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Feb 23, 2021| Top Activities & Things To Do

19 Top Things To Do In Alaska In The Summertime

Top Places for Alaska.jpg

It’s a bit of a cliché to say Alaska is a land of wonders.

That’s the thing about clichés, though. They’re often rooted in the truth.

Alaska’s landscape, seascape, wildlife, history, and culture filled with surprises and unbelievable sights that imbed themselves in your memory and make you want to make several return trips.

That’s what Alaska does to you.

Here is a List of Top Places You Can't-Miss While On A Summer Trip To Alaska


1. View Mendenhall Glacier

This 13-mile-long glacier in the heart of Juneau, which ends at the crystalline Mendenhall Lake, is a favorite among travelers not only for its landscape but for the mountain goats, beavers, bears, and other animal denizens of the area.  Check out this day activity where you can walk on the glacier!


2. Explore Denali National Park

Denali National Park is home to 20,308-ft. Mount Denali, the highest peak in North America. Travel the 95-mile-long Denali Park Road and in addition to the striking scenery, you’ll get a glimpse of moose, Dall sheep, caribou, which live almost exclusively in Denali, and even bears. There are many activities to help you explore Denali National Park, check out some of our favorites here


3. Cruise Around Tracy Arm Fjord

Tracy Arm Fiord, located about 45 miles south of Juneau, showcases spectacular waterfalls, icebergs, and wildlife make this a must-visit destination any trip to Juneau.


4. Tour The Alaska Native Heritage Center

Located in Anchorage, this museum’s mission is to perpetuate and preserve unique Alaska Native cultures, languages, and traditions. When you visit ANHC, you can learn Alaska Native dance, try a Native Gaming event, and observe traditional art being created by Alaskan Native people. One of the best places to learn about Alaska's geographically and culturally diverse Indigenous customs and histories. 


5. Hike The Iditarod National Historic Trail

Part of this historic trail form what is today known as the world-famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It’s a series of trails that stretch 2,300 miles between Nome and Seward. Primarily a winter-time venue, summer months offer a chance to hike through the Crow Pass Trail in the Chugach State Park.


6. Visit The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Located in Skagway, this park was built to preserve and interpret the history of the 1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush. Learn all about the gold miners who ventured North to strike it rich in the Klondike!


7. Experience Glacier Bay National Park

Explore 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains and rainforest, and, of course, glaciers! The Margerie Glacier is a spectacular 21-mile-long tidewater glacier, but there are over 1,000 glaciers in this protected part of the world and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of any trip to the Inside Passage.


8. Drive The Dalton Highway And Dip Your Toes In The Arctic Ocean

This is for the adventurous, but there are plenty of rewards for traveling the 400-mile Dalton Highway in the far north region. It’s a rugged and remote territory, but you’ll be able to tell friends you crossed the Arctic Circle and that you dipped your toes in the Arctic Ocean.


9. Walk On The Manatuska Glacier

Situated about 100 miles Northeast of Anchorage on the Glennallen Highway, this amazing glacier is 27-miles long and four miles wide. It is the only glacier where you can travel by car.  But by all means, take a walk on the glacier! It’s a popular site and even families with small children can hike on it. 


10. Kayak In Kenai Fjords National Park

You’ll never forget a kayak trip through this area, where you’ll see tidewater glaciers, birds, and marine mammals who feed in the waters. Beginners should have a guide since these waters are not for the inexperienced. Check out these great day trips out of Seward that get you up close and personal with some of Alaska's most pristine nature.


11. Ride The White Pass And Yukon Railroad

One of the last narrow-guage railroads in the world, the narrow-gauge railroad takes you up 3,000 ft. past waterfalls, rivers, and gorges with lots of opportunities for photos. Located in Skagway, this is a bucket-list worthy activity for all (especially train enthusiasts.)


12. See The Turnagain Arm Bore Tide

During the right tidal conditions, you’ll see 10-ft. waves rolling through Turnagain Arm just South of Anchorage on the Seward Highway.


13. Cross Into The Arctic Circle At The 66th Parallel

This northern road trip takes you to the Arctic Circle, where the sun does not set at all in late June. A several hour journey North starting in Fairbanks, there are many opportunities for breathtaking vistas and Alaskan wildlife.


14. Fly Over Misty Fjords National Monument

We’re running out of superlatives to describe Alaska’s beauty, but flying over "the Misty's" as locals call it, gives you an aerial view of 3000-ft. cliffs, steep rock fiords, and thick rainforests. Check out how to explore Misty Fjords by airplane or boat here.


15. Camp At Lake Clark National Park

Located about 100 miles Southwest of Anchorage, base camping, backpacking, and hiking are just a few of the activities available. Lakeshores, high tundra, and coastal beaches are also part of this natural wonder. Check ahead to see if you need a guide for your hiking trip. 


16. Explore The Ghost Town Of McCarthy In The Wrangell-St. Elias Range

McCarthy, population up to 40, (but who’s counting?), isn’t a ghost town per se, and it is a listed census-designated place. It is the only community within a National Park. See the Root Glacier Trail, Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Nicolai Pass, among other sites. 


17. The Gates Of The Arctic

Finally, although just about every Alaska National Park is a must-see, the ultra-adventure-prone should visit The Gates of the Arctic.  Considered Alaska’s "ultimate wilderness,” it’s inaccessible by road, so you’ll have to take an air taxi to get there. Hiking trails are available, but check weather conditions before embarking.

 

18. Hike The Chilkoot Trail

Alaska has hundreds of hiking trails, but the Chilkoot Trail may be one of the most famous. This 33-mile trail is a local favorite and many journey to Skagway and her "sister" city, Dyea, each summer for the hike. To walk the first few miles of the trail, this Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float tour will give you the best introduction, but for those interested in the full experience, plan 3-5 days for the full hike and make sure to book ahead and spots are limited. Read this great blog about how to plan your Chilkoot Trail hiking trip.


19. Travel The Alaska Highway

Also known as the Alaska-Canada Highway, or the ALCAN, this road is a favorite for car or RV travel. The ALCAN offers breathtaking views of rugged, often snow-covered mountains and winding roads will bring unforgettable views. (The Canadian border is closed until further notice due to the Covid-19 pandemic.)

 

Have we listed everything? Of course not. Alaska is huge! And of course there are more must-visit summer spots in Alaska, and we're sure you will want to discover more off-the-beaten places of your own during your travels. 

We hope this list will help you get started and we can't wait for you to visit our great State of Alaska very soon!

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