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Things to do in Alaska

Things to do in  Alaska

Welcome to Alaska

Known as America's Last Frontier, Alaska magnetizes travelers with untamed wilderness and the promise of solitude. A region of extremes, Alaska swings between warm summers and demanding winters (when the Yukon River freezes solid); from bustling port cities to outdoor expanses. Fairbanks serves as a gateway to Chena Hot Springs and the Arctic Circle's Northern Lights, while cruises past abundant marine wildlife in Kenai Fjords National Park are best accessed from Seward. Dogsled and pan for gold on the Skagway section of the Yukon River; go white-water rafting on rapids that flow from the Mendenhall Glacier; soar over Denali National Park on a flightseeing tour; or feast on salmon and enjoy easy access to Mt. Roberts from Juneau's historic downtown. If you're looking to cover the highlights of the vast state, take the scenic Alaska Railroad route to popular visitor stops such as Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Whittier, or delve into Gold Rush-era history on a journey to White Pass Summit. At Ketchikan's zipline adventure park, kids and adults alike will love flying over the Alaskan rain forest and observing black bears. With opportunity for adventure at every turn, you're sure to submit to the call of the wild during your time in Alaska.

Top 15 attractions in Alaska

#1
Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park

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Encompassing 1,047 square miles (2,711 square kilometers), Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park is named after its numerous glacial-carved fjords—beautiful ice valleys that sit below sea level. The fjords run down the mountains into the iconic Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States with 40 tidewater glaciers flowing into it. The stunning landscape is also a wildlife-watcher’s dream, thanks to its abundant marine animals, birds, and other native wildlife.More
#2
Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

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The tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve in south-central Alaska, an enormous area covering 6 million acres (2.5 million hectares). Founded in 1917, the park protects the native animals who roam free in its remote alpine tundra wilderness.More
#3
Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

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No visit to Juneau is complete without a close-up look at the Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska’s most popular attractions. The 13-mile-long (19-kilometer-long) glacier ends at Mendenhall Lake and is easily viewed from the historic Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The glacier is beautiful on sunny days but arguably even more impressive on cloudy, drizzly afternoons when the ice takes on a deeper shade of blue.More
#4
Tongass National Forest

Tongass National Forest

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Encompassing some 17 million acres (70,000 square kilometers of Southeast Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the US and the world’s largest temperate rain forest. Named after the Tongass clan of the Tlingit Indians, the park is home to the Alaskan capital (Juneau as well as the Mendenhall Glacier.More
#5
Mt. Roberts Tramway

Mt. Roberts Tramway

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Rising 1,800 feet (550 meters) above sea level from the Juneau waterfront up Mt. Roberts, the Mt. Roberts Tramway is a favorite for those visiting the Alaska state capital. The ride itself provides views of Chilkat Range, Gastineau Channel, downtown Juneau, and Douglas Island, while the summit area features outdoorsy and cultural things to do.More
#6
Resurrection Bay

Resurrection Bay

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Resurrection Bay on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula—dotted with glistening glaciers, majestic fjords, and secluded coves set against a backdrop of snowy mountains and dramatic fog—is a haven for those who enjoy striking landscapes. Not only is this pristine wilderness beautiful, it’s also filled with opportunities for outdoors recreation.More
#7
Chena Hot Springs Resort

Chena Hot Springs Resort

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An hour’s drive from Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs Resort is renowned for its natural hot-springs lake, year-round ice museum, and Northern Lights viewing opportunities. Discovered over a hundred years ago by gold miners who saw steam rising from the Chena River Valley, the curative waters have been soothing weary travelers ever since.More
#8
Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

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The Trans-Alaska Pipeline traverses 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) through the Alaska wilderness from the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay to Valdez where it is shipped to refineries. Built between 1974 and 1977 and requiring over 28,000 people to build, the pipeline is considered one of the world’s most amazing engineering marvels and the viewpoint outside of Fairbanks is one of the best places to view it.More
#9
Portage Glacier

Portage Glacier

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Situated in Chugach National Forest about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Anchorage, Portage Glacier ranks as one of Alaska’s most visited attractions. Icebergs from the glacier bob in the waters of Portage Lake, while at the visitor center, travelers can see live ice worms, explore a simulated ice cave, and touch an iceberg.More
#10
Misty Fjords National Monument

