Alaska Trip Planner 2022: Traveller Guide

Alaska is one of the best travel destinations in the world for those who love nature and wildlife. The state’s immense size means that there are thousands of ways to spend your time. There’s a lot to see, so it’s important to be prepared before you leave home!

There are many places in Alaska where you can see wildlife and enjoy nature. Most people don’t realize how much there really is here until they visit for themselves! You can See everything from wild bison roaming free on Kodiak Island or caribou grazing above the treeline near Denali National Park, which has been preserved as untouched wilderness since its creation over 100 years ago.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer (June to August). This is peak season, so expect high-season prices. The weather varies from region to region. The interior can be quite warm and dry, while the coastal regions are cool and damp.

While it doesn’t get as cold in Alaska as you might think, you should still plan ahead. Winter trips need extra planning because roads can close unpredictably with days or even weeks of notice, and outdoor activities will be severely limited or impossible without special equipment.

Things to do

There are endless recreational possibilities for visitors to Alaska, and their difficulty depends on the season and location.

In the summer months, you can bike along the coast of Prince William Sound, explore the trails in Denali National Park, or go on a guided fishing excursion. There’s a reason why this is peak tourist season!

Winter in Alaska offers more adventurous opportunities, like dog sledding and ice climbing. If you’re willing to brave this harsh climate, it makes for one unforgettable experience!

You can also visit during spring or fall when it’s easier to find deals on flights and accommodations. During these times you’ll likely still be able to partake in some outdoor activities such as kayaking or hiking.

How much time should I spend in Alaska

This depends on the budget, interests, and destinations you have in mind. If you are only going to be able to go once, try to go for at least two weeks. We recommend a week or more if driving your own vehicle, otherwise, a couple of days to explore Anchorage and then head out on an adventure is recommended!

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Keep in mind that while Alaska has the longest days of any state during summertime, there are still not enough hours in a day to see everything! You will want to plan ahead so you do not miss out on some of the most beautiful places Alaska has to offer!

Best Places to Stay

If you are looking for a luxury hotel to stay in when visiting Alaska and want to be pampered and treated like royalty, there are plenty of options available. The Hotel Alyeska is a great example of one such place. It offers an upscale experience with everything from an indoor pool, jacuzzi, hot tub, and spa, to local cuisine and beautiful restaurants.

The Hotel Captain Cook is another option with luxurious rooms that come fully equipped with amenities such as high-speed internet access, jacuzzi bathtubs, flat screen TVs, and much more. If you’re looking for something less expensive but still very comfortable then they also have budget suites available starting at just $79 per night

Whales Watching in Alaska

black whale on body of water during daytime
Photo by Deon van Zyl

Whale Watching is a very popular activity in Alaska. The best place to see the whales is in Kenai Fjords National Park. There are many different kinds of whales that you can see there, including:

  • Minke whale
  • Humpback whale
  • Orca/Killer Whale

The best time to see whales is during summer (June, July, and August).

Best places to see the wildlife and the national parks in Alaska

The first thing that pops into people’s minds when they think of Alaska is animals. And if you are a nature and wildlife lover, then Alaska has a lot to offer, with its wide variety of species. Here are the best parks in Alaska where you can see wildlife:

  • Denali National Park – Famous for grizzly bears, caribou, and moose
  • Katmai National Park – Brown bears, seals, and sea lions
  • Kenai Fjords National Park – Wolves, brown bears, and moose
  • Glacier Bay National Park – Seals and sea lions
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park – Caribou, goats, and sheep
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park – Caribou
  • Kobuk Valley National Park – Caribou

Best Place for Northern Lights Viewing

green aurora borealis
Photo by Tommy Tang

You are in the right place if you are looking to see the beautiful lights. Fairbanks, Alaska is the best place to see the northern lights in Alaska. It is also one of the second most popular places throughout the world to view them, as well.

It’s no wonder that it is one of the most sought after spots to see them; Fairbanks has an astonishing 200 nights a year when you can see them! The show begins around September and ends sometime in April!

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One more reason that Fairbanks ranks high for Northern Lights viewing is because of its low light pollution levels – an important aspect for clear viewing of this amazing phenomenon.

