Alaska, also known as “The Last Frontier”, is a vast and diverse state located in the northwest corner of the United States. It is home to stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and unique cultural experiences. But is Alaska worth visiting?

In short, maybe! There are countless reasons why exploring this rugged and remote state should be on everyone’s travel bucket list, but you need to have a special type of travel personality.

Travel Personality Best Fit for Alaska

If you’re the type of traveler who craves adventure, relishes the chance to be immersed in nature, and isn’t deterred by the prospect of unpredictable weather or the occasional wildlife encounter, then Alaska could be a perfect fit for you. Alaska caters to those who seek solitude and unspoiled natural beauty over the hustle and bustle of tourist-packed destinations. In this wild expanse, you’ll have the opportunity to experience life in its raw, untamed form, making Alaska a veritable playground for the adventurous, the outdoor enthusiasts, and the nature lovers.

Travel Personality Not Best Fit for Alaska

On the other hand, if you’re someone who prefers luxury resorts, heated pools, and bustling city life, Alaska may not be your ideal destination. Those who aren’t fond of cold weather, or who lack interest in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, or wildlife watching, might find their expedition to Alaska less fulfilling. If you’re looking for a vacation filled with shopping sprees, urban nightlife, and fine dining experiences, you may want to consider alternatives to The Last Frontier. Remember, every destination requires a specific kind of traveler to fully appreciate its unique offerings, and Alaska is no exception.

5 Reasons to Visit Alaska

Despite its wild nature, Alaska has a lot to offer to its visitors. Here are some compelling reasons why is Alaska worth visiting:

  1. Unmatched Natural Beauty: Alaska boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes on the planet. From the towering peaks of Denali and the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights to the stunning fjords of Kenai and the icy majesty of Glacier Bay, the scenic beauty is unparalleled.
  2. Wildlife Encounters: Alaska is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. You can spot majestic creatures like brown bears, bald eagles, whales, and caribous in their natural habitat.
  3. Adventure Opportunities: Whether it’s kayaking in pristine lakes, fishing in world-class rivers, hiking in vast wilderness, or dog sledding on snowy trails, Alaska offers a plethora of outdoor adventures.
  4. Unique Cultural Experiences: Indigenous cultures, such as the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, have a rich history in Alaska. Visitors can experience their unique traditions, arts, and foods, offering an enriching insight into their way of life.
  5. Solitude: In today’s fast-paced world, the solitude and tranquility that Alaska provides can be a welcome respite. The quiet, serene landscape offers a perfect opportunity to unwind, reflect, and reconnect with nature.

Alaska, truly, is a place where you can experience the extraordinary. So, is Alaska worth visiting? Absolutely, if you’re prepared for a journey like no other. It’s a destination that will leave an indelible mark on your soul, and once you’ve experienced its wonders, you’ll understand why it’s called “The Last Frontier.”


8 Things to Do in Alaska

Alaska offers an array of activities and attractions for all types of travelers. Here are some must-dos that you should consider when visiting The Last Frontier:

  1. Explore Denali National Park: Home to North America’s tallest mountain, Denali National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. Enjoy a bus tour, go hiking, or even try mountaineering if you’re up for a challenge.
  2. Visit the Kenai Fjords National Park: Witness the awe-inspiring sight of glaciers calving into the sea, paddle around icebergs in a kayak, or take a boat tour to watch seals, otters, and whales.
  3. Experience the Northern Lights: If you’re visiting in winter, don’t miss the chance to see the surreal display of the Aurora Borealis. Fairbanks is one of the best places for this breathtaking experience.
  4. Try Dog Sledding: Embrace the Alaskan tradition of dog sledding. You can even visit a sled dog kennel to learn about this fascinating sport and meet the incredible huskies.
  5. Tour the Inside Passage: A cruise through the Inside Passage offers stunning views of Alaska’s coastal rainforest, mountains, and glaciers, and the opportunity to see marine wildlife up close.
  6. Learn at the Alaska Native Heritage Center: Gain insights into the local indigenous cultures. The center showcases historical artifacts and traditional dwellings, and hosts live performances.
  7. Fish in the Russian River: Known for its salmon runs, the Russian River offers a unique fishing experience. Even if you’re not a fishing enthusiast, watching the bears fish is an unforgettable sight.
  8. Travel the Dalton Highway: For a real adventure, drive the rugged Dalton Highway, one of the most isolated roads in the United States. It offers a unique landscape and the chance to cross the Arctic Circle.

Why Visit Alaska

Juneau Alaska

Alaska is more than just a destination; it’s an adventure waiting to be explored. It is an escape from the ordinary, offering experiences that are unique and awe-inspiring. From witnessing the magic of the Northern Lights to encountering the majestic wildlife, from embarking on glacier cruises to hiking in the endless wilderness, Alaska provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Rich in culture and history, the state offers immersive experiences into indigenous cultures that few other places can. So, for those who yearn for adventure, appreciate natural beauty, and seek unique cultural experiences, visiting Alaska is a decision you won’t regret. The Last Frontier awaits you with experiences that will create lasting memories and stories worth sharing.

