Exploring the Wilderness and Experiencing the Last Frontier
Why Visit Alaska?
The allure of Alaska is hard to put into words. Even those who have probably never visited the state – let alone those who have – can understand the pull that it has. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you’re either a tourist or someone considering a future vacation in Alaska.
Alaska is located in the extreme northwestern corner of the United States. It shares a land border with Canada but is mostly surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. This means that practically the entire state is at least partially exposed to the elements, so be mindful of the weather conditions especially surrounding the state’s southernmost areas – where most of the tourist attractions, hotels, and other buildings are located.
Another major draw of this majestic state is its unmatched wildernesses, both coastal and continental. While the state’s geography is mostly mountainous, with some lowlands, its infrastructure mostly consists of small towns and vast distances between them. This makes the territory feel more like a wilderness, although modern conveniences such as hotels, rental cars, and tours are available if you want them.
The Top 15 Attractions in Alaska
When it comes to attractions in Alaska, one of the best places to start is the Anchorage Museum. The museum has a large collection of Alaskan Native art and historical exhibits as well as a stellar array of archaeological, geological, and paleontological artifacts from the entire state.
Just beyond the Anchorage Museum is the city’s annual Folk Life Festival, which features live music, dances, storytelling, and other elements rooted in traditional Alaskan culture. The event usually takes place in September and draws thousands of people to the city.
Anchorage’s other main attraction is the Anchorage Bowl. This is a massive outdoor rock amphitheater that is used for performances and events throughout the year. It is best known for its annual Summer Concert Series, which brings world-class performers to the stage and continues even in the winter.
Further up I-95, Exit 244 leads to a spectacular view of the Matanuska Glacier and its tumbling ice streams. Just down the road is the Talkeetna Curio Shoppe. This is a collection of art and trinkets from all over the world. If you are a fan of antiques, you will find plenty of items from the 1800s and earlier to purchase. If you want to take a break from all that shopping, head for the Matanuska Cafe, which serves up some of the best ice creams in the world. The Blueberry Hill Cafe next to it is another good option for lunch or dinner, although the Matanuska Glacier is more of a stopover than a destination in itself.
Where To Stay In Alaska
There are many options for accommodation in Alaska, including a variety of luxury resorts, small and friendly B&Bs, and even traditional camping. If you are looking for a big adventure, you could stay in a log cabin in Valdez and explore the area on your own. There is also plenty of choices when it comes to food. You could opt for Chinese, Italian, or Native Alaskan cuisine, depending on what you prefer. There are also well-known restaurants in all the major towns and cities, so you are sure to find something to suit your taste.
Getting To Know The People
Alaska is famous for being one of the most sparsely populated states in the nation. That being said, the population that does live in the state is extremely friendly and welcoming to travelers. They’re happy to show you around their towns and offer assistance of any kind. If you visit during the off-season, you will often find many businesses and facilities closed, but the people still go about their daily lives as if nothing has changed.
Speaking of changing, let’s discuss the matter of money. The currency in the state is the US Dollar, but purchasing power is relatively low. For that reason, prices in the state are usually higher than elsewhere. Traveling is expensive too, so whenever you plan on visiting another state, Alaska’s reputation as a luxury tourist destination will likely end.