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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

Kenai Fjords National Park

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

Mendenhall Glacier

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

Tongass National Forest

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

Denali National Park and Preserve

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

Mt. Roberts Tramway

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

Chena Hot Springs Resort

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

Fortress of the Bear

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

Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint

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

Dalton Highway

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

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

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

Resurrection Bay

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

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

The 8.5 million acres (3.4 hectares) of land that are protected by Gates of the Arctic National Park lie north of the Arctic Circle. This massive, mountainous swath of land is larger than all of Belgium, yet scarcely more than 10,000 people visit this remote park each year. Caribou, grizzly bear, and moose roam free across hundreds of miles.More

Matanuska Glacier

Originating within the Chugach Mountain Range, the Matanuska Glacier is a 27-mile-long (43-kilometer-long) river of ice and Alaska’s most accessible glacier. A popular day trip from Anchorage, the glacier draws tourists year-round to gaze at the impressive ice formations and trek among glacial crevasses and brilliant blue meltwater pools.More

Alaska Raptor Center

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

Misty Fjords National Monument

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

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

Arctic Circle and Northern Lights Tour from Fairbanks
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Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

Matanuska Glacier Winter Tour

Matanuska Glacier Hike Day Tour
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Matanuska Glacier Hike Day Tour

Incredible Aurora Viewing Adventure

Incredible Aurora Viewing Adventure

Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure from North Pole
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Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
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Aurora Lodge Viewing
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Aurora Lodge Viewing

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Recent reviews from experiences in Alaska

Amazing tour, a must do in Anchorage!
Brandon_B, Nov 2022
Winter - Wildlife & Turnagain Arm Tour
The wildlife conservatory was also great to visit.
Wonderful tour.
Linda_D, Nov 2022
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
This tour was a fantastic way to see beautiful Alaska in Anchorage without driving yourself!
Amazing experience
Mariakamila_A, Oct 2022
Wildlife and Glaciers with a walk in the Rainforest
We also loved being able to see the animals up close.
Beautiful scenery and wildlife everywhere!
Jeanmie_L, Oct 2022
Customizable Private Tour in Ketchikan with Pick Up
Very accommodating and know all the spots to see wildlife.
We particularly enjoyed...
Denise_F, Oct 2022
Alaskan Heritage and Sightseeing Tour in Fairbanks
Our guide Cole was very personable and gave recommendations for other activities.
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 .
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 .
Unbelievable and worth every penny!
Jason_M, Sep 2022
Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise from Seward
The captain and crew were awesome and they tried to make sure you got to see some of Alaska’s most uninhabited areas as up close as possible.
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.
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!
Best Photography Class in Years
Verity_T, Aug 2022
Sunset Photo Safari
We were able to see some amazing views and a Beluga whale.
A great experience!
Samantha_M, Aug 2022
Resurrection Bay Cruise with Fox Island
They worked hard to make sure we got to see wildlife.
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.
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
Great tour!
Jane_S, Aug 2022
Winter-Summer Wilderness Wildlife Glacier Experience. Add Summer Glacier Cruise
Beautiful drive down the coast, boat trip to see a glacier and lots of wildlife at the center!
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.
Excellent Tour
Jerome_R, Jul 2022
Winter-Summer Wilderness Wildlife Glacier Experience. Add Summer Glacier Cruise
Great tour to see wildlife and glaciers in Alaska.
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.
So much fun!
Courtney_M, Jul 2022
Alaskan Back Country Side by Side ATV Adventure with Meal
The views were incredible and it was a fun way to see inland Alaska!
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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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.

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