Discover the Alaskan Wilderness

Alaska, often referred to as the last frontier, is renowned for its untouched wilderness. Owing to its vast expanses of pristine landscapes, it is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers alike. The expansive national parks, mountain ranges, dense forests, and winding rivers make up a biodiverse environment that is sure to enthrall and inspire. Whether it’s exploring the backcountry trails of Denali, kayaking in the tranquil waters of Prince William Sound, or camping under the starlit skies in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the opportunities to immerse oneself in the wilderness are endless. The sheer magnificence of Alaska’s wilderness is not just about witnessing the grandeur of nature but also about understanding the importance of conservation and respect for these shared ecosystems.

Rich Local Culture of Alaska

Alaska is not just about grand landscapes and thrilling adventures, it’s also a cultural melting pot with deep-rooted indigenous traditions and a vibrant contemporary art scene. The state’s rich history is marked by the influence of the Native Alaskan tribes such as the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. These cultures are beautifully preserved and displayed through captivating totem pole carvings, intriguing ceremonial dances, and soulful storytelling. Visiting places like the Alaska Native Heritage Center or the Totem Bight State Historic Park offers an immersive dive into these ancient traditions and the chance to learn about the indigenous way of life.

Furthermore, Alaska’s modern culture is a reflection of its diverse population. In cities like Anchorage and Juneau, you’ll find bustling arts scenes where you can explore art galleries, attend live concerts, and even join in local festivals. Whether you’re savoring the deliciously fresh seafood, exploring the local arts and crafts, or taking part in a traditional native festival, getting acquainted with Alaska’s local culture adds an enriching layer to your visit to The Last Frontier.

Outdoor Activities in Alaska

Alaska is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide variety of activities that allow you to engage with its pristine natural environment.

  • Hiking is a popular pastime, with trails suitable for all abilities in places like Denali National Park, Chugach State Park, and the Harding Icefield Trail.
  • Wildlife Viewing is an activity not to be missed with opportunities to observe bears, moose, eagles, and whales in their natural habitats.
  • Rafting in the fast-flowing rivers or Glacier Trekking in one of the glacier fields offers an exhilarating experience.
  • Fishing is legendary in Alaska, with rivers teeming with salmon and halibut, while bird-watching enthusiasts will be thrilled with the chance to spot over 400 different species.
  • Skiing opportunities with resorts like Alyeska offering world-class slopes. Whatever your interest, Alaska’s outdoor activities ensure an intimate and unforgettable encounter with the wild.

Marvel at Glaciers

Glacier National Park Alaska

One of the most profound experiences in Alaska is the chance to witness majestic glaciers like Mendenhall and Hubbard up close. The Mendenhall Glacier, located just 12 miles from downtown Juneau, provides an accessible encounter with a glacier. Here, you can walk the trails, watch for wildlife, or visit the visitor center to learn about glacial processes. A little further afield, Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America, offers a spectacle of nature’s raw power.

As you watch this massive river of ice, you may even witness the awe-inspiring phenomenon of calving – when huge chunks of ice break off and crash into the sea. Whether you choose a glacier trek, a flightseeing tour, or a boat cruise, the sight of these towering ice giants will be a highlight of your Alaskan adventure.

Top Glaciers to Visit in Alaska

  1. Mendenhall Glacier: Located only 12 miles away from downtown Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier offers a highly accessible encounter with a glacier. With adjacent walking trails and a visitor center offering educational content about the glacier’s history and formation, it’s a must-visit for anyone in the vicinity of Juneau. Not to mention, the glacier is a stunning spectacle, especially when the sun hits the ice creating a mesmerizing blue hue.
  2. Hubbard Glacier: Situated in eastern Alaska and part of Yukon, Canada, the Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. This massive ice formation provides an awe-inspiring view of Mother Nature’s raw power. The glacier is especially famous for its dramatic calving displays, wherein massive ice chunks break away and crash into the sea, offering an unforgettable experience for visitors.
  3. Exit Glacier: Positioned close to the town of Seward, the Exit Glacier is renowned due to its accessibility and the educational experience it offers. Various trails lead you to different viewpoints, providing a visual narrative of the glacier’s recession over the past decades. It serves as a tangible indicator of climate change.
  4. Portage Glacier: Located within the Chugach National Forest, the Portage Glacier is an hour’s drive from Anchorage. A boat tour on Portage Lake brings you up close to this majestic glacier, and the nearby Begich Boggs Visitor Center provides immersive exhibits about the Chugach National Forest and its glaciers.
  5. Matanuska Glacier: As the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States, the Matanuska Glacier is a must-visit for any glacier enthusiast. Located northeast of Anchorage, it offers a variety of adventure activities, from simple hikes to ice climbing, ensuring a thrilling experience amidst the grandeur of the Alaskan wilderness.

