Alaska Local Customs

  • A mural at Seward showing the Iditerod Dog Race!
    A mural at Seward showing the Iditerod...
    by jumpingnorman
  • The Grizz!
    The Grizz!
    by madmax79
  • Juneau Parking and Public Library.
    Juneau Parking and Public Library.
    by shrimp56

Alaska Local Customs

  • Crab Festival

    Kodiak Local Customs

    While not as wet as Crab Festival 2002 (See accompianing tip) 2003 suffered the wrath of wind on a few days. I suppose it was entirely appropriate as this years theme was "Gale Force Fun". Ha. Rides arrived late on the early morning of the first day of the festival. Corporate Sponsorship was lost this year, and the general feel of the event was a...

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  • Beach Fever

    Kodiak Local Customs

    When we went to White Sand Beach my son decided to build his version of Angkor Wat which we visited in Cambodia 2002. It was near the time we were going to leave so the fine details couldn't be worked out. The sand at White Sand Beach is perfect for building sand castles.

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  • Fishing

    Kodiak Local Customs

    Halibut is a staple of Kodiak's fishing industry. Professional fishermen will bait as many as 2,000 hooks on their industrial line with individual shrimp, a painstaking process that often leads to a remarkable harvest. Halibut itself is reckoned a mild or even flavorless fish, but their importance to the local economy and their sheer size make them...

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  • Ice Breaking Lottery

    "I was so mad!" The Irish woman working at the roadhouse next to Tanana river told us. She was referring to the annual lottery of Nenana. Residence in the town of Nenana started this lottery of betting on the exact time(down to the minute) and date each spring when the ice on Tanana river breaks. When winter comes, surface of the river turns to...

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  • Fishing and Seafood very important in...

    I was flying into Alaska and the man beside me was a regular visitor of this 50 year old state (as of 2009), flying from Oregon to Alaska just for fishing! He said he was renting a 30 foot RV for the amazing price of only $75 per day and will drive around to fish...And seafood here is really fresh and they take pride in this -- you will order...

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  • Alaskan Hospitality

    Can these be eaten raw? We asked the fish shop owners Ed and Sandy after we bought a few pounds of halibut from them. Both of them stepped closer to us with great interest. "Yes...I suppose" and started a round of discussion on whether the halibuts are deep frozen, if they were not deep frozen, how fresh are they....etc. We then found out these...

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  • Tough exterior, kind interior

    Alaskans--those who have lived here their whole lives and those who came from Outside years ago--are, as a whole, the nicest people we've ever met. Anywhere we've gone, pretty much, the people we've never met before are helpful and treat you as a lifelong friend. They may appear a little rugged or tough and maybe even unapproachable but they all...

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  • The most beautiful Alaskan Calendar

    Fireweeds are typical Alaskan flowers can be found all over the State. In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar is particularly light and mild tasting. I've heard many times that we can deduce the weather from the fireweeds' length. If all petals appear on...

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  • The route to the Klondike Gold Rush...

    ... the Chilkoot Trail. Many hikers' aim. I managed to find out more about this trail while in the local visitor centre. You can watch a short but very good movie of the Chilkoot trail and its history. Very interesting. The Chilkoot Trail, was the most famous route taken by prospectors and would be miners who made their way to the Klondike Gold...

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  • Jackpot Halibut Derby !!

    Well i guess the Halibut Derby is the most important event of Homer! While visiting this beautiful town enter the Jackpot Halibut Derby (visit the homepage for rules and requirements). The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby began in the summer of 1986 as the brain-child of a committee dedicated to promoting business in Homer and enhancing tourism for the...

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  • Alaska's Flag

    Eight stars of gold on a field of blue— Alaska's flag. May it mean to you The blue of the sea, the evening sky, The mountain lakes, and the flow'rs nearby; The gold of the early sourdough dreams, The precious gold of the hills and streams; The brilliant stars in the northern sky, The Bear—the Dipper—and, shining high, The great North Star with its...

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  • The Pipeline - Alaska's Artery

    The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), usually called the Alyeska Pipeline in Alaska or the Alaska Pipeline elsewhere, is a major U.S. oil pipeline connecting oil fields in northern Alaska to a sea port where the oil can be shipped to the Lower 48 states for refining.The main Trans-Alaska Pipeline runs north to south, almost 800 miles (1,300 km),...

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  • Population and languages

    Just one among the many resons why I wanted (and still want) to visit Alaska. It's folks and different languages, cultures and habits. In the following I'd also like to share some basic info as the population concerns. This is a short summary for more information visit Wikipedia.The largest ancestry groups in the state are: German (16.6%), Alaska...

