Upper Twin Lake in Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, United States Upper Twin Lake in Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, United States

The 5 Best Places to Go in Alaska

There is no other place like Alaska when it comes to spectacular stunning landscapes and unforeseen encounters with a diverse range of species. Alaska, dubbed “The Last Frontier,” was joined to the union as the 49th state, yet it quickly rose to the top in standards of breathtaking beauty. Therefore, it’s time for you to know the best places to go in Alaska.

Where have you been if you haven’t been to Alaska yet? Many people travel to Alaska to see the breathtaking scenery of pristine nature, the best places to go in Alaska, including towering mountains, fjords, glaciers, crystal clear lakes, cascades, and National Parks.

Wildlife Spotting

One of the main attractions to visit in Alaska is its destination for wildlife spotting. One of the thrills and delights of your vacation will be cruising over the Inside Passage and viewing the secluded islands set against a magnificent landscape.

Natural Beauty and Rich History

The rocky natural splendor of Alaska is well-known around the world with many best places to go in Alaska. The state is the largest in the United States, with a wide expanse of untouched wildness. Native Americans, gold miners, explorers, and wildlife enthusiasts have all left their mark on the state. Alaska is a mesmerizing state in the western United States, on the northwestern tip of the continent.

Alaska is the quintessential wildness, with slopes to climb, streams to raft, glaciers to admire, and a slew of bears to the picture. The raw, unadulterated beauty of the 49th state of the United States is almost astounding from the time you arrive.

Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet, from the majestic mountains towering over Juneau to the huge skies above Fairbanks and the ice caps of Denali.

Must-See Destinations in Alaska

With glaciers and the size of many US states, it is impossible to see all in one trip. USA Mocha has compiled a list of your favorite spots to explore in Alaska to assist you to start organizing your vacation to this stunning state.

You will probably not be able to finish just one trip, so return to cross everyone off your list. The splashing of bears, dolphins, and deer is another spectacular sight you might catch a peek at. Explore the 10 Must-See Places in Alaska to satisfy your wanderer self.

Museums and National Heritage Centers

Native Americans, gold miners, and Russian fur traders are all part of Alaska’s rich and varied heritage. Don’t skip out on touring Alaska’s distinctive museums and national heritage centers.

No matter what time of year you come, Alaska’s landscapes offer many unique excursions that are on many tourists’ bucket lists. If you are wondering what are the best places to go in Alaska, this article is for you.

Outdoor Activities

Kayak, river rafting, trekking, recreational fishing, and beautiful flightseeing are all available in this natural paradise, especially during the summertime. Ice hiking and glacier climbing are also provided at the best places to go in Alaska. You will have more than enough time for these excursions.

Dog Sledding and A Laid-Back Vibe

Dog sledding is also popular in Alaska in the winter, especially in an arctic national park. The entire state has a really laid-back vibe to it, so if you enjoy a calm and peaceful vibe, the best places to go in Alaska can also be one of the best places to live for you.

5 Best Places to Go in Alaska

1. Visit the Amazing National Parks in Alaska

How to Visit Alaska's National Parks

Alaska is unlike any other location on the planet, both appealing and terrifying. Amongst many best places to go in Alaska, the eight national parks of Alaska are host to breathtaking stunning scenery and some of the country’s last existing examples of a real, vast wilderness.

The mountainous coastline of Alaska is unlike anywhere else on the planet. Alaska, with its rich quantities of Ice Age relics and distinctive geothermal phenomena such as Serpentine Hot Springs, is also a crucial location for archaic people migrating across Asia and The Middle East.

1.1. Alaska’s 16 National Parks

Alaska is home to more than eight of its most well-known national parks. In fact, Alaska has a total of 16 national parks. Nature reserves, streams, landmarks, sanctuaries, and historic parks are all included. Each one is distinctive, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. If you are a national park lover, have a look at Voyageurs National Park Camping.

1.2. Weather and Wildlife

Any one of the national parks in Alaska will mesmerize you and literally take your breath away. Make sure to prepare appropriately for the weather. It can storm in Alaska at any moment of the year. Expect damp weather and mists in areas of the state because it is nestled in a rainforest environment. As a result of climate change, several summers contain devastating wildfires.

1.3. Navigating Alaska’s National Parks

Many animals, especially those in rural places in southeast Alaska, have never come into contact with people at many best places to go in Alaska. It is critical to conduct research and know how to act in the presence of wild animals in the forever-surprising state.

