Want to find the best places to visit in Alaska? The grand state, also known as “The Last Frontier” is an epic destination for travelers wanting to experience some of the remote wilderness in the world.
Few places on earth can be compared with the Alaskan wonders. Boasting more than 40 active volcanoes, mighty mountain peaks, majestic forests, shimmering lakes, massive glaciers, northern lights, and a lot more, Alaska is surely something that every nature lover should add to their bucket list.
The state’s heartland is home to North America’s tallest peak – Denali, with its summit at 6194 meters. Moreover, Alaska is also where you can find some of the coldest places on Earth.
Despite being the largest state in the U.S, Alaska is one of the least populated states. Almost half of its residents live within the area of Anchorage. Alaska’s Arctic region is home to the Inupiat Eskimos, many who still preserve a subsistence lifestyle and reflect the unique history of this land.
Denali National Park
With the size even larger than some of the American states, Denali National Park covers 6,045,153 acres of vast wilderness and is Alaska’s most renowned national park.
The park’s area is almost untouched by humans and includes boreal forests and tundras, countless spectacular mountains, large glaciers, wild rivers, legendary and a complete sub-arctic eco-system.
The wildlife is very diverse with animals such as grizzly bears, Dall sheep, moose, wolves, and many other species. The park’s skyline is dominated by the Denali mountain which ascends 6194 meters and is the highest peak in North America.
Located in Alaska’s Southeastern region, Juneau is the capital city of the state and also the second-largest city in the country by size. It’s nestled beautifully at the foot of Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts and is full of beautiful natural sites nearby.
The city can’t be reached by car and it’s actually the only state capital in the U.S that can’t be reached by road. It also serves as one of the most essential ferry ports of Alaska.
Memorable attractions here include whale watching, visits to abandoned mines that turned into museums, the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Alaska, which was built at the end of the 19th century.
And of course, the glacier-draped fjords like Glacier Bay National Park and Tracy Arm, and the impressive ice-filled world of the Mendenhall Glacier that surrounds the capital city.
Mendenhall Glacier is protected by Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area and is the most popular attraction near Juneau. It’s only 12 miles away from the city and represents an iceberg filled lake which provides impressive views of the glacier and floating icebergs in the water.
The glacier is half-mile wide with the ice nearly 1800 feet deep on top of which you can also walk to explore the unique geology of its crevasses. A canoe ride through icebergs and waterfalls is another option of experiencing expansive views of the Mendenhall Glacier.
Glacier Bay National Park
Another wonder of Alaska located near Juneau is the Glacier Bay. It’s a national park that is home to 175 beautiful mountains, rainforests, and waters full of glaciers that create the icy sea.
Glacier Bay became a world heritage site because of being an important living laboratory and a biosphere reserve. The marine habitat of the park is home to humpback whales and a variety of other wildlife.
One of the highlights of Glacier Bay is the 3,190-meters high Mount Cleveland, which is also the highest point of the park.
Former Russian Novo-Arkhangelsk city that later became Sitka, was Alaska’s first capital city after the US purchased Alaska from Russia. The city only has about 9000 residents but is still the largest city in the U.S by area. Sitka is especially famous for its beautiful remnants of Russian heritage, as well as magnificent natural sceneries.
Sitka is located at the foot of Mount Edgecumbe and lies at the heart of Tongass National Forest – the largest temperate rainforest in the world. Cultures have thrived in this unified city-borough historically, forming a unique blend of native Tlingit and Russian histories.
Katmai National Park
Most of the time when people think of Katmai, they envision brown bears. However, hosting an amazing density of bears is far not the only feature of the park.
With over four million acres of the wilderness area, Katmai National Park was established to protect the volcanically devastated site of the world’s largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, and also it protects the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Today Katmai became an outdoor laboratory for exploring the effects of volcanism, climate change, and many other major landscape processes.
Wrangell St. Elias National Park
Here is where most of Alaska’s and the country’s superlatives are concentrated – the largest national park in the country with some of its major mountain ranges and 9 of the highest peaks, including Mount St. Elias and Mt. Wrangell, which is one of the largest active volcanoes in the continent.
