When people think of visiting the United States their minds immediately flit between the sunny shores of Los Angeles, California to the dizzying heights of the skyscrapers in New York City. You might then think of seeing the quaint towns of New England or the party capital of Miami, Florida. For a beach vacation and to catch some waves while surfing, Hawaii would be top of the list as well as the picturesque national parks of the Southwest. But many people overlook one of the most picturesque aspects of the United States: Alaska. It may be 500 miles away from the rest of the contiguous USA, but that doesn’t mean it is a great place to visit. So, what is there to do when visiting Alaska?
Sightseeing in Alaska – Denali National Park
Denali National Park in Alaska is home to America’s tallest mountain, Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley), and offers spectacular views of the Alaskan mountain ranges. The park comprises 6,045,153 acres, which is larger than the entire state of New Hampshire. 594,660 visitors flocked to the park through 2018, proving just how popular the tundra terrain was for sightseers. Running 92 miles long, the Denali Park Road leads visitors into the park. In summer, private vehicles can drive 15 miles up the road, but then visits are strictly allowed only through the bus tours.
The park provides plenty of opportunities to go hiking and stretch those legs. The freshness of the air and the stillness of the surroundings make you feel as though you have been transported to another planet or a time long past. Luckier hikers even spot wildlife, such as caribou, moose, Dall’s sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears.
Activities in Alaska – Fishing
Alaska is well-known for its fishing. In 2019, 206.9 million fish were harvested according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, valued at around $657.6 million. This was a 10% increase on 2018’s value. For saltwater fishing, chartered trips in Homer allow you to go and catch fish that weigh 20 pounds or more. For salmon fishing, Bristol Bay has some of the biggest in the world. While the 177-mile-long Kodiak Island Archipelago offers remote fishing expeditions for those who want to get involved a bit more.
Alaskan fishing is incredibly popular, as the Deadliest Catch TV show proves. The show focused on fishing vessels in the Bering sea during the Alaskan king crab season. Similarly, Alaskan Fish Wars showcases 400 vessels racing the 40,000 square mile long Cook Inlet to fish. Furthermore, as the popularity of the Alaskan Fishing slot game at Betway shows, the activity is well revered in many industries external to fishing itself – such as online entertainment, and is often cited as something many people want to try. While the Fishbrain app helps anglers track data from their expeditions – and has 10 million users, who have logged 8 million catches.
Activities in Alaska – Playing in the Snow
One of the main benefits of visiting Alaska is the snow and ice that comes as part of the package. While metropolitan, Juneau, Alaska isn’t actually always snowy (besides November to April), though there are many activities that rely on the climate. Some people choose the Fairbanks Snowmobile Adventure in the North Pole (a town located in Fairbanks!) that takes you to the Chena Lakes Recreation area.
There are many different snowmobile excursions in the area, each tailored to a different kind of tourist. Some focus on the excitement of the snowmobile, while others speak to the eager sightseer. The Mendenhall Glacier Ice Adventure spans 13 miles, and provides a combined water and land tour that allows you to see glaciers up close and embrace the natural landscape. It comprises both a canoe trip across Mendenhall Lake, as well as a glacial hike.
Alaska is definitely somewhere worth visiting, whether as somewhere to fly to directly or as a cruise destination. Not only does it offer vistas that are unlike anything else in the USA, but it offers a glimpse into an area of the planet that is seldom visited: the arctic. Alaska contains something for almost all travelers. It presents a terrain enjoyed by many adventurers – and activities, such as fishing, glacial hikes, and snowmobile trips for them to enjoy. Alaska offers breathtaking views of remote and exciting landscapes. When considering a trip somewhere different, Alaska should definitely be considered.
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