Moreover, several of Alaska’s national parks lack roads and trails so you will also have to research means of travel. In case of any emergency that may occur, you should be entirely self-sufficient and carry layouts, a map, a GPS tracker, and a satellite phone.

(a) Denali National Park

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Photo by from Shutterstock

Ranking first on the list of best places to go in Alaska is Denali National Park and Preserves a beautiful and special site renowned for more than merely the mountains.

The national park is also abode to 37 distinct species of mammals, notably marmots, lynx, Arctic ground squirrels, and Arctic possums, as well as foxes and snowshoe voles, and 130 distinct bird species, such as the majestic golden eagle. Denali National Park and Preserve is a 6 million-acre wildlife reserve in Alaska’s heartland.

Denali is also known as Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain, and stands at 20,310 feet. Wildlife like mountain lions, wolves, grizzly bears, moose, elk, and Dall sheep live in the park’s grassland, evergreen forest, and mountains. Biking, trekking, hiking, and climbing are all popular summer sports here.

Board the park bus for an exhilarating excursion in pursuit of animals and a close encounter with Denali Mountain. Private vehicles are not allowed to cross Mile 15 of Park Road, so this is your chance to experience the core of the park; additionally, the bus includes a naturalist narrative. Another alternative is to take a bus tour, fly in one direction, or hire a bike and travel the region on two wheels.

On a flightseeing trip, you will get a bird’s-eye view of the wilderness and up-close views of snowy peaks, giving you a new perspective on the park’s beauty. Travel by plane to see more of the area, or by chopper to land on a mountain, or even better, hike through the alpine tundra.

Adventure via ATV or Wrangler to go off the usual path. In either case, you will enjoy the buzz of wading through waters as you drive along the Alaskan tundra on your trip deep into the wilderness. You can choose to sit back and enjoy the scenery and look for wildlife as a spectator on a Jeep trip, or you can turn the reins and drive your own vehicle.

You can also hire an ATV or jeep and go off on your own to survey the island. Rushing the Nenana River is a thrilling opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the peace and quiet of Alaska’s backcountry. Choose a relaxing float tour where you can relax while gazing up over the snow-capped mountains.

(b) Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park
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Glacier Bay is a protected area for humpback whales and one of the best places to go in Alaska. Humpback Whales in the reserve’s waterways have some of the most rigorous safeguards available in any place on the globe. The amount of whales sighted in Glacier Bay is increasing every year after a period of dramatic decline.

Plan on staying in Glacier National Park for at least two to three nights. This will allow you to travel the Going-to-the-Sun Route, trek one or two hikes, and see the numerous glaciers and two medicine regions.

Unlike other national parks, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve have no entry fee. While exploring Glacier Bay National Park, there are a variety of housing alternatives. The reserve’s only accommodation is Glacier Bay Lodge, which is situated near Bartlett Cove.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is a US national park towards the west of Juneau in Southeastern Alaska. The only way to get to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is by hiring a boat or a plane.

The single road in the vicinity leads the tiny village of Gustavus and its airstrip to Bartlett Cove, where reserve headquarters are located. In 1979, Glacier Bay was designated as a bi-national World Heritage Site By UNESCO, and in 1986, it was designated as a Biosphere Reserve.

In the year 1994, the National Park Service agreed to collaborate with Yakutat Tlingit and Hoonah Native American organizations to oversee the nature preserve. The park’s nickname came from the abundance of tidewater and territorial glaciers, which are 1,045 in total. In the reserve, there are seven coastal glaciers you can watch.

Glacier views are generally frequent when in the reserve, and they are always magnificent from the boat, whether you are on a Glacier Bay tour boat, cruise liner, a smaller tour boat excursion, an even shorter water taxi, or only one-person kayak.

The famed Brady, Carroll, and Grand Glaciers, for example, have a tremendous presence. Others are nestled back in and above the park’s numerous coves, inlets, harbors, and bays.

Witness the glacial calve, unleashing massive blocks of ice and causing dramatic crashes, cascades, and icebergs. Alaska Native culture and traditions are still alive and well, bold and evident.

Tourists in the park can interact with residents and learn about their culture. Languages, painting, music, dance, stories, and traditional food are all celebrated at this cultural hub.

(c) Elias National Park

Landscape of the Wrangell st. Elias National park, McCarthy, Alaskaw
Photo by from Depositphotos

Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve span over 20,000 square miles of alpine wildness — more than 50,000 square kilometers, or 25% the size of Switzerland. Do trekking in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Elias if you have the potential to be exceptional.

