The last frontier is filled with awe-inspiring places that have a way of making you pinch yourself to see if it’s all even real. We are talking the kind of places that make your jaw drop in amazement and your cheeks hurt from smiling so much. With jolting mountains, piercing blue glaciers, endless backcountry, fascinating volcanic formations, epic salmon streams and lush rainforest, it’s impossible not to be amazed by the beauty of the great 49th state. Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Yeah, so are we! Check out these 15 places in Alaska that you thought only existed in your imagination and be prepared to fall head over heels in love.
1. Bear Glacier - Kenai Fjords National Park
I mean... REALLY? Holy 'Only in Alaska' moment. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) around a piercing blue glacier on a sunny day in Alaska? Unreal. So amazing it actually seems unreal. These excursions with Liquid Adventures out of Seward on The Kenai, Alaska's Playground are the mere epitome of 'Only in Alaska' and truly the definition of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Phenomenal!
2. Polychrome Pass - Denali National Park
The endless vistas and fascinating colors of the rocks on Polychrome Mountain are utterly awe inspiring. If the views alone don't give you the goosebumps, the steep winding road with jolting drop-offs certainly will. No picture can truly do this fascinating place justice. It must be seen and experienced in person. MUST!
3. Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes - Katmai National Park
Created from the eruption of the Novarupta volcano on June 6–8, 1912 - the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes in Katmai National Park is one of the most fascinating sights in all of the last frontier.
4. Heli-Skiing Paradise - Haines
If shredding the pow is your thing and you are truly a wintertime adventure hound, nothing will blow you away more than Haines, Alaska. NOTHING. For the most epic adrenaline rush of your life, you better find yourself here, STAT.
5. Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
4.7 million acres of some of the most iconic views of sockeye salmon spawning makes this area between Kuskokwim Bay and Bristol Bay absolutely magical. If this doesn't have you screaming "Only in Alaska" - nothing will.
6. Mendenhall Ice Caves - Juneau
Being inside these caves truly does feel like an out of body experience. Although always a dangerous risk, the reward sure is enchanting.
7. Gates of the Arctic National Park
This northernmost national park in the United States is truly an off-the-grid outdoorsy lovers paradise. If exploring the backcountry and seeing wild Alaska is what you're all about, this place will blow your socks off.
8. Matanuska Glacier
The largest glacier in the entire United States is definitely something to write home about. Just a short drive from Alaska's largest city of Anchorage, the Matanuska Glacier offers epic climbing and sightseeing opportunities. Your eyes will beaming with sparking blue glacial envy!
9. Homer Spit
Jolting out into Kachemak Bay, the Homer Spit is the end of the road on the southern tip of The Kenai, Alaska's Playground. Stay and play in the halibut capital of the world, walk for miles on the beach, eat at some of the most amazing restaurants or just bop around and check out all of the cool shops.
10. Glacier Rainforest Gardens - Juneau
This botanical paradise is filled with bright beauty and fragrant aromas. Enjoy 50 acres of flower towers and incredible upside town trees.
11. Lamplugh Glacier - Glacier Bay National Park
This eight mile long glacier is likely one of the most beautiful sights that you will ever lay eyes on. Stay for the night and camp in the most epic Alaskan spot in the entire last frontier.
12. Brooks Falls - Katmai National Park
There is something so out-of-this-world about being THIS up close and personal with massive amounts of wildlife. Watch as brown bears feast on salmon play around in the falls. It is truly mesmerizing.
13. Prince William Sound
Talk about an outdoor playground! For spectacular coastal scenery, great access to kayaking, endless hiking trails and great hunting spots... put PWS on your bucket list, STAT!
14. Kenai River - Alaska's Playground
The world famous Kenai River is known for its huge king salmon, trophy rainbow trout, beautiful dolly varden and stunning turquoise blue water. It's easy to spend your entire summer just floating the 82 mile long river and soaking in the endless midnight sun.
15. Tongass National Forest - Southeast
In the nation's largest forest, it's hard not to fall in love with your inner tree-hugging self. Embark on a journey through the inside passage and but surrounded by flourishing, lush rainforest. This area is exceptional for wildlife viewing, birding, hiking, hunting, fishing and truly so much more.