As you embark on an adventure in Alaska, prepare to witness some of the most stunning landscapes and wildlife on the planet. From massive glaciers to whales breaching the ocean’s surface, Alaska offers an array of natural wonders for you to experience. Whether you want to gaze at the Northern Lights, explore ice caves, or spot bears catching salmon, the opportunities for adventure in the Last Frontier are endless.
With its pristine natural surroundings and abundance of activities in the great outdoors, Alaska is an ideal destination for anyone seeking an escape from the ordinary. Get ready to discover 15 amazing things that make Alaska an adventure paradise.
The Northern Lights: See the Magical Aurora Borealis in Alaska
To experience one of the greatest natural wonders, head to Alaska to see the spectacular Northern Lights.
The Science of the Aurora
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are created by charged particles from the sun interacting with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. When these particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen, they produce vivid displays of light that dance across the night sky. The colors most often seen are green and red.
The Best Places to See the Lights
Some of the best places to view the Aurora Borealis in Alaska are:
Fairbanks: Located in the Interior of Alaska with little light pollution, it offers optimal viewing conditions. Take a tour to see the lights from a heated cabin or go dog sledding under the night sky.
- Denali National Park: Miles from any large city, the park is an ideal spot to see the bright colors move across the sky. You can view the lights right from your campsite.
- Glacier Bay National Park: Take a cruise to get away from any ambient light and see the Aurora reflect off the water and ice. The lights are often very vibrant here due to the elevation and clear skies.
- Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: Southwest Alaska near Bethel offers secluded viewing and the opportunity to learn about the cultural significance of the Northern Lights to native tribes.
- Wrangell-St. Elias National Park: The biggest national park in the United States. It provides plenty of open space to watch the Aurora Borealis dance under dark skies.
With stunning scenery and optimal viewing conditions, Alaska is one of the premier places on Earth to witness the incredible Aurora Borealis in all its glory. An encounter with the Northern Lights is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget.
Majestic Mountains and Glaciers Galore
To experience the majestic beauty of Alaska, head to the mountains and glaciers. Alaska is home to some of the largest glaciers in North America, as well as snow-capped mountains that will take your breath away.
Glaciers like Mendenhall, Matanuska, and Worthington are stunning rivers of ice you can see up close. At Mendenhall Glacier, just outside Juneau, you can view the glacier from trails and get within a half mile of its face. For the best view, kayak or take a boat tour to the base of a tidewater glacier like Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park. The sounds of ice calving into the sea are unforgettable.
With over 100,000 glaciers and more than 70 mountain ranges, Alaska’s scenery is unparalleled. Denali, North America’s tallest peak, towers over 20,000 feet high. Whether climbing or just viewing from afar, its immense size will leave a lasting impression. Other stunning ranges include the Chugach, Alaska, and Kenai mountains, which offer opportunities for hiking, climbing, and scenic flightseeing.
A Photographer’s Paradise
From massive glaciers and ice fields to rugged snow-capped mountains, Alaska is a dream destination for landscape and nature photographers. Everywhere you turn, a photo opportunity awaits, allowing you to capture the beauty and grandeur of America’s last frontier. For the best photos, visit in the spring or fall when the weather is pleasant, the crowds have dwindled, and the scenic splendor comes alive with color.
With pristine vistas, immense glaciers, and mountains that pierce the sky, Alaska’s majestic scenery will move you. Experience the call of the wild and discover the great outdoors in one of the world’s last great frontiers.
Abundant Wildlife: Bears, Moose, and More Alaska is home to some of the most stunning wildlife on the planet. As one of the last true wildernesses, Alaska’s vast landscapes are inhabited by animals living freely and naturally in their native habitat.
Alaska is famous for its bear population, with estimates of over 100,000 black bears and grizzly bears roaming the state. You might spot a bear fishing for salmon in a stream, foraging for berries in the brush, or with cubs in tow. Always be cautious with these large creatures and allow them lots of room and respect.
Moose are ubiquitous in Alaska and one of its most iconic animals. Standing up to 7 feet tall at the shoulder, moose are the largest members of the deer family. Bull moose, with their massive antlers, can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Moose tend to inhabit boreal forests and wetlands, feeding on aquatic plants, leaves, and twigs. Always be cautious with these large creatures and allow them lots of room and respect.
Alaska’s coastal waters provide habitat for whales like humpback whales, gray whales, killer whales, and beluga whales. Whale-watching tours offer the chance to see these magnificent marine mammals in their natural environment. The best spots are Glacier Bay National Park, Inside Passage, and Kenai Fjords National Park. Whale viewing season lasts from May to September.
The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States, and Alaska has the highest concentration in the country. These raptors, whose wingspan may reach eight feet, are an amazing sight. Bald eagles tend to nest in old-growth forests near rivers and lakes, building the largest tree nests of any North American bird. The best time to spot bald eagles in Alaska is in the summer and during the salmon runs.
