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6 Best Things to Do in Alaska



We’re sure you’ve encountered different misconceptions about Alaska when you were growing up as a child. For example, you probably thought the place is under a “forever snowing” status and everyone lived in igloos. You may even imagine that the community still used a dog sled to get around. While all those sound pretty cool, the fact is that the state is different from the image people only know from movies or fun holiday stories. You’ll be more than surprised to find out it is more than meets the eye. Don’t miss out on this beautiful state that’s abundant in beautiful attractions and experiences! Here’s what you can do and visit in your Alaska trip:

1. See the Northern Lights

Northern Lights
Source: Alaska Northern Lights | Smithsonian Mag

The stunning sky phenomenon tops the list for a good reason! The Northern Lights or “aurora borealis” is a natural display of light in the sky. It displays a breathtaking view of colors that are mostly green, pink, white or violet with a blue tinge. Back in the day, Eskimos believed that these lights were the spirits of seals, whales, and caribou. On the other hand, people in the Middle Ages saw the Northern Lights as a sign of impending doom (outbreak of disease, or death). In reality, the lights are the after-effects of some storms on the surface of the sun. The particles get hurtled through outer space and are mixed with the Earth’s magnetic fields, forming a breathtaking light show that could only invite admiration.

But, don’t worry! You don’t need to get all Science-y when you see visit Alaska to see the Northern Lights!

  • Just make sure you are going there between mid-September and late April for the best viewing experience.
  • Try going to the remote northern villages of Coldfoot, like the Prudhoe Bay and Barrow for a bigger chance of catching this phenomenon.
  • Choose the usual way and visit the “undisputed capital” of the Northern Lights called “Fairbanks,” which many travelers frequent.

2. Visit the Tongass National Forest

America's Largest Forest
Source: Tongass National Forest | Newsweek

… a.k.a. the largest national forest in the United States. The Tongass National Forest is a 17-million acre park that boasts healthy populations of fish and wildlife in its islands, bays, mountains, and fjords.

There are a ton of things to do in this forest. You only need to take your pick!

  • Check out the bears feeding on salmon at the Prince of Wales Island,
  • Fish some salmon, halibut, and lingcod in the saltwater or lakes,
  • Ride a zipline;

… and more!

Suppose you want to take in the beauty of the place, then take a train tour to see the best parts of the Tongass National Forest, or go on a shore excursion by paddling around the island! The bottom line is, this paradise is a must-go-to, especially for nature lovers!

3. Go to the Abandoned Kennicott Copper Mining Town

Abandoned Copper Mining Town Alaska
Source: Kennicott Mining Town | PhotoVolcanica

If visiting ghost towns in your trips give you an indescribable thrill, you should add this place to your itinerary asap! The Kennicott Copper Mining Town is best recognized for its giant red mill building, which details the bittersweet history of the camp. This natural historic landmark used to be a busy and flourishing mining camp in the ’90s. History even described the town as the place with the “richest concentration of copper ore” ever discovered, until the day came when copper deposits were exhausted and everything got “mined out.” Since then, the whole mining operations got shut down and the town was abandoned. Today, there are only a handful of residents living in the town. It was never repopulated and only those who were involved in the tourism business were allowed to stay. Some parts remain under private ownership, but there are still sightseeing tours offered so curious visitors can see the abandoned buildings and old mines.

4. Eat up and Have Fun at the Kodiak Crab Festival

Alaskan King Crab
Source: Alaskan King Crab | Wikimedia Commons 

Taste the best Alaskan king crabs in the world in this five-day event full of food, fun, rides, and competitive activities! The Kodiak Crab Festival has been running for 50 years now, and it continues to be a hit to the community and tourists. You can try crabs cooked in different dishes, participate in competitions such as a marathon or the race to the harbor, or just try your luck in carnival games. This event symbolizes the most awaited return of summer, so expect lots of fun and energy from all attendees! In your little way, you’ll also be helping the community get a boost in tourism when you attend the festival. Now, doesn’t that count for something?

5. Explore the Aurora Ice Museum

Aurora Ice Museum in Alaska
Source: Aurora Ice Hotel | Tripsavvy

Your Alaska trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the cool museum (literally and figuratively) which features the best ice carvings the world has to offer! This museum is open all year round, perfect for when you want to cool down on a hot summer day. Visitors can learn from the ice sculpture demonstrations when they come in, and admire the different champion ice creations enhanced with colorful lighting! You can see a giant chess set, polar bear bedrooms, ice bar, jousting knights, and more! If you get a bit tired, you can even chill like a villain in the Aurora Ice Bar! Just order an “Appletini” drink which will be served in their icy martini glasses. Tell us, what’s not to love?

6. Embrace the Alaskan Lifestyle at the Husky Homestead

Alaska Dog Sled Tour
Source: Husky Homestead 

Prepare to be amazed because here is where you’ll find the world’s finest sled dogs and puppies! The Husky Homestead gives you a good look into the lifestyles based on Alaskan adventures. Think about dogs freight hauling on Denali or crossing the finish line in Nome. You can say puppies are cute, but you’d be surprised at how competitive and athletic they’d get when trained. You’ll learn more about Iditarod (sled dog race) and how people prepare for such an event. You may not have an appreciation for this place now, but we’re sure you’d leave the place carrying a great experience!

Have you tried visiting these places in Alaska before?