comfortable seats and gorgeous views, it’s an experience that anyone vacationing in Alaska will enjoy.

Alaska train and some trees and mountains

Alaska Destinations

Alaska has so much going for it, far more than what we’ve covered today. From nature to culture, from wilderness to luxury, vacations in Alaska are as diverse as the land itself. Hopefully, though, our list will help you nail down your itinerary so that you can focus on experiencing The Last Frontier to your heart’s content.

What kind of Alaska adventure will you have?

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