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Top Ten Destination Spots in Alaska

Updated on August 6, 2015

Fairbanks

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The Northern Lights in Fairbanks

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10. Fairbanks

Fairbanks is a gorgeous city located in Alaska and is the perfect place to view the Northern Lights. The green and red reflection is a unique site to see. In Fairbanks, the odds of seeing the Northern Lights are great if you are there from September-April.

Fairbanks also offers The Riverboat Discovery which is a steam wheeler cruise boat where you can go on cruises on the water. Founded in 1950, this Steam boat has been ran by the same family for five generations. There are daily cruises and three different riverboats. Another steamboat is the Tanana Chief which offers cruises along with breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Another popular site to see is the El Dorado Gold Mine Trail Ride and Tour. This tour teaches you about the history of mining in Alaska. The mine was founded in the early 1900's. The mine halted after President, Franklin Roosevelt stopped it from being mined during World War II. Today it is a popular tourist attraction where your tour will take you inside of the mine and the train.

Pioneer Park is a great point of interest in Fairbanks. It was built in 1967 and is dedicated to the Alaska Purchase of 1867 through a treaty between the United States and Russia. Admission is free to enter the park and is where you will see numerous historical buildings including the first church in fairbanks. Alot of these buildings serve as gift shops and boutiques today. There is also an air museum and a railroad museum.

The Riverboat Discovery near Fairbanks

The Riverboat Discovery
The Riverboat Discovery | Source

Girdwood in the Fall

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9. Girdwood-Alyeska Resort

This beautiful resort is located in Girdwood, Alaska and offers a variety of recreational activities. Fishing, hiking, skiing, and biking are just some of the activities available at Girdwood-Alyeska Resort. This resort is open all year round and offers plenty to do throughout the year. There is also lodging at Hotel Alyeska located on the water.

Alyeska Resort is close to Chugach State Park which is the 3rd largest state park in the United States. It wis full of mountains and other gorgeous terrain and offers spectacular views from the Alyeska Resort.

Bear and wildlife in this area are abundant, making it a great spot for wildlife viewing. This varies with each season, depending on the salmon runs. Usually June-September are the optimal months for wildlife viewing in this area.

During the winter months this the Girdwood-Alyeska Resort attracts many avid skiers and there are different types of skiing trails for winter sports such as snowshoeing and nordic skiing. The Dog Sled Tour is a popular attraction and a must see to experience a bit of Alaskan culture.

In the summer biking and hiking are popular recreations as well as flight-seeing and ice climbing.

The Alyeska Resort in Girdwood Alaska

Alyseka Resort
Alyseka Resort | Source

Glacier Bay National Park Sunset

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Glacier Bay National Park; Muir Glacier

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8. Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park, located west of Juneau, is a national monument and offers many different experiences that aren't offered in any other part of the country.

Cruise ship tour vessels are available for touring the area which offers great, up close views of the area.

Charter boats are also available for views of the same areas and you can even bring your own boat.

This World Heritage Site offers Hiking, backpacking, rafting and kayaking which are all popular activities at Glacier Bay National Park.

This beautiful park is a great place for photography as well. Air taxis are an exciting experience to look into that offers views from the sky. This is a great way to see the wildlife in the area.

For those hunters and sport fisherman; there are plenty of areas that will accommodate both.

There are fishing boats that are available to go out on with an experienced fisherman. Sport fishing is a popular pastime in this area.

There are even ranger programs for the kids to participate in if desired.

If you are ever in Glacier Bay National Park, between the beauty of the area and the different tours to choose from, you will experience something new and exciting which you have never experienced before.

Glacier Bay is just west of Juneau, making it easy to see while visiting Juneau, Alaska.

Glacier Bay Cruise

McCarthy Ghost Town

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Kennicott Glacier

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7. McCarthy and Kennecott Ghost Towns

McCarthy and Kennecott were two old mining towns which attracted miners to the area. Kennecott was established in 1903 and was used as a mining camp. It is also a National Historic Landmark District.

Due to the depression and copper being less valuable, Kennecott became a ghost town in 1938. It is currently a popular tourist attraction and offers a walking tour of this historic ghost town. You can also see great views of the Kennicott Glacier.

The Kennicott Glacier is located in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This glacier is close to both Kennecott and McCarthy. Part of this glacier is at the head of Kennicott River and it stretches into the Wrangell Mountains

After the value of copper went down, Kennecott became a ghost town. McCarthy is a town close by and is close to becoming a ghost town as well. McCarthy is a town off of the Copper River and the North Western Railway.

