Alaska may not always come to mind when you think vacation, but there are good reasons why you consider traveling to the 49th state.
Indeed, Alaska has rightly earned its nickname as the Last Frontier, as the area is packed with staggering mountains and glaciers that are sure to take your breath away. Add to that big game wildlife, lively cities, unique culture and a thousand things in between and you’ve got yourself a vacation destination that’s unparalleled to just about anywhere.
Still, need a little more inspiration? Here are a handful of reasons why you should visit Alaska?
1. Tour Glaciers
We weren’t kidding about the staggering size and number of glaciers, as Alaska is home to roughly 100,000 of these slow-moving masses of ice, many of which are easily accessible. When you visit the largest state in the U.S., you can tour these behemoths of ice and even go inside. Byron Glacier, Exit Glacier, and Spencer Glacier are among the most popular, and Spencer Glacier also features ice caves that you can tour.
2. Spot Unique Wildlife
Visiting Alaska also gives you the opportunity to spot unique wildlife. You can see bears fishing, moose exploring and eagles soaring. There are also caribou in the mountains and whales in the sea. You can see some of these by touring the famous Denali National Park or by taking one of many Alaska cruise vacations — or do both! The experience of seeing unique wildlife in their natural habitats is otherworldly and completely unforgettable.
3. Experience Perpetual Sun or Night
Another unique experience you will find in Alaska is the phenomenon of the midnight sun (or noontime stars). During certain times of the year, the sun doesn’t set, or at least not in any way you’d expect, while other times, the sun never rises. Enjoying endless daylight or nights without end can be magical and well worth the trip north.
4. Know That Alaska is Adventure Central
Alaska is so big that most of the state doesn’t even have roads. Some areas of interest include the Alaska Range, a relatively narrow mountain range in the south-central region of the state. Checking out a variety of state parks like Denali National Park and Preserve should also be at the top of your list.
While in and around these areas, you can hike or kayak between the glaciers or surf in the ocean, enjoy some fishing, or just disappear to where there are no crowds or signs of civilization. Travel in the colder months and you can enjoy backcountry skiing or spend time snowboarding at a ski resort.
Alaska is even good for leaf-peeping, or the viewing and photographing of the fall foliage in areas where leaves change colors in autumn. While most people visit Alaska during the summer months, the trees start showing their fall colors starting in mid-September.
5. Gaze at the Northern Lights
If you’re looking for a memorable adventure, Alaska doesn’t disappoint. In addition to the wildlife and the state’s natural beauty, Alaska is also one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. For the best viewing opportunities, plan on spending at least three nights in Alaska, preferably near Barrow, the most northern town in the state. The colors tend to be brightest from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., but the sun sets at roughly 7 p.m. in October and doesn’t rise at all in winter, so you could have more opportunities outside that window if you go outside of summer.
Put Alaska on your Bucket List
There are many reasons to love Alaska that you can’t find anywhere else: the glaciers and the quiet, the Northern Lights and the whale sightings, the moose and the outdoor adventures. Book your trip The Last Frontier today and see what you’ve been missing.