The majority of hiking paths are well-kept for the first several kilometers before becoming pathways. The most incredible news is that the dogs are welcomed on parkland trails and in the wilderness.

The park is significant and one of the best places to go in Alaska because of the beautiful glacier and icefield sceneries, as well as the significance of home for brown bears, elk, and Dall sheep.

Wrangell-St. Elias’ mission- The mission of Elias National Park and Preserve is to conserve the natural visual beauty of the park’s various geology, glacial, and riverside habitats, and to safeguard the surrounding wildlife populations and landscapes

A few of the biggest volcanoes in Canada and the United States will indeed be found in Elias. Mount Wrangell, amongst the globe’s three biggest active volcanoes with lava flows, is part of the Wrangell Volcanic Range, which spans over 2,000 sq miles.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is an American nature reserve and park in south-central Alaska administered by the National Park Service.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act mandated the park and reserve in 1980. Its remote region, innumerable hills, massive glaciers, and stunning scenic wonders are truly breathtaking.

Driving in on McCarthy Lane, dragging your luggage across the causeway, and being whisked away to your resort or campsite feels like an expedition. The reserve and public areas are always available for a visit.

Wander the bookstores and theatre in the park’s major visitor center, then head across the street to the Ahtna Cultural Hub to learn more about the local Alaska Natives. Finish your visit with a stroll along with one of the little hiking routes, such as the half-mile circle that features a view of the Wrangell Hills. An organized tour conducted by a professional guide is also available.

The 42-mile Nabesna Route, located on the reserve’s northern edge and one of only two routes that enable access to the park, offers spectacular vistas. Along the trip, you will drive through breathtaking scenery created by a few of North America’s tallest peaks. The voyage is more important than the destination on this trip.

2. Explore The Alaska Museum of Science and Nature

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Editorial credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

The Alaska Museum of Science & Nature welcomes visitors on a training opportunity across the state as well, from the Aleutian Islands to the Northern Slopes to the Panhandle, and from ancient times to today. AKSCI meets a particular demand in Alaska for scientific education by focusing solely on the state’s cultural, geological, social, and natural history.

The exhibit has been dedicated to its objective from the beginning, creating and promoting educational activities that benefit the general public as well as improving the curriculum of Alaskan universities and schools.

2.1. History of The Alaska Museum of Science and Natural History

The Alaska Museum of Science and Natural History officially opened its doors in a shopping center in Eagle River in 1994, with a diverse collection of animal and archaeological exhibits, thanks to the support of regional businesses and private organizations.

This educational and ever-surprising museum in Alaska is not only amongst Alaska’s most well-known museums but also a renowned cultural and academic center. This well-known museum can be found in Anchorage, Alaska. The museum first officially opened its doors in 1999, and it now houses 11 of Alaska’s most important cultural tribes.

2.2. Alaska Museum of Science and Natural History

This historical center is amongst the best places to go in Alaska and is located on 26 wooded acres and contains a Hall of Culture as well as a large meeting area. It emphasizes Alaska’s flora, fauna, archaeology, and geography. Dinosaurs, gemstones, sea creatures, birds, the glacial period, and its species are among the exhibits.

3. Inspect the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center

Alaska | Mendenhall Glacier & Visitor Center | Travel Guide

Making a place for itself on the list of best places to go in Alaska, a trip to Alaska is not completed without a visit to the Mendenhall Glacier close-up. The 13-mile-long stretch of Mendenhall Glacier, which finishes at Mendenhall Lake and can be seen from the Forest Service’s antique visitor center, is the Juneau Icefield’s best prominent emblem.

Whereas many visitors visit Mendenhall Glacial as part of a tour package or as part of a beach expedition, you can also visit the glacier solo.

3.1. The Juneau Icefield and Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center

Hire a cab from Juneau, book a car, and drive to the glacier, or you can also hop on the city bus to Glacier Spur Route and stroll the length of the field left. Vistas of the thirteen-mile-long glacial stream, which ends on the furthest end of Mendenhall Lake, and turquoise icebergs swirling in the lake amid projections of southeastern Alaska’s cascade mountains can be found here.

3.2. Activities at Mendenhall Glacier

The Mendenhall Glacier is amongst the several significant glaciers that lead to the massive Juneau Ice Field, a 1,500-square-mile ice-age relic cradled up in the coastal highlands’ towering peaks. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is open to the public and offers a plethora of information.

