Often considered to be the America’s final frontier, Alaska is the largest state in the entire country as well as the least densely populated. Although a sizable portion of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle, the climate of this land is as diverse as it is immense. In recent times, Alaska has become a popular tourist destination due to its sheer size and breathtaking beauty. It is also home to some of the most pristine natural parks on the planet.
The Best Times to Visit Alaska
It only makes sense that the most popular months to visit are those which are the least cold and dark. The tourist season will generally last from March to late September although some will choose to arrive for the holidays (skiers, for instance). Also, it should be taken into account that the northern portions of Alaska will remain dark for months at a time due to their northern latitude. The warmer months are therefore the most agreeable.
For those arriving from New York City, the two largest airports will be Anchorage and Fairbanks. The average flight time will generally be between 10 and 11 hours for those who choose to use Anchorage. Arriving to Fairbanks may take slightly less time; approximately 10 hours and 30 minutes. Note that these are assuming that the flights are non-stop. There are smaller regional airports that are serviced by these international hubs. Such airports include Ketchikan, Juneau and Petersburg. Alaska Airlines tends to be the predominant carrier although United, Delta and American Airlines can also be chosen.
Most of the top-class accommodations can be found in the major cities of Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks. During the spring and summer, some tourists will choose to camp outdoors or with the use of a motor home. Even then, the majority of campgrounds will be found in the southeastern portion of the country. Lodging within the cities themselves will naturally vary depending upon one’s choices and budget. Larger chains such as Hilton and Marriott can be found within Fairbanks and Anchorage while budget motels and even hostels are other possibilities. It is also important to recognize that Alaska is famous for its friendly disposition. Therefore, bed and breakfast properties are another choice to be considered. The rates are very agreeable and can often be found quite cheaper in comparison to more popular tourist destinations such as the Caribbean.
Top Things to do in Alaska
Many are unaware of the sheer size of this state; it covered no less than 5 time zones at one time. So, there are numerous attractions to experience. One of the most popular and amazing is to visit Denali National Park. Home to the massive mountain of the same name, this park offers a host of ecological wonders as well as an impressive variety of flora and fauna. Caribou, deer, wolves and bears can regularly be seen while the snow-capped peak of Mt. Denali provides an excellent photographic opportunity. While camping is permitted, first-time visitors should always make use of the guided tours that are available.
There are those who may plan on renting a car upon their arrival. This may very well be the best choice to see the most of what Alaska has to offer. In this case, the famous Dalton Highway should not be missed. This journey is defined by no less than 414 miles of untouched wilderness. Landscapes such as tundras, pine forest and mountain ranges can all be experienced when traveling across this highway which traverses much of the Alaskan interior.
While the wilderness of Alaska cannot be overstated, major cities offer other wonders to enjoy. One of the most famous is the Anchorage Market and Festival which takes place every year from May until September. Local vendors offer countless items and keepsakes at highly discounted prices. Other cities such as Juneau and Fairbanks provide all of the modern conveniences that we have come to expect. Although railways and chartered flights connect these urban centers, a trusty highways system is ideal for those who wish to enjoy a first-hand view of this state.