Alaska Travel Tips? The Beginner’s Travel Guide To Explore It

Alaska is the largest and probably the most beautiful State, State with the wildest nature in the United States, thanks, among other things, to the fact that it is a very sparsely populated place, which helps preserve the environment. We can enjoy the great mountains, fjords, rivers, lakes, glaciers. In short, nature in its purest form, where you can do countless outdoor activities that will delight every adventurer, lover of nature, and pure air.

Alaska Travel Tips – Explore it

The climate in  Alaska and its landscapes are very diverse, with maximum temperatures around 30ºC in summer and -45ºC in winter. We can also enjoy phenomena such as the midnight sun. In addition to the essential visits to the national parksAlaska offers a wide variety of activities for sports lovers:  fishing, skiing, rafting, trekking, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, cycling.

The best months to visit Alaska are summer since we will have milder temperatures in general and approximately  20 hours of light a day to visit as many places as we want and do all kinds of activities. However, these favorable weather conditions make it more difficult to find available accommodation since this is the time when Alaska receives the most significant number of visitors. In addition, from mid-July to mid-August, we will be able to enjoy the rise of the salmon upriver. 

Land of glaciers, lush forests, wild rivers,  seas,  and island-studded fjordsAlaska is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful and spectacular states in America. Located in the extreme northwest of North America, separated from Russia by the Bering Strait and bordering Canada to the east, its coasts are washed by the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.

Alaska can be divided into eight major regions: Anchorage, the largest and most populous city, where half of Alaska’s population is concentrated; the  Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, which offers the possibility of multiple outdoor activities, such as fishing and whale watching; the  Prince William Estuary, a spectacular bay on the southern coast; the Southeast, an archipelago of unique islands, where the state capital,  Juneau and a multitude of charming towns are located; the vast Interior (Western and Eastern), traversed through the Alaska Range in  Denali National Park, which is home to the highest peak in the United States, the Mount McKinley, with 6,194 m of altitude, and the second city of the State,  Fairbanks, as well as the area known for the gold deposits of the Klondike River: In the Southwest naked volcanic landscapes alternate with prolific fishing areas; and the North, is pure nature.

Get to know the most emblematic places of Alaska, such as  Anchorage or Fairbanks, and the imposing  National Parks such as Denali, where Mount McKinley is located; make the jump to Canada to visit Yukon on the eastern border with Alaska.

Gastronomy in Alaska

The cuisine of the State of Alaska includes:

  • Exquisite fish  (the most famous is salmon).
  • Excellent seafood.
  • Game meat ( deer, elk, and poultry ).
  • Other red meats.

The salmon roe and trout are also widely used, and herring, the black cod, local seaweed, and crabs, highly valued locally. In the meats, the Akutaq stands out, which is a dish made from berries and meat seasoned with sugar, the famous ribs in tomato sauce, and the moose, caribou, or reindeer burgers. 

It also highlights the Meat gumbo, a stew with meat and vegetables, often accompanied by a spicy sauce. The most common drink is the area’s beer, the Midnight Sun, cold and cloudy, or the most typical beer there, Alaskan, with several varieties.

Intact spaces in Alaska

Alaska Travel

Alaska has many national parks and glaciers, as it is the best way to protect and preserve nature. When visiting these spaces, it is necessary to respect the marked trails, flora, and fauna surrounding them.

Alaska’s wildlife is as diverse as it is fragile. Alaska Native people still depend on their fauna and flora for food, clothing, and income. Recent changes to the environment in recent years have begun to threaten Alaska’s native plant and animal species and the available habitats of Alaska. Learning to appreciate  Alaskan wildlife can be the first step in protecting it.

The wildlife in Alaska is fascinating:  Bears, bald eagles, blue or humpback whales, gray wolves, brown bears, killer whales, lynxes, moose, and hundreds of other rare and endangered species live here. Ornithology enthusiasts will enjoy observing many bird species, and many visitors will be fascinated by whale watching in their natural environment.

Transportation in Alaska

Alaska is the largest State in the USA, and airplanes are often the most efficient way to travel between communities. Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport is the main one in the State and its passenger traffic has reached around five million in the last 10 years. Traveling Alaska by  Ferry is also an excellent option for travelers and families, allowing them to bring their car, motorhome, bicycle, or kayak during the trip.

Is Alaska expensive?

Alaska is not a cheap destination; accommodation and excursions are a bit high. Carrying everything reserved in advance represents a considerable saving. As for meals, it will be cheaper to buy food in supermarkets, have a picnic lunch, etc., during the day instead of always eating in restaurants.

