THE ULTIMATE ALASKA TRAVEL GUIDE

Alaska

Did you know Alaska is considered “bear country”? There is an estimate of 30,000 brown bears in Alaska, 98% of the total U.S. population! No wonder it’s called bear country! Alaska has been on my bucket list for many years and I finally got a chance to visit! The state is known for its diverse terrain, mountains, wildlife and amazing glaciers! You’re able to even see the Northern Lights from Alaska too! There is so much to do in Alaska, it’s difficult to see it all in one trip. If you’re visiting for the first time, here’s the ultimate Alaska travel guide you only need! This guide is for Anchorage, Girdwood and Seward.

Tips Before Your Visit

  • Best time to visit is the summer or shoulder season (May & September)
  • Rent a car: you will be going on road trips
  • Book tours 3-4 weeks out
  • What to pack: I visited in early September and Anchorage was mostly in the 70s! I mostly wore comfortable hiking clothes and during any glacier tours I wore synthetic clothing with layers. Check out this list of What to Buy & What You Don’t Need.

Where To Stay

The Hilton Downtown Anchorage was perfect! The location is right in downtown which made it convenient for many reasons. The Alaska Railroad Station was only a 5 minute walk which makes it easy if you do not plan on renting a car. We did use the train during our trip to Spencer Glacier. The hotel is very clean and had great views of the water. it is also a block or two away from the main road with many bars, restaurants and shopping. My accommodation was through Last Minute Travel. The site offers great discounts on hotels! They also offer a Last Minute Travel Club which provides additional benefits such as earning points for free future travel. The membership fee is $50 but if you sign up now with my code “TOURDELUST” the membership will be free! Feel free to check it out and it doesn’t hurt to sign up. Click here for the membership link to join and read about the benefits.

Hilton

What To Do

Hike A GlacierMatanuska or Spencer Glacier. We hiked Spencer Glacier with Ascending Path. We chose Spencer Glacier because it offered kayaking through the glaciers and it’s not as much of a tourist trap. We were the only ones hiking the glacier the entire day!

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Spencer Glacier

Spencer Glacier

Hatchers Pass – About an hour and a half north of Anchorage, Hatchers Pass provides a scenic drive and some great trails for beautiful hikes. It is located in the Talkeetna Mountains between the towns of Willow and Palmer.

Hatcher's Pass

Hatcher's Pass

Reed Lakes Trail & Bomber Glacier – Go on a nice hike! You may also look for Bomber Glacier which I heard is a tough climb. You will find an old wreckage crash on this glacier.

Reed Lakes Trail

Reed Lakes Trail

Coastal Trail – The coastal trail in Anchorage was only 3-4 blocks from the Hilton hotel! It was so convenient since we were able to reserve bikes and bike into the trail. If you’re looking for wildlife or Moose sighting this is the place! In total we biked 14 miles but the trail is over 20 miles long roundtrip. On our way back we spotted a Moose and it was such an awesome experience watching her! I did get nervous she might come charging at me.

Coastal Trail

Coastal Trail

Coastal Trail

Bike Ride & Watch a Sunset – Find a place to watch a beautiful sunset. This sunset was from our bike ride at the Coastal Trail.

If you’re into cycling, take a look at Cycling the Haul Road in Alaska for really useful information!

Coastal Trail

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – What I like about this place is that it really does save the animals. The bears had unique stories where they were found as cubs and have been removed from their mother since she was no where in sight. They had porcupine spikes in their face, and they were very skinny. Founders called AWCC to come rescue them!

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Alaska Wildlife

Alaska Wildlife

Whittier – A stop in Whittier is a must when on your way to Seward. All the glacier cruises to Prince William Sound also departs here so if you have plans to visit then you will already get to see this great area.

Whittier

Whittier

Seven Glaciers – Seven Glaciers is a restaurant on top of a mountain at the Alyeska Ski Resort. It has 7 glaciers surrounding the property which gives outstanding views! Come here for the food or come here just for the view! You do not need to have reservations to enjoy the view but I highly suggest dining here. The food was amazing and for the price you get it was worth it! You can read about my dining experience here.

Seven Glaciers

Pull over To Take Epic Scenic Photos – There are many scenic opportunities throughout your drive in Alaska. Pull over as many times as you can to take epic photos!

Alaska

Girdwood

Alaska

Kayak to a Tide Water Glacier – Head south for a day or two in Seward. There is plenty to do here but we decided to see a tide water glacier, Aialik Glacier. We did a full day kayaking tour with Liquid Adventures and it was awesome watching the glaciers calve off! It sounds like thunder! The weather wasn’t the best but it did not stop us!

Aialik Glacier

Other Activities

Prince William Sound – Cruise ship from Whittier to Prince William Sound to see tide water glaciers

Day Trip to Denali – Explore all the wildlife and check out this blog post on Denali Park Village

Day Trip to Homer from Seward – Great for fishing

Ressurrection Bay – A bay on the Kenai Peninsula. Take a cruise tour to see wildlife and a glimpse of Bear Glacier

What To Eat

Eat Reindeer!! Most restaurants will serve reindeer and it was really good! I had reindeer tacos at the street fair.

Moose’s Tooth – A local recommended this place and I was so glad I went! Hands down best pizza in town or all of Alaska probably…. it’s worth the wait, you will not regret it! Address: 3300 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage

Glacier Brewhouse – Another great restaurant with great seafood. Address: 737 W 5th Ave Ste 110, Anchorage

Seven Glaciers – A must do for dinner! As mentioned above it has amazing views of seven glaciers and has awesome food! A post on my experience coming soon. Address: 1000 Girdwood, Anchorage

Have you been to Alaska? Which is your favorite place to visit?