Each of these glaciers offers distinctive experiences, from educational walks to adventurous climbs, and provides varying perspectives on the impact of climate change. A visit to these glaciers is not just about appreciating their grandeur but also understanding their ecological importance.

See Wildlife Up Close

Alaska’s diverse ecosystems are home to an array of wildlife, offering visitors unique opportunities to see these creatures in their natural habitats. One of the most iconic sights in Alaska is the majestic Bald Eagle. These magnificent birds can be spotted soaring in the skies throughout the state, with the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines providing one of the best viewing opportunities. Here, you can witness scores of bald eagles congregating in a natural spectacle.

Off the coast, Alaska’s waters teem with marine life, including several species of whales. Boat tours from cities like Seward, Juneau, and Kodiak offer up-close encounters with these incredible creatures. You might spot humpbacks performing breathtaking breaches, orcas gliding gracefully through the water, or the rare, elusive blue whale. An offshore excursion in Alaska is not merely a sightseeing opportunity, but a chance to witness the awe-inspiring scale and beauty of nature.

Experience the Northern Lights – Mesmerizing Aurora Borealis

One of the most magical experiences Alaska offers is the opportunity to witness the ethereal beauty of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. This celestial spectacle, where the night sky is painted with a palette of vibrant colors, is a sight to behold and a bucket-list item for many travelers. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is during the winter months, from September to April, when the nights are longest.

Prime viewing spots include Fairbanks, Denali National Park, and the remote town of Coldfoot. Whether taking a guided tour or choosing to venture out independently, seeing the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis should not be missed during your Alaskan visit. It’s a truly enchanting experience that perfectly encapsulates the natural wonder of The Last Frontier.

Best Tours in Alaska

Savour Alaska’s Unique Culinary Delights

The culinary scene in Alaska is as diverse and captivating as its landscapes. Much of the Alaskan cuisine is derived from the state’s rich indigenous cultures, paired with the bounty of its vast wilderness. A significant part of the Alaskan diet evolves around seafood, owing to the state’s extensive coastline. Salmon, one of the state’s most iconic foods, can be prepared in a variety of ways, from smoked to grilled, each technique reflecting an aspect of Alaska’s culinary heritage.

Moreover, Alaskan King Crab is renowned worldwide for its size and rich flavor. Harvested from the icy waters of the Bering Sea, this delicacy is a testament to Alaska’s thriving seafood industry.

Native Alaskan foods, known collectively as ‘Traditional Foods’, play a central role in local diets. These often consist of meat from animals like moose, caribou, and reindeer, as well as various berries, plants, and even seaweed.

Alaska’s culinary scene is also marked by international influences, notably Russian and Scandinavian, due to historical migrations. From Russian Piroshki (stuffed buns) found in local bakeries to the aromatic Swedish Glögg (mulled wine) served during winter, these influences add an extra layer of richness to Alaska’s food culture.

Whether you’re sampling fresh seafood at a local market, enjoying a hearty traditional meal, or exploring international dishes with an Alaskan twist, the state’s culinary offerings are sure to delight your palate and provide insights into its cultural heritage and historical ties.

Charming Towns & Villages in Alaska

Is Alaska Worth Visiting Glacier National Park

Alaska is not only about majestic glaciers and thrilling outdoor adventures; it is also home to a collection of charming towns and villages, each offering a unique slice of Alaskan life.

  1. Skagway: This quaint town offers a glimpse into Alaska’s Gold Rush era with its well-preserved, old-fashioned storefronts and wooden boardwalks. It is also the starting point for the scenic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad trip.
  2. Talkeetna: This small town serves as a base for mountaineers heading for Denali. Apart from its stunning mountain views, Talkeetna is known for its lively arts scene and its eclectic mix of restaurants and breweries.
  3. Ketchikan: Often referred to as the “Salmon Capital of the World”, Ketchikan is a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Additionally, it’s the best place to explore Native Alaskan art, specifically Totem Pole art.
  4. Seward: Nestled at the foot of Mount Marathon, Seward is the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Along with its natural beauty, it also offers a thriving art and dining scene.
  5. Homer: Known as the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World”, Homer charms visitors with its vibrant arts scene, world-class fishing, and breathtaking views across Kachemak Bay.
  6. Sitka: Rich in Tlingit history and Russian heritage, Sitka offers a cultural feast. It also boasts an array of outdoor activities from hiking to wildlife viewing.

Visiting these towns and villages allows you to delve deeper into Alaska’s history, culture, and local life, adding a whole new dimension to your Alaskan adventure. Whether you want historical insight, artistic inspiration, culinary delights, or natural beauty, these Alaskan towns have it all.