McCarthy has always had at least one family living there however; the population has been scarce. McCarthy offers a museum which holds artifacts and other pieces of history involving McCarthy, Alaska and the mining of copper.

Walk around McCarthy and get an up close look at the old buildings located here. Both of these places are interesting places to visit and there is even some history here as well.

Kennicot Copper Mine

Kennicot Copper Mine
Kennicot Copper Mine | Source

Homer Harbor

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Homer Spit

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6. Homer

Homer became a city due it its abundant source of coal in the area. Coal was found in the Homer in the 1890's which led to building coal mines along with the town itself.

A main attraction in Homer, Alaska are the whale watches they have to offer. Rainbow Tours gives the opportunity to see all kinds of different marine life including; humpbacks, orcas, minkies, finbacks and gray whales. These tours will take you around Kachemak Bay and most whales watching companies guarantee a sighting or you get your money back.

The Homer Spit is another popular place to go in Homer. Home Spit is a thin piece of land that stretches 4.5 miles into Kachemak Bay. This gorgeous area offers beaches, campgrounds and even a shop. The harbor at the Homer Spit is another great spot to look into. There is fishing available and halibut is the most popular fish for this area.

Lodging is also available in Homer and Lands’ End Resort is one of those places and a great place to stay at. There are also places to camp and lodge in as well. Lands End Resort offer room rentals as well as beach house rentals. They also host a murder mystery weekend event.

Chart Room is a great place to dine while visiting this resort. Chart Room offers gourmet coffee and espressos and has a great menu as well which includes their vanilla-rum french toast.

There are also spa opportunities available at Lands End resort. Cruises are available to explore the bay. There is a wildlife cruise, fishing options and you can even go bear watching.

Kachemak Bay

Kachemak Bay
Kachemak Bay | Source

Bald Eagles in Homer Alaska

Kenai Fjords

5. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park houses a variety of terrain which includes; mountains and ice along with the ocean. This phenomenal park has close to forty glaciers and Harding Ice Field.

While visiting the Harding Ice Field, look into the Harding Ice field Trail close by. This trail is strenuous and lasts about 5-6 hours but well worth it once to get to the view at the end. There are opportunities to hike with a ranger. Whether it is a short walk or the full trail; a ranger is available for either. There is beauty all the way along the trail, therefore climbing to the end is not necessary in order to get a feel for the area.

This is bear country and it is important to be aware of that and take all precautions necessary to keep yourself and others safe. Flightseeing is a great option for bear seeing as well as great views of the land, water and mountains. Boat tours are also available at Kenai Fjords National Park.

Exit Glacier is a popular glacier in the Kenai Fjords and the only spot accessible by vehicle. Once you are there many trails are available to explore.

Two Arm Bay is another must see in Kenai Fjords National Park. This bay is rarely visited making it peaceful and serene. Between the serenity and the plant life surrounding this bay, it is the spot for anyone looking to relax and take in some beauty.

Two Arm Bay

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The Benny Benson Memorial

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Bears on the Russian River

4. Seward

Seward is a small town located in the state of Alaska and attracts tourists from all over.

Nearby is Resurrection Bay which is ice free all year round and located on the Kenai Peninsula. Two Arm Bay is near by making Seward extremely close to a piece of Kenai Fjords National Park.

Mount Marathon is an annual event in Seward and a popular sport for all ages. It is a popular attraction to the locals and many people participate in the fun.

Also in this quaint town is the Benny Benson Memorial. Alaska hosted a contest for people to share their designs for the Alaskan flag and the winners design would be chosen as the actual design for the flag. Benny Benson was only thirteen and won the contest. He also wrote the state song.

Seward is bear country. You may see black bear, brown bear or grizzly bear. Polar bear are in Alaska but they are located north of Seward. There also may be sightings of moose and bald eagles. If you are ever in this gorgeous area, don’t forget to catch the dog sled races.

Seward is also home to McDonald Beach and the Russian River. The Russian River is a hotspot for bears with grizzly bears being one of them. It is important to take all precautions necessary to prevent any issues with the bears.

Resurrection Bay

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Lakes and Forests in Denali National Park

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley
Mount McKinley | Source

3. Denali National Park

Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley which is the largest mountain in the United States. This beautiful park wraps around the majestic mountain and draws over 400,000 visitors a year.

Established in 1917, this park is said to have been home to man dating back to over 11,000 years ago with some sites documented dating back to 8,000 years ago.

