“Sightseeing” has a unique meaning in Alaska. While elsewhere you might interpret this to include visiting historic points of interest such as monuments, museums, exhibits or the more casual strolling about town, in Alaska it can include a dramatic light show of the Northern Lights, a live demonstration of a bear devouring his dinner, an exciting whale watching cruise or a panoramic helicopter ride over a glacier field.
Here are a few ideas if you want to experience Alaska sightseeing “up close and personal”:
- View the Northern Lights: Travelers from around the world come to Alaska to witness these bright dancing lights. Capturing a clear photo might be tough after darkness falls, but we have a photo tour to help you with that. You’ll never forget seeing this spectacular, evolving light show.
- Get to know Alaska’s wildlife: No trip to Alaska is complete without seeing eagles, bears, whales and moose, whether in their natural environment or at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood, Raptor Center in Sitka, the Bird Treatment & Learning Center in Anchorage, or elsewhere.
- Explore an Alaska gold mine: Follow the path of Gold Rush dreamers to nuggets and artifacts in Fairbanks, Nome, McCarthy-Kennicott and Skagway.
- Meet Alaska Natives: Few Alaska vacations are deeper or more inspiring than those that allow you to experience Alaska Native drumming, song and dance, seeing Alaska Native art and tools, and learning about “Alaskana” lifestyles firsthand.
- See Denali National Park and Preserve: There’s a reason why it’s called “The Great One” and there’s no reason you should go home without seeing it. There are many viewing options, from standing in its shadow on a nearby glacier to taking a plane ride around its peak to just standing in awe from a faraway distance.
- Listen to an Alaska Glacier crash into the sea: These icy residents spider-web the state and make for chilling photos and memories, whether you are walking across one or watching it calve and create a boat-rocking splash.
- Stand on the Arctic Circle: Few can say they’ve been to the top of the world, but you can come pretty close and commemorate the venture by getting your photo taken next to the Arctic Circle sign.
- Take a ride on the Dalton Highway: The Dalton Highway is one of the roughest and most scenic roads in the world and a mandatory stop on the drive is at the Yukon River, one of North America’s longest and most remote rivers.
- Learn about remnants of Alaska’s Russian History: Historic Russian architecture dot various communities of the state and remind you how far northwest you really are.
- Meet a team of Sled Dogs: These pups are fun and born to run, and some of the Iditarod mushers offer tours and sled rides year-round.
- Honor Alaska’ strategic role in World War II : Whether you hike to a historic landmark or see artifacts at a museum, you’ll instantly appreciate the significance and sacrifice of those who were stationed in some of Alaska’s toughest landscapes protecting the country.
- Explore Nome: The famous burled arch in downtown Nome is where the iconic 1,000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race ends and where countless photos have been taken.
- See the whale bone arch in Barrow: When it comes to popular photo spots, this is one of the coolest and coldest in America.
- See a Totem Pole: Tall, colorful, animated and artistic, totem poles are fascinating photo subjects, each one telling a different story.
By experiencing even a few of these classics you will feel connected to Alaska’s finest and most interesting sightseeing pleasures!
Header photo courtesy of JodyO.Photos/Visit Anchorage