Also, the park is home to the longest and the largest glaciers in North America. Yes, scales loom large here at Wrangell St. Elias. These 13 million acres of vast wilderness impresses visitors with its mighty peaks, glaciers after glaciers, rivers, and many other natural wonders encompassed in an environment of perfect solitude.
One of the northernmost cities on earth – Anchorage is the urban and cultural center, the most populous city of Alaska, and the tourism and transportation hub of the region.
Amongst plenty of metropolitan attractions and vibrant city activities, Anchorage also offers many outdoor experiences, including icy blue glaciers, impressive mountain vistas, unique wildlife, sapphire-blue lakes, and lush valleys.
Indulging in activities such as hiking, skiing, or even taking a dog sled across major glaciers are great ways to discover Anchorage and get the vibe of the authentic Alaskan ways.
Visiting Homer town is a great way to discover a charming and much cozier side of Alaska. Located nearly 200 miles southwest from Anchorage, Homer sometimes is also called “end of the road” by Alaskans.
The reason for this is the simple reason that Homer is the southernmost town on the Alaskan highway system. Some of the must-do things here, include a trip to Kachemak Bay State Park and visiting the pebbly beaches of Homer Spit, where local fishermen, farmers, and crafters foster a unique eclectic vibe of the charming Homer town.
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve
Despite being one of the country’s most inaccessible national parks, Lake Clark is still a must-visit destination in Alaska because of its stunning beauty and unique geologic diversity.
Mighty mountains, volcanoes steam, dozens of glaciers, impressive waterfalls, plenty of salmon, bears, and other diverse Alaska wildlife populations await visitors of the Lake Clark National Park.
Two of the park’s volcanoes, Iliamna and Redoubt are active and rise beautifully for more than 3000 meters.
For those who dream to go back a hundred years and appear in the times of Gold Rush, visiting the tiny Skagway town in Alaska is a great decision. The town still looks the same as it did during the Klondike Gold Rush.
With only about 1000 permanent residents, the historic town of Skagway hosts nearly 1 million tourists every year. It’s without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Alaska if you want to learn more about Alaskan history.
The most popular activity of the town is an excursion of The White Pass Railroad Summit, where you ride on the train and watch for Bridal Veil Falls, Dead Horse Gulch, and the original Klondike Trail of 1898.
Gates Of The Arctic National Park
Larger than some of the European countries, Gates of the Arctic is America’s second-largest National Park. This 8,472,506 acres of Alaskan wilderness welcomes mostly experienced tundra travelers.
There are no roads and trails in the entire park and sometimes it poses challenges because of the extreme cold. These are some of the reasons why only about 10,000 tourists visit the park yearly.
Despite all the challenges, the park’s photogenic and majestic landscapes, granite peaks, wild rivers, tundra valleys, aurora-lit night skies of winter, and many other natural wonders indeed make it one of the best places to visit in Alaska.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Ice, snow, massive fjords, and glaciers are crowning features of Kenai Fjords National Park. Despite being Alaska’s smallest national park, Kenai Fjords’ glacial wonderland and aquatic adventures make it one of the best places to visit in Alaska.
Here you have an opportunity to admire nearly 40 glaciers flowing from the Harding Icefield and glide past incredible wildlife of icy waters such as seals, sea otters, sea lions, be impressed by the sight of whales frolicking at sea.
Girdwood is continuously being listed as one of the top mountain towns in the country and holds the reputation of Alaska’s best resort town. It lies in the Chugach Mountains and is surrounded by glaciers, for which it was originally named Glacier City.
Here you can tour a glacier, ski in the winter, and hike in the summer in the settings of gorgeous surroundings. A must-do experience is a tram ride to the top of Mount Alyeska through Girdwood’s impressive landscapes.
Known as the salmon capital of the world, Ketchikan city is where you can experience the rich native Alaskan culture. On top of classic Alaskan activities and its historic downtown, Ketchikan also offers idyllic scenery, stunning forests, waterfalls, lakes, and incredible coastlines.
Must-visit attractions of the city include Misty Fjords National Monument, Tongass National Forest, Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, Totem Bight State Historical Park, and Creek Street, which used to be a red-light district and now turned into arts, crafts, and museum area.
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