Known for its natural beauty, Alaska is home to 14 mountain ranges and one of the most wildly popular tourist destinations in the world. If you decide to visit it late August through April you will get the most unforgetable experience: the aurora borealis or northern lights. And the best part is that many hotels offer a “northern lights wake-up call” to their guests. Some Alaska Native traditions say the northern lights are dancing spirits. Scientists say that this natural woner of the world is caused by particles entering the atmosphere from solar winds. Either way, they transform Alaska’s sky into a magical show. This stunning place has so much to explore: from glaciers and river valleys to rainforests and tundras. Read more about the beauty of Alaska in this compiled blog post.
America’s 49th state was occupied by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. The name of “Alaska” means “mainland” or “great land.” Approximately half of Alaska’s residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. One of the main attractions is the Turnagain Gallery and Gifts located in Bird Creek, 18 miles south of Anchorage. The gallery features Alaskan artwork from different local artists. Take a look at some of the photos from their official Facebook Page below.
Megan Schnese writes that Anchorage “has the one of the most diverse populations in terms of ethnicity and culture in all the U.S., even beating out Queens, New York; Mountain View, a neighborhood in Anchorage, is the most diverse area whole state. The heterogeneity of the population is due to the large presence of Alaska Natives, which many other states lack. If you come to visit or live in Anchorage, you’ll definitely see multiple cultures interact. Also, people in Anchorage invented the word chill. Seriously, you’ll see wealthy people walking into a fancy restaurant wearing jeans and t-shirts. Actually, there are not that many “fancy” restaurants to begin with. Alaskans don’t really care about fashion, whether they’re rich or broke, young or old. Of course, there are exceptions; there are still cute boutiques people can shop at, but clothing isn’t really a symbol of status in Alaska like it is in other places in the U.S. The only clothing item we really care about are getting the best insulated work boots.”
“If you love outdoor activities, then Alaska is the place to be. You can hike the many trails throughout the state, as well as visit glaciers by foot or boat, and go zip lining over glaciers and rivers. During the winter, if you live to snowboard or ski, then Alaska should be a no-brainer.”
The Beauty Of Alaska: Wildlife
In a state as diverse as Alaska, it’s not surprising that people draw their inspiration from nature and different native cultures to paint, create and design amazing art. You will find many rich collections of ancient and modern art, history and cultural traditions. In addition to the unforgetable experiences you’ll enjoy, you will also discover that the beauty of Alaska also lies in the magic of wildlife: brown and grizzly bears, caribou (reindeer), wolves, and moose. In addition to living with the largest population of grizzly bears in the United States, you’ll also get treated to seasonal whale watching as well as regular sightings of bison, mountain goats, wolves and Dall sheep. Also, Alaska offers the most unique fishing opportunities in the world. Popular fish you’ll likely find in the state’s rivers and streams include salmon, trout, crab and halibut.
In Alaska, roads are opportunities for adventure, chances to drive through jaw-dropping scenery and get a glimpse of the spectacular wildlife. Make sure you take full advantage of the Alaska Marine Highway, the ferry service operated by the state. Its “blue canoes” (as the ferry boats are known) run along a 3,500nm route that services 33 ports. You can also take advantage of air taxis and the Alaska railroad to get you where you need to go.
The Beauty of Alaska: Activities
Canoeing or hiking makes you feel like you are a part of nature. The Falls Creek Trail offers you access to the alpine zone, beautiful meadows, challenging peaks and ridges. “In Kachemak Bay State Park there are beautiful forests, streams, rivers, glaciers and lakes, as well as flowers and berries. It’s bordered by the ocean, so there is tidepooling during low tides. There are enough trails that you can find one geared to your physical abilities, from easy to difficult.”– Paula Riley
Alaska has hundreds of opportunities for outdoor adventure, taking you from ordinary to extraordinary. You can be as active as you like and try flightseeing, zipling, kayaking, rafting, jeep tours, ATV’s, biking, rock climbing, paddleboarding. You can also consider a multi-day backpacking or camping trip. You will see dozens of granite outcrops and spectacular views of the valley if you take the Angel Rocks Trail or scenic ridges and lush meadows if you decide to go on the Anton Larsen Pass Loop. Or maybe you want to take in the stunning views of the Portage Glacier and the cascading waterfalls that Portage Pass and Anan Creek trails have to offer.