Luxury Experiences in Alaska

Alaska might be rugged and wild, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it in style. The state is home to a number of luxury lodges and resorts, perfectly positioned amidst its breathtaking natural beauty. These accommodations provide a harmonious blend of comfort and wilderness, allowing guests to immerse themselves in Alaska’s landscapes while enjoying first-class amenities and services.

Denali National Park hosts several upscale lodges like the Denali Backcountry Lodge, a remote sanctuary offering all-inclusive comfort in the heart of the park. Guests can relish in guided nature walks, gold panning, wildlife viewing, and even yoga sessions, all while surrounded by the stunning vistas of Denali.

Glacier Bay National Park is another enclave of luxury, with the Glacier Bay Lodge providing a serene retreat within the park’s boundaries. With comfortable rooms, a full-service restaurant, and an auditorium for evening interpretive presentations, guests can luxuriate in nature’s lap while learning about the park’s unique ecology.

These luxury lodges and resorts offer more than just a comfortable stay; they provide a gateway to experience Alaska’s epic wilderness in a unique and sophisticated manner. Whether it’s sipping a gourmet coffee while watching the sunrise over the mountains, enjoying a spa treatment after a day of hiking, or dining on Alaska’s fresh, local cuisine in a fine dining restaurant, the luxury experiences in Alaska’s nature are as diverse and captivating as the state itself.

Cruise through the Pristine Waters of Alaska

Alaska’s magnificent coastline is best experienced from the vantage point of a cruise ship. Cruising offers a unique opportunity to witness Alaska’s stunning landscapes, including dramatic fjords, towering glaciers, and rugged mountains, all from the comfortable deck of a ship. Alaskan cruises range from large vessels equipped with extensive amenities to smaller, more intimate ships that can navigate narrower waterways, bringing you closer to Alaska’s natural wonders.

The Inside Passage, a marine highway filled with pristine waterways, lush islands, and coastal communities, is a common route for many Alaskan cruises. Ships sailing this route offer breathtaking views of the Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier Bay National Park. In addition, wildlife spotting is a major highlight of these cruises, with chances to see humpback whales, orcas, seals, and numerous bird species.

From the luxury of a large cruise liner to the personal touch of a small expedition ship, a cruise journey through Alaska’s waters provides an unparalleled perspective of The Last Frontier’s authentic beauty. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that showcases the very best that Alaska has to offer.

Experience the Wonders of Alaska

Alaska more than justifies its nickname as ‘The Last Frontier’. Its stunning landscape, filled with majestic glaciers, sprawling national parks, and an intricate coastline, presents a multitude of exhilarating experiences. Whether it’s chasing the Northern Lights, exploring charming towns and villages, luxuriating in nature-surrounded lodges, or cruising through pristine waterways, Alaska offers a unique blend of adventure and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.

Its rich heritage and vibrant culture further add to its appeal, making it a destination that fulfills all aspects of exploration and discovery. Therefore, when asked, “Is Alaska worth visiting?”, the answer is a resounding yes if you have the right travel personality. It’s a journey into the wild that leaves you with unforgettable memories and a renewed appreciation for nature’s magnificence.

Is Alaska Worth Visiting? FAQs

What is the best time to visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska depends on what you want to see and do. The summer months (June to August) are the most popular, as the weather is mild and many attractions, like Denali National Park, are fully accessible. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights, the winter months (September to April) would be the best time to visit.

Are there any unique cultural experiences in Alaska?

Absolutely. Alaska’s rich heritage is deeply rooted in its Native cultures, Russian influences, and frontier spirit. You can explore Native Alaskan art in Ketchikan, delve into Russian history in Sitka, and immerse yourself in the local life of vibrant towns like Talkeetna and Homer.

Can I see wildlife in Alaska?

Yes, Alaska is rich in wildlife. Depending on where you go, you can see moose, caribou, bears, whales, seals, and a variety of bird species. Wildlife viewing is a major highlight on cruises, especially those that sail through the Inside Passage.

What kind of accommodations can I expect in Alaska?

Alaska offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly to luxury. There are several upscale lodges located in national parks like Denali and Glacier Bay, which offer first-class amenities and services amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

How can I best explore the Alaskan coastline?

The best way to explore Alaska’s intricate coastline is by cruise. Cruises offer a unique vantage point to witness dramatic fjords, towering glaciers, and rugged mountains while providing the comfort and amenities of a ship. The Inside Passage is one of the most popular cruise routes.

Do I need a passport to visit Alaska?

If you are a US citizen, you do not need a passport to visit Alaska as it is part of the United States. However, if you are not a US citizen, you will need a valid passport and may also require a visa depending on your country of origin. It is best to check with your local embassy for specific travel requirements.