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  • The Last Frontier

    State bird - Willow Ptarmigan State land mammal - Moose State marine mammal - Bowhead Whale State fish - King Salmon State insect - Skimmer Dragonfly State flower - Forget-me-notState motto - "North To The Future" State song - "Alaska's Flag" State tree - Sitka Spruce State fossil - Woolly Mammoth State gem - Jade

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  • The Iditarod

    The Iditarod is one of the biggest things people associate with Alaska. It covers 1100 miles (1760km) from Anchorage to Nome in the winter. The route does get altered sometimes due to lack of snow and while the ceremonial start is here in Anchorage, the restart is in Wasilla (or Willow Lake, depending on conditions.) The historic route starts in...

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  • Alaska Highway references

    One thing you might find confusing if you’re driving is how the highways have a number but no one refers to them this way. Getting directions from someone will probably involve a name and not a number. Following the number is okay on the map but one number can be a few different highways. Alaska 1 is a great example of this…it’s called all of these...

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  • ice breaker

    We arrived here in the winter of last year and soon, we began to hear about Nenana Ice Classic. Nenana is town located south of Fairbanks, quite a distance north of here on the Parks Highway. We didn’t know anything about this and actually kinda forgot about it until we went to Nenana recently. The Ice Classic is a wonderful local custom that...

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  • A general list...

    Alaska has a lot of local customs. Some I’ll devote a tip to individually, but others I can just group here in a single tip. Alaska has its own time zone—one hour behind Pacific TimeNo matter what you think about it, hunting or fishing is a way of life here. They aren’t just sports for everyone, but truly a way of life. Snowmobiles are called...

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  • We Alaskans tend to collect things

    One of the things you'll notice as your travel around the state, is that Alaskans tend to collect things. While this isn't universal, you'll tend to find collections of things (appliances, automobiles, heavy equipment) arrayed outside of dwellings. This is more prominent when you get away from towns such as Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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  • Dress Code

    I think all the big cruise ships do the same thing -- two nights in the restaurant were designated as formal night, so you were supposed to don formal attire. When I first heard about this, I wasn't that enthusiastic -- I don't pack light as a general rule so packing clothing that I would have absolutely no use for once we left the ship would...

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  • Excellent service on the ms Statendam

    Holland America is a Dutch cruise line, so the officers all tended to be Dutch. Then came the positions like Cruise Director, Purser, etc. that typically were filled by Americans. But the vast majority of the positions on the ship were filled by Indonesians - stewards, bartenders, shopkeepers, and waiters. This is because Holland America has a...

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  • Sourdoughs against Lower 48'ers

    Let's explain it clearly, the real Alaskans called themselves sourdougs. Alaska born and grown person is a sourdough, nothing less or more than that. Sourdough speaks Alaskan, gets lower rates in local hotels, receives his or her permanent fund dividend annually and knows the bushes like his or her pockets. A person who comes to Alaska to live or...

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  • SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder

    There are people who won't belive on it. Then there are people who really suffer from it. However, if you considering staying longer periods in Alaska during winter time, pay a little attention to SAD. Even it has been classified as an disorder, not many people recognize the symptoms of SAD.But there's no point to suffer from it year after year. It...

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  • Fireweed

    Fireweed is probably the best known wildflower in Alaska. Patches of fireweed can be seen growing throughout Alaska's more temperate regions.In mid to late summer fireweed begins blooming in the middle of the stalk, with each successive flower blooming just above the one before it. As the last flowers are blooming at the top of the stalk, the...

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  • Drinking water from the creek

    Even the tap water in Alaska is good. Not in Fairbanks, but in most of the towns, like in Anchorage is was ok. It won't ever be as good as it is here in Finland, but Alaska beats with its fresh creek waters.During my hikes and runs, I always drank all my water. So the thing is, hit the closest mountain creek and fill it again. Tastes amazingly...

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  • Who owns the land in Alaska?

    The largest state of US, popular density of just over one person per suqare mile, comparing to New Jersey 1085 persons per square mile. That's a heck lot of land in Alaska.Two thrid of the land in the state ( that is like 372,031 sq mi, is owned by the federal government. Most of it is used a s natioanl parks, wild rivers, wildlife refugees and...

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  • Battle of the sexes

    There are many rumors about Alaska having an almost all male population. In certain sparsely populated areas such as the Bush, men certainly far outnumber women. But in the larger cities such as Anchorage, the percentage is closer to even. In fact, there are more women than men in Homer.Despite this, the rumors persist. And there's a somewhat...

