What to Do in Alaska

What to Do in Alaska

The adventures around Alaska are truly endless, but we thought we might break it down to some of our favorite highlights that are right along the drive from Anchorage to Ninilchik! 

Anchorage itself has endless possibilities-

Downtown visit the amazing Anchorage Museum; The Anchorage Museum sits on the traditional homeland of the Eklutna Dena’ina. Their amazing exhibits recognize and respect the continuing connection of Alaska Native people and all Indigenous people, to the land, waters and communities of Alaska, as well as showcasing some of the largest art displays within the state. They also have a fantastic science center called the Imaginarium where you can learn and play all in one place. 

The Alaska Native Heritage Center is one of the best places for an introduction to diverse Alaska Native traditions and language. Anchorage is located within the traditional homelands of the Dena'ina Athabascan people and the Native Village of Eklutna, and Alaska is home to many more distinct groups, each with its own features and lifestyles based on the surrounding environments. Learning about these important Indigenous cultures and histories is a big part of any visit to Alaska.

The Alaska Railroad was the key to Anchorage becoming established, and its starting point still right smack in the middle of the city. Trains depart daily in the summer and fall for Seward, Prince William Sound, Denali, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Check out the Glacier Discovery train to Spencer Whistle stop, it’s an easy – and incredible – day trip while in Anchorage.

Just south of Anchorage, the Seward Highway hugs the shorelines of Turnagain Arm, arguably one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in America. Chugach State Park's 3000-foot mountains jut up on your left. On the right, the sprawling, sometimes four-mile-wide flats of Turnagain Arm seem to stretch to the opposite shores of Cook Inlet, where sloping mountains abruptly stop the flat expanse. Each turn reveals another scenic wonder. 

As you wind your way along the coastal highway, you will come along Girdwood just 45 minutes outside Anchorage. Girdwood is home to a world renowned ski resort in the winter, and amazing biking and hiking trails in the summer. Treat yourself to a nice stay in the beautiful Alyeska hotel and take a dip in their newly installed Nordic Spa with cold plunge pools, saunas, and over 10 hot tubs and pools with different temperatures.

Outside of Girdwood, the 200-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center sits. This is a guaranteed opportunity to see many of Alaska’s amazing wildlife up close. Bears, moose, fox, wolverine, porcupine, and many more animals are rehabbed here. AWCC's mission is to preserve Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, research, education and quality animal care. The center, which opened to the public in 1993, also educates visitors about Alaska's wildlife. 

If you don’t take the train, don’t fret! You can still visit many of the amazing stops it will take you to. Whittier, just 90 minutes outside of Anchorage, is home to the largest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America- and it only goes one way! Vehicles take turns driving through the 10 minute long tunnel. Once you get to the other side, you’ll find a special corner of Alaska that is well worth any wait.

As you head into the Turnagain Pass, the jaw-dropping beauty only continues. Diving deep into the heart of Alaska, you will enter the Chugach National Forest where animals and locals come to play. Some of the amazing stops along the way include, Summit Lake is a small cirque lake, or tarn, reaching a depth of 20 feet. This cirque was the beginning of a long-gone, alpine glacier. The surrounding terrain is all glacially carved. The Kenai River, a gorgeous glacial blue river that runs along almost the entire duration of the drive from Cooper Landing to Kenai. It is often referred to as the world's greatest sportfishing river, and is also one of the most heavily used freshwater fisheries in Alaska. Cooper Landing, sat along beautiful Kenai Lake is the home to many river fishing and rafting companies. Cooper packs in a lot of the great recreation options that the Peninsula is known for rafting and hiking. (A great trail: visit the Russian River falls, where you can see salmon leaping out of the water.) 

Along the way you can also take a short detour to Seward. Travelers journey to Seward to hike stunning trails, experience abundant wildlife, paddle and fish vibrant waters, and to explore the historic community. Experience the ancestral homeland of the Alutiiq, or Sugpiaq, people, who have called the rocky coasts and glacial bays home since time immemorial. Seward is nestled on a small bay connected to the awe inspiring Kenai Fjords. Glaciers, waves, and mountains shaped Kenai Fjords National Park over millennia, forging some of the most awe-inspiring and picturesque vistas in Alaska- this is definitely somewhere you’ll want to visit while traveling. Day cruises leave from Seward consistently, bringing you up close and personal with glaciers, whales, puffins, and the real, raw Alaskan beauty. 

© 2024 Cosmic Ayre Production. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Cosmic Ayre Production.

All rights reserved.