Believe it or not, these 10 hidden gems around Anchorage and other parts of the state have been right under your nose all along! Check out all the unique and exciting things these hidden little wonders offer. Whether you enjoy being indoors or adventuring into the wild Alaskan wilderness, there is a little gem for everyone to explore.
1. Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer
This place is much more than a visitor center, in fact, it is quite a fun place to check out. There are over 60 acres of marine wildlife area interwoven with well-maintained trails. Spend your afternoon with family observing the birds and other marine wildlife of Homer.
2. Explore Kennicott Ghost Town
Just outside of McCarthy is the abandoned mining/ghost town of Kennicott. The National Park Service maintains the ruins and allows for visitors to walk through and travel into the historic mining era of Alaska. It's much more fun than any old museum and afterwards, you can explore more of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve!
3. Take a tour on a glass-bottom boat
Explore the ocean floor of Sitka Sound and take a cruise on a glass-bottom barge! Below the deck of a normal tour barge is an underwater viewing room where you can get up close and personal with all of Alaska's many sea creatures.
4. Enjoy a Flightseeing Tour of Alaska
If the only time you've seen Alaska by air is before touchdown or after takeoff from the Ted Stevens Airport then you're really missing out on something special. Believe it or not, flightseeing tours are not just for tourists, and they don't have to cost you an arm and a leg either! If you're in the Anchorage area I recommend taking a tour with either Regal Air Flightseeing (roughly $120 a head) or Rust's Flightseeing Tours ($110 a head).
5. Ride the White Pass Yukon Route Railroad
Ride this historic Gold Rush train (with vintage parlor cars and all) out to Skagway for a weekend of hiking. The train only costs $34 to ride and you get dropped off right at Denver Glacier Trailhead. Hike for a day or camp overnight! The train also stops at the end of Chilkoot Trail to pick you up.
6. Enjoy a tipsy train ride with Hops on the Rail
Big Swig Tours, a BEER touring company (yeah... beer!) based out of Anchorage offers tours of local breweries, as well as a really unique riding tour called Hops on the Rail. Take a beer run on The Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Talkeetna and enjoy up to 16 tastings!
7. Slow things down with the Midnight Sun and Dinner Float
Enjoy dinner and a drift down the Chena River in Fairbanks! The Midnight Sun and Dinner Float starts at the Two Rivers Lodge where you will enjoy some gourmet Alaskan cuisine before heading out for an hour and a half long tour of the Chena River! Sightseeing is abundant and the river is nice and slow so even children can come along.
8. Go Off Road
Some of Alaska's coolest sights can only be seen by riding an ATV deep into the wilderness. How much fun does ripping down trails on a 4-wheeler sound? If you're a little hesitant, or you've never driven an ATV before, there is no need to worry. You can take a guided tour with a professional behind the wheel OR the tour company will teach you how to maneuver your vehicle before hitting the trail. I recommend seeing Denali from a whole new perspective with Black Diamond ATV Tours (who also offer "drivers ed" and professional drivers).
9. Take a bone-chilling Ghost Tour
I promise you will see drabby ol' Anchorage in a new light once you take this unique tour of the most haunted bars and alleys around town. It's a foot tour so make sure you dress warm and wear comfortable shoes, who knows, you might end up running from something.
10. Spend a Day on the Ice
Sure, you can skate on your local lagoon, or you can spend a whole day skating around Portage Lake, a huge glacier-fed lake right outside of Portage. The lake butts up to the glacier so you get some AWESOME views, not to mention a lot of space to twirl around.
Have you heard of any of these hidden gems before? What others would you add to this list?