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  • Alaska Native Subsistence

    Many Native Alaskans rely on the traditional hunting, fishing and gathering activities that their tribes have practiced for thousands of years. Some otherwise-protected species, such as whales, are still hunted legally by Native Alaskans, albeit by somewhat more modern means. They retain these rights today, as many live in rural areas and may have...

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  • Natives

    Alaska's native population includes Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts. The majority of the Eskimo population is concentrated to the North in Arctic regions such as Barrow, Kotzebue and Nome. The Native American populations reside in Southeast Alaska and the interior. The Aleutian population resides mainly in the Aleutian Islands.

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  • Iditarod trail

    An annual sled dog race held every March. Its the longest such race in the world, covering over 1,000 miles. The race begins in Anchorage and covers some rough terrain in extreme conditions. Dog mushers compete every year to finish this race in the shortest amount of time.

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  • The fact Hyder is so secluded...

    The fact Hyder is so secluded they are actually on a British Columbia phone exchange and since the only bank in the area is in Stewart, Canadian money is used in Hyder.Any credit card transactions will appear on your bill in Canadian funds.

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  • The good stuff

    The Alaskan Brewing Company makes some good stuff. I got hooked when I was in Juneau. After returning home I searched all over southern California and finally found it in local Bev and More store. Now I drink it by the case.My favorite is Alaska Amber (see photo). This local-reciped alt style beer is the flagship of the Company, so pure and smooth....

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  • Area Swimming Holes

    In Alaska, most folks don't need a chlorinated swimming pool when summer comes around, nor would they necessarily want one. With so many natural lakes throughout the state, and so many hot springs for relaxation, Alaskans natural flock to these numerous and scenic pools for their summer swims. If you can tolerate the cold temperature of the water...

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  • Spirits of the Past (or Present)

    Alaska is one of the last bastions where the Native American tribes still live in some semblance of the manner of their forefathers. Throughout the state, trees and wooden fence posts are often carved with some image more common to totem poles in the better-known villages where tours covering the aboriginal life are prevalent. Kodiak, Anchorage,...

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  • Alaska Fish and Game Department

    Alaska is inextricably tied to its fish and game populations. Hunting and fishing are huge pasttimes and even industries in this state. Trophy hunters will pay exorbitant fees (for non-residents) to get the chance to nab a brown bear, a Dall sheep, a mountain goat, a caribou, a moose and the like. Every airport in the state that isn't just a mere...

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  • Call it "DENALI"....not McKinley

    Call Denali....Denali.... the 20,320 ft mountain...that stuns the senses...Pres McKinley who it is sort of named after, never visited Alaska and really had nothing to do with Alaska...The Native peoples refer to it as "the high one" or Denali...it makes ya sound like you know the score...and not like a mis-informed tourist

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  • Totem-pole carving

    Saxaman Native village in Ketchikan has a nice display of totem poles. We watched a craftsman demonstrate totem-pole carving.

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  • Saxman native village in Ketchikan

    This is a modern day native village. We enjoyed the dances and the explanation of the totem pole stories.

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  • Don't stare at the locals

    There are few locals in the small Alaskan ports we visited. Many of the store clerks are there only during the cruise season and leave Alaska during the winter.The ports are overwhelmed by tourists from the many cruise ships. It would be very interesting to see what life is like in these small towns during the winter time.

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  • Vanity Plates:

    Vanity Plates: Looks like she rear ended herself while fixing her makeup ah well... it doesn't matter because she is __________ .

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  • Vanity Plates:

    Vanity Plates: Don't mess with this guy he's already at his edge and he's probably packing a sawed off something or another..

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  • Shed your shoes when you enter a home

    It's an Alaskan custom that you leave your shoes in the foyer of any home. People generally walk around their cozy homes wearing their fuzzy sox.Most of the B&Bs that we stayed in during our trip to Alaska clearly asked that you leave your shoes at the door.It does add to the ambience and home comfort of a B&B to relax and slide around in your sox,...

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  • the glacier

    Small planes - beeing able to land ashore and on the water - make a great way to explore remote areas in Alaska

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  • If ya ring the bell get out some cash

    In a bar in Alaska..if you ring that bell you see near the bar...you have to buy the whole house a drink....and they will hold you to itDont be drunk and stupid about this...its a great way to make friends....unless you try to skip out

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  • Don't be an ethnocentric ass...

    Don't be an ethnocentric ass and assume that your way of life is more civilized or morally correct. Many people in Alaska continue to have a direct relationship with the land and the resources it provides, which includes hunting marine mammals and killing wolves.

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Alaska Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Alaska local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Alaska sightseeing.
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