Misty Fjords National Monument

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Just 22 miles (35 kilometers) outside of Ketchikan lies the vast and remote Misty Fjords National Monument—a collection of sea cliffs, deep-cut fjords, glacial valleys, thick rainforests, and roaring waterfalls. Accessible only by boat or floatplane, Misty Fjords is an outdoor playground for hikers, kayakers, and day cruisers.More
#11
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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Alaska is known for its wildlife, and at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center you can see an array of Alaskan species—bears, bison, moose, elk, musk oxen, and lynx among them—all in one place. Learn about each animal species from knowledgeable staff at this center that works to rehabilitate animals and reintroduce them to life in the wild.More
#12
Fortress of the Bear

Fortress of the Bear

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Black and brown bears are the main attraction at this wildlife rescue site. Here, animals that are unable to return to the wild have free access to playgrounds and open space to roam. It’s one of the best places in Alaska to safely see a black bear or grizzly from a short distance away.More
#13
Alaska Raptor Center

Alaska Raptor Center

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What started out as an effort to save one injured bald eagle in a Sitka local’s backyard, the Alaska Raptor Center is now Alaska’s largest bird center and rehabilitates between 100-200 eagles, falcons, owls, and other birds of prey each year. Visitors are drawn to the center to see raptors up close, hear their stories, and watch them re-learn how to fly.More
#14
Dalton Highway

Dalton Highway

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The Dalton Highway runs for 414 miles to Alaska’s northernmost mountains in the Brooks Range and nearly all the way out to the Arctic Ocean. Running through valleys surrounded by jagged peaks, the highway connects Interior Alaska to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and is technically part of the northernmost highway in the U.S. Also one of the most remote, the Dalton Highway parallels the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Visitors who take the drive themselves will need to note that much of the road is still mostly gravel. Unless you’ve appeared on Ice Road Truckers, you might want to skip the ride in winter.Public access ends at the small town of Deadhorse, just before the Arctic Ocean, and if you want to reach those last 8 miles of private road out to the coast, it’s possible to join private tours from Deadhorse. At the Coldfoot truck stop, 250 miles north of Fairbanks, the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center gives details on road and backcountry conditions along the Dalton Highway, as well as information on recent wildlife spottings of the likes of grizzlies, black bears, and dall sheep. There’s also a picnic area and sign showing where the road crosses the Arctic Circle.More
#15
Gold Rush Cemetery

Gold Rush Cemetery

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The Gold Rush Cemetery is a fascinating place, allowing a glimpse into the past of the area’s people. The dates listed on the stones date back to 1897, and one of the most famous is that of Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, a notorious con artist and Old West gangster, known for opening businesses where he quietly robbed his customers and for manipulating political campaigns. Visitors will also find the graves of many individuals involved in the Gold Rush, while an informative entrance display provides even more insight into the cemetery and its inhabitants.If you enjoy hiking, continue past Gold Rush Cemetery to Lower Reid Falls, a popular trekking route that’s about two miles (3.2 km) each way. The actual falls are gorgeous, a gushing narrow cascade gliding over rock and mountainside. To better understand the trails—especially if you want to explore more of the area—head to the Skagway Visitor Information Center before visiting the cemetery and pick up a trail map.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 1 Day in Juneau

How to Spend 1 Day in Juneau

How to Spend 3 Days in Juneau

How to Spend 3 Days in Juneau

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

How to Spend 1 Day in Anchorage

Top activities in Alaska

Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
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Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
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Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching

Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching

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Alaska Helicopter Tour with Glacier Landing - 60 mins - ANCHORAGE AREA
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Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
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Incredible Aurora Viewing Adventure

Incredible Aurora Viewing Adventure

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Grand Knik Helicopter Tour - 2 hours 3 landings - ANCHORAGE AREA
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Mendenhall Glacier Lake Canoe Tour
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Mendenhall Glacier Lake Canoe Tour

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Ketchikan All In One

Ketchikan All In One

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Juneau City Sightseeing and Mendenhall Glacier Tour
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Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

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US$325.00
Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Alaska

