Big, beautiful and wildly bountiful. Far away, rurally isolated and very expensive. Alaska is a traveler’s dilemma. There are few places in the world with the grandeur and breathtaking beauty of Alaska. Not only is Mt McKinley the highest peak in North America, it’s also a stunning sight when you catch its alpenglow in Wonder Lake at Denali National Park. A 900lb brown bear catching a leaping salmon in its jaws is not something seen in Iowa, but a common apparition on Kodiak and Admiralty Island and in the scenic Katmai National Park, a hop-skip-jump from King Salmon or Homer. A 5-mile-wide glacier shedding chunks of ice the size of small cars is another unique Alaskan sight; for this quiet thrill, venture down to Juneau, gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, or to Prince William Sound, boasting the largest collection of tidewater glaciers.
For adventurous types with a little extra time and a love for life on a grand scale - whether it’s kayaking through a sea of icebergs and seals around the coast of Kenai Fjords National Park or witnessing a 40-ton humpback whale breaching in Southeast Alaska - this state is a hard place to pass up.
Alaska is also an out-of-the-way and costly destination for anybody tripping through the rest of the country. It takes a week on the road to reach the 49th state, two to three days on a ferry or, from any region outside the Northwest, a $600-to-$800 airline ticket. Once there you’ll find accommodations expensive, bus and train options meager and much of the state roadless and inaccessible. But once there, even on a short side trip, you’ll marvel at this amazing land and begin plotting your return.
Ready to go?
These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Alaska
Alaska travel guide
Big, breathtakingly beautiful and wildly bountiful; there are few places in the world, and none in the USA, with the unspoiled wilderness, mountainous grandeur and immense wildlife that is Alaska.
Brewery tour of Alaska
A road trip of Interior and Southcentral Alaska is an excellent approach for discovering the regions’ best sights: the tallest mountain in North America, the largest wild salmon in the world as well as a myriad of adventures...
Alaska - Planning (Chapter)
Your journey to Alaska starts here.
The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
Exactly 100 years ago, the largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century blasted away for three days in a remote patch of southwest Alaska. The eruption blackened the skies over Kodiak, nearly 100 miles away, and covered the village in a quilt of ash two feet deep...
Kodiak, Katmai & Southwest Alaska (Chapter)
Southwest Alaska stretches 1500 miles into oblivion, and is about as remote as you can get in a state that prides itself on hard-to-reach places.
Juneau Shore Excursion: Whale-Watching Adventure with Mendenhall Glacier Tour
Make the most of your time in port in Juneau by getting out into the Alaskan wilderness on a small-group whale-watching and Mendenhall Glacier shore excursion. This is your chance to see humpback whales, bald eagles, seals and sea lions on an amazing 4.5-hour cruise in the waters surrounding Juneau. Then, visit the stunning Mendenhall Glacier for an unforgettable tour.
Skagway Shore Excursion: Full-Day Tour of the Yukon
Spend time in port in Skagway enjoying a full-day shore excursion into the Yukon, Canada's westernmost territory. Explore some of North America's most stunning wilderness, stop for lunch at Caribou Crossing, a wildlife museum, and visit a dog-sled camp, where you can meet the adorable huskies preparing for the Yukon Quest dog sled race.
Urban wildlife-spotting in Alaska
At first look, Anchorage’s cityscape could be from Anywhere, USA: strip malls, stoplights, town homes. But there’s something different about Anchorage - the wilderness...
Alaska - Best Hikes & Paddles (Chapter)
There are so many possible adventures in Alaska that even the most budget-conscious traveler can take time to explore what lies beyond the pavement.