At the Denali National Park Visitor Center, many visitors are encourage to leave a piece of writing about their visit. There is never a comment about bad experiences here, but only writing of its beauty and other great things this park has to offer.

Hiking, wildlife, dog sledding, rafting, wagon rides, skiing and flightseeing are all popular recreational attractions and sporting areas offered at Denali National Park.

Denali is known to be the home to alot of wildlife which includes; moose, bear and caribou along with wolves. You will find bear roaming along the waters searching for salmon and even caribou in the roads!

Flightseeing gives you the opportunity to fly over the park and get up close to the glaciers. All the ski equip airplanes have the capability to safely land on the glaciers. This is a great wildlife viewing opportunity as well.

Close to Mount McKinley is Wonder Lake which offers fishing and watersports. An interesting fact is that Denali National Park is larger than the state of Massachusetts.

Wonder Lake

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Alaska Botanical Gardens

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The Historic 1916 Anchorage Hotel

2. Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska is a popular spot for bear viewing and brown, black and grizzly bears can be spotted. Fishing is popular pastime and both salmon and halibut live in this habitat. In Anchorage fishing is available anytime of the year.

Anchorage is a great city that offers many attractions and things to do. There are twelve museums that will teach you about topics that range from the history of Alaska to science.

The Alaska Botanical Gardens and Alaska Native Heritage Center are both located in Anchorage and are great places to stroll through. While visiting the Alaska Botanical Garden, The Wildflower Trail will take you through the garden to see better views. There is also a gift shop that you can browse through. The gardens are open all year round.

Anchorage also has many places available for lodging. One of the most popular places to stay at is the historic Anchorage Hotel. This hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and a popular attraction. The Anchorage Hotel was established in 1916 and was used as an Alaskan meeting and gathering spot.

Anchorage has twelve breweries and all of them offer tours and taste tests. Take a tour and see how some of Alaska's premium beers are made and bottled.

Anchorage has been known for its gold and precious metals for hundreds of years and many places in the area offer the option to pan for your own gold.

Gorgeous Picture of Hoar Frosted Trees in Anchorage

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Mendenhall Glacier

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Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska
Juneau Alaska | Source

1. Juneau

Juneau is the capital of Alaska and sits between Mount Roberts and The Gastineau Channel.

Being one of the oldest cities in the state; Juneau was established before the big Klondike gold rush.

Juneau is the only state that is accessible only by boat or plane.

This colorful city has many things to offer which include; shopping, eateries and several museums. Some of the buildings located at this state capital date back to the turn of the century.

Stop by a local visitor center and grab a map to tour the city. This map will guide you through the city and explain the roles certain spots played in the history of Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier is a popular attraction in Juneau and attracts many visitors. Helicopter tours are available for sightseeing and glacier landings.

Dog sled rides are a great experience along with whale watches which offer views of not only whales but sea lions as well.

Humpback whales are the most viewed but orcas live here as well and can be seen. There are about 60 humpback whales in the area.

Don’t forget to take a ride on one of the many bike trails. There are also many places to walk, climb and hike. The trails in Juneau offer the most scenic route to the alpine meadows.

Downtown Juneau

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Attached is a road map to help you get around Alaska

show route and directions
A markerFairbanks -
Fairbanks, AK, USA
get directions

B markerGirdwood Alyeksa Resort -
Alyeska Resort-Round House Msm, 100 Arlberg Avenue, Girdwood, AK 99587, USA
get directions

C markerGlacier Bay National Park -
Glacier Bay National Park, 1 Park Road, Gustavus, AK 99826, USA
get directions

D markerMcCarthy -
McCarthy, AK 99566, USA
get directions

E markerKennicot -
Kennicott, Wrangell-St. Elias National Preserve, Chitina, AK 99566, USA
get directions

F markerHomer -
Homer, AK, USA
get directions

G markerKenai Fjords -
Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward, AK 99664, USA
get directions

H markerDenali National Park -
Denali National Park and Preserve, AK 99743, USA
get directions

I markerAnchorage -
Anchorage, AK, USA
get directions

J markerJuneau -
Juneau, AK, USA
get directions

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    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Great info and beautiful pictures! I've been to ANchorage and Denali but only for a few days. I'd love to go back and explore. Voted up!

    • April Dawn Meyer profile image
      Author

      April Dawn Meyer 3 years ago from Belle Fourche, South Dakota

      :) Thank you. Alaska was one of my favorite places to write about. So majestic in areas and just gorgeous.

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