Fun things to do in Alaska

  • The White Pass Yukon narrow gauge train.
    The White Pass Yukon narrow gauge train.
    by K.Knight
  • The Skagway fish Company.
    The Skagway fish Company.
    by K.Knight
  • Mendenall Glacier
    Mendenall Glacier
    by CruisingGoddess

Most Viewed Things to Do in Alaska

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    Scenic Seward

    by PA2AKgirl Written Oct 1, 2006

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    From Anchorage, Seward is a day trip (125 miles/ 200 km) and any time of the year. We went down in the winter and while some of the larger activities were not available, it didn’t really matter. Seward is a very cute town and during the warmer months, a tourist attraction but still, not a trap by any means. The town reminds me of Sitka, directly on the water and surrounding by mountains. It’s also a fishing paradise with a quaint downtown. A major difference between Seward and Sitka is that it is connected by a road, making supplies easy to get down to Seward. The town is right near Kenai Fjords National Park, so there’s a visitor center in the downtown and during the summer, many packages and tours are offered. In the winter, there’s plenty of recreational activities close by like skiing or snowboading and dog sledding. Seward is the biggest town close to Anchorage that is considered a “must see” and a wonderful getaway from the city with more of a real Alaska feel to it.%c

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    Glaciery Goodness

    by PA2AKgirl Updated Oct 18, 2006

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    It would be ridiculous to write a new tip for each glacier in this state. There are so many! So, here is one basic tip and more pictures will be added to it through the course of our stay here. If you come up to Alaska on your own or with a group, chances are, you’ll see one (or many). Mendenhall Glacier is near downtown Juneau and the one I hear most people visit. Portage Glacier is a short drive south of Anchorage and in the winter, we saw people skiing, hiking and playing near it. Matanuska Glacier is located right off the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and Glennallen…and holds the title of being the largest glacier accessible by car in this state. This one also expands about 1 foot per day, which I find absolutely incredible. If you are on a boat and going through Glacier Bay, you’ll come across Muir Glacier…known for its calving (breaking) into the water. Here are 4 glaciers I thought of immediately, but there are countless more. If you look for a list of glaciers in this state, you’ll see quite a long one but those are just the ones that are named! Definitely try to see one and get out onto the ice if it’s possible (like with Matanuska Glacier)…it’s a pretty unique experience.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Alaska Native Heritage Center

    by sue&gene Written Sep 5, 2004

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    We started our visit to Alaska with a trip to the Native Heritage Center. This allowed us to understand more about the native people and areas of the state. There was a demonstration of native music as well as houses constructed on the site to represent typical housing of the different regions. The people sharing the information were well informed and very interested in helping the visitor understand the importance of their heritage.

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    Spectacular Sitka

    by PA2AKgirl Written Oct 1, 2006

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    Sitka is, so far, my favorite town in Alaska. I have a page on it so I’ll just give a quick summary of it. It’s located in the southeast of Alaska, on Baranof Island. The climate is that of a temperate rainforest, but because it’s so beautiful there, you don’t mind the rain. It’s not accessible by road—you can fly, take the ferry or another boat to get there. Once you do get to land, the road system within Sitka is limited, making the town and outlying areas easy to see. They don’t get very cold or very warm…summer highs in 60s usually. Downtown has many attractions, shops and places to eat. Sitka National Historical Park is split into 2 sites—the Russian Bishops House and the Park itself located a short walk away from the town center. The park is home to the visitor center and the Southeast Alaska Native Cultural Center (see my Sitka page for more information on these). A little beyond the Park is the Alaska Raptor Center. Going back downtown, there’s the St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Isabel Miller Museum, Naa Kahidi Dancers, Castle Hill and so on. If you are looking for a good day trip, there are hikes on the island worth doing and also a boat trip out to Mt. Edgecumbe and St. Lazaria Island and to hot springs.

    I’m limited in the amount of things I can write but Sitka has so much to see and do that you should try to incorporate it into a visit of Alaska.

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    Hope - Population: 137

    by Matyas Updated Mar 6, 2008

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    Located about 70 miles from Anchorage. Hope was a mining camp for Resurrection Creek in the old times. The world famous Resurrection trail starts here and ends in Cooper Landing.

    This small town looks like a big open air museum, locals have moved to these old buildings to keep them up. There are fishing and hiking possibilities in the area including 200 miles of trails in the Chugach National Forest with campgrounds and cabins.

    There was a nice campground also in town at the end of the road with a fascinating view to the other side. If I could choose i would stay there next time no doubt.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Historical Travel

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    White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

    by junecorlett Written Feb 19, 2009

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    Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an interational Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
    We experienced the breathtaking panorama of glaciers,mountains,waterfalls,tunnels gorges, tresles and historic sites from the comfort of vintage parlor cars.
    Refreshements are included in the price of your ticket.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    The real Alaskans

    by PA2AKgirl Written Oct 1, 2006

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    Native culture should not be avoided when in Alaska. By this, I mean that if you’re on a guided tour and only seeing the parks or Anchorage, you are missing true Alaska. Most tours to include chances to interact with the Alaskan Natives, but talking to them one on one or truly learning their culture is important and will dispel any myths or misconceptions. There are many “cultural centers” and “heritage museums” you can visit throughout Alaska. There’s a few here in and around Anchorage; in Sitka you watch the dancers or visit the cultural center where you can see the local crafts such as carving. The regions have different Native groups like Tlingit and Haida in southeast Alaska; Athabascan in interior, the Inupiaq, Inuit and Yupik Eskimos, Aleuts in the north (just to name a few). This is by far not a complete list of the diversity of it does give you an idea of the great culture that’s here

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    Wrangell-St.Elias National Park

    by sue&gene Updated Sep 5, 2004

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    This the largest National Park in the U.S. It can mostly be seen by hiking or boating but there is a very new visitors center near Copper Center. It offers a park orientation video, ranger programs, information desk, backcountry trip planning and very nice restroom facilities. The views from this area are great. The park contains 9 of the 16 highest peaks in the U. S.

