Before you go any further, make you that you are sitting down. That’s right – you need to brace yourself. This epic list features some of the most world-renowned destinations in the mighty last frontier. And you know what? We guarantee that you’ll want to visit each and every one of them in 2017. Natural wonders, cultural museums, waterfalls filled with brown bears, private island escapes, famous fishing rivers, mouth-watering restaurants, decadent bakeries, breathtaking glaciers and truly so much more. Everything on this list is utter perfection and will have you falling head-over-heels in love with the 49th state on a level that you never dreamt imaginable.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Kenai River – Sterling, Soldotna, Kenai, Cooper Landing
Hands down, this world-famous river is one of the Kenai Peninsula's greatest claims to fame. Flip for reds, enjoy a scenic float and enjoy epic wildlife viewing every step of the way.
2. Brooks Falls – Katmai
Nearby to Naknek Lake in Katmai National Park, watching massive grizzly bears feast on salmon jumping upstream in the falls is one of the most mind-blowing experiences that you can have in Alaska.
3. Talon Lodge & Spa – Private Apple Island
Located on an isolated private island nearby to Sitka in southeast Alaska, this enchanting experience offers saltwater and freshwater fishing, luxury lodging, open air massages and gourmet cuisine every single day.
4. Eklutna Lake – Chugach State Park
For anyone living in or visiting Alaska's largest city of Anchorage, you better take a journey out to Eklutna Lake in 2017. Go camping, kayaking, hiking, biking and spend your time under the midnight sun soaking in Alaska's beautiful natural wonders.
5. Double Musky Inn – Girdwood
Head to the 'best ski town in the world' and get ready to feast on Cajun style cuisine in a Mard-Gras themed atmosphere. Try the epic French Pepper Steak or any of the amazing wild Alaska seafood dishes and feel as your taste buds dancing every step of the way. Address: Mile .3 Crow Creek Road, Girdwood, AK 99587.
6. Aurora Ice Museum – Fairbanks
Head to Chena Hot Springs Resort and visit the fascinating ice sculpture museum complete with an ice bar and ice hotel. Address: 17600 Chena Hot Springs Road, Fairbanks, AK 99712.
7. Mendenhall Ice Caves – Juneau
Head to Alaska's capital city of Juneau with your best adventure foot forward. A good day hike and kayaking adventure will lead you to these enchanting ice caves that truly make you feel like just a tiny little speck on the earth's surface.
8. The Moose Is Loose – Soldotna
The best apple fritters in this solar system, and so much more. Enjoy donuts, cookies, cakes, various gift shop items and so much more. With very reasonable prices and consistently quality items, this place is sure to be your favorite new guilty pleasure. Address: 44278 Sterling Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669.
9. Chena Hot Springs Resort & Spa – Fairbanks
Founded over a century ago, this is the most developed hot spring area in the entire state. Visit during the chilly winter months and watch as the northern lights dance above you while you heat up in the natural springs. Address: 17600 Chena Hot Springs Road, Fairbanks, AK 99712.
10. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – Portage
Dedicated to preserving Alaska's wildlife, it's impossible not to be impressed with the incredible work done at this outdoor wildlife facility. On top of that, all the animals are pretty darn cute as well. Moose, bear, deer, fox, bison and much, much more! Address: Mile 79 Seward Highway, Portage, AK 99587
11. Santa Claus House – North Pole
Magical during the holidays, but a truly magical experience any time of year. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, write a letter to a loved one from Santa, munch on homemade fudge, shop for gifts and enjoy the spirit of the season, any time of year. Address: 101 St Nicholas Drive, North Pole, AK 99705.
12. Anchorage Museum – Anchorage
Head to downtown Anchorage and enjoy this absolutely spectacular museum filled with local and Native Alaskan art, history, ethnography, ecology and science exhibits. Address: 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501.
13. Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes – Katmai
This absolutely mind-blowing place is located within Katmai National Park and was caused from the volcano eruption of Novarupta on June 6–8, 1912. Fly over-top and soak in some of the most fascinating views of your lifetime.
14. Iliamna Lake – Alaska Peninsula
Located at the north end of the Alaska Peninsula, between Kvichak Bay and Cook Inlet - this is the place you need to be if you are an avid fly fisherman or angler addict.
15. The Little Mermaid – Homer
Um... all we have to say is YUM! Not to mention this place has incredible service, great owners, a convenient location and so much more. This tiny little eatery on the Homer Spit offers pizzas, seafood specialties and a bunch of other healthy and creative menu items using locally sourced ingredients. Address: 4246 Homer Spit Road, Homer, AK 99603.
16. Totem Bight State Historical Park – Ketchikan
Soak in history, culture, wildlife and the world's largest collection of totem poles. Address: 9883 North Tongass Highway, Ketchikan, AK 99901.
17. Tracy Arm Fjord – Inside Passage
Named after the Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Franklin Tracy this amazing attraction is located 45 miles south of Juneau via boat travel. Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness contains 653,179 acres of pure beauty.
18. Iditarod Headquarters – Wasilla
This is a quintessential Alaskan attraction that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Step inside the log cabin museum and enjoy trophies, photos and videos of dog mushers past and present. Plus, there is a really neat gift shop and rides available as well. Address: 2100 S Knik-Goose Bay Road, Wasilla, AK 99654.
19. Kenai Fjords National Park – Seward
If an enchanting experience is what you're after, head to Seward and hop on a Kenai Fjords Tour. Soak in phenomenal wildlife views, watch as massive glaciers calve right before your very eyes and listen to the booming noises of natural in its rawest element.
20. 229 Parks Restaurant & Tavern – DNP
One of the top restaurants in the Last Frontier, hands down! Enjoy sustainable American cuisine, fresh veggies and other locally sourced food in an open and airy post and beam style atmosphere. Address: 229.7 Parks Highway, Denali Natl Park, AK 99755.
21. Fortress of the Bear – Sitka
This educational bear rescue center is a wonderful place to go with friends and family. Watch as playful bears roam about below you and occasionally put on a great show with their toys, forts and ponds. Address: 4639 Sawmill Creek Road, Sitka, AK 99835.
22. Homer Spit – Homer
Head to the 'halibut fishing capital of the world' and drive down this 4.5 mile long piece of land jutting out into Kachemak Bay. Enjoy shops, adventure outfits, fishing guides, delicious restaurants, beach combing, fishing in the lagoon, soaking in mountain views and so much more. This place is simply paradise!
23. Prince William Sound
Hop on a 26 Glacier Cruise out of Whittier and enjoy the comfort of a first-class catamaran with memorable wildlife viewing and glacier gazing opportunities every step of the way.
24. Kodiak Island
The second largest island in the United States and known locally as 'Alaska's Emerald Island' - this is one island escape that you'll want to take in 2017. From fishing to hiking and hunting, Kodiak is filled with unlimited adventure for every outdoor enthusiast under the sun.
25. Denali National Park
We saved the best for last! The biggest too! No Alaska bucket list would be complete without featuring the tallest mountain in North America. With a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level, your view of this stoic mountain will be utterly unforgettable on a clear day in the Last Frontier.