8 Things To Do In Alaska (The Ultimate Alaska Checklist)

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Due to its isolation from other US states, Alaska does not receive that many tourists. This makes it a great place to discover incredible hidden gems. That is why I decided to visit the state last summer.

The state of Alaska is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, rough landscape, and diverse wildlife. It provides numerous opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure.  

Although Alaska has many popular destinations, it also has a wealth of hidden gems that are worth visiting. Some of the exciting things you can do while in the state include the following.

1. Explore The Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Fjords National Park Alaska
The Kenai Fjords National Park

The Kenai Fjords National Park allows visitors to experience the spectacular beauty of Alaska’s natural landscapes.

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The Park has diverse wildlife and breathtaking glaciers that can be experienced on a boat journey through the fjords.

Be sure to anticipate seeing various animals, including puffins, sea otters, humpbacks, and killer whales.

The park is also an excellent place for hiking. If you have a day to spare, I highly recommend you hike the Harding Icefield Trail or trails at the base of the Exit Glacier.

You can also take a helicopter ride that will let you have an aerial view of the most remote fjords in the park. Or you can book one of these kayaking tours.

Therefore, visiting Kenai Fjords National Park will enhance your experience in Alaska. It will definitely offer you a serene and uplifting experience.

2. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center

If you are into historical sites like me, you should definitely visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

The center gives you a chance to discover Alaska’s indigenous people’s vibrant culture and customs.

Visit Alaska Native Heritage Center
Alaska Native Heritage Center

The center showcases performances and displays highlighting the culture, history, and way of life of the state’s Native populations.

Some of the main highlights that visitors will enjoy include:

  • Taking a tour of authentic Native American homes
  • Experiencing certain cultural performances
  • Discovering the significance of authentic crafts like carving and beadwork.

The institution also provides workshops and programs where guests may pick up age-old trades like drum-making, weaving baskets out of birch bark, and more.

It’s a fantastic way to appreciate the diversity of Alaska’s population and develop a deeper grasp of the state’s cultural past.

3. Visit the Denali National Park

This Park is a natural wonderland. In particular, it is home to Mount Denali, which is the tallest mountain in North America.

Denali Park in Alaska
Denali Park in Alaska

The Park has many amazing trails for hikers irrespective of skill level, making it one of the top places in the state for hiking.

During the hike, you will enjoy the stunning vistas of the Park’s untamed lakes, majestic peaks, and rough terrain. Denali National Park is a must-see for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

4. Go Dog Sledding

Due to the snow, dog sledding is a famous Alaskan activity I always wanted to experience first-hand.

Something about traveling through the snow-covered wilderness on a sled drawn by a pack of dogs makes this whole thing electrifying.

Dog sledding Alaska
Dog sledding

Additionally, it offers you a chance to learn about the interesting history and culture of dog sledding while taking in Alaska’s stunning beauty.

What is also cool about sledding is that you do not have to be an experienced rider. Even as a first time, you will do just fine.

Based on my experience, I can guarantee that dog sledding will offer you an unforgettable experience that is not easily found elsewhere.

5. Visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge

The Kodiak National Nature Refuge is a must-see location for any outdoorsy nature lover.

Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge
Kodiak bears

It presents an exceptional chance to see incredible creatures in their natural settings, like;

  • Kodiak bears
  • Bald eagles
  • Sea otters

To fully explore what the refuge offers, I highly recommend you opt for a guided tour.

Guided tours are highly educational and provide visitors with a thorough grasp of the different animals and the refuge’s conservation initiatives.

When I left the place, I felt a renewed appreciation of the significance of conservation. This was mainly due to the crew`s passion and commitment to protecting these animals and their habitats.

As such, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent option if you’re seeking an exciting and educational outdoor excursion.

6. Take A Scenic Drive On The Seward Highway

The Seward Highway offers an incredibly scenic drive. If you love seeing nature and taking amazing pictures, you should consider taking a drive on this amazing highway.

Drive On The Seward Highway Alaska
Drive On The Seward Highway

While the drive from Seward to Anchorage only takes 2 hours, you will have to spare more time due to the numerous stops.

Some of the stop-overs points you have to visit include;

  • Turnagain Arm,
  • The Virgin Creek Waterfalls
  • The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
  • The Alyeska Aerial Tram
  • The Whittier
  • The sparkling glacier lakes. 

You will also get a glimpse of the stunning glaziers and the majestic mountains that are spread throughout the highway.

A drive on this highway makes you feel like you are in wonderland, and every inch of it feels like it deserves to be on a postcard.

7. Take a Hot Springs Soak in Chena

A dip in Chena Hot Springs Resort’s natural hot springs is a must-try activity if you’re looking for a restorative and refreshing experience while in Alaska.

Hot Springs Soak in Chena
Hot Springs in Chena

You will feel revitalized and restored after experiencing the therapeutic advantages of the warm, mineral-rich waters. The Views of the surrounding scenery are also breathtaking.

The resort also provides guided tours of its cutting-edge geothermal energy facilities, which use renewable resources to provide electricity and heat for the resort.

It offers the ideal balance of leisure and information in a beautiful outdoor location. This resort is perfect for those looking for a tranquil and enlightening getaway.

Into fishing? Take a look at 3 Best Fishing Packages In Alaska

8. Kayaking In Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park

Kayaking across Glacier Bay National Park is an exhilarating excursion that provides unmatched access to some of Alaska’s most astounding natural sceneries.

You will get to see the park’s glaciers and animals, such as

  • Humpback whales
  • Sea otters
  • Seals

Both inexperienced and seasoned kayakers can take the trip.

However, I recommend you take a guided tour offered by a local tour guide. What is also great about this option is that most business offer trips that suit your schedule.

For example, you can take a one-day tour or have multi-day immersions. Also, I found most guides to be friendly and very accommodating. So you can be sure your excursions will be tailor-made to suit your travel needs.   

Lastly, you may camp in the park and enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains and glaciers.

Final Thoughts

The state of Alaska is enormous and stunning, and there are countless things to do and places to visit there. There is something for every traveler, from hiking through Denali National Park to resting in Chena’s natural hot springs.

The Sitka National Historical Park and the Alaska Native Heritage Center are excellent places to experience Alaska’s rich and varied cultural traditions.

Whatever activity or place you choose to visit, you’re sure to leave with priceless memories.

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