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    Drive Turnagain Arm

    by sue&gene Written Sep 6, 2004

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    If you drive Highway 1 southeast from Anchorage, you will be driving beside Turnagain Arm. This was one of the prettiest drives we took. The Arm is a narrow extenstion from Cook Inlet. It was given its name by Captain Cook when had to turn his boat to exit it because he did not find a river. As we drove we stopped to watch for the Bore Tide and also hiked in Chugach State Park.

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    Glaciers

    by sue&gene Written Sep 10, 2004

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    Many of Alaska's glaciers can be viewed from the water. Several others are within an easy walk of the Alaskan highways. Two that we visited were Exit Glacier near Seward and Worthington Glacier near Valdez. Both have nice hikes that take you up close to the ice. You can also see and hear the stream of water formed by the melting glacier. This water is a whitish color because of the rock flour that it contains.

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    Denali National Park and Preserve

    by PA2AKgirl Updated Apr 30, 2007

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    Denali National Park and Preserve is probably the most famous of the National Parks and sites in Alaska. Its location makes it pretty easy to get to on the Parks Highway, not incredibly far from Fairbanks or Anchorage. In the summer, you can drive yourself up to mile 14 or something and then have to take a bus through the rest of it. I’m glad they did that—the traffic situation would have been out of control and create so much pollution within the park. During the off season, you can drive yourself up to mile 30 or so and with a permit, maybe to the end of the road. This of course is if the weather cooperates and allows for the road to remain open.
    Have patience. The first time we visited, in the fall, we saw only a squirrel. The return trip, in the spring, was much more eventful. We saw a wolf, some caribou, moose, a ptarmigan and a snowshoe hare. Even less people this time around since the road had just reopened.
    Mt. McKinley is here…also known as Denali and what I’ve called it in the past. On a clear day, the view is incredible but when it’s cloudy, you probably won’t see it.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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    Fairbanks - Population: 30,224

    by Matyas Updated Nov 6, 2006

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    Fairbanks is the second biggest city in Alaska and indeed it was quite big (rather just wide) although the downtown is pretty small and walkable in a few hours. The city has quite extreme wheather as far as i know (however is survived everything).

    Snow in the summer just one of the unaccustomed weather conditions. Winters are very long, lasting from September to April maybe threfore I had to leave Alaska at the of August (got some snow in this area).

    Fairbanks is not my favourite Alaskan town although it offers a wide selection of activities and sights not just in town but all over Alaska's interior. While in town don't miss the visitor centre and the fountain nearby. The statue represents the first settlers in Fairbanks.

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    Accessible Anchorage

    by PA2AKgirl Written Oct 1, 2006

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    Anchorage is our biggest city and where we currently reside. I’m putting on my “things to do” section because, despite the fact it is considered to be “20 minutes from Alaska” and “just another city”, it does provide services and opportunities you will not find anywhere else in the state. Before we moved up here, I always wondered why this city was as large as it was and aside from work, what compelled people to live in Anchorage of all places. It does have a lot to offer—you can do pretty much anything here. The outdoor opportunities are unlimited, there’s a zoo; museums; theatres of all kinds; an arena for concerts, events and sports; a ton of shopping and just the comforts you may want in any city. If you’re into it, there are spas, luxury hotels, salons and other amenities you probably wouldn’t consider in what should just be an outpost town. It can be reached by any mode of transportation which is a rarity in Alaska. When the weather is absolutely horrid right outside of the city with 50mph winds, blowing snow, freezing spray from the water, Anchorage is usually protected and the conditions are better. In the summer, you can have the most beautiful of days and they are very long. In the winter, we do get battered sometimes with storms and the long periods of darkness aren’t that enjoyable but the city offers things to do year-round. It does get cold, I’m not going to lie. It’s not true Alaska, I suppose but if you live here, it’s great that you can get to Alaska and then back to Anchorage easily;-) See my Anchorage page for more detailed information.

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    Helicopter flight with glacier landing

    by pcg821 Written Jul 7, 2006

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    Make sure you have your camera, the flight was great an you be amazed at the surrounding you fly to.We when from Denali to Yanert Glacier.If you take any type of flightseeing in Alaska take
    later in the day ,many morning flights are cancelled do to low clouds or fog.We were cancelled from flight to dogsled camp on glacier an ERA made good on our reservations by offering flight from any of there other location during our stay.

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    • Adventure Travel

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    'The Last Great Race on Earth' - The Iditarod

    by onebadcat Written Jan 22, 2005

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    The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race follows a 1150 mile (10-17 day) course from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The ceremonial start takes place in Anchorage on day one of the race. Downtown Anchorage packs with people who turn out to watch the staging and start of 85 dog teams heading for Wasilla.

    On day two there is an official restart in Wasilla, Alaska, from here the racers set their pace and vie for position all the way to Nome. Whether you attend the ceremonial start or the restart dress warm and bring some coffee or spirits to keep you going. It takes a long time standing outside to see off 85 teams! Watching the race is only one of the attractions. The people watching and visiting vendors will also occupy time between starts so bring some cash.

    The main reason to go is to see animals in top form barely able to be held under control as excitement for their start nears. I am not a big doggsledding enthusiast but this is definitely a have-to-do-at -least-once-in-life kind of event. Some day I would love to see the finish in Nome.

    Great event for kids too.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Festivals
    • Adventure Travel

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Alaska Things to Do

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