Alaska’s beaches may not have bikini weather, but they are still beautiful. The winter can be a great time to explore the largest state and a weekend away, even to a nearby place, can be very refreshing. Don’t be afraid to travel in the winter in Alaska, just allow extra time for the inevitable snag the cold, fog, or ice may bring up. But once you get to these seaside towns, you’ll agree that they are perfect for a weekend winter getaway.
1. Skagway, Southeast
Skagway is a tucked in the corner between the Alaska panhandle and the mainland. The snow is plentiful and you can go snow machining, downhill and cross-country skiing. The northern lights are visible from up on the White Pass Summit. You'll love the easy pace of life in winter here, and the beautiful holiday decorations.
2. Kodiak, South
Alaska's Emerald Isle seems like a paradise to those traveling south from the arctic. The weather is far more humid and temperate than most of the state and the winters are cold, but tend to stay above zero. See a plethora of wildlife here: sea lions, bald eagles and bear before and after hibernation. The beaches are beautiful anytime of year.
3. Ketchikan, Southeast
To the extreme southeast, Ketchikan enjoys mild winters compared to everywhere else in Alaska. It still snows and the wind storms can be fierce, but most of the time the town is at it's most lovely in the off season. Hiking and ocean kayaking are fun winter activities to explore.
4. Sitka, Southeast
Sitka has a cool oceanic climate year-round, but is spared extreme cold. It rarely gets below zero. The waves crash into the rocky coastline and the beaches, rainforest hikes and kayaking are a blast.
5. Yakutat, Northern Inside Passage
Yakutat is "surf city" and the cold waves are surfable year-round. The USDA Forest Service Beach campsites are also available all year long for your visiting pleasure. Beach combing and hiking are fun in the winter, too, and this beautiful remote spot is not something most people will ever experience in the winter months.
6. Juneau, Southeast
The state capital is a great place for a winter getaway. This center of art and culture has a lot to offer, and the Mendenhall ice caves are magical and much safer to see in the winter months.
7. Homer, Southcentral
Homer has the moderating effects of the ocean keeping the temperatures around 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months. Although some of the businesses close, there are still a lot of great places to explore, things to see, and a bonfire on the beach in Homer is still heaven.
8. Seward, Southcentral
Seward is arguably Alaska's prettiest seaside town and year-round, if you catch a clear day, the views are beautiful. You can ski out to the Kenai Fjords, walk around town, head to the Alaska Sea Life Center, and generally enjoy this wonderful seaside town.
9. King Salmon, Bristol Bay
The Bristol Bay is staggeringly beautiful and a visit here will show you one of Alaska's jewels. Backcountry hiking and communing with nature are the main activities, so be prepared for the wild and solitude. It's sure to be an incredible adventure.
10. Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), North
Fly to Barrow to experience the complete darkness, still, quiet cold and frozen Arctic ocean. It's sure to be an adventure you'll never forget and can talk about forever.
11. Valdez, South-southeast
Valdez gets record-breaking snowfalls and the winter is pretty as a postcard. If you love snow, head here for snowboarding and skiing in the world class mountains.
12. Cordova, South-southeast
Skate the frozen ponds, climb the ice, see the glaciers, and enjoy the winter wonderland. Head to the crazy Iceworm Festival held in early February for a winter escape.
13. Whittier, Southcentral
Thsi quirky little town is just as strange in the winter. The residents oddly adore this seaside spot and a visit here in the winter is sure to be lively. Be prepared for unexpected travel delays. You may have to make it a long weekend on the seaside.
14. Anchorage, Southcentral
It may be a cliché, but a weekend getaway to Anchorage from anywhere else in Alaska is a time honored winter tradition for many Alaskans. Whether heading to Fur Rondy, the Idatarod Start, or a shopping trip, many Alaskans from all over take a taste of the big city to fight the cabin fever.
Have you been to these seaside towns in the winter? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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