Alaska offers jaw-dropping bucket-list moments and experiences that every traveler should have on their list. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with staggering mountain peaks, enormous wildlife, and remote wilderness lodges. Read on for some of the most quintessential (and mind-blowing) Alaska experiences you shouldn’t miss.
Flightseeing over Denali National Park & Preserve
One of the best ways to experience Denali is by air, soaring hundreds of feet over the diverse landscape. Take in everything from rolling meadows and fields of flowers to jagged peaks and glaciers. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, wolves, and Dall sheep.
Fancy an adventure? Activities range from fishing excursions to hiking adventures. While on a bush pilot adventure, you can land on a glacier, meadow, or riverside for a picnic.
A Stay at Sheldon Chalet
Accessible only by helicopter, Sheldon Chalet is the only five-star hotel inside of Denali, resting on the magnificent Ruth Glacier. Don Sheldon grandfathered in the property in the 1950s and built a small outpost there. Since then, it’s come a long way. And what began as a homesteading project turned into a family’s labor of love. Together with his ancestors, they opened up a five-room luxury property at 6,000 ft of elevation.
Because this chalet has no internet or mobile service, guests can enjoy the great outdoors. Mini mountaineering ropes courses, snowshoeing, or warm-up in the sauna are just a few activities. Afterward, Chef Dave Thornhill serves up gourmet meals. Amazingly enough, he’s cooked for people like Barack Obama, Justin Timberlake, and Neil Young. There’s also the mind-blowing Aurora Borealis, delivering guests a nightly show hosted by Mother Nature herself.
Cruising the Kenai Fjords
Rising from the water like something out of a science fiction movie, the tall moss-covered fjords and narrow rocky outcrops dot the waterways of the Kenai Fjords National Park. This national park contains the Harding Icefield, its outflowing glaciers, coastal fjords, and islands. Home to animals on land and sea. Visitors to this region may spot black or brown bears, moose, gray wolves, or even porcupines.
Touring this region by boat is genuinely magnificent and provides visitors with a unique vantage point to experience Alaska. During a boat tour of the Kenai Fjords, passengers may spot seals, Steller sea lions, orca, gray whales, humpback whales, or even harbor porpoises. Giant glaciers often calve, causing pieces of ice to fall into frigid waters below. Visitors will get a chance to see the spectacle.
Dogsledding Across an Icefield
Dogsledding is embedded deep in Alaskan history, with the famed Iditarod race created to preserve and promote sled dog culture in Alaska.
Today, visitors to Alaska don’t have to compete in a grueling race across the great state. Ride on a helicopter to the Juneau Icefield, then touch down to greet friendly dogs. Expect kisses, cuddles, and an enthusiastic jaunt across the ice field by a team of furry locals. An Alaskan experience you (and any young travelers) won’t forget.
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