It was always my goal to travel to Alaska, and in the summer of 2019, my dreams became a reality.
My girlfriend and I took a trip to Juneau, Alaska last summer to visit where she grew up.
I instantly fell in love.
There is nothing quite like Alaska, in the rest of the world, really. They don’t call it “The Last Frontier” for no reason.
As you read through the list of best places to travel in Alaska, I want to encourage each and everyone reading this; do not hesitate to visit Alaska at least once, if not multiple times in your life. You surely will not regret it.
This list will help you navigate some of the best places to travel in Alaska.
Although things have changed in the past year, specifically the cruise ship industry, there are still many different ways to explore Alaska. There are so many sights to see plenty of which will leave you speechless, and wanting more of Alaska.
Check out this site to book your Alaskan adventures today!
See Related: Best Winter Travel Clothing for Cold Climates
Table of Contents
The second biggest island in the United States, and Alaska’s biggest island, Kodiak boasts several exciting features, making this one of the top cities to visit in Alaska. Also known as the Emerald Isle, Kodiak holds a number of incredible scenic areas that nature enthusiasts flock to.
Kodiak is a waterfront harbor town, as the Alaskan Marine Highway ferries, dock right next to downtown. The best-known attraction is Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge which encircles two-thirds of Kodiak Island.
This park is 2,812 square miles of diverse habitat. Kodiak includes scenes of mountain tops, alpine meadows, wetlands, spruce forests, and grasslands. This refuge is home to around 3,500 bears that normally weigh between 800 pounds, but are known to tip the scales at 1,500 pounds. This would put a bear on its hind legs at about ten feet tall!
Since it is a fishing port, this is obviously a favorite activity of both locals and tourists. All five species of salmon, along with halibut, rockfish, cod, and trout.
If you are into catching big game fish, check this site out! Renowned captains and fishermen take you on an experience of a lifetime, catching all fish that are listed above.
Denali National Park and Reserve
Denali (Mount McKinley as its former name) is the tallest mountain peak in North America. This information alone should make it one of your top places to see in Alaska. With a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level, this makes for an awesome Alaskan destination (not that you would want to climb that high).
Denali is considered the centerpiece of the Denali National Park and Reserve.
Before visiting, it is important to know the details of Denali National Park. The summer season (May 20th-mid September) is the choice of people visiting the park. During the winter season, the peaks and parks surrounding them are known for their extremely cold weather.
Temperatures have been recorded at -100 degrees Fahrenheit!
Summer days, however, are picture-perfect. Visiting Denali National Park is a great way to see one of the best scenic places in Alaska.
It is important to be prepared ahead of time, due to the fact that Denali National Park only has one road and only one road entrance. This road is 92 miles long which runs east to west across the park.
Vehicles are allowed to drive the first fifteen miles of the road into the park, but from there narrated and non-narrated bus tours are run by the park. These are considered the safest way to see the true beauty of the landscape and wildlife of Denali. The park is around 6 million acres.
There are tours that prevent people that are unfamiliar with the area from getting lost in such a vast landscape.
There are a total of six campgrounds and hiking opportunities near the entrance. For hikers looking for more of an off-trail adventure, click here!
Motor Vehicle Adventures in Denali
For the people who are interested in seeing Denali from a motor vehicle, check out these great tours you can book from GetYourGuide.com.
Nome is home to one of the most famous dog sled stories in the world. A trek across the interior of Alaska to the town of Nome in 1925. This was called 1925 serum run to Nome. The mission was a dog sled relay across 674 miles in just five and a half days.
The mission was to deliver an antitoxin known to treat diphtheria. This infection was about to become an epidemic in the town of Nome and the surrounding communities. The relay consisted of twenty dog sled mushers and around 150 sled dogs. Balto was then named the most famous canine in the world, traveling the rest of the relay 55 miles to the town of Nome.
In the early 1900s, Nome was well known for the gold rush.
Today, Nome is rich with adventure. People from all over the world come to Nome to experience true Alaskan living, while still enjoying the amenities of the modern-day world. When visiting Nome, you experience the Alaskan Native culture, rugged Alaskan scenery, and world-renowned outdoor sporting events.
Every March, people from across the world come to visit Nome to see the end of the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race. The 1,049-mile trek through the raw Alaskan wilderness is nothing short of an amazing feat. Nome’s population grows by nearly 1,000 people each year in March.
Some locals have even been known to call it the “Mardi Gras of the North”! If you are interested in other events that are happening while the Iditarod is in town click here.
Homer, also known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World” is home to some of the best sportfishing you can experience in Alaska. This quaint town was originally built on the coal mining industry. It’s one of the best places to visit in Alaska for a very good reason.
There are still an estimated 400 million tons of raw coal deposits in the area today. Halibut and salmon sport fishing is now considered the dominant industry leader. Commercial fishing and tourism are a close second in industry-leading revenue for the community.
