Alaska, northwest of Canada, is the largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state. As Alaska is big, so too is its beauty. This natural beauty can be enjoyed while hiking, skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, paddling, and fishing in the great outdoors. Though there are a number of museums and other tourist attractions - but wherever your sightseeing may take you, the scale of Alaska is sure to impress.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA MUSEUM OF THE NORTH
The museum offers well over one million historical artifacts and natural history pieces. On display is a permanent collection of ethnological items made and used by indigenous groups, fine arts collection that focuses mainly on Alaskan art, archeological finds from prehistoric cultures, a bird collection, and paleontology specimens.The museum is housed in a building designed by Joan Soranno and features interesting lines and curves intended to resemble the Alaskan landscape.
2.ALASKA NATIVE HERITAGE CENTRE
Some of Alaska’s native peoples traditional dwellings is surrounding the lake at the centre. Guides demonstrate crafts and artworks and perform dances and songs to visitors. Though the sightseeing attraction is located out of downtown, there is a summer-season shuttle from the modern Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
Traveling to Seward is equally as alluring as the small town itself. Visitors can either travel by road or take the scenic Alaska Railroad. You can visit the Alaska SeaLife Centre, or explore the Kenai Peninsula attractions, such as Exit Glacier, and area fjords by boat. After exploring in Seward visitors can head to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, established to protect the Kodiak bear and other rare animals.
4.KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
Restored buildings from the 1897 – 98 Gold Rush is maintained in the Skagwag historic distric. Visitors can explore the on-site museum and visitors center (housed in one of Alaska’s oldest houses) - for the more adventurous there is the 33-mile-long hike on the Chilkoot Trail beginning at the Taiya River Bridge. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway leaves from Skagway, climbing up to White Pass at a 2,865-foot elevation.
5.TOTEM BIGHT STATE HISTORIC PARK
The Us Forest Services began a project in 1938 to salvage, reconstruct, and create totem poles - a tradition which was dying out. The totem poles was restored or recreated by the older generations carvers from funds made available. Fourteen poles were erected in Ketchikan's Park, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A early 19th century recreated clan house can also be seen. There are more heritage totem poles and local details available at the town's Totem Heritage Center.
6.TRACY ARM FJORD
A popular destination for cruise ships and boat tours, the Tracy Arm is located south of Juneau in the bounds of the Tongass National Forest. Waterfalls tumble down the sharp rock walls and glaciers calve, creating small icebergs. The twin Sawyer sits at the head of the fjord. Wildlife sighting are common on tours, whether it is a brown bear, moose or the whales and seals that inhabit the waters.
7.IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
With more than 2,300 miles between Nome and Seward the trail consists of a network of trails. The trail was originally used by hunters and later by gold prospectors. Today it is used for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Although it is primarily a winter trail, hikers do use sections during the summer months.
From September to mid-April the glowing Northern lights appear on the long dark winters. Some of the best aurora borealis viewing happens in the Fairbanks area. The peak time to watch for solar particles in the earth's magnetic field is after midnight. Joining an aurora tour can help keep sightseers warm in this frigid season.
OTHER THINGS TO DO / VISIT
Whether you travel by train, car, or bus, the scenery will be spectacular.
The best time to visit Alaska is from late May through mid-August for the fairest weather, with average temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees F. Summer brings extended daylight, with 19 hours of sunshine on June 21. June is the best month for dry weather and blooming flowers. Autumn weather patterns bring frequent rain, cool weather and clouds, with clear weather hit-or-miss. December to March is a busy time for activities and outdoor winter recreation for those bold enough to bundle up.