Planning A Trip To Alaska: Where Wild Wonders Await

Thinking of chasing the Northern Lights or spotting grizzlies in their natural habitat? Our insider guide to planning a trip to Alaska will turn you into a savvy explorer of America’s last great wilderness.

A tent pitched underneath the Northern Lights in Alaska
A tent pitched underneath the Northern Lights in Alaska

Did you know that Alaska is over twice the size of Texas, making it the largest state in the U.S.? This vast frontier was purchased from Russia in 1867 for just $7.2 million (a mere two cents an acre)! 

If you’re planning a trip to Alaska for your next vacation, know that you’re venturing into a land where wild beauty reigns supreme. From the soaring peaks of Denali to the deep fjords of the southeast, you’ll surely appreciate its majestic sights! 

Get ready for an adventure in a state where the sun barely sets in summer and the northern lights dance in winter.

Planning A Trip To Alaska: Knowing The Basics

When planning a trip to Alaska, getting the basics right should always be your first step.

Of course, U.S. citizens need no visa—just a sense of adventure. On the other hand,  international visitors should check U.S. visa requirements well in advance.

Furthermore, the best way to reach Alaska is by air, with Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport serving as the main gateway. When booking your flight, consider that Alaska’s peak tourist season is during the summer, from June to August, when the weather is mildest and the days are longest. 

However, for those eager to witness the Aurora Borealis, late fall to early spring is most ideal. Do note that airfares and accommodation rates can vary significantly between seasons, so it’s always best to book everything in advance. 

Also, Alaska’s vast distances mean you might often fly between destinations, so consider internal flights when planning your itinerary. Alternatively, renting a car or joining a guided tour can offer more freedom to explore at your own pace.

We hope that these insights helped you lay the groundwork for a trip that’s as wild and wonderful as Alaska itself. Up next, let’s start plotting those must-see destinations on your map!

A person kayaking along Fjords National Park in Alaska with glaciers in the background
A person kayaking along Fjords National Park in Alaska with glaciers in the background

Planning A Trip To Alaska: Creating Your Itinerary

Mapping out your Alaskan adventure can feel like setting the stage for an epic saga.

Start in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, where you can dip into the local culture at the Anchorage Museum or take a scenic ride on the Alaska Railroad for breathtaking views of the wilderness and wildlife.

Next, head to Denali National Park. Home to North America’s highest peak, this stunning area offers activities ranging from leisurely hikes to rigorous mountaineering. Whether you’re watching for grizzlies or gasping at the vast beauty from a bush plane tour, Denali is right in the heart of Alaska’s wild.

Needless to say, no itinerary is complete without a visit to the Kenai Peninsula. Seward lies here—which can be your gateway to the Kenai Fjords National Park. Go on a cruise to see glaciers calving into the ocean and whales breaching the chilly waters. And for a hands-on experience, try kayaking amidst icebergs or fishing for halibut.

Further north, the charm of Fairbanks awaits with its golden heart city allure. If you’re planning a trip to Alaska during the colder months, this is definitely the place to chase the Northern Lights. A hot springs visit can also add a cozy, steamy break to the icy enchantment of winter.

Finally, wrap up your journey in the southeastern region by visiting Juneau. Accessible only by air or sea, Alaska’s capital boasts the stunning Mendenhall Glacier and offers thrilling dog sledding experiences on its icy expanses.

Where To Stay in Alaska

Choosing where to stay in Alaska depends largely on your itinerary and the experiences you crave. For example, Anchorage is the perfect base for day trips or longer excursions into the wild. Fortunately, it offers a variety of accommodations, from luxury hotels like the Hotel Captain Cook to cozy, rustic lodges that promise a true Alaskan feel. 

For those venturing into Denali National Park, consider staying in Healy or the park itself, where lodges and cabins provide direct access to trails and wildlife viewing. The Denali Cabins offer an immersive experience deep within the park.

Meanwhile, Seward is a great spot to stay if you’re looking to explore the Kenai Fjords in the Kenai Peninsula. Here, waterfront hotels and charming cottages allow you to soak up the coastal beauty comfortably.

Lastly, for a unique Alaskan experience, stay in a remote cabin in Fairbanks or a Juneau inn to truly disconnect and enjoy the serene landscapes. These locations are perfect for northern lights viewing and connecting with nature.

A train passing through Alaska Railroad with snowy mountains in the background

Explore The Vastness of The Last Frontier with ThisCityKnows

Now that you’re equipped with the essentials for planning a trip to Alaska, it’s time to let the adventure unfold. Whether you’re flying over glaciers or fishing in pristine waters, Alaska promises a journey of breathtaking moments.

And don’t forget, ThisCityKnows is always here to ensure your travels are seamless and spectacular, from the Gold Rush towns to the northern lights. And once you’re back from your trip, please do share your Alaskan tales and tips with us. We’d love to hear how our advice turns into your unforgettable adventures!

All set to experience the wonders of Alaska? 

Pack your spirit of adventure and let ThisCityKnows lead the way to your next epic journey!

Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

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