Alaska is a peninsula in North America. It is America’s largest by territory state, which provokes enormous interest not only to researchers but also to ordinary people because of its cold infinity and mystery. It was discovered and studied by Russian travellers. Indigenous peoples – Indians, Aleuts and Eskimos are 16.5%. Unique, interesting and mysterious, Alaska has officially declared the 49th state of the United States in 1959.
What distinguishes it from the rest of the states in the USA is that, along with Hawaii, Alaska does not bind to the other 48 states in America – to the east the borders divide it with Canada, British Columbia and Yukon, to the west with the Bering Sea, The Bering Strait and the Chukot Sea, to the North with the Atlantic Ocean and the Beaufort Sea, and to the south with the Alaska Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. Alaska may not be the most popular tourist destination, but its unique nature and location make it so different.
If you have decided to go there, you must first decide which part of the state to visit – Alaska is divided into four geographical areas – the first covers southern and central Alaska, the southernmost coastal region in which you will find big and small cities, as well as oil facilities. Follows the Alaska enclave, also known as Southeast Alaska – only small towns here, glaciers and vast forests.
The third area is inland Alaska, there are large rivers such as the Yukon River and the Kuskokwim River as well as the Arctic Tundra, and the fourth is occupied by the Alaska forests, the remote and unspoiled lands of the state. Undoubtedly one of the most incredible experiences that awaits you there is to witness the famous optical phenomenon – the northern luminosity in the sky. It appears every year at the end of August, due to the interaction of charged particles from the solar wind with the magnetosphere. As a result, a colourful palette of all sorts of lights appear in the sky. The phenomenon is truly unique and can not be described in words.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Alaska
1. Denali National Park – Alaska is known for being a state that is a home to spectacular natural landmarks and jaw-dropping views and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the freezing state is the Denali National Park. The National Park houses the infamous towering peak of Mount McKinley, which is the highest mountain in the USA. All kinds of wildlife can be spotted in Denali National Park and all of them live in a protected wilderness area. Some of the spectacular landmarks located in Denali National Park include the Savage River, the Wonder Lake, the Polychrome Pass, and more. The National Park also offers great opportunities for rising your adrenaline levels through hiking, whitewater rafting, back-country camping, and more. While bus tours are available too, we highly recommend you the short ranger-led trail walks that will give you a fuller and better idea of the beauty of the Denali National Park.
2. Katmai National Park – Get ready for some more spectacular national parks because the state of Alaska is a treasure chest full of amazing nature. Katmai National Park is yet another great example. The park is your scenic retreat close to both Homer and Kodiak Island. The heart of the Katmai park is where the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is located. The valley is actually an enormous ash flow that remained after the 1912 eruption of the volcano Novarupta. Katmai National Park also offers the amazing opportunity to see wildlife species in their natural habitat, the fishing brown bears in particular.
3. Kenai Fjords National Park – Are you up to a bit more unusual trip? A trip back to the ice age? Well, all this is possible if you visit the Kenai Fjords National Park. The national park is one of the most spectacular and unusual places on the planet, a home to ancient glaciers and ice caps older than the world. Their edges touching the freezing ocean provide a spectacular and dramatic view. Almost entirely covered in ice all year-round and with deep fjords formed by water valleys, the Kenai Fjords National Park is the perfect place to visit for admiring the majesty of the Mother Nature and for spotting the migrating whales.
4. Mendenhall Glacier – The Mendenhall Glacier is an enormous one calving into its own lake and located just a short drive from the city of Juneau. You can explore and admire the glacier through a number of ways, one of the most convenient of them being through a simple shuttle ride, while helicopter ride will be truly appreciated by the more adventurous travellers.
5. Juneau – Many may not know that but the capital city of the state in Juneau. The city is a major port for cruise ships and also a home to major tourist highlights such as the Alaska State Museum, the Alaska State Capitol, the serene Shrine of St Therese, and more. A ride on the Mount Roberts Tramway offers some amazing views over Juneau and the surrounding breath-taking nature. Also a home to a number of breweries, Juneau-based companies are offering brewery tours to warm you up after a long day spent outdoors.