When planning a summer vacation, Alaska is often overlooked. Located in the northernmost part of the USA, Alaska can often get a rep for being cold and cloudy. However, there’s no better time to visit than during the summer months of June through August. Contrary to popular belief, the southern parts of Alaska experience temperatures between the mid 50’s to 70’s. “The days are long, nature is in full bloom, and the air is alive with energy,” explains Alaska.org. With 18-24 hour sunshine, summer is the time to play! Travel Blogger and local tour guide Matthew Koller states that after winter, “People come out of hibernation, and engage in every outdoor activity you can think of, from sailing and kayaking to biking and mountain climbing, summer is a time to be active. Even if you don’t spend your winters here, the energy is infectious and compels you to do more with your day.” Described as the “Last Frontier,” our 49th state, “Still maintains a sense of wilderness not often found in the rest of the United States,” describes Koller. Of course, in today’s day and age, we could all benefit from a little R&R as well as a day spent in the great outdoors.
From staggering mountain tops to floating glaciers, Alaskan shorelines are certainly a sight to behold. Naturally, there’s no better view of the coastline than traveling by boat! Treat yourself to a leisurely expedition on one of the many Alaskan cruise liners. In fact, arriving by boat might be your only option in some cities. For example, in the state capital of Juneau, the only way to arrive is by plane or boat considering the town has no direct roads due to heavy glacier traffic. In addition to being convenient, the benefit of traveling by sea is the versatility to see multiple cities in a short period of time while simultaneously experiencing the beauty this sensational state has to offer.
In addition to beautiful landscapes, Alaska also boasts the greatest diversity in wildlife populations across the US. Home to the largest species of bears, getting a first-hand view of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat has never been more obtainable. They especially like to hang out at local rivers and feast on the summertime salmon along with America’s most recognizable bird of prey, the bald eagle. The Stikine River alone attracts the largest springtime concentration of American Bald Eagles in the world. The ocean, of course, is also no stranger to hosting large mammals. Brimming with an array of marine life, the sea offers close encounters with everything from tiny plankton to enormous humpback whales. Gastineau guides, located in Juneau Alaska, teams up with local scientists and park rangers to offer their guests the best tours combining adventure and wildlife. The discover whales tour is highly recommended as local tour guides encourage guests to collect data and research while learning about the locals down under. From orcas to humpbacks, whale sightings are guaranteed in this beautiful state or your money back.
As a prime location for outdoor exploration, Alaska is packed with adventurous excursions. Whether you prefer a getaway that caters to your wild side or a leisurely stroll through the forest, Alaska has something for everyone! We recommend Northstartrekking tours which offer helicopter rides to the top of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. From there you can do a simple hike along the glacier or gear up and ice climb like a regular pioneer. Denali is also a great way to get up close and personal to the great outdoors. Being the tallest mountain peak in the US, Denali offers climbs ranging from beginner hikes to full on expeditions to the top. Whether you choose to get up close and personal to a grizzly bear on a photography tour or challenge yourself to a climb to the tallest peak, there’s no shortage of thrill-seeking escapades to be found in the “Last Frontier” state.
When you think of culinary conquests, Alaska may not be the first destination that comes to mind, however, a wild caught Alaskan salmon straight from the source will have you hooked on the local catch of the day in no time. Halibut and Cod are also local celebrities of the sea in this region. Beer battered Cod and blackened halibut fish tacos are a must for your culinary bucket list. Not to mention, no trip would be complete without ordering a big bucket of fresh crab. The Alaskan king crab holds an abundance of tender meat that melts in your mouth when paired with melted butter. Of course, if seafood isn’t your ideal meal try some barbecued fresh game meat. From reindeer sausage to venison steaks, these game meats are treated to a long simmer resulting in nothing short of tender fall off the bone deliciousness. Bon Appétit!
Although it’s our 49th state, Alaska is no stranger to an extensive lineage of history. From handcrafted totem poles to the infamous gold rush, Alaska provides some of the most charming villages that date back even further than the creation of the USA. Head over to Skagway to mine for gold in a homage to the gold rush or visit Ketchikan for a lumberjack show. Not to mention, a visit to a historic center to learn about the original settlers of this continent and how the 49th state came to be.
Matt Koller is a writer and photographer currently living in Juneau, Alaska. He enjoys crafting narrative nonfiction pieces and taking pictures of the world around him. In his free time, you can find him skiing, hiking, road-tripping, socializing, travel-planning, or just reading a book at the beach. You can read about his adventures on www.verse-america.com, and follow his journey on Instagram at mkolle01.
Merissa Principe is a teacher and a freelance travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at Citygirlriss.com for all things travel, beauty, fashion and New York City.