• Get up close with glaciers
If you ever need to be reminded of the power of Mother Nature, watch a five-story face of ice shear off a glacier and explode into the ocean below. Consider this: a baseball-sized piece of glacial ice weighs about half a pound, so you can imagine the weight and impact of an entire wall of ice breaking free.
• Take-off for flight
Flightseeing by plane or helicopter is an ideal way to really feel the magnitude of Alaska. A variety of tours, excursions and charters are available from 30-minute hops to full-day.
• Get close to the wildlife
If you want to see wildlife, Alaska is the place to visit. Bald eagles gather by the hundreds. Moose cause traffic jams. Wild Dall sheep skip along roadside cliffs.
• Go Fishing
Alaska offers some of the most spectacular fly-fishing, saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing and even ice fishing in the world. It can be as easy as pulling off the side of the road and casting a line. Or you can charter a boat or float plane to whisk you off to a secluded fishing hole where you can reel in one of the more than 627 species that inhabit the Alaskan waters. With over 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers and countless fish-filled streams, you can see the challenge isn't catching fish, but deciding what kind to catch and where!
• Explore Russian America
By the time America bought the Alaska Territory (for about 2 cents an acre), Russians had been living here for over 120 years. Sitka was the capital of Russian-America and Alaska's first state capital. The Russians also had headquarters in Kodiak and outposts all along the coastline. The strength of Alaska's Russian heritage is still visible in the onion-shaped domes of Russian Orthodox churches that rise above many Alaskan towns.
• Alaska Railroad
Offering unparalleled views of mountains, glaciers and two national parks, the historic Alaska Railroad travels through some of the most scenic and rugged territory in Alaska. It stretches from Seward on the south-central Kenai Peninsula to the northern "golden heart" city of Fairbanks, stopping at Denali National Park in between. http://alaskarailroad.com/
• Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay is the largest protected marine sanctuary in the world. During the Ice Age a 5,000 foot layer of ice covered it. The ice acts like a prism when sunlight hits it and the tiny tightly compacted crystals look vivid blue. Glacier Bay tides can change as much as 25 feet from high to low tide. Wilderness adventures including camping, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, rafting, and mountaineering.
• Kenai Fjords National Park
This is a popular tourist attraction because of its glaciers. It has served as a national park since 1980 and covers 607,000 acres of the Kenai Peninsula in the southern part of Alaska. The Harding Icefield, which consists of 38 glaciers as well as fjords and islands, serves as the major attraction within the park.
• Katmai National Park
Here you have the chance to capture the iconic image of brown bears at Brooks Falls, catching salmon as they leap down the rapids. Created to preserve the ‘Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes’ (so called after a deep ash flow was deposited by the eruption of the Novarupta Volcano in 1912, causing steaming smoke from the fissured floor), this incredible park has 14 volcanoes and is home to over 2,000 brown bears.
• Denali National Park
Boasting glaciers and an abundance of wildlife including grizzlies, wolves and caribou, it is also home to Mount McKinley – North America's tallest peak. There are approximately 12,200 lakes and ponds in Denali and 18,679 miles of streams. Glaciers cover 17 percent of the park's land area.
• Prince William Sound
Prince William Sound encompasses 10,000 square miles of protected waterways, islands, fjords, as well as 10,000 glaciers. The region offers habitat for whales, porpoises, sea otters, sea lions and seals with bears, deer, goats and sheep inhabiting the mainland. Just a short drive or rail ride from Anchorage , Prince William Sound offers a wonderful day trip option for day cruising.
In the vast and beautiful wilderness of Alaska, National Parks are the real highlights. In the remote Denali National Park, follow the single 92-mile road that leads to Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain peak, passing dramatic landscapes of forest, alpine tundra and snow-capped mountains, glimpsing bears and moose along the way. Be sure to sample a salmon bake, grilled over a wood fire.
Seward is the entrance point for Kenai Fjords National Park, straight out of the ice age. Off land, kayak between glaciers and amongst seals in Kenai Fjords National Park, where 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield – over 300 square miles of ice up to a mile thick. Alaska’s state capital, Juneau, is the gateway to the 3.3 million acre Glacier Bay National Park. Cruise vast Glacier Bay National Park with its rugged mountains, tidewater glaciers and wild coastlines – and a feeding ground for humpback whales in summer.
Away from the national parks, spend time in Alaska’s most popular city, Anchorage, offering a unique blend of spectacular scenery, Russian and native heritage and big city amenities. Wander the narrow, pedestrian friendly streets, which are host to a good selection of bars and restaurants, museums and galleries, many displaying local and cultural art. Further north, the culture-rich town of Fairbanks is steeped in gold rush history.
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