How To Plan An Alaska Trip For Any Season
Alaska, that ephemeral U.S. state in the extreme northwest of North America, has long been on the bucket list of intrepid travelers due to its expansive natural beauty, abundant wildlife, breathtaking vistas, and a culture unlike any other on the continent. This isolated state is one of the few places on the planet that offer such extreme visions of natural grandeur. If you’ve been dreaming of exploring the big, bountiful state, you’re not alone. More than a million travelers come here every year in search of the unending beauty of Alaska’s glaciers, mountains and wildlife - where there’s more of this than anywhere else on earth.
Getting To Alaska
About half of all travelers to Alaska opt for the Alaskan cruise and Alaska accounts for 4.8% of the world’s cruising market. Nearly one million people will arrive in Alaska on a cruise this year. If you fly into Alaska, you’ll probably land in Anchorage, a frontier city like no other. Wilderness, alpine parks and cool, glassy waters surround this urban port city. With a population of around 300,000, Anchorage is home to nearly half of the entire state’s citizens. You may wish to visit the Museum of History and Fine Art, the Alaska Zoo or the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The beauty of Anchorage is that it offers much of what a cosmopolitan city would offer while being a short drive or train journey away from Alaska’s wild, unaffected beauty.
Want to see a bear close-up? On Kodiak Island, a short trip from Anchorage, you can do just that with a good guide. You can also enjoy small-town living on an Alaskan island surrounded by water, water, and more water. Kodiak island is the largest island of the 5,000-square-mile long archipelago just south of mainland Alaska. It’s home to the Kodiak bear, the star attraction for most travelers who make the jaunt here. Two-thirds of the island is a national wildlife refuge and the bears face very few threats, with a low human population and general respect for their territory. That’s why this island is the best place to see the huge Kodiak bear, up-close and personal.
Near the Canadian border, the Tetlin Natural Wildlife Refuge spans more than 730,000 acres along a bird migration corridor called the Tetlin Passage and is one of two refuges in the entire state accessible by car. Approximately 180 different bird species and 44 different mammals take refuge in the protected calm and every spring the magnificent birds fly through, giving the seasoned bird watcher a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a traveler, you can go camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing - even hunting. Grizzly bears, Dall sheep, wolves, caribou, moose - you name it. The Tetlin Natural Wildlife Refuge won’t disappoint.
Fairbanks is one of the top places in the world to see the natural phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis. The best time to see the magnificent Northern Lights is from September through April. In early January, there are fewer than five days of daylight. If you’d really like to explore the heart of Alaska during the deep, dark cold of ol’ man winter, you can fly into Anchorage and take a train to Fairbanks. This is the Aurora Express that takes travelers across three hundred miles of mountains and tundra. But, you musn’t be in a rush. The Aurora chugs along at about thirty miles per hour and stops for anyone and everyone along the way. Now is a good time to land in Fairbanks to catch a glimpse of the magnetic light display as we are now in another solar cycle. (The last one happened in 2000.)
Chena Hot Springs
Outside of Fairbanks is the Chena Hot Springs and a great place to soak in the soothing healing waters while waiting for a the Northern Lights to appear. The Chena Hot Springs Resort is open year round - it’s a lovely place to take the family and view wildlife from a safe, secure area. Stay here for a massage and some much-deserved r & r or simply visit for the day. There’s the Aurora Ice museum to visit as well, before venturing onward.
Denali National Park, located in the deep interior of Alaska, spotlights North America’s highest mountain peak, Mt. Mckinley. For a visit here, you’ll want to don your hiking boots and a traveler’s sense of awe. A 91-mile road spans the heart of the park with loads of hiking trails and wondrous vistas to behold. You’ll see moose and marmot, brown bears, caribou and even wolves. There’s a shuttle bus you can take, the only mode of transport that explores the Denali Park Road, so you can sit back, relax and take in the scenery. For the active traveler, you can go dog-sledding, cross-country skiing and snow machining in the winter. In warmer months, climb mountains, hike trails and meditate in the vast glory of mother nature.
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Kane Veracruz0 Photos0 Thanks2 Reviews
Alaska is amazing
I regret not staying here longer. Alaska is a beautiful state altogether.