The Last Frontier
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN ALASKA
1 Ride the Alaska Railroad: The Alaska Railroad celebrated 90 years of service in 2013 and shows off some of the most spectacular views along the Railbelt, from its southernmost point in Seward to its northernmost point in Fairbanks, carrying more than 400,000 passengers annually. The Alaska Railroad offers a variety of routes and travel packages to suit traveler’s needs.
2 Explore the waterways: Explore Alaska on the Alaska Marine Highway System. The state-owned ferry system operates 11 vessels calling on 31 ports throughout coastal Alaska including the Inside Passage, Southcentral and Southwest regions. Travellers can also experience spectacular marine environments by hopping on a day cruise. The smaller ships allow guests to get an intimate view of wildlife, glaciers and breathtaking landscapes.
3 Hit the slopes: Alaska is a premier skiing destination with renowned ski resorts and trails that cater to every skill level. The Southcentral region, in particular, offers terrain for alpine skiing at Alyeska Resort, Nordic skiing and backcountry skiing, just to name a few. Winter enthusiasts in the Interior can enjoy Moose Mountain Ski Resort outside of Fairbanks, while those visiting Juneau can check out Eagle Crest Ski Resort.
4 Hike in Alaska: Alaska’s national and state parks provide endless opportunities to explore with guided or unguided hikes. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve has more than 13 million acres of backcountry area to explore. Hikers can also explore Glacier Bay National Park’s maintained trails in Bartlett Cove or Denali State Park, the perfect hiking backdrop with picturesque views of Mount McKinley.
5 Watchable wildlife: The untouched wilderness of Alaska offers unmatched opportunities for wildlife viewing, from humpback whales in Alaska’s waters to bears, eagles and moose on land. In addition to guided wildlife tours, Alaska is home to centres that focus on the rehabilitation and understanding of Alaska’s wildlife, including the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage and the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka, to name a few.
6 Dog sledding: Sled dog racing, the official state sport, is an experience not to be missed when visiting the Last Frontier. There are tours throughout the state whether travellers are looking to visit the kennels of well-known mushers to flying out to a glacier for an unforgettable dog sledding trip. For an extended experience, winter backcountry overnight dog sledding tours are also available.
7 Observe the northern lights: Alaska is a one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis, the natural bands of light that dance across the sky. Bettles, Fairbanks and the Mat-Su Valley are three popular places to witness the aurora due to the dark, uninterrupted winter skies. This spectacle is enjoyed through specialised tours, lodges and just by looking up at the night sky.
8 Soak up the culture: Alaska has a unique Native culture that can be experienced through activities ranging from totem carving, traditional music, crafts, festivals and museums and heritage centres. Popular cultural sites include the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, Totem Bight Historical Park in Ketchikan, which touts XX reconstructed totem poles, and Alaska’s oldest museum, the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, to name a few.
9 Taste Alaska’s brews and spirits: Alaska is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and is ranked the fourth highest for breweries per capita with beverage options in almost every region of the state. From local craft brews to spirits that have been honed to perfection in small batch distilleries, travellers can enjoy these local favourites in tasting rooms and dining locations across the state.
10 Experience Alaska’s local flavour: Agricultural attractions have been around in Alaska for years, but recently, visitors have become interested in getting their hands in the dirt as well. From record breaking gigantic produce, you-pick farms, reindeer and bison farms, wineries, breweries, farmer’s markets and events, there are more and more opportunities to experience Alaska grown local flavor.