So, you’re thinking about taking a bucket-list journey to Alaska? You must have a long list of experiences you want to have, and I’m here to make the planning even more challenging. How do you decide which activities to include on your vacation versus those that will cause a return trip?
This Alaska bucket list includes some of the most famous Alaskan experiences as well as a few off-the-beaten-path adventures you may not have considered. Growing up in Alaska, those are a few of the ones that only natives know should be on your bucket list – and some that are still on mine.
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- Alaska Cruise
Taking an Alaska cruise is by far the most popular method to see Alaska – and the most common way to complete your Alaska bucket list! There’s nothing quite like sailing through the waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage. It is also the most convenient method to visit Glacier Bay, National Park. Each was a completely different experience, and cruising is by far the finest way to see Southeast Alaska.
- Rent an RV and travel across Alaska camping
Another popular method to see Alaska is by land, in an RV. While most Alaska summer RVers drive up the Alaska Highway, you can also into Anchorage, the state’s biggest city, and rent an RV. Drive south to Seward and experience the Kenai Peninsula, or head north to Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks. Or, if you have an RV, you can do them all! A word of caution: While it may be tempting to rent the largest, most luxurious RV available, renting a smaller one is. You’ll be able to drive much more on Alaska’s two-lane highways.
- Alaska Railroad
While it may appear that boats and cars are the best ways to see Alaska, don’t dismiss the train. The Alaska Railroad is the state’s primary passenger train, but there is only one railroad route! (The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway offers a short rail ride from Skagway.) You can take the train from Seward to Fairbanks, stopping in Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali along the way; learn about all of Alaska’s finest train rides.
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- Denali, “The Great One”
No matter where you go in The Last Frontier, seeing Denali should be at the top of your agenda. Denali is a stunning natural marvel as the highest mountain in North America, and because it is the tallest mountain in Alaska, you can see it from many viewpoints in Southcentral and Interior Alaska. Denali National Park is a must-see, but the Denali Backcountry Adventure is another excellent choice. Growing up in Alaska, I was to see Denali on a daily basis. I’m still taken aback every time I see her towering silhouette on the horizon.
- Denali National Park
Denali National Park is a must-see for anyone visiting Alaska, and it’s one of the primary reasons. The National Park Service’s 6-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour is the finest way to see Denali. In reality, this is one of the park’s only three entrances. Keep a watch out for the Alaskan Big Five: Moose, Bear*, Caribou, Dall Sheep, and Wolves while you’re there. Most people see 2-4 on any given day; if you see all five, consider yourself fortunate!
- Katmai National Park
If you don’t see any grizzlies in Denali National Park, consider adding another bear-viewing event to your Alaska bucket list. There, you’ll see bears waiting for salmon to jump straight into their open maws in the Brooks River. It turns out that Lake Clark National Park has a second, lesser-known location. You can get there by scheduling a flight from the Kenai Peninsula town of Homer.
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