10 Things You Must Know Before Going to Alaska

10 Things You Must Know Before Going to Alaska

Alaska is one of the most beautiful states. Grizzly Man, Into the Wild, The Proposal, The Grey, Mystery Alaska, and Insomnia are just some of the movies that were shot in the Last Frontier. However, no number of films can do justice to the state. It is home to beautiful wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and clean air. With millions of acres of unspoiled nature, it has various national parks that allow you to escape from the mundane. If you are planning a visit to Alaska and want to add activities to your travel itinerary, you have come to the right place. Read our post for the ultimate trip. 

1. Ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway

One of the best things to do when you visit Alaska is to ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. This American and Canadian narrow route links Whitehorse in Yukon and Skagway in Alaska. Built back in 1900, it was operational until 1982 and allowed miners to easily reach the goldfields. As it is a heritage railway, it was restored in 1988. This means that you can go on a ride to transport back in time. When you ride the train, you will get to watch dense forests, steep gorges, glacial rivers, and waterfalls pass by. Hence, you have to ride the train as it climbs 3,000 feet and takes you to the Yukon River.  


2. Take the Talkeetna Air Taxi

Another great thing to do in Alaska is to take the Talkeetna Air Taxi. Get a glimpse of the 8 million acres of the Denali National Park. Watch the sky-high peaks, stunning gorges, and ancient glaciers from the air. There is nothing quite like it. Ride one of the safest planes to experience everything from above. The tour is customized based on visibility and weather conditions. The plane will land on a glacier so that you can take it all in. 

3. Visit Kodiak Laboratory Aquarium 

The Kodiak Laboratory Aquarium is located at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. This 3,500-gallon aquarium houses a variety of marine species including starfish, snails, shrimps, and crabs. A tour operator will provide you with all the information you need to know about the local sea life. Marvel at the aquarium and learn more about the area during your visit. 

4. Head to the University of Alaska Museum of the North

The next thing that you should do is head to the University of Alaska Museum of the North to learn everything about the state such as its people, the art, the culture, the history, the plants, and the wildlife. There are also exhibits that you can view to get a sense of the Alaskan way of life and take a look at old Eskimo carvings. In addition to this, you will also get to check out native artifacts and a steppe bison mummy that has been fully restored and dates back to the Ice Age. You can relax in the common room, play puzzles, read, and take in the gorgeous views at the museum.  


5. Explore the Aurora Ice Museum

Located in Fairbanks is the Aurora Ice Museum. It is made up of snow and ice and has a gallery that displays sculptures made by Heather and Steve Brice who are world champion ice carvers. There is also an ice outhouse and Northern Lights room where you can relax. The chandeliers at the museum change colors to depict the aurora borealis. 


6. Spend Time at the Running Reindeer Ranch

Running Reindeer Ranch is a short drive from downtown Fairbanks. It is the perfect place to learn more about the animals of the Great North. The ranch owner will take you through the dense birch forest and allow you to try out reindeer games. If you want to know about life in the Arctic and the reindeer that occupy it, this ranch is just the place that you need to check out. Watch the reindeers run wild and express themselves in a safe space. You will find it to be an adventure. Besides, you will also get to enjoy a hot drink and some cookies over a warm fire. 


7. Check out the Husky Homestead

Huskies are beautiful creatures that you should meet at the Husky Homestead. Rather than riding a dog sled across the Alaskan tundra, you can spend time in this welcoming space. Jeff King, the legendary Iditarod race winner has opened up his home to people who want to gain an insight into the Alaskan lifestyle and the huskies. You will also get a chance to play with the puppies. 


8. Take a Kenai Fjords Tour

The Kenai Fjords National Park is located south of Seward, a small town just 125 miles from the capital. If you want to get close to sea lions, ancient glaciers, arctic birds, and seals, you need to take a Kenai Fjords tour. The magnificent alpine glaciers are simply phenomenal. As you travel deep into the national park, you will get to see the untouched beauty. You can either go on a Fox Island Tour, the National Park Tour, or the Resurrection Bay Tour. Ride a 95-foot vessel to explore the state in comfort. It provides enclosed cabins that are fully heated. 

alaska Kenai Fjords National Park

9. See Totem Bight State Historical Park

For an authentic Alaskan experience, you need to visit Totem Bight State Historical Park. It has 15 totem poles that share visual stories and an indigenous village. The clan house was built in the 19th century and has a central fireplace where you can get cozy. It features a variety of paintings that highlight the history of the region.

fire place alaska

10. Go Whale-Watching in Juneau 

When you visit Alaska, you should also go whale-watching in Juneau. It is located on the coast and is surrounded by ancient glaciers and lush rainforests. It has many trails. However, the best thing about Juneau is that it allows you to see your very first humpback whale in action. Watch how the whales emerge from the depths of the sea for a breather. It is a good idea to go on a whale watch adventure tour as it would take you through Downtown Juneau. As you cruise along the bay, you will also encounter bald eagles and black bears. 


FAQs about Visiting Alaska :

When To Visit Alaska To See The Northern Lights?

If you want to see the northern lights, you need to understand that they are not visible throughout the year. You can only spot the aurora borealis on a dark night when it is not as cloudy. The best time to visit Alaska to watch the northern lights is between August and April. As it does not get dark enough during the summer, you cannot expect to see the aurora borealis if you visit when the weather is a lot warmer. You can use an aurora forecast app to ensure that you do not miss out during your visit to Alaska. Keep in mind that the northern lights might only show up on a camera at times. 

What to Wear in Alaska?

For the perfect trip to Alaska, you need to pack practical clothes instead of branded clothing. Since the weather can be quite unpredictable, the temperature varies, especially depending on the latitude and altitude. You must pack a waterproof jacket, a warm fleece, and some leggings even if visiting during the summer. Take some gloves and a hat with you. Make sure that you wear footwear that is durable and warm. The locals barely dress up as there is an emphasis on functionality.

Is Alaska Safe To Visit?

Although Alaska is quite safe, it has the highest crime rate. However, crime is mostly aggregated in Anchorage and is an urban phenomenon. You should not experience any issues as you travel around the state. Moreover, some common sense will go a long way in helping ensure that you remain safe. 

As there are lots of bears in Alaska, you need to stay away from them to minimize the risk of a dangerous encounter. But, if you encounter a bear, you must not run as it is impossible to outrun a bear. Instead, you stop dead and avoid making any sudden moves. Only if a bear bites you continuously should you fight back. Always carry a bear spray with you if you want to go for a hike. You also have to be careful around other potentially dangerous animals like wolves, elk, musk oxen, cougars, and moose. 


Now that you have gone over our guide to visiting Alaska, you will know everything there is to know about planning a visit to the state. It is always better to be prepared. Make sure that you are careful during your stay and follow the way of life. Expect to be amazed during your time in this heavenly state. You will not want to go back home as it is truly extraordinary and has a lot to offer just about every type of traveler.

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