aaa-logo-92x58
service truck Roadside Assistance | location Find a Store
AAA Washington

Traveling to Alaska – Deals & Guides

Alaska Travel Guide

Alaska is an adventurer’s dream come true. The huge expanse offers a wide assortment of outdoor activities that appeal to every type of traveler. With an area so vast, Alaska is a state you can visit many times and never have the same two experiences.

The Last Frontier is the largest state by area in the U.S., and shares a border with British Columbia in Canada, as well as a maritime border with Russia. More than one fifth of the state’s population identify as Native American, the highest percentage of Indigenous people among U.S. states. Accordingly, Alaskan Native culture remains visible and important.  

Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska, with more than 40% of Alaska’s population residing there. The city has various parks, gardens and wildlife refuges, among them the Alaska Botanical Garden, the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. 

Alaska Hiking Alaska DCrane Photography AdobeStock
Hiking Alaska (DCrane Photography)

Activities in Alaska

National Parks 

The most popular national parks in Alaska are Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords National Park. 

Within Denali National Park is North America’s tallest mountain, Denali. The national park is home to moose, caribou, sheep, wolves and grizzly bears. The park offers popular bus tours, as well as guided and non-guided hikes. Within the park lies the Nenana River. Rafting excursions are available for adventurous tourists. 

The Kenai Fjords National Park is the perfect place for those who want to experience the glaciers of Alaska. The park also contains a flourishing oceanic ecosystem with porpoises, seals, sea lions, otters, whales and puffins. Day cruises are an excellent way to see this national park, hitting many of the highlights on a roughly 10-hour excursion.  

Northern Lights 

Alaska is known as one of the greatest places on earth to view the Northern Lights in all their brilliance. The best time to see the Northern Lights is between August and April, where the state receives less daylight.  

Fairbanks is the most accessible location in Alaska to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Fairbanks’ location and extended hours of darkness put it at an advantage for Northern Lights viewing. Furthermore, Fairbanks also has available guided tours and lodgings specifically tailored to viewing Aurora Borealis. 

Backcountry Excursions 

Alaska is well-known for its wild landscapes, and a good way to become acquainted with these is through their guided backcountry expeditions. These multi-day hikes can be designed to one’s specifications (such as the difficulty level or excursion length), and include trips through rainforests, tundra, over mountains and across glacial streams. 

Birding and Bear Viewing 

There are nearly 500 species of birds found in Alaska, which makes it a birder’s paradise. Large migrations of birds occur during the summer months, which is the perfect time to see birds move through the state.  

Also, take a guided tour and see bears in their natural habitat without any human intervention or interference. There is a good chance of spotting a bear because of their sheer numbers in the wild. The excursions are also carefully controlled and safe.  

Glacier Hiking and Climbing 

Glaciers make up a considerable portion of Alaska’s landscape, and glacier trekking is a sought-after tourist activity in the state. Glacier tours range from guided hiking experiences, to climbing and camping trips that are geared to more experienced hikers. 

Day-Fishing Trips 

Alaska is a well-known and significant fishing region, with the most popular species being halibut and salmon. Guided fishing excursions are available to ensure that you remain safe on the water and end up in the best fishing spots. 

Alaska Denali Mountain by Plane By Terika AdobeStock
Denali by Plane (Terika, Adobe Stock)

How to Travel to Alaska

By Cruise Ship 

It is possible to visit Alaska via cruise ship. These cruises typically begin and end in Seattle, and stop at various ports along the coast of Alaska and Canada, including Sitka, Juneau, Icy Strait, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia. The cruises usually last about seven days, and the various stops allow for diverse experiences within the large territory of Alaska and Canada. AAA offers numerous Alaska cruise options designed to fit any preference.  

By Rail 

Experience a different side of Alaska via train. The Alaskan Railroad offers a unique view of The Last Frontier state, traveling to remote areas exclusively accessible via train. Rail tours are available as a precursor to a cruise ship, as one-day trips or as a portion of a wide-ranging train trip itinerary.  

By Air 

How about experiencing Alaska’s vast land via helicopter or by bush plane? You can pack a huge amount of sightseeing into a relatively short period this way. Flights are available over the Denali National Park, as well as landings at bear viewing camps or for glacier hikes. 

COVID-19 Restrictions 

Alaska has no special COVID-19 testing requirements or entry obligations. If you are not vaccinated or up to date on your vaccinations, you should get tested no more than three days prior to leaving for Alaska. As of June 1, 2021, travelers to Alaska will be entitled to a free vaccination against COVID-19, should they elect to do so. 

Book Your Trip to Alaska Today

Alaska is a vast wonderland of diverse natural landscapes, wildlife and Indigenous cultural traditions. With many different options of experiencing the region, whether it be by plane, boat or rail, there truly is something for everyone in Alaska.  

Whether you need additional travel guidance for Alaska or you wish to book one of AAA’s world-class travel packages, get in touch with AAA today to speak with a seasoned travel agent.  

AAA has been in the business of curating high-end travel experiences for decades and uses its knowledge to create vacation packages to accommodate and reflect the needs and desires of every traveler.  

Get in touch with AAA today to speak with a passionate travel connoisseur about your upcoming vacation.

Related Stories

Discover More

Find more ways to get the most out of your travel experience