This small town offers many different adventures depending on what you are looking for. The town itself is surrounded by both open water and vast Alaskan wilderness. It is world-renowned for sportfishing, but you can experience loads of other adventures while visiting Homer.
Kayaking, bear viewing tours, and destination weddings are a few that top the list and make the list of awesome Alaskan destinations. This town is also very rich in both food and art culture, community members and tourists alike take pride in sharing experiences that both food and art can bring.
The picturesque area is considered one of “America’s Best Small Art Towns”. Take a trip to one, or any of the twelve beautiful galleries around Homer. Besides sportfishing, Homer is also well-known for their fine dining experiences.
This is a list of fine dining restaurants in town that will top everyone’s dining expectations. The small bay town is definitely considered by locals and tourists as one of the best places to travel in Alaska.
Destination Weddings and the “City of Peonies”
Homer also holds the name “City of Peonies”. Boasting 22 hours of sunlight in Homer during the summer season; peony flowers grow lush and full throughout the town. Declared in 2018, the “City of Peonies” is one of the few places in the world to get peonies cut at the exact time they mature.
Making these flowers rare and sought after by florists in the lower 48 states.
The peony flower is the number one choice for brides, making this town a special place for couples looking for a destination wedding. There are approximately 25 different peony farms around the area and the flowers also line the streets leading into downtown.
If you and your loved one are looking for a destination wedding with gorgeous flowers and views alike, you should consider Homer!
According to the US Census Bureau, Sitka has a total square mileage area (including water) of 4,811 square miles, making this the largest city-borough in North America. It is the largest incorporated city in the U.S, with its square mileage equaling to about four times the size of the state Rhode Island.
Sitka is unique since there are no roads leading in or out of Sitka, the only way to reach the city is by boat or plane.
Like many other Alaskan cities and towns, Sitka prides itself on many things Alaskan. Catching fish from the ocean, hiking a mountain from your backyard, or learning about the rich history and culture of Sitka. The city is also flowing with arts and food culture, and many outdoor activities to fit all different kinds of tourism.
Being outdoors is a commonality of Sitka residents and tourists alike. Kayaking on the ocean, or catching fresh halibut off a charter are some of the day-to-day activities of Sitka.
Sitka Fine Arts Camp
Residents and surrounding community members also pride themselves on heavy art influences, from Alaskan Native culture to the beauty of the outdoors that surround them. Sitka Fine Arts Camp is a renowned art camp for both students and adults alike.
This camp is home to many classes and experiences for young artists, conferences, and retreats for adults.
It is recognized as a nationally acclaimed program and center for the arts, serving approximately 1,000 students and adults each year.
Anchorage holds the most citizens in all of Alaska, containing nearly 40 percent of the state’s population. This city is considered a major hub for almost all international travel and commercial business.
The location of Anchorage is what is known as “equidistant” meaning from Tokyo or New York, it lies about nine and a half hours from flight either direction.
An international hub city makes Anchorage one of the best places to travel in Alaska. Due to the fact that it is accessible to about 90% of the industrialized world in a less than ten-hour flight.
Since the city is so large compared to a lot of other Alaskan cities, the options for tourists are endless.
Check out their website for an expansive list of options and activities for all age groups.
This beautiful city offers some of the best scenic places to visit in Alaska, from guided tours to wildlife adventures, the possibilities in Anchorage are endless.
If you are interested in visiting, or maybe even relocating to Anchorage, ask a local to get detailed information about visiting or living there!
Now, I may be a bit bias towards Juneau since I am relocating there this September; but Juneau is (in my opinion) the best place to travel in Alaska.
Visiting for the first time last summer, I immediately fell for the charm and laid back lifestyle of Juneau. Nothing beats being able to go outside in your backyard, and twenty minutes-sometimes less, any direction will land you at the base of a mountain.
Like Sitka, Juneau is an island with no roads leading in or out. This majestic city is only accesible by boat or plane. The capital city is home to the Tongass National Forest which is the largest national forest in the U.S. Measuring at a whopping 16.7 million acres, the Tongass National Forest is considered one of the last remaining intact temperate rainforests in the world. This national forest hosts some of the rarest and endangered species of flora and fauna in the world.
Since it is the capital city, Juneau boasts many artistic and cultural values. Along with food, art, and history culture in the city runs deep. Alaskan Natives landed in Southeast Alaska nearly 10,000 years ago, claiming the territories and Tongass National Forest, so Juneau is not shy to history.
Some consider the state’s capital to be the most scenic capital in all of the U.S. Juneau is rich in cultural history, art, and food. This city is an outdoor adventurers haven, with many opportunities to be outside and experience everything the sprawling city of Juneau has to offer. Check out these many things to do in Juneau.
For many outdoor adventure ideas, click here.
Via Travelers is a modern travel blog focused on helping you learn the best travel tips, travel hacks, and itineraries to explore the world. Find your wanderlust.