Now when I started planning my Alaskan adventure, I found it difficult to plan – where is all the travel information on Alaska? Surely someone out there has written a blog on it or providing some advice on the world wide web! I discovered once I arrived that I was one of the younger tourists in Alaska by a good twenty years. So is it worth going to Alaska if you aren’t retired? Definitely do it. Alaska is as they say, the last frontier, with its simply breathtaking scenery, iconic wildlife it is well worth the adventure.
Regions to see:
Southeast Alaska – Take a cruise along the southeastern coast of Alaska taking in the mountainous coastline, fjords, glaciers and great open ocean. Cruising is a convenient way to see the coastline, and it can also be a very affordable way to given the cost of cruises these days.
Anchorage – As the most populated city in Alaska, Anchorage is a good resting place and stop over for a day. As it is not a big place, you’ll be able to cover the main attractions in a few hours. During the late summer to fall months see the salmon spawn at the Wild Salmon Parade, and the 26 acre Alaska Native Heritage Centre, just outside of town. In the downtown core and not to be missed is the Anchorage Museum is a must for a visit to Anchorage. The museum has recently obtained the Smithsonian collection of rare Alaskan Indigenous heritage objects. It is wonderful to see the collection returned home to the people of Alaska.
Kenai Fjords National Park and the Kenai Peninsula – spend at least two days in the Kenai Fjords National Park to take advantage of a full day boat cruise, kayaking around the fjords and taking in the local sights like the town of Seward and the Exit Glaciers.
Denali National Park – Grizzly bears, moose, caribou and sheep as well as beautiful Mt. McKinley. Denali National Park is a must see. Read my post on Alaska’s Mt. McKinley and Denali National Park
Prince William Sound – Prince William Sound lies between the Alaskan southeast coastline, the Canadian Yukon and the Kenai Peninsula. This beautiful coastline of fjords and glaciers is something to see.
Kodiak, Katmai and Southwest Alaska – You’ve seen those iconic pictures of grizzly bears catching salmon in streams, this is where you can see it.
There are a few ways you could travel to Alaska.
A cruise is probably the most popular way to see Alaska. There are several cruise lines that travel to Alaska leaving from Vancouver or Seattle. They are either return journeys from their original departure port, travelling north along the British Columbian/Alaskan coastline, stopping in usually Ketchikan, Juneau, Glacier National Park and Skagway. Otherwise there are one way journeys from Victoria, Vancouver or Seattle to locations just outside of Anchorage such as Whittier or Seward. This option is great if you want to see more of Alaska following your cruise.
Fly into any of the Alaskan airports, Alaskan Airlines fly in and out of 12 locations, Air Canada flies into Anchorage. Anchorage is a good option to fly into and then drive around the see the sights of Alaska. This could be a good option if you don’t have a lot of time to include a cruise.
Drive in from Canada’s British Columbia or the Yukon.
My travel tips for Alaska:
The food wasn’t great during my visit in 2013. In the tourist areas it is really hard to find anything that isn’t deep fried that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And given the journey fresh fruit and vegetables have to reach Alaska, they will often be missing from the meal you ordered until the next truck arrives.
Book early – I made the mistake of planning a last minute trip and found it difficult to find hotels, cabins, cars etc. Given there is a short tourist season in Alaska it is suggested to book at least six months in advance.
Car vs RV – I opted for the car. It is much easier to get around in a smaller vehicle that you can park anywhere, that moves faster and requires less gas/petrol. The advantages to the RV though is that during the peak tourist season when its hard to find accommodation, you won’t have that problem.