The center itself includes cutting-edge displays, a 15-minute presentation on the Tongass National Forest and its adjoining glaciers, and an Exploration Southeast bookstore where visitors can browse.

3.3. Wildlife at Mendenhall Glacier

Several hikes of varying lengths and difficulty lead you to cascade waterfalls and spawning streams. Expect to see black bears, hedgehogs, beavers, porcupines, bald eagles, polar terns, sea lions, ducks, wild salmon, and Coho salmon, as well as other species.

4. Prospect the Alaska Native Heritage Center

Experience Authentic Alaska Native Culture at Alaska Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center, situated in Anchorage, Alaska, is a cultural and educational organization for all Alaskans. The center first officially opened in 1999 and quickly rose to the top as one of the best places to go in Alaska.

4.1. Celebrating Alaska’s Cultural Groups

The Alaska Native Heritage Center celebrates the 11 significant cultural groups in the region of Alaska and has made a name for itself as one of the best places to go in Alaska. The Hall of Cultures contains a variety of interactive displays that will educate you more about Alaska’s five main social and cultural communities.

4.2. Alaska Native Fun Craft Activities and Artisan Exhibitions

Children will also be amused with Alaska Native fun craft activities, and Alaska Native artisans will exhibit and sell their goods all across the Hall of Cultures. ANHC functions as a regional facility for Alaska Natives from infancy to elderhood and as the only provincial social and educational facility committed to recognizing all traditions and heritages.

This exhibit in Anchorage takes an in-depth view of Alaskan Native life, with a special emphasis on Alaska Natives. Watch dance performances, listen to historic tales, meet craftsmen, and tour reconstructed winter homes. During performances, viewers are occasionally requested to join the performers on stage to have a fun time since the space is so modest and cozy.

4.3. A Regional Facility for Alaska Natives

ANHC seeks to provide visitors and non-Natives with a foundation in which to connect with Alaska Native heritage through permanent collection archives, life-sized community sites, and holistic educational programs.

They recognize that they are in a privileged position to offer meaningful interactions, authentic exhibitions, and dynamic resources that foster empathy and understanding of the people’s everyday experiences.

You will witness the best places to go in Alaska and how Alaska Native culture is more than a museum of relics beyond glass: it is a dynamic, live, heritage, and culture in which you can participate.

5. Walk Through the Totem Heritage Center

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Editorial credit: Milan Sommer / Shutterstock.com

A journey to the Totem Heritage Center, as well as to a minimum one of the totem pole sites, is mandatory. But go to the gallery first so you know what you are watching when you arrive at the parks.

The displays here will provide you with a solid foundation in the essentials. The City of Ketchikan administers the Totem Heritage Centre point, which is a museum.

5.1. Vintage 19th-Century Totem Poles

One of the world’s greatest displays of vintage 19th-century totem poles is housed in the Heritage Museum. The poles were discovered on Village Island in abandoned Tlingit communities.

5.2. Preserving Totems and Serving as A Cultural Hub

The Hub is among the best places to go in Alaska and was established in 1976 with the goal of preserving these totems while also serving as a cultural hub. Sixteen of the gallery’s thirty-three totem poles are always on exhibit, with the others accessible for research if you want.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are Alaska’s Top 5 Tourist Destinations?

Denali National Park & Preserve, Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Anchorage, and Juneau are the top 5 destinations in Alaska.

2. Which Outdoor Adventures Are the Greatest in Alaska?

Alaska’s top outdoor pursuits include hiking, wildlife observation, fishing, kayaking, and camping.

3. What is the best time to Travel to Alaska?

The activities you want to do will determine the optimum time to travel to Alaska. When the weather is pleasant and the days are long, June through August is the busiest travel period. But, the best months to go are from September through April if you want to see the Northern Lights.

Summarizing It

Explore Alaska’s lovely towns and cities, experience the tallest peak in North America, enjoy the Northern Lights, travel the 1,500-mile Alaska Route, explore Kenai fjords national park, Alaska railroad, Kodiak national wildlife refuge, Katmai national park, hiking trails, and tour the Kenai peninsula while watching for mountain goats.

If you have never seen Alaska, it is tough to describe the best places to go in Alaska and its stunning scenery and grandeur — you are in for a real spectacle on your first trip.

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Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Laveleena Sharma