The Ultimate Alaska Travel Guide

 

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40 comments

  • Mel

    September 13, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I so want to go to Alaska and you are just making me long for it more! Gorgeous photos and great advice!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

      You will get to go Mel! Make it happen next summer! =)

  • Suewan Kemp

    September 13, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Looks beautiful. Definitely want to go. Kinda want to try reindeer but not sure I could do it!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Reindeer tastes like sausage! =)

  • Julie

    September 13, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Great post Christine! Would love to visit Alaska at some point!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Thanks Julie! I hope you get to visit soon!

  • Jennifer

    September 13, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    We really want to visit Alaska – it looks so beautiful! I love the idea of kayaking there!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 12:22 am

      Hope you can visit soon Jennifer it’s a beautiful place. Kayaking is great!

  • Debbie

    September 13, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Alaska is high on my list to visit. It looks amazing and you have captured it beautifully

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 12:22 am

      Thanks Debbie!

  • Carmen’s Luxury Travel

    September 13, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve always wondered whens a good time to visit Alaska! I don’t mind the cold but don’t want too much snow 😉 May and September…noted!

    Great post and lovely pics, thanks for sharing!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 12:22 am

      Yup! May and September is cheaper then the summer days too!

  • Elaine Therese

    September 13, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I want to fly to Alaska after reading this article and it is truly an ultimate guide. Very informative 🙂

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 12:23 am

      Thanks Elaine! I’m glad you find it helpful =)

  • Ashley

    September 14, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Such a fun post! And beautiful pics as always 🙂 Glad we could help you check Alaska off of your bucket list!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 8:31 am

      Thank you so much Ashley! I had an amazing time and so glad I was able to check this off my bucket list with your help!!

  • Marta

    September 14, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I’d love to see Alaska and this is a great guide! I’m pinning this as reference for when we finally go, hopefully very very soon

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 11:00 am

      I’m glad you find this helpful! Let me know if you end up going and have any questions =)

  • Maggie

    September 14, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Great post! Alaska is the only state I’m missing and I hope to go there soon. I will definitely be referring back to your post for ideas!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Wow that’s amazing that it’s the only state left on your list! Hope you check it off your list soon!

  • Chasa Fulkerson

    September 14, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I have so many things on my bucket list that pertain to Alaska! Booking marking this!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Awesome Chasa!! You will love it when you visit!

  • Serena

    September 14, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Looks beautiful! Don’t think I’d be up for trying reindeer though!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 14, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      You should! It’s really good! =)

  • Cat

    September 14, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Looks so much fun! I would like to hike the glacier!!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 15, 2016 at 11:30 am

      You will love it! It’s one of the coolest experiences!

  • Christina

    September 14, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    We visited Alaska by cruise ship and since then I have always wanted to go back to explore more of the interior. Great tips on going during the shoulder season. I may just have to book a trip next year.

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

      Thanks Christina! I thought about the cruise ship too but being able to explore more of an area is great! I got to see a lot and highly recommend it.

  • Annika

    September 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Dude, there is a baby bear in the tree! I am jumping up and down in excitement – this looks beautiful! I am usually not a cold weather person at all but your images may make me reconsider 😉

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 17, 2016 at 12:20 am

      You should Annika!! Go during the summer it’s not TOO cold!

  • runawaybrit

    September 17, 2016 at 1:08 am

    I’m sold on anywhere with mountains and snow! I haven’t been to Alaska yet, but it is high on my list and your pictures convince me even more. Love the shot of you in the ice cave!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 17, 2016 at 11:38 am

      Thank you!!! Mountains and snow are a great combination! =)

  • sher

    September 17, 2016 at 7:30 am

    great guide! i havent been to alaska but was considering a cruise there.

    Sher
    http://www.shershegoes.com

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Thank you Sher! Alaska is great and a cruise is a great idea as well!

  • Anisa

    September 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to the Last Minute Travel Club. I have a feeling that is going to come in very handy!

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 19, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Oh yay! I’m glad! =)

  • travel4lifeblog

    September 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Hey Christine! Your post and pictures are so beautiful that you made us want to change our travel plans and go to Alaska instead! Well done and thanks for sharing a wonderful post with us! In January 2017, we are taking a year off and we will probably spend 6 months in South America then we will probably go to Europe . We will make sure to keep all your travel tips in mind if we change our plans and end up in Alaska! Who knows? 🙂
    Patrick and Cecile from http://www.travel4lifeblog.com

    1. Tour de Lust

      September 21, 2016 at 8:12 pm

      That is amazing!!!! You will have a great time traveling the world! Let me join you! =) Alaska should definitely be on your list!

  • Melanie

    December 7, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    I was fortunate enough to live in Anchorage for 2 years and loved it! Our must do list was the Sea Life Center in Seward, the Alaska Zoo, Bear Tooth Theater and the ice cream shop in Girdwood. And I second the reindeer comment. I had a reindeer omelet at Fast Eddie’s in Tok and it’s still the best omelet I’ve ever eaten.

    My recommendation for everyone is to take several weeks and drive to Anchorage through Canada. It is a long haul but so worth it. The scenery is breathtaking and it’s just a peaceful trip. Take your time, you will not regret it.

    1. Tour de Lust

      December 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks so much for your recommendation Melanie! I definitely can’t wait to return and see more of Alaska and maybe even do the drive to Canada!

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