12 Things To Do in Alaska
Photo By: Gabe Rogel/Getty Images/Aurora Creative
Photo By: Whit Richardson/Getty Images/Aurora Open
Photo By: Steve Faber/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo By: bpfriel/a different perspective
Photo By: Steve Mcsweeny/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo By: Walter Bibikow/Getty Images
Photo By: Yves Marcoux/Getty Images/First Light
Photo By: LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo By: Brian Dearth
Photo By: Courtesy Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour
Photo By: David Rasmus/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo By: Kent Weakley/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Not for the faint-of-heart, group heli-skiing is a popular attraction in Alaska for avid backcountry skiers.
Professional snowboarders flock to the Valdez region for the purest powder. But this adrenaline rush is suitable only for expert snowboarders or skiers: There are no ski lifts or training sessions in these mountains.
A must-see when in Alaska: glaciers! There are a handful of expeditions offered by different tour companies throughout Alaska, including a one-day rafting trip down the Matanuska River that lets riders disembark for a half-day or full-day trek on the Matanuska Glacier.
White-water rafters get their kicks on the Hulahula River, from the Brooks Range to the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has information on camping, rafting and backpacking tours.
Alaska's northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, are spectacular to view in the colder months of winter, although they’re still visible — and beautiful — in spring. Grab the camping gear, pitch a tent and experience aurora borealis outside the city limits, away from artificial light.
Located outside Fairbanks, Chena Hot Springs has been a must-see destination for more than 100 years because of its "healing" mineral-water hot springs. Another crowd favorite on the property is the Aurora Ice Bar at the Aurora Ice Museum, where visitors can stay in one of four rooms made of ice!
Get an authentic taste of Alaska with Riverboat Discovery, a three-hour tour on and off a traditional steamboat that travels down the "backwoods" of Alaska. Stops along the way include a Chena Indian village walking tour, a bush pilot demonstration and storytelling about the important role that bush pilots play in Alaska, along with a visit to a four-time Iditarod champion's home and kennels. Tours are offered May through September.
Tanana Valley Railroad
Craving a bit of that old gold rush history? Visit Fairbanks, for a two-hour tour of the El Dorado Gold Mine. Get a brief history about the mine on board the Tanana Valley Railroad stream train as it winds its way through the country’s valley and hills. When it reaches the mine, you’ll have an opportunity to pan for gold.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
Take in the beautiful views of Anchorage, AK, along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. The trail is roughly 11 miles long. Start in the city of Anchorage, at West Second Avenue, near the railroad station, and head south until the trail ends at Kincaid Park. It’s open year-round.
Thanks to the hit TV show "Deadliest Catch," the fishermen of the Bering Sea are practically celebrities. For three hours, get a small taste of what life is like on the Bering Sea — minus the danger. See king crabs up-close, spot whales and more. From Anchorage, fly four hours south to Ketchikan, or choose the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen's Tour as your next Alaskan cruise excursion.
Visit Katmai National Park and Preserve, located in King Salmon, to see one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in North America. There are a handful of bear-viewing tour companies, including Natural Habit Adventures, that offer service to Katmai, which is accessible by plane or boat.
Take a Cruise
Take a cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage region, reaching as far south as Ketchikan and heading north past Sitka and Juneau. Then, before reaching the quaint town of Skagway, you can visit Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and see the immense Mendenhall Glacier nearby.