The Beauty Of Alaska: Events
According to the Royal Alaska Movers, The Alaska State Fair, Held in Palmer, hosts over 300,000 people every year. When you attend, you’ll enjoy live music, crafts from all over the state and delicacies including Rolling Donuts’ Cinnamon Sugar Donuts and the fair-famous Talkeetna Spinach Bread. You can also explore livestock exhibits, check out the cabbage and pumpkin weigh-off, join the peanut gallery surrounding the beard contest—and more. Alaska is also home to the premier winter festival, the Fur Rendezvous, also known as Fur Rondy or just plain “Rondy.” This event gives Alaskans the excuse to bust out their warmest fur hats, jackets and boots to celebrate Anchorage’s winter spirit. You’ll also enjoy the state Snow Sculpture Championship, outhouse races and the fair’s Cornhole Championships.
Alaska is home to 227 federally-recognized indigenous tribes. Start your journey at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, where you can explore the culture of Alaska’s diverse First Nations inhabitants. You’ll also find events planned around Native American Heritage month in November, including events sponsored by the Sealaska Heritage Institute. One of the most famous writers, Jack London, was inspired by the beauty of Alaska when he wrote the famous books Call of the Wild (1903), White Fang (1906), and Burning Daylight (1910).
Alaska summer offers considerably long, sunshine-filled days. According to Alaska.org, “Alaska’s sky is light nearly all night long from late May to late July…and it’s light past 10pm for another month on either side of that.” June 21 is known as the longest day of the year in Alaska with nearly 19 hours of daylight in Anchorage.
The Beauty Of Alaska: Cuisine
The Alaska cuisine has been influenced by the Indigenous groups across the state, Russian explorers, Gold Rush pioneers, as well as Scandinavian and Pacific Islander immigrants. If you want to get a real taste of the area, you should visit the small local places, such as food trucks or breweries doing hyper local food and beer that you can’t get anywhere else. Grab a bite at a local bakery like Two Sisters Bakery in Homer, eat fresh oysters at The Cookery in Seward or a 20” Bossio sub sandwich at Jersey Subs in Soldotna. According to chef Mandy Dixon, “At the Homer Farmers Market, not only can you find the best vegetables around, but you can also find fresh halibut, crab, Kachemak Bay oysters on the halfshell, the best halibut tacos you’ve ever had, Russian pastries baked by the local Russian community, great live music and Stoked Honey, which is an amazing gift to bring someone or just enjoy with a sliced apple and cheese.”
“We never know what we’ll be adding to our plates but everything has something Alaskan about it. It might be pickled fiddleheads, dehydrated spruce tips, elderflower syrup, and of course our batch kimchi. Many chefs enjoy the luxury of creating their cuisine in a city large enough to bring in whatever product they wish all year around. In Alaska, we have to work with what we have. Working with small local businesses that supply fresh greens and vegetables, oysters, seafood and native ingredients is a cherry on top,” says chef Oscar Ortega.
Alaska is also famous for its world-class craft breweries, gin and vodka distilleries, using distinctive local ingredients to create one of a kind flavours. The mead is made from fireweed honey and the wine from local blueberries or elderberries. You can see how your favorite drinks are made, try a few local drinks and pick up souvenirs if you book a Brewery, Winery & Distillery Tour.
The beauty of Alaska’s wilderness and abundant wildlife make the cold winters well worth it. Even lifelong residents have their breath taken away by pink alpenglow on snow-covered mountains or by a field of fireweed in full bloom. No matter how many days you want to spend in Alaska, you will definitely be amazed by the state’s stunning scenery.