Alaska Top 10 Attractions

Alaska is easily the largest state within the United States, at 586,412 square miles, offering visitors thousands of attractions to choose from. Surrounded by natural beauty, including mountains, glaciers, and wildlife, visitors to the state have the opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves or enjoy an adventure-filled trip. Visitors can enjoy delicious seafood, unique cultures, and a rich history during their visit. The large size lets you plan a trip to Alaska for as much (or as little) time as you want, giving you a chance to experience the state's natural beauty via state parks, mountains, glaciers, and museums. Here is the lowdown on the best places to visit in Alaska.

1: Denali National Park & Preserve

Denali National Park & Preserve
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/slobirdr

This pristine national park takes its name from the native name of Mount McKinley. "Denali" means "The high one," which is a fitting name for the highest peak in North America. The 6-million-acre park is a veritable encyclopedia of geological features, with glaciers, kettles, moraines, and horns all on prominent display. The park is home to grizzly bears, moose, caribou, wolves, and a wide variety of other animals. Keep an eye out for "drunken trees," which are tilted because the normally frozen ground around them is melting.

Address: George Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK

2: Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman

Located in the panhandle of Alaska, west of Juneau, this park and preserve is another example of Alaska's wild and majestic beauty. Most visitors arrive via cruise ship, and they come for the extensive array of outdoor activities available here. Base yourself at the Glacier Park Lodge, where you can then set out on a hike or a kayaking trip. Observe birds and other types of wildlife, including black bears and mountain goats. Fishing enthusiasts can also take to the rivers for rainbow trout and halibut.

Address: Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK

3: Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Kumweni

This wondrous natural feature sits just outside of Juneau. Trends reveal that the glacier is retreating, which has had a series of negative consequences but has also created Mendenhall Lake from its runoff. Another benefit is the discovery of an ancient forest, which helps scientists understand the history of the region. A year-round visitor center details the history of the area while also providing unparalleled views of the glacier itself. From January to March, the center hosts a series of Fireside Lectures that discuss the area's history in detail.

Address: 6000 Glacier Spur Rd, Juneau, AK 99801

4: Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park
Photo Courtesy: NPS / Kaitlin Thoreson

Situated near the town of Seward, this park was established in 1980 and is a popular destination for cruise ship travelers making port in the nearby town. Here, visitors can take guided tours that reveal the abundance of wildlife around them, including bears, seals, and humpback and orca whales. Thirty-eight glaciers are present here, from which the park's name is derived. The park's proximity to the coast ensures that the views are breathtaking, with bald eagles soaring into and out of sight of the majestic pine forests.

Address: Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward, AK 99664

5: Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Ian Collins

Visitors to Anchorage should be sure to plan a visit to this state park, which is the third largest in the United States. Rent a yurt by the Eagle River and you can watch the spawning salmon in the summer, or scout for great horned owls in the winter. The historic Iditarod Trail weaves through this area on its way between Iditarod and Nome. Check out Beluga Point for a chance to see pods of its namesake white whales.

Address: 18620 Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99516

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