Northern lights, bears, mountains and whales: which cities in Alaska are worth visiting for the perfect vacation
Alaska is unlike any other place on earth. From large to tiny, Alaska's cities offer a sense of wilderness and adventure, reports Worldatlas.
Alaska is much more than just the largest state in the United States. This is the perfect place for unspoiled landscapes. You'll find some of the world's densest forests in Alaska and huge, tranquil lakes. The majestic Northern Lights will simply blow your mind. Grizzlies, bald eagles, and humpback whales will accompany your journey as they sing and dance in the three seas surrounding this state. And then there are the cities that paint a beautiful picture of Alaska. To get closer to nature and meet friends, book a stay in one or more of the following picturesque towns for your vacation.
The gorgeous little town of Homer invites adventure lovers to visit. If you've never seen Cerulean Bay before, be prepared for a stunning sight as you drive along the Homer coastline. This happy little place is famous for its sky blue sea, fishing and bear spotting. Here you can see the “end of the road,” a place that is constantly shaped by strong ocean currents. The “road” is a spit, a 7-kilometer-long narrow piece of land that remains from a glacial moraine.
Homer is the gateway to Katmai National Park and Preserve and Clark Lake National Park and Preserve. In the summer, you'll see bears hunting for salmon in the streams upstream. Stunning scenes of nature are transported to various art galleries where you can admire Alaskan paintings and art. Try some local coffee to get you going for the Northern Lights at night.
Gustavus leads the way to the breathtaking Graciere Bay National Park. The city covers a large flat area created by retreating glaciers. It is surrounded by mountains, ice fields and the ocean.
The city is set in a temperate rainforest with trails for walking and biking. You can also watch birds in this lush environment. Gustavus is one of the few towns with a sandy beach, so head there on a sunny day to enjoy the uniqueness of Alaska's coastline. Gustavus only has around 450 permanent residents, meaning you can de-stress and enjoy a relaxing holiday in this beautiful city.
Valdez can be mistaken for Iceland. This picturesque town lies next to the Prince William Sound fjord and is surrounded by glaciers, rainforests, mountains and abundant animal life on land and in the deep sea. Valdez is an ideal point for observing humpback whales and killer whales in the icy waters. You might even spot a sea lion.
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Valdez also offers incredible aerial adventures. You can take a helicopter ride to see the city from above and even request to land on a glacier. If you're afraid of heights, you can go kayaking and explore several ice caves and waterfalls. You can even go snowmobiling before settling in with a cup of hot cocoa to watch the Aurora.
You can see the Northern Lights from almost anywhere in Girdwood. Alyeska Resort offers the perfect view of Aurora. If you book accommodation at this luxury resort, you can even request an alarm service for when the Northern Lights begin to appear in the sky. If you want to get outdoors, take the Moose Meadow winter trail system for clear views.
There are plenty of attractions and activities throughout the day to keep you in the city for more than a few days. For example, a cable car from the resort to the top of Mount Alyeska. 700m above sea level - you will have incredible views of Turnagain Arm and seven glaciers in the mountain peaks.
The coastal town of Cordova offers stunning views of the surrounding environment. This remote town is a must visit. There are hiking trails here that lead to glaciers and exceptional wildlife views. Find a boat in Orca Bay for fishing and sightseeing, or try a challenging hiking trail that pays off with great views. Orca Inlet is a great place to try kayaking, while Copper River is ideal for extreme rafting activities.
If you're an avid skier, you'll be happy to know that a 243-meter slope awaits you just outside the center of Cordoba. In February, the colorful Iceworm Festival takes place here.
All Alaska cities are beautiful, but travelers say Seldovia is the most enticing place they've ever seen. Seldovia does not have shopping centers, large movie theaters or nightclubs. You won't even find a traffic light here. However, here you can take part in a retreat that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Fishing is the glue that strongly binds the local community together, so much so that every year they hold a special ceremony to bless the fishermen and their boats.
The historic boardwalk near the water is a great starting point for exploring the history and unique culture of the city. Seldovia offers nature tours, fishing and kayak adventures in waters that reflect historic homes, greenery and snow-capped mountains. You can also pick blueberries and enjoy views of Mount Redoubt and Mount Iliamna.
Moose Pass is the place to be. Surrounded by the Chugaha National Forest, this tiny town attracts tourists with its outdoor adventures. Moose Pass apparently got its name from a real moose that inadvertently walked into the path of a mail dog team in 1903.
Sparkling, aquamarine lakes lie in the middle of picture-perfect forests and mountains. The city's ski trails are some of the best in Alaska for cross-country skiing. You can drive to Exit Glacier just minutes from Moose Pass to get up close and personal with the glaciers. You can even go on a traditional dog sled ride.
Eagle is more of a mini-village than a city. 86 residents live here. The town experienced its heyday when gold mining was big in Alaska. Log cabins and buildings remain reminders of the state's mining era. You can learn more about Eagle history at the largest museum in Alaska, the Eagle Historical Society.
The village lies along the south bank of the Yukon River, offering panoramic views of the water and surrounding nature. There are a lot of bald eagles in and around the city - this attracts tourists to the small town. They often spread their wings high above the forests, leaving visitors in awe of the spectacle. In addition to Eagle's sheer beauty, the city has strong cultural ties to the Native Americans who live in the area. This is a very close-knit village with a unique atmosphere that will make you instantly feel at home.
North Pole, a community of 2700 people, celebrates Christmas every day, even during the warm summer months. Yes, yes, you read that right! Here you will find Mistletoe Lane and the Santa Suite at the North Pole Hotel. And, if that's not enough to convince you, how about a trip to Santa Claus's house? This is the most famous landmark in North Pole. Here you can stroll through a winter wonderland, find toys and gifts for the December holidays, and sample delicious cookies and fudge.
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You can take some selfies with the 15-foot Santa sculpture, Santa's sleigh, and visit Rudolph and Friends at nearby Antler Academy. This beautiful, snowy city also offers North Pole Park and Terry Miller Memorial Park, which features a picnic area and playground. When you want to take a break from the North Pole holiday spirit, you can pitch a tent at the Chena Lakes Recreation Area and watch the northern lights twinkle over the city.
Utqiaġvik, formerly Barrow, is best known for the polar day, when the sun shines XNUMX hours a day from May to August, and the polar night between November and January.
Utqiaġvik is an exceptionally cold, but also very beautiful city. You can watch polar bears in their natural habitat, photograph snowy owls, and immerse yourself in this extraordinary place as the sun shines non-stop overnight. Utqiaġvik is located on the Arctic Ocean coastline, which is one of the most impressive sights on Earth. You can catch the best sea views at Whale Bone Arch, also known as the gateway to the Arctic. Arch is made from a whale's jaw and gives an idea of how big these animals are.
If you love whales, you can come in June for the Nalukataq festival held by the Inupiaq people. It involves the tradition of throwing a person into the air using walrus skins. When the polar night and polar twilight come to Utqiaġvik, it makes the place even more beautiful as a moody purple glow appears in the landscape. This is a spectacle you can't miss.
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