Alaska offers unparalleled opportunities to view wildlife in its unspoiled native terrain. A glimpse of bears catching fish, humpback whales breaching, or bald eagles soaring is a magical experience you will never forget—a journey to the far north for a front-row seat to nature’s greatest show.
Endless Summer Days and Midnight Sun
Alaska’s northern location makes it an ideal destination to experience the midnight sun and enjoy seemingly endless summer days.
Endless Summer Days and Midnight Sun
Alaska’s northern latitude allows for extended daylight hours during the summer. Parts of Alaska experience up to 19 hours of daylight at the summer solstice. The northernmost regions of the state even experience a “midnight sun” where the sun remains above the horizon for more than 24 hours.
During the summer, the long hours of daylight provide ample opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration. You can go hiking or fleeing late into the evening. Many tours and excursions operate until 9 p.m. or later during the summer. The extended daylight also allows you to be more spontaneous since you have more time to fit in activities.
Two of the best places to experience the midnight sun are Fairbanks and parts of the Interior, as well as towns north of the Arctic Circle like Barrow and Deadhorse. At the summer solstice, Fairbanks gets over 19 hours of daylight, and Barrow has sunlight for 84 straight days. Many visitors find the midnight sun a surreal experience as the long sunsets make it difficult to tell what time it is without looking at a watch.
The summer solstice, around June 21st, is one of the most popular times to visit Alaska to experience the full effect of the midnight sun. However, the weeks surrounding the solstice also tend to be the most crowded with tourists. If you want to avoid larger crowds, consider visiting in July or August when you can still enjoy up to 16-17 hours of daylight in Fairbanks and Barrow. The summer season winds down in early September, so be sure to schedule your trip before then.
Experiencing Alaska’s midnight sun and seemingly endless summer days is a memorable part of any trip to America’s last frontier. The long hours of daylight provide opportunities for outdoor adventure and a chance to soak in the scenic beauty of the Alaskan landscape during the warmer summer months. A visit during the summer solstice or in July and August will allow you to experience the full effect of Alaska’s midnight sun.
Vast Wilderness to Explore: National Parks, Forests and
Alaska offers some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world, with its vast wilderness spanning millions of acres.
Tongass National Forest
The Tongass National Forest blankets most of southeastern Alaska and contains massive ice fields, Coast Mountains, and over 10,000 miles of shoreline. It is the country’s biggest national forest and home to diverse wildlife like bald eagles, bears, whales, and salmon. Outdoor enthusiasts
can enjoy activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, and flightseeing.
Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park showcases tidewater glaciers, coastal rainforests, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Visitors can witness the dramatic tidewater glaciers calving into the sea and spot humpback whales, harbor seals, brown bears, and mountain goats in their natural habitat. The park offers ranger-led hikes, boat tours, and the opportunity to observe glaciers that are still actively advancing and retreating.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park is one of the crown jewels of Alaska’s wilderness. It is home to North America’s tallest peak, 20,310-foot Denali, as well as stunning subarctic scenery, abundant wildlife, and over six million acres of untamed backcountry. The park is a paradise for mountaineering, hiking, camping, flightseeing, and spotting wildlife like grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, and golden eagles.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Elias National Park is the largest national park in the country.. It covers over 13 million acres. The park encompasses massive ice fields, active volcanoes, and the continent’s greatest collection of glaciers, including the Hubbard Glacier.
The area offers backpacking, mountaineering, rafting, flightseeing, and the chance to see diverse wildlife in a pristine setting. The park’s remote wilderness provides solitude and scenic beauty with its forests, tundra, rivers, and mountain peaks.
With its vast, unspoiled wilderness and stunning natural scenery, Alaska offers outdoor adventures and experiences found nowhere else. The national parks, forests, and preserves provide the perfect backdrop for exploring the state’s unparalleled natural wonders.
From glacier trekking to whale watching to flightseeing over massive ice fields, Alaska offers an unparalleled buffet of adventure activities for the bold traveler. Whether you want to dog sled through the wilderness, spot massive grizzly bears in their natural habitat, or pan for gold in historic gold rush towns, the Last Frontier delivers experiences you can’t find anywhere else. As you embark on your Alaskan adventure, keep an open and curious mind. Some of the most memorable moments happen spontaneously. Be prepared to be awed by the grandeur of massive glaciers calving into the sea. Marvel at the Aurora Borealis dancing across the night sky. With stunning scenery, exciting activities, and welcoming locals around every bend, Alaska will ignite your spirit of adventure and inspire you in ways you never imagined. The only question that remains is, what are you waiting for? Your Alaskan adventure awaits.