1. Sea Kayak with Glaciers and Whales
Alaska has over 6,600 miles of coastline to explore. Some of the world’s most beautiful snow-capped peaks drop straight into the sea and glaciers have carved huge valleys filled in by seawater. Exploring by kayak is one of the best ways to see glaciers, and if you’re lucky, you could have a close encounter with the world’s most famous whale, the Orca. Alaska, a place of extremes, is a great place to feel small.
2. Heli-Ski Untouched Mountains
Alaska is so incredibly huge and rugged that most of it is virtually inaccessible by foot. The mountains deep in the interior of the state are the largest in North America and offer some of the best opportunities for skiing anywhere. That is if you have access to a helicopter. Thankfully, there are several outfitters who can give you a lift to these remote peaks so you can shred fresh powder as far as the eye can see. Valdez, AK is known as a hub for heli-skiing.
3. Prepare for Everest on One of the Seven Summits
Denali, the highest peak in North America, is found in Alaska. At 20,310’, Everest is still about 9,000 feet higher, but when you’re this far north, conditions year-round are extreme enough to mimic those found in the Himalayas (but the climbing season ends in mid-July because conditions become too much to handle). Because of this, many people use Denali as a practice climb when preparing to climb the world’s tallest mountain. Denali is also one of the Seven Summits, which mountaineers use as bragging rites once they’ve summitted the tallest peak on every continent.
4. Warm Up in a Hot Spring While Watching the Northern Lights
Just outside of Fairbanks, you can find one of the most unique hot springs in the world. Located on top of a mountain, the Chena Hot Spring is a great place to unwind after a long day of exploring. What makes it even more epic is that this is also a great place to view the Northern Lights. Talk about relaxing.
5. Bears, Bears Everywhere
Alaska is home to tons of unique wildlife, but the bear really does rule here. Three different species of bears are found here. In the southern part of the state, you can find Grizzly and Kodiak brown bears hunting for salmon in the cool streams and rivers. Up North, more adventurous bear fans can look out for the elusive Polar Bear. Be careful though, a Polar Bear attacked a researcher this summer. Just make sure you keep your distance!