Alaska Travel Guide
Plenty of people visit Alaska by way of a cruise, which can give you a nice overview of the port towns, as well as good views of glaciers and coastal wildlife. But take time, if you can, to explore inland Alaska. Here are a few highlights of things to do in Alaska away from the cruise ports:
Denali National Park: One of the top things to do in Alaska is to seek out "The Great One," Mt. McKinley. Plenty of people take the bus tours along the Park Road (you can't take your own car very far past the entrance). If you want to go hiking, take the Park Service's hop-on, hop-off bus, which gives you the most freedom to explore. And if you really want to see the mountain - which often hides behind clouds - plan a trip to the town of Talkeetna, which tends to have the clearest views.
Chena Hot Springs: Gold miners originally discovered this Fairbanks spot in 1905, and these natural hot springs continue to be the go-to destination for locals looking for a natural way to recharge.
The backcountry community of Gustavus: This off-the-beaten-path town near Glacier Bay National Park, in the southeastern part of the state, includes a population of doctors, lawyers and former government workers who left the bustle of civilization so that they could live in the middle of the woods.
Drive the Dalton Highway: Beginning just north of Fairbanks and plunging northward through the isolation of the Arctic, this road enables you to enjoy the solitary yet scenic splendor of the Brooks Range along the way. Just be prepared for less-than-smooth roads.
Kid-friendly dogsledding: Don't miss the chance to take a dogsledding tour, like Seavey's Ididaride near Seward, to get up close to the champion dogs and their pups, and experience the thrill of riding on a dogsled.
Explore America's last frontier with a low-impact excursion into Denali National Park. Cruise through Kenai's fjords on a small ship, followed by a raft trip down the Kenai River, teeming with salmon, in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Guides who moonlight as serious athletes—including Olympic gold medalist skier Tommy Moe—serve up untracked powder and all-but-undiscovered surf breaks. T+L Trip pick South American Ski Adventure.
This trailblazer explores the remote corners of every continent using guides with extensive on-the-ground networks, such as San Francisco–based Vassi Koutsaftis, who has been leading trips into Burma, Tibet, and Nepal for 25 years. Newly added: a small selection of family trips.
White-water rafting, Denali National Park, and cruising through the Kenai Fjords make up the itinerary on Tauck’s Grand Alaska vacation.
Silversea’s fancy, pampering experience is delivered on six sleek, 132- to 540-passenger ships, done up in contemporary décor, with gourmet cuisine, spacious ocean-view suites, free booze, and top-notch service—the solicitous crew even shines your shoes and brings room service, course by course.
Flies to Redoubt Bay Lodge and other camps.
More than 40 years of experience arranging hiking, trekking, rafting, and kayaking excursions, with group or private itineraries. t+l trip pick Alaska: Rafting the Tatshenshini River.
Bring your bike helmet and your bear pepper spray! According to the Alaska Fish and Game department, a “few dozen” brown bears roam the area around Rover’s Run, a popular mountain-biking trail in the outskirts of Anchorage.
The tour operator creates tailor-made itineraries for the region, with more than 100 land and cruise options, including heli-hiking outings in Denali National Park.