Alaska – it’s the ultimate travel destination of dreams. From crashing glaciers to incredible wildlife, to magnificent mountains, this untamed wonderland has an abundance of things to see and do.
However, if you’ve got limited time to spend exploring this vast and mysterious land, it can be overwhelming to choose what to see and do.
If you need help choosing the best bucket-list activities and spots to visit, here are our top spots to visit in the Alaskan wilderness. Happy adventuring!
Road Trip down the Great Seward Highway
For a world-class road trip, a scenic drive down the Seward Highway is a must for your Alaska list.
While everything in Alaska seems to be huge – big bears, enormous moose, striking glaciers, and incredible mountains – there’s something so serene and peaceful about driving through such scenery.
The Seward Highway connects Anchorage to Seward and is considered as one of the most scenic drives in the US. The first 80 kilometers takes you past the Chugach Mountains and the shores of Turnagain Arm where you can keep an eye out for huge beluga whales, Dall’s sheep, flowing waterfalls and beady-eyed eagles.
The rest of the drive twists through the striking mountains of the Chugach National Forest, where you can admire dramatic views of Alaska’s raw wilderness.
Gaze at the Northern Lights
We all dream of one day watching the mystical event that’s the Northern lights, and you can make that dream come true on your Alaska vacation.
Peak viewing takes place in the middle of winter between September and April when the weather is coldest, and the nights are the darkest. To see the Northern lights in all their shimmering glory, the prime time is usually after midnight. We promise it’s worth leaving your bed in the middle of the night for!
If watching the Northern lights is top of your bucket visit on your trip to Alaska, head out in the middle of winter, wrap up warm, and hope for a clear night. With some luck, you can gaze at the spectacular light show under the vastness of Alaska’s stunning night sky.
While there’s potential to spot the Northern lights all over the state, head to Fairbanks for your best chances. Up high and inland, Fairbanks is a long way away from any bright city lights and is located geographically under the aurora oval, where auroras are spotted frequently.
Walk with Grizzly Bears
Fancy walking the same path as giant grizzly bears? If you’re seeking adventurous things to do in Alaska, then this might just be the voyage for you.
If you’re brave enough, head to Katmai National Park, an isolated and unspoiled area found in the heart of wild Alaska. There you can share the park with huge coastal bears.
Sounds insane, right? Well, it turns out you don’t need to worry about becoming a grizzly’s next snack. Due to the abundance of food available within the park and a 100+ year-long wildlife protection program, the grizzlies here don’t consider humans as prey.
A scenic flight in a small airplane, followed by a thrilling landing on the beach, will lead you to the meadows of Katmai National Park where lucky visitors can observe the bears in their natural habitat. If you’re feeling daring, you can even get up close and personal and walk beside them with an unarmed guide.
And if that’s just given you a taste for wildlife spotting in Alaska, explore here for the best places to find wildlife across the state.
Observe a Tidewater Glacier Crash into the Ocean
Where else can you watch a tidewater glacier explode into the ocean?
The Glacier Bay National Park covers a whopping 3.3 million acres of striking mountains, glistening glaciers, cool rainforest, rugged coastlines, and sheltered fjords and if you want to be reminded of the power of mother nature, this is where you should visit.
Watch the glaciers of the area cascade down the surrounding mountain peaks, and crash into the wild ocean below. And if you need to put it into perspective, consider this: a baseball-sized piece of glacial ice weight around half a pound. So, can you imagine the impact of an entire wall of glacial ice shattering?
Most visitors to Glacier Bay arrive on cruise ships, and national park rangers often provide extra excursion trips to other parts of the park to explore.
Watch Whales at Kenai Fjords National Park
Close by to the town of Seward, a visit to Kenai Fjords National Park would be a fantastic pit stop if you’re embarking on the road trip to or from Seward to Anchorage.
If whale watching is top of your bucket list, expect to marvel at the likes of humpback and orca whales moving in the waters of the park. That’s not all the wildlife the park has to offer either – look out for bears, seals, and puffins that make the landscape their home.
Not only that, but the scenery of the park is breath-taking, and you can enjoy views of the wild seacoast, incredible glaciers, and pretty snow-capped mountains.
Make a night or two of it and immerse yourself in the serenity of it all with an overnight stay in the charming Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. It’s an exclusive cabin found quietly within a native-owned wildlife sanctuary perched on the edge of a protected lagoon. You can’t get much more remote than that!
From the lodge, wow at breath-taking views of the Pedersen Glacier. There you also have the opportunity to explore the area on the water by kayak or boat.
Ready to Explore the Alaskan Wilderness?
While these are some of the best ways to explore the Alaskan wilderness, there’s certainly so much more to do and see. Whether you’re a nature lover seeking to spot as much wildlife as possible, or you’re an adventure junkie hoping to hike and kayak as much as you can, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained in this wild, rugged wonderland.
Exploring more of North America? Check out more of our tips on the ‘North America’ tab at the top of the page.
Enjoy your great Alaskan adventure – we’re not jealous at all!