Top Attractions

Top Attractions

GLACIER VISITATIONS  
Photo of Glacier
© Mike Affleck, Alaska Division of Tourism

Alaska’s glaciers run the gamut from the very small to the enormous. Glaciers cover approximately 29,000 square miles of Alaska, almost five percent of the state’s total area. The greatest concentration of glaciers is found around the perimeter of the Gulf of Alaska in the St. Elias and Chugach mountains, and in the Wrangell Mountains and the Alaska Range. 

Traveling to view glaciers is part of enjoying the Alaska experience. Many are easily accessible by bus, car or foot, including the Mendenhall, Matanuska, Worthington, or Portage glaciers; boats carry passengers along the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay, Tracy Arm and the Columbia Glacier, and others. Planes and helicopters fly over ice masses like Sargent Icefield, the St. Elias Mountains, Harding Icefield, Juneau Icefield, and the Alaska Range.
INSIDE PASSAGE
Photo of Cruise Ship
© Mike Affleck, Alaska Division of Tourism

Cruising the Southeast portion of Alaska (the Inside Passage) by either state ferry or cruise ship continues to rank as one of the most popular things to do in Alaska. 

Visitors enjoy the blue-green waterways and forested islands that boast magnificent scenery (see "glaciers" above), picturesque communities and abundant wildlife. 

In the late 1800s, side and stern wheelers and steamships brought tourists from west coast ports to the scenic wonders of the state, and took gold-seekers to Skagway and Dyea en route to the gold fields of the Klondike. Today, visitors can catch a glimpse of those early days with a trip through the Inside Passage.  
NATIVE ARTS AND CULTURE 
Photo of Totem Poles
© Alaska Division of Tourism

Whether it’s the ivory carvings of the Inupiat or the wooden totems of the Tlingit, the beadwork of the Athabascan or the dances of the Yupik, Alaska’s Native art and culture is as varied, interesting and as beautiful as its terrain and continues to be one of its most sought features. 

 

Throughout the state there are Native attractions, cultural centers and museums. These inlcude the NANA Museum in Kotzebue, the Totem Heritage Center in Ketchikan and the World Eskimo Olympics held annually in Fairbanks. 
WILDLIFE VIEWING 
Photo of Bear
© Rex Melton, Alaska Division of Tourism

A trip to Alaska would not be complete without the opportunity to see wildlife. Moose, bear, mountain goat and caribou are among the most frequently seen mammals, along with the occasional coyote or wolf, Dall sheep, beaver, otter, mink or hare. 

Bird-watchers will delight in the eagles and many kinds of hawks, owls, song birds, grouse and ptarmigan (the state bird), as well as the superabundance of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds that come north to nest each summer. 

There is a tremendous abundance and diversity of marine mammals found along Alaska’s 47,000 miles of coastline. Some of these species can be found year-around, but others are migratory. Dolphins, Pacific walrus, porpoise, sea otters, eight varieties of seal and seal lions live, for at least part of the year, in Alaska for at least part of the year along with many species of whales. 

HISTORIC MINING TOWNS & AREAS 
Photo of Mine
© Danny Daniels, Alaska Division of Tourism
In addition to beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, a major draw to Alaska is its history --- one rich with stories of gold strikes and gold rushes. Today these historic mining towns and areas including Skagway, Nome and Kennicott continue to attract visitors interested in learning more and, in some ways, reliving Alaska’s glamorous past. 
MUSEUMS
Photo of Native Art
© Alaska Division of Tourism
Although nearly every town and city in Alaska has a museum, three perennial favorites are found in Alaska’s largest cities: The University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks with its extensive collection of pioneer relics, Native artifacts, and notable displays of wildlife (Blue Babe, a preserved 36,000 year-old bison, is a star attraction); Anchorage’s Museum of Art and History which houses many rare artifacts of Native life and arts & crafts,
and displays permanent and revolving fine arts collections; and the Alaska State Museum in Juneau with a collection that highlights the incredible diversity of the state including Native art and artifacts, gold rush memorabilia, Russian relics and wildlife displays. 
SPORTFISHING 
Photo of Sportfisherman
© Robert Angell, Alaska Division of Tourism

For the outdoor enthusiast, sportfishing continues to be one of the primary reasons for visiting the state. Alaska's coastal waters are abundant with salmon, halibut, red snapper, lingcod and rockfish. Cutthroat, rainbow, and Dolly Varden trout are found in streams and lakes along with Arctic char, grayling and pike.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game provides free pamphlets on sportfishing and hunting seasons, bag limits, licenses as well as tag fees, and tips on the best angling areas. Find their links here.

TRANS-ALASKA PIPELINE 
Photo of Pipeline
©Kristen Kemmeding, Alaska Tourism Marketing Council
The impact of this 800 mile, 48-inch pipe on Alaska’s economic and social conditions has been enormous and the pipeline is on many visitors must see list. Winding from the Arctic region around Prudhoe Bay to the ice-free port of Valdez, the pipeline is visible near Fairbanks, Glennallen, Delta, Valdez and along the Dalton Highway, also known as the "Haul Road." This road which winds from the Yukon River to Dietrich Camp, was recently opened to the public. It is an all-weather, gravel road that is not maintained regularly and is still heavily used for hauling supplies to the North Slope oil fields.  
RUSSIAN HERITAGE
Photo of Russian Dancers
© Alaska Division of Tourism
Russian fur traders were the first Westerners to settle Alaska. Today, no trip to the state would be complete without a visit to at least one of the communities that still bears the vestiges of these early settlers. Sitka, Kodiak, and Ninilchik are among the places where onion-domed churches still grace the skyline and the rich Russian past is still very much a part of the present. 
NATIONAL PARKS & MONUMENTS 
Photo of Hiker
© Craig Lindh, Alaska Division of Tourism
Alaska might well be considered one large campground. From the 7-million acre Tongass National Forest in Southeast to the six-million acre Chugach National Forest in Southcentral, (and of course our national parks such as Denali, Glacier Bay, Katmai, and Wrangell-St. Elias, to name a few), Alaska parks and monuments offer extensive recreational possibilities including hiking, camping, kayaking and wildlife viewing. Numerous vantage points offer views from which to photograph wildlife and enjoy breathtaking scenery. (Not surprisingly, Alaska’s state park system is America’s largest, boasting almost 3.2 million acres of land and water.)  

Alaska Facts

State Nick Name: "The Last Frontier" - the name Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

State Motto: "North to the Future"

State Capital: Juneau, located in the Southeast region of Alaska, has a population of 33,277 (2015 Estimate of Population, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development)

Alaska Map:

Map of Alaska

Alaska Flag:

Alaska state flag is dark blue with yellow stars in the shape of the big dipper with the North star

NOTE: The State of Alaska is not responsible for the content/information on any site outside of a State of Alaska department.