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Must do Trip
Draun_R, Sep 2022
Half-Day Yukon Sightseeing Shore Excursion from Skagway
Carcross Desert, Emerald Lake, Mountain goats, welcome to Alaska sign and Yukon sign, different waterfalls and amazing breathtaking views.
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Great local history and a fun food and beer experience !
Mary_M, Sep 2022
Anchorage Food Tour: Featuring Sourdough Dan & tastes from the last frontier!
Got to Anchorage a day early and Sourdough Dans’s food tour is listed in the top 20 things to do in Alaska .
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Custom made and personalized
dovidorenstein, Sep 2022
Ride & Roam: Scenic Drive & Nature Walk Offered Year-Round
The tour also ventures to distant attractions far beyond downtown Anchorage .
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Holly was a terrific...
hflechner, Sep 2022
Afternoon Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience from Anchorage
She was caring and professional, and she took us to see beautiful Alaska.
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Great your guide great experience
ApaAquino, Aug 2022
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks
Soaking in the Hotspring, under the stars in Alaska was an experience worth doing!
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Best Photography Class in Years
Verity_T, Aug 2022
Sunset Photo Safari
We were able to see some amazing views and a Beluga whale.
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Not rushed and plenty of...
anne_S, Aug 2022
Totems, City & Wildlife by Cable Car Trolley
Not rushed and plenty of time to see sights and very informative facts about Alaska.
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Fantastic
Uwe_B, Aug 2022
Portage Glacier Cruise and Wildlife Explorer Tour
Really had a chance to see the frontier part of Alaska- the parts that everyone talks about Would recommend this to anyone
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Great tour!
Jane_S, Aug 2022
Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience, add upgrade to Portage Glacier Cruise
Beautiful drive down the coast, boat trip to see a glacier and lots of wildlife at the center!
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Great day, great trip!
George_B, Aug 2022
Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier
While whale watching on the boat we got to see numerous whales.
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Excellent Tour
Jerome_R, Jul 2022
Wilderness, Wildlife, Glacier Experience, add upgrade to Portage Glacier Cruise
Great tour to see wildlife and glaciers in Alaska.
star-5
An unforgettable experience.
Jodie_W, Jul 2022
City and Mountain Summit Shore Excursion in Skagway
The waterfalls were beautiful, the mountains majestic, and I really enjoyed seeing the wood carved Welcome to Alaska sign.
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Fun tour!
Kriss_D, Jul 2022
Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour from Ketchikan
We booked directly from company and saved $110 from cruise ship price and it was very good highly recommend one of the more fun things we did in Alaska!
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Experienced knowledge guide
Laura_H, Jul 2022
Amazing Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Shore Excursion
Our wonderful guide knew just where to take us to see humpback whales.
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Historic Ketchikan
Tony_S, Jul 2022
Ketchikan All In One
Totem poles are a must to see , people very friendly and accommodating
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Amazing tour
Diane_H, Jul 2022
Portage Glacier Cruise and Wildlife Explorer Tour
The weather changed our plans from glacier cruise to visiting Alyeska and taking the tram.
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Amazing Tour!!
FT18, Jul 2022
Turnagain Arm Sightseeing Experience and Wildlife Tour
It was nice to see all the rescued animals were well taken care of.
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Great introduction to Alaska - made us want to see more.
Julie_D, Jun 2022
Valley of Glaciers Experience with Portage Glacier Cruise and Wildlife Tour
We saw some wonderful scenery and got to see some of the native wildlife too.
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Alaskan Tales (Glacier & Whale Watching)
SKELAM73, Jun 2022
Juneau Wildlife Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier
We got to see a baby whale breach the water.
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Great tour!
Donna_B, Jun 2022
Ocean Raft Alaska
This was an amazing way to see wildlife and also have a high speed adventure!
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All about Alaska

When to visit

Late May to early September is a safe bet throughout all of Alaska: restaurants, parks, tours, and services will be open or operating, and the weather will be largely temperate and enjoyable. Outside of those months, you may run into more “closed for the season” signs, but you’ll also nab discounts, run into fewer crowds, witness wildlife coming into or out of their slumber, and, with a bit of luck, you’ll catch the northern lights.

Getting around

Southeastern Alaska is the only portion of the state that has an extensive road network. Still, considering the size of the state—larger than Texas, Montana, and California combined—having access to your own wheels is helpful if you want to bounce from one spot to the next or drive the Dalton Highway. Otherwise, many visitors utilize the Alaska Railroad to get to spots like Denali National Park, and seaplanes, bush planes, or ferries will be necessary to go anywhere further off-grid.

Traveler tips

Keep your itinerary open and simple—you’ll be surprised how often you want to stop when you’re on the road. There are incredible roadside hikes (Lion’s Head on the Glenn Highway in the Mat-Su Valley), scenic viewpoints (Wrangell-St. Elias from the Richardson Highway), and you might even have to stop for muskox, reindeer, bears, and wood bison (especially on Seward Highway). Pick up a copy of The Milepost paper travel guide for mile-by-mile highlights of wherever you’re exploring.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
AKDT (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Frequently Asked Questions