Visit a national park in Alaska.

In general, the national parks are well served by road or rail. So they are pretty accessible to most people. The  National Park and Preserve Glacier Bay, located in the west of Juneau, is only accessible by boat or plane. In Denali National Park, the entrance price per vehicle is $ 20, or it can be accessed with the US National Parks Annual Pass ($ 80), which is recommended to buy if you want to visit them all. Some parks are free.

Nightlife in Alaska

Its lively nightlife does not characterize Alaska since it is undoubtedly a nature destination, where visitors go in search of tranquility and freedom, and the enjoyment of outdoor activities, as well as the beauty that its spectacular landscapes offer. However, in the cities, you can find nightclubs and numerous bars and restaurants.

Wildlife habitats

Fir and Pine forest area

The vegetation in this area is dominated by an evergreen pine and fir forest that is home to deer, bears, flying squirrels, bald eagles, owls, woodpeckers, wren, and other songbirds. You can see whales, seals, sea lions, otters, puffins, murres, seagulls, and other sea birds and ducks in marine waters. The forest is interspersed with wetlands at the river mouths, where millions of salmon begin their migratory journey upstream to spawn. Look out for deer, bears, geese, grouse, swallows, and woodpeckers in the damp grasslands and swamps. As you climb, the forest turns into an alpine tundra without trees and glaciers where you can see deer, mountain goats, grouse, brown bears, and white partridges.

Pine forest area and deciduous trees

Much of the interior has a boreal forest, made up of pine trees and deciduous trees, such as cedars, aspens, and poplars. This forest is the habitat of moose, wolves, bears, porcupines, sparrows, chickadees, thrushes, woodpeckers, hawks, and owls. Interspersed with the woods are lakes and rivers where loons, swans, ducks, beavers, swallows, and frogs can be found.

The boggy swamps are a favorite haunt for moose and insect-eating birds such as swallows, flycatchers, and warblers, as well as larger predators such as black bears, goshawks, and gray owls. You can find Dall sheep, caribou, marmots, bears, wolves, white partridges, and golden eagles in mountainous regions of alpine tundra and snowy peaks.

Tundra area

This treeless coastal area comprises humid alpine tundra, which combines grasses, reeds, mosses, lichens, low shrubs, and other plants. The muggy tundra contains stagnant waters for at least part of the year and, in certain areas, caribou, musk oxen, brown bears, foxes, waders, geese, loons can be found snow pits, snowy owls, and waterfowl. The driest alpine tundra is found along slopes and at higher altitudes, where you can see caribou, wolves, brown bears, white partridges, plovers, gyrfalcons, Asian songbirds, and others. Along with the river courses, there are higher bushes where moose, bears, white partridges, and various songbirds can be found.

Luggage

  • It is best to wear casual clothing; comfort is essential for this type of trip; it is recommended to be dressed in layers; an example would be a short-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt or fleece, jeans, raincoat, anorak, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Comfortable natural fiber clothing (pants and t-shirts), warm clothing for the evenings (fleece or thick jersey, Goretex or windbreaker, warm or thermofiber underwear, thick cotton and wool socks …)
  • Raincoat
  • Mountain boots, sports shoes, and trekking sandals.
  • Swimsuit, towel, cap or visor, and sunglasses.
  • Binoculars
  • Sun protection and insect repellent.
  • Toiletry bag for personal use (include wet wipes and toilet paper)
  • Medicines for personal use
  • Basic kit: include insect repellent, eye drops, antipyretic, antihistamine – oral and ointment -, broad-spectrum antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and plasters.

Weather

The best time to visit Alaska is between  May and August, when temperatures are between 15º and 26º. At night and dawn, temperatures are more relaxed, between 4º and 10º. At the end of August and September, there may be colder temperatures, and with some hours less sunlight since autumn arrives early in these latitudes. Inland temperatures are more extreme, higher in summer and lower in winter.

Although the route is done in the summer period, the weather in the area is quite changeable and unsafe. It is not uncommon for rains to abound and for the temperature to drop to almost winter levels in a short time (winter in Mediterranean terms; that is, between 5-9 degrees on some occasions). It is essential to provide rain gear and waterproof boots/footwear for walks through the parks.

But it is important to remember that your climate can vary significantly throughout the same day. In summer, the days are endless, with  22 hours of sunlight on the longest days of June, which allow you to make the most of the day and enjoy the midnight sun. In winter, the temperatures are shallow, especially indoors.

Leave a Comment