Alaska is a long way away from the contingent forty-eight U.S. states. You can’t just “hop on over” for a quick Alaskan excursion. In almost all cases, a trip to the nation’s largest state involves a plane ride. Usually, an Alaskan vacation represents a trip of a lifetime, a dream realized, an event long planned for and finally achieved. With this in mind, if you are going to Alaska you will want to make sure you see the very best the state has to offer. So what are the highlights in this gorgeous stretch of American territory? Of the countless things to do in Alaska, which are the ones that you’d be totally foolish not to include on your bucket list? Here are the top six activities that simply must be a part of any trip to Alaska.
A Fishing Trip
Alaska is renowned for its fisheries, with countless species inhabiting the waters of “The Last Frontier.” From salmon to king crabs, Alaskan fish fill seafood markets around the rest of the country. Luckily for outdoors lovers and adventure seekers, there are plenty of fish leftover for recreational anglers. If shore fishing is your thing, then gear yourself up for a day on any of Alaska’s famous rivers. For natural born seafarers, consider hiring a charter boat and targeting halibut, those giant flounders that make for an amazing trophy and an even better meal. Before wetting a line, make sure you purchase an Alaska fishing license and any necessary stamps. Always be mindful of size and bag limits. Poaching is never acceptable, especially when you’re a visitor.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
What makes Alaska so special is its impressive landscapes. Nowhere is this on better display that at the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The glaciers themselves are monumental structures with a beauty unlike anything to be seen in warmer climes. The park itself is truly massive, covering over 3.3 million acres of pristine nature, including mountains, glaciers, forests, and fjords. There is no road access into the park, meaning the best way to get there is via cruise ship, tour boat, or ferry. Once there, you can stay busy for days hiking, camping, fishing, and river rafting.
Anan Creek Bear Observatory
When people think of Alaska, they often imagine an abundance of wildlife, especially bears. If you want to see a bear in the wild, then Anan Creek is the place to go. It often requires some patience, but the reward (seeing a bear in its natural habitat as opposed to the confines of a zoo) is well worth the wait.
Denali National Park and Preserve
The centerpiece of this park is Mount Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), the tallest peak in all of North America, although many visitors to the park don’t even catch a glimpse of it because of the clouds. Camping for a few nights increases your odds of getting a clear view, which is truly remarkable. But even without a clear look at the peak, your time in this gorgeous wilderness preserve will not have been wasted.
Kroschel Films Wildlife Center
Renowned for its tours, this wildlife center is a must for anyone eager to see as many types of animals as possible during their trip to Alaska. There are never any guarantees when it comes to spotting wildlife, but visitors often see bears, wolves, moose, caribou, porcupines, lynx, weasels, and more.
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
After all that outdoor exploration, sometimes an indoor activity is a nice change of pace. For indoor entertainment, look no further than this remarkable museum in Fairbanks. Not only can you see incredible old cars, but there is also a variety of historic clothes on display. An afternoon meandering the galleries will give you a comprehensive look at the aesthetic trends of the past, from tricked out convertibles to ornate gowns.