As one of the least populous states in the United States, Alaska remains fairly quiet in terms of tourism. Known for its snowy weather and breathtaking natural landscapes, it is a highly-recommended destination for those passionate about nature and wildlife.
Because there is not much to do in Anchorage, you’ll most likely not need a long time to explore the city. Even if you’re only in Alaska for 3 days, you should be able to find time to make at least one day trip to a nearby place. Staying in Anchorage will limit your Alaskan experience. In fact, there is no better way to discover the Alaskan wilderness than with a short day trip!
Take a drive along the renowned Seward Highway. This 125-mile-long (201-kilometer-long) highway stretches from Seward to Anchorage, passing through some of the most scenic sights in the state. From the Kenai Peninsula and Chugach National Forest to Turnagain Arm, you are guaranteed non-stop natural beauty the entire way.
Unless you are prepared to rent a car and make the drive yourself, joining a tour is your best option to explore the area. Making a stop at the famous Turnagain Arm, you will be given a chance to admire the landscapes that perfectly capture the vast nature of Alaska. Said to be one of the most impressive parts of Seward Highway, this waterway is surrounded by mountains, marshes, and coastlines, all for your viewing pleasure.
Continue on your journey to Mt Alyeska. With an aerial tram ride up to the peak, you will get to appreciate the surreal views of alpine glaciers and rocky mountains. You will also get to spend some time at the Roundhouse Museum on Mt Alyeska, the only mountain-top museum in the state.
A visit to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is also included. Here, you may be lucky enough to spot bears, moose, elk, and other native wildlife that roam amidst the desolation of the Alaskan countryside. If you are interested, an optional 1-hour cruise to Portage Glacier is available at an additional cost.
Viator: Seward Highway Tour from Anchorage – Turnagain Arm and Mt Alyeska
Address: Pick-up from hotel in Anchorage
Duration: Around 6 - 8 hours
Price: From 150 USD
The distinct beer culture of Anchorage is one worth discovering during your trip there. Home to beers that you cannot easily find anywhere else, Alaska is the perfect place for you to enjoy a refreshing pint of beer. All you really need is a couple of hours and a love for beer to enjoy this trip.
Although breweries are spread out throughout the state, Anchorage has some of the state’s most famous. They include Anchorage Brewing Company, Midnight Sun Brewing Company, and King Street Brewing Company.
If you are keen on exploring Anchorage’s whole beer culture, Viator offers a tour that allows you to see what it is all about. The tour includes a visit to a bar and 2 breweries, one of which is Anchorage’s oldest. Between the three places, you will get to sample beers from 3 different Alaskan breweries.
Learn about the history of Alaskan beers and what makes it unique from others. At the same time, you will also get to enjoy views of the skyline in the background. Appetizers will be served at one brewery to accompany the beer tasting. By the end of the tour, you are going to know so much more about the beer scene of Anchorage and will then be free to explore more on your own.
Anchorage Craft Brewery Tour and Tastings
Duration: 4 hours
Talkeetna is often used as a base for trips to Denali, Alaska’s tallest mountain that is too far for a day trip from Anchorage. Yet, this historic gold-mining town is perfect for a day trip on its own. Not only does it hold lots of history and culture, it is also a popular destination for fishing, rafting, and flight-seeing, especially during the summer months.
While you can choose to just explore the town, why not enhance your trip by zip lining through the forests? As you whizz through the lush greenery, you will find yourself appreciating views of the Chulitna and Susitna valleys, Mt McKinley, and the Alaskan Mountain Range.
Featuring 9 zip lines and 3 suspension bridges, the tour will make multiple stops along the way. At each view point, the landscapes will not disappoint. There is no better way to discover the Alaskan wilderness than by flying through it with adrenaline pumping in your veins.
After the exhilarating zip line adventure, you will be taken to Talkeetna town. Before heading back to Anchorage, you will be given time to enjoy a delicious lunch and learn about the town’s rich history. A day of excitement, natural beauty, and culture, this is the day trip you need discover what Alaska has to offer.
Viator: Talkeetna Zipline Adventure from Anchorage
Address: Pick-up from hotel in Anchorage
Duration: Around 10 hours
Price: From 350 USD
Due to its location on the globe, Alaska faces an Arctic-like climate throughout the year, making it the perfect destination for snow activities. Dog sledding and snowshoeing are among the two most popular activities that tourists love to do. They are great ways to appreciate the landscape while having fun.
Tours can even provide you with cold weather attire if requested; it is recommended that you go prepared and dressed for the go. After a drive out to the sledding site, you will embark on a thrilling 40-minute dog sledding ride. Letting huskies pull you through the snow allows you to experience how native Alaskans once traveled.
The tour is followed by snowshoeing through the Alaskan wilderness with an experienced guide. You will get a chance to discover another side of Alaska, one that is off the beaten path and unlike anywhere else you could possibly imagine.
To end the day trip, you will make your own s’mores around a campfire. A must-do during any trip to the wilderness, this mouth-watering activity is one you wouldn’t want to miss. Enhancing the experience of your snow adventure in the wilderness, this trip is guaranteed to be a memorable one for the books.
Viator: Dog Sledding and Snowshoeing Adventure from Anchorage
Address: Pick-up from hotel in Anchorage
Duration: Around 4 hours
Price: From 200 USD
Located just south of Anchorage, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is the place to go if you are a lover of nature and wildlife. Serving as a protection ground for wild animals, this is where you should visit if you are keen on spotting some local creatures. From bears, Alaskan moose, caribou, and native birds, you will get a chance to see animals that cannot be found in most other parts of the world.
Within Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is a lake that is popular for salmon and trout fishing during the summer. Campgrounds are also available for those who want to spend a few nights out in the wilderness.
Because the refuge is not accessible by car, it is quite inconvenient to get there on your own. Therefore, it is recommended that you join a tour to make you trip easier. With a scenic boat ride across the shimmering glacial lake, you will get to discover a side of Alaska most people don’t get to see.
As you hike up the cliffs and mountains that overlook the water, you will be greeted by amazing views at every corner. Your guide will also give you some information about the history and wildlife of the area. Enjoy a simple picnic lunch at the top of the mountains after all the hard work. Surrounded by verdant forests, you will feel like you are in paradise.
Tip: the hikes in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are available at varying difficulty levels. Be sure to make your selection when booking the tour.
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Hiking Tour with Lake Cruise
Duration: 6 hours
The ultimate Alaskan experience
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