Alaska is a big and beautiful state. A place that conjures up incredible images of breathtaking scenery in people’s minds. Alaska is also a place whose vistas and peaks are unmistakable. Denali, for example, is easily recognized and is an iconic symbol of Alaskan grandeur.
But what other amazing experiences are unique to Alaska? So for those planning a trip to Alaska and looking for something unique and off the beaten path, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are our top 10 recommendations for unique Alaska experiences.
#1 – Glacier Trekking
Alaska has over 100,000 glaciers, and hiking one is the thrill of a lifetime. For most you’ll need to book a guided tour due to limited access and safety reasons, but for the intrepid explorer there are plenty that are safe and accessible by car or by foot.
#2 – Wildlife Watching
Alaska is home to a variety of wildlife, from bears and moose to caribou and eagles. You can experience the abundant wildlife via a guided tour or even just driving the scenic highways. While you can certainly get up close and more personal than in most places, make sure to keep your distance, they are still wild – life.
#3 – Northern Lights Viewing
Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, with lights visible 365 days of the year…weather permitting of course. The best viewing months however are October through April, and the best viewing locations are in and around Fairbanks. Take a drive, take a tour, or book yourself a clear-roofed cabin for the most amazing overnight experience imaginable.
#4 – Whale Watching
Alaska’s waters are home to an abundant amount of humpback whales and orcas, plus belugas and seals too. What is truly unique is just how close you can get to the local whales and marine life by boat. Grab a kayak or hop on a whale watching cruise to see these magnificent creatures up close any time May through September.
#5 – Ice Fishing
Ice fishing is a winter activity that’s popular in most places in Alaska, from about mid-November through March. You can rent a cabin on a frozen lake and fish for trout, salmon, and more from the comfort of a cozy shelter while waiting for your catch.
#6 – Flightseeing
Alaska is a huge state, and one of the best ways to see it all is by taking a flightseeing tour. Most of the state is ‘backcountry’ so to really explore the interior, by air is one of the best, and sometimes, the only, option. But you certainly won’t be disappointed as you fly over glaciers, mountains, and otherwise impassable peaks and inaccessible countryside, with ease.
#7 – Dog Sledding
Dog sledding or dog mushing is a vibrant way of life in Alaska, that is most notably made famous due to the Iditarod race. However not only is dog mushing the official state sport of Alaska, it is also very often a preferred mode of transportation for some of the more remote communities around the state.. For visitors however, options for guided tours are plentiful, many even offering an opportunity to guide your own team of dogs.
#8 – Hot Springs
While Alaska does not typically evoke images of warm or thermal in the minds of most outsiders. It is true that Alaska is home to a number of easily accessible, and natural, thermal hot springs. While some are quite accessible and now set up for visitors within thermal parks or spa-like establishments, with a little research and a bit of leg work, one can find hot springs in the natural element – outside. For those looking to convene with nature, this is it.
#9 – Gold Panning
Gold panning in Alaska has been a part of its history and the early European settlement since back in the late 1800’s. Thousands of prospectors came looking for riches well into the early 1900’s, creating established communities throughout the state that have since turned into thriving towns and cities. Experience a bit of history in towns and recreational mines all over the state with a gold panning tour.
#10 – Native Culture
Alaska has a rich Native culture, spanning back 10,000 years on the lands now known as Alaska. The native culture is on display in almost all aspects of life in the state, from the names of places, the food in towns, the architecture in cities, and the culture or way of life on a daily basis. There are also many opportunities to learn about and experience it by visiting museums and cultural centers, where you can watch traditional dances, and more.
These are just a few of the many unique experiences that Alaska has to offer. Whether you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, or history buff, there’s something for everyone in the Last Frontier. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!
Let us help you experience these great adventures and more. Contact our expert DMC staff at Toast of the Town for customized travel plans to match your group needs and budgets.