Alaska is unlike anywhere in the continental U.S. Covered in glaciers, mountains, and wildlife parks, it’s a must-visit destination, where you can find both adventure and serenity. From marveling at the Northern Lights in the wintertime to catching sight of bears in the summer months, there’s always something to discover. Book cheap flights to Alaska today to explore and experience the wilderness and wildlife.
Alaska is the largest of the 50 states, even though it’s not physically connected to the continental U.S. The Arctic Ocean is to the north and Canada is to the east, while Bering Strait is to the west, and the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Alaska are to the south. The state is referred to the Last Frontier, and it’s no surprise considering much of the state is still uninhabited.
Alaska is home to Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain the country, and Bering Glacier, which spreads across nearly five percent of the state. In addition to the region’s mountain ranges and glaciers, there are over three million lakes and 3,000 rivers in Alaska.
The best and worst times to visit really depend on your preferences and the regions you plan on exploring. If you’re looking to experience a winter wonderland, visit between December and March. This is when some of the state’s most celebrated events take place, such as ice-carving competitions, sled-dog relays, and snow-mobile races. While there are plenty of recreational activities and events to keep you entertained, expect frigid temperatures and shorter days during these months.
For warmer temperatures and extended daylight, May through August are some of the best times to visit Alaska. Temperatures range between 60 and 80 degrees F, and the sun shines for around 19 hours on June 21. The sunny days and nights are pleasant, but this is tourist season, so you may face crowds and higher rates during this time.
Whether you’re celebrating your honeymoon or exploring the state with your family, you’ll find a variety of Alaska hotels to match your preferences. From luxury lodging to budget-friendly places, we’ve got it all. Sort through our selection and discover bed and breakfasts, which are a perfect option for your romantic retreat, or lodging with spacious rooms to help make your kids feel at home. Many places provide restaurants, fitness centers, and Wi-Fi access, while some may even offer business centers and shuttle service.
The state also features a number of Alaska ski resorts, which are within easy access of the slopes. Resorts often provide additional amenities such as on-site restaurants, pools, recreational activities, and spa treatments. Take a peek at our selection to score cheap deals on Alaska resorts and hotels.
Bundle up and take advantage of Alaska’s outdoor activities during the winter season. Dog mushing belongs at the top of your list. This sport is a major part of Alaskan culture, and you can join a four-legged team, mushing your way through frozen terrain. However, if you’d prefer to pull your own weight, carve up the trails at Alyeska Resort. Or stay at one of the hotels in Anchorage and hit up the nearby slopes at Hilltop Ski Area. As long as you’re braving the winter temperatures, watch for the Northern Lights, which is a colorful aurora that illuminates the sky between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on clear evenings.
Alaska isn’t always covered in snow, though. If you’re visiting during the summer months, soak up nearly 20 hours of sunshine each day. Cast a line for salmon at Ship Creek or canoe around the glaciers at Spencer Lake. Mountain bike along the Lost Lake Trail, hike the 11-mile Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, and venture over to the Chugach State Park to witness wild moose, eagles, and grizzly bears.
In addition to its scenic landscape and magnificent wildlife, Alaska has an intriguing history. Learn about the Alaska natives at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, or visit the Eskimo Village and the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow. Stop at the Talkeetna Historical Society for exhibits on mining, and marvel at the world’s largest totem pole collection at Totem Heritage Center.
While Alaska only recently gained statehood in 1959, indigenous people have inhabited the area for more than 10,000 years. The Russians were the first Europeans to settle in the area during 17th century, and then miners flocked to the region during the gold rush in the late 1800s. However, despite massive changes over several hundred years, there are still natives who live off the land and continue to follow ancient traditions.
Dog-sled racing is a fairly new, but extremely popular tradition in Alaska. The Yukon Quest dates back to 1984, when a team of mushers decided to embark on a dog-sled race along the historic gold rush trails and the Yukon River. Often called the Toughest Race on Earth, it’s a 1,000-mile course that runs through rugged and remote terrain and can take up to two weeks to complete. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race, also known as the Last Great Race on Earth®, is another popular mushing event. This race takes place a month later in March, with a course from Anchorage to Nome.
Dog-sled races aside, the Alaska State Fair is much anticipated event. This annual fair has occurred in the Matanuska Valley since 1936. Each September, the fairgrounds are filled with carnival rides, giant vegetable contests, concerts, cultural performances, and more.
This northern state is well known for cold water seafood, such as salmon, halibut, and Alaskan King Crab. However, large game certainly makes an appearance at the dinner table, too. It’s not uncommon to see moose, elk, caribou, and even bear on the menu. During the summertime, wild berries, including salmonberries, blueberries, and cranberries, are also a popular treat. They’re found in the southern regions and are often frozen or made into jam to last the winter.
When it comes to booking your vacation in the Land of the Midnight Sun, check out our selection of the best resorts and hotels in Alaska. Make your reservations today and get ready for salmon cuisine, dog-sled races, outdoor adventures, and more.