We have written a blog post about all things Northern Lights related and how to find out exactly when they will be visible in your area.

Best Place for a Dog Sledding Tour in Alaska

The best place to experience dog sledding in Alaska is Denali National Park.

Denali National Park is a famous national park and preserve, situated on the Alaska Peninsula in the state of Alaska. It has an area of over 6 million acres with various wild animals like grizzly bears, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, lynx, and wolverines.

Riding a dog-sled through snow amidst the magnificent views of mountains and lush green forest for 3-4 days is truly an amazing experience. You will be accompanied by a team of huskies who are naturally designed for this task and can easily cover long distances in one trip. There are many localities offering such tours to the tourists where you can choose your own duration depending on your convenience and budget.

If you want to spend more time then you should opt for a complete package tour that includes accommodation as well as food facilities along with transportation from Anchorage to lodge at Kantishna by bus or air service at a nominal extra charge.

Best Place for a Helicopter or Floatplane Tour of a Glacier and More

The best places for a helicopter or floatplane tour of a glacier are Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward, and Whittier. The best time of year to travel to Alaska for a helicopter or floatplane tour of a glacier is between May and September.

Anchorage: Helicopter tours depart from Anchorage International Airport in South Anchorage on the south side of Cook Inlet. The most popular flightseeing tours are located about 90 minutes away from the departure city. These tours typically visit Portage Glacier and Blackstone Bay where you can see calving glaciers and hundreds of icebergs. If you take the longer tour (about four hours), you will land on Knik Glacier where you can walk around, play in the snow and take pictures by some towering ice walls.

Seward: Floatplane tours in Seward depart from National Park Coastal Lodges Base Camp, located at Exit Glacier Road/Seward Highway mile 1.4 (4 minutes north of downtown). Flights head east over Resurrection Bay to Bear Glacier Lagoon before heading into Kenai Fjords National Park near Aialik Bay to view wildlife including bears, sea otters, and whales before returning to base camp via Thumb Cove State Marine Park with views of the Harding Icefield.

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Best Place to See a Glacier, Grazing Caribou, and Grizzly Bears in One Day by Car

Best Place to See a Glacier, Grazing Caribou, and Grizzly Bears in One Day by Car

Denali National Park

Denali (Mt. McKinley) is Alaska’s most famous peak and the highest mountain in North America. Denali is also one of the most spectacular national parks in Alaska. The best way to experience this magnificent park is by car with an overnight at one of the lodges near the park entrance.

In order to see wildlife, you will need to spend at least two days here as there are no roads leading into or through the interior of this magnificent wilderness area. Here you can enjoy hiking trails, scenic drives, views of Mt McKinley, grizzly bear and another wildlife viewing, camping and ranger led walks etc.

There are many hotels near Denali National Park that offer great amenities such as free parking or shuttle service from your room directly into the park (The Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge offers both). Look for deluxe cabins complete with all modern conveniences including flat screen TV’s satellite radio complimentary continental breakfast each morning plus access to their full service restaurant bar and lounge area).

What you should pack.

Pack for the weather

Even in the summertime, it can get quite cold in Alaska, so be sure to bring plenty of warm clothing (including a good winter coat). If you plan on spending much time outdoors, you’ll also want to pack reliable rain gear that will keep you dry. In general, when dressing for Alaskan conditions be sure to always consider warmth and water resistance.

Pack for the Outdoors

You’ll spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors while in Alaska, so be sure to pack plenty of durable and breathable hiking clothes as well as sturdy shoes or boots that will support your feet over long distances on uneven terrain.

Pack for the Activities

Whether you plan on engaging in specific activities like hiking or kayaking or just embarking on day trips into towns or out onto the tundra, it’s important that you keep your plans in mind when packing so that you are prepared with whatever supplies or equipment may be required (for example extra batteries if taking a particularly long hike).

Summary

Here are some things you should know about traveling in Alaska:

Alaska is a huge state, with many different things to see and do. The terrain can vary from mountainous tundra in the north to dense forests in the south. You’ll want to plan where you’re going before setting out on your journey because there will be no cell service and very few towns along most roads.