An Alaska summer bucket list does not blend in with the crowd, no – not at all. Drive through the longest tunnel in United States or fly around the highest peak in all of North America, ride the world’s longest zipline, go into a cave made out of ice or rock, paddle through icy fjords or get away from the crowds and enjoy the secluded back-country. Your possibilities to enjoy fun and excitement are quite literally limitless in Alaska. Here are 26 activities to add to your Alaska bucket list this summer.
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. Drive The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier
This is the longest highway tunnel in North America at 2.5 miles, and the first designed for -40 Fahrenheit temperatures and 150 mph winds. Pretty phenomenal if you ask us!
2. Watch The Mt. Marathon Race In Seward On The Forth Of July
Mt. Marathon holds a foot race every 4th of July in the beautiful town of Seward. Over 800 people participate in this three mile round-trip foot race that takes them up the mountain over 3022 feet. The ascent is covered in less than a mile. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world visit the town to participate enjoy the festivities and cheer on the athletes.
3. Go Ziplining At Icy Strait Point In Hoonah
Welcome to the world’s longest zip line ride! Unlike anything you've seen before, this zip line ride at Icy Strait Point is truly a once in a lifetime experience that will leave you screaming "Only In Alaska!"
4. Go On A Guided Glacier Hiking Excursion
Throughout the last frontier, you have a lot of options to choose from. Depending on the region you are in, find a reputable guide and get up close and personal with these beautiful land masses.
5. Fly Over The Highest Mountain In North America
Oh the glory! Get high in the sky with a reputable flight-seeing company that offers excursions taking you around the highest mountain peak in North America, Denali.
6. Experience Music And Amazing Food At Halibut Cove Live
Floating ampetheatre, live music from blues to bluegrass, delicious food, plenty of wine and warm Alaskan hospitality. It really doesn't get much better. Oh wait - all of the profits from this event go to support The Homer Foundation. All the feels!
7. View Glaciers And Wildlife On A Kenai Fjords Tour
Facebook - Kenai Fjords Tours
Many visitors to Alaska mark their Kenai Fjords Tour as the top experience in all of Alaska. From wildlife to glaciers and an incredibly knowledgeable guide, it's easy to see why this tour is ranked on the top of so many lists.
8. Explore El Capitan Cave On Prince Of Wales Island
Located in the Tongass National Forest, El Capitan Cave is the longest mapped cave in Alaska. Those that choose to explore this in depth can cover over two miles. The only way to see this magnificent cave is during the summer months. The Forest Service offers guided excusions at no cost.
9. Visit The Salty Dawg In Homer
Dollar bills left by guests cover the walls and ceiling of this historic watering hole in Homer. Enjoy a cold brew and local company in this cozy 1897 cabin.
... And While You're At It, Check Out The Whole Homer Spit
If you've made it to the Salty Dawg, you might as well just spend the night and check out all the cool art, shops, eateries and tourism vendors on the Homer Spit.
10. Visit Sitka For The Alaska Day Festival
Alaska Day Festival annually commemorates the Purchase Transfer of the Russian claim of Alaska to the United States of America in Sitka on October 18, 1867. This festival also celebrates the diversity of cultures and historical perspectives of the Alaskan people.
11. Visit The Fortress Of The Bear
While you're in Sitka, you might as well take a journey down the road and visit this spectacular place. The Fortress of the Bear provides protection and care to rescued animals in an enriching, educational environment. Their mission is to rescue cubs, bring them back to health and provide a long life full of enrichment.
12. Soak In Natural Hot Springs At Chena Resort
Hot springs in the summer? Sure why not! It's Alaska, and we do things a little differently up here. Amenities include the on-site hot springs, a heated indoor pool and hot tubs, an ice museum and a massage center.
13. Camp In The Backcountry
Anywhere within the 663,300 miles that make up Alaska will do. Just get out, cleanse your soul and free yourself from the noise of civilization.
... Or On A Beach
The Alaskan coastline extends for 6,640 miles... we're confident that you can find a good camping spot (or two).
14. Explore An Ice Cave
From Juneau to the MatSu Valley and even on the Kenai Peninsula - there are a handful of these hidden treasures in Alaska for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. Albeit intriguing, remember to always use caution as these areas can become very dangerous.
15. Kayak Someplace Magical
Paddle, relax, breath it all in. Alaska has more than 40% of the entire nation's surface water resources. We'd say that your options are unlimited!
16. Go On A Fly-In Fishing Trip Somewhere Away From The Crowds
Like, how about Lake Clark National Park and Preserve? Why not! On the flight in you can enjoy watching coastal brown bears fish for salmon or dig for clams along the shores. Utterly remarkable!
17. Ride The Alaska Railroad
From Seward to Whittier and all the way up north through Denali National Park and onto Fairbanks - the historic Alaska Railroad is an excellent way to enjoy Alaska with zero distractions other than wildlife viewing and beaming mountains.
18. Take A Hike Underneath The Midnight Sun
Because nothing says "I'm in Alaska" like hiking in the middle of the night without a star in the sky.
19. Cruise Through The Inside Passage
A million-ish people visit Alaska each year via cruise ship. We'd say that they are on to something...
20. Go Whitewater Rafting Down Sixmile Creek
Start your journey in the quaint town of Hope located on the Kenai Peninsula. Six Mile Creek is a short, approximately 10 miles waterway with some of the most exciting whitewater rafting in Alaska. Class IV and Class V rapids with drops of over 50 feet per mile. This trip is for those that enjoy a thrilling adrenaline rush!
21. Go Bear Viewing in Katmai National Park
Katmai is notable for the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and for its Alaskan brown bears. You will never want to visit a zoo again after seeing such amazing wildlife in their natural habitat.
22. Get To Know The Local Athletes
The official state sport of Alaska is dog mushing. It is a rich and integral part of the Alaskan culture. And the doggies? Well, they're pretty darn cute too.
23. Go Glamping On A Remote Island
Orca Island Cabins located on Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay is a mix between utter paradise and heaven on earth. Relax in a yurt, go kayaking and paddle boarding, watch orcas jump and enjoy an epic remote setting.
24. Wet A Line Any Chance You Get
Flickr - Nicholas D.
It's Alaska, need we say more? It's just what we do. Salmon, halibut, rockfish, trout, grayling, arctic char... the list goes on and on.
25. Drive The Denali Highway
This largely graveled road offers views of remote wilderness. The 135-mile road was completed in 1957 and was designed to give access to Denali National Park. It later became largely redundant in 1971 when a newer (and paved) road was put in, known as the George Parks Highway. The highway leads from Paxson Junction to Cantwell Junction.
26. Catch As Many Sunsets As Possible
That is, until summer solstice hits and the midnight sun keeps you awake all day and all night.
Oh, Alaska… you make this list so easy for us to write! We decided to cut it off at 26 but we know there are a ton of other amazing things to do in Alaska during the summer months. What are some of your top recommendations?