People tend to think of Alaska as a cold, remote place, but the truth is that it’s teeming with life and buzzing with activity.
For every snow-covered mountain, there are dozens of beaches, fjords, glaciers, geysers and caves.
For every icy rock in the middle of nowhere, there are also bars, restaurants, malls, museums and movie theaters.
To be fair, Alaska’s wilderness is a sight to behold.
Whether you’re interested in chasing the northern lights or ice-climbing up cliffs and canyons, the wide open spaces will call to your sense of adventure.
It’s just important to know that Alaska isn’t only a place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
You can go drinking and dancing; you can hit up world-class art museums and music festivals; you can learn more about the indigenous tribes that carved petroglyphs into the foundations of modern society.
Alaska isn’t just a winter destination, either.
Summertime offers everything from parasailing on the lakes to hiking across mountain passes filled with wildflowers!
Long story short, there’s more to “The Land of the Midnight Sun” than what meets the eye.
Let’s talk about some amazing things to do in Alaska!
Things To Do In Alaska
1. Museum of the North
If you don’t know where to start with your trip to Alaska, start with the Museum of the North.
It’s located on the Fairbanks campus of the University of Alaska, and it showcases more than 2,000 years of art, culture, history, flora and fauna from the region.
Exhibits include nature photography, full-size bison mummies, and gold and mineral collections from the days of the Klondike Gold Rush.
The artwork ranges from old Eskimo carvings to contemporary paintings and portraits from the indigenous people of Alaska.
There’s even a light and sound display that mimics the aurora borealis of the night sky!
There’s something for everyone at the Museum of the North, especially those who are genuinely interested in learning more about Alaska.
It’ll be a great way to start your journey into this vast, beautiful and mysterious terrain.
Address: 1962 Yukon Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99775, United States
2. White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad
One of the most fun things to do in Alaska is a train ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.
Not only will it take you past stunning natural scenery in the form of gorges, glaciers, waterfalls, mountains and forests, but it also has historic significance as a piece of infrastructure from the days of the Klondike Gold Rush.
Originally built in 1898, this railroad was designed to take gold miners from Alaska to Canada.
It reaches heights of more than 3,000 feet along its curving tracks that are built right into the mountainside.
Another charming feature of the train is its vintage design that remains unchanged from the days of the Gold Rush.
With its wide windows and ornate, old-fashioned details, your parlor car will look just like it did back in the day.
If you’re looking for cool stuff to do in Alaska, it doesn’t get more memorable than a train ride through the mountains with the spirit of a gold miner.
Address: 201 2nd Ave, Skagway, AK 99840, United States
3. Denali National Park and Preserve
Covering more than six million acres, Denali National Park and Preserve is one of the top destinations of Alaska.
It stretches across an enormous range of forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, glaciers and sand dunes, and it offers a staggering amount of activities for everyone from young kids to experienced outdoorsmen.
Are you eager to experience nature?
Go hiking, biking, camping or climbing among the tall trees and rushing rivers.
Do you prefer your fun to be a little more air-conditioned?
Take a scenic drive through the landscapes or sign up for a “flightseeing” trip where you’ll soar over the mountains from a helicopter.
Other options include everything from going on a scavenger hunt with the kids to visiting a sled dog kennel and watching a musher demonstration.
There’s no lack of things to see and do in Denali National Park and Preserve.
You could spend your entire vacation here and still want to come back for more!
Address: Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, United States
4. Juneau Whale Watch
Juneau is one of the most famous places in Alaska, but its best destinations aren’t the bars and clubs of downtown.
That honor belongs to the remote and rugged landscapes of the outlying ocean where you can experience a Juneau Whale Watch.
The tours take between 3 – 5 hours and involve climbing aboard a ship and heading out so far on the water that you can’t even see the city anymore.
Once whales are spotted, the captain will usually cut the engine so that the creatures will get curious and swim right up to the starboard.
You can enjoy the experience either on deck or from the comfort of a heated cabin.
You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a humpback whale slowly emerging from the depths of the ocean to come and greet you.
It’s one of the most amazing things that you can experience in Alaska, so book a tour with Juneau Whale Watch and get ready to make some crazy memories during your trip.
Address: 492 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801, United States
5. Hubbard Glacier
Located in the Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, the Hubbard Glacier is more than seven miles long, and it regularly sloughs off icebergs that are as tall as 10-story buildings.
It’s an absolutely massive landmark that juts out of the water like something equally beautiful and terrifying.
Visitors to the glacier are only allowed to get semi-close; its choppy waters prevent boats from being able to safely navigate close proximity.
It’s so big, however, that you’ll see it looming for ages before you actually reach it.
Your pictures will also turn out wonderfully since its white snow and turquoise ice are framed by an open expanse of bright blue sky.
The Hubbard Glacier is one of the most well-known of Alaska’s attractions.
Literally, it’s so large that you can’t miss it.
Book a tour to see its majesty for yourself!
Address: Alaska, United States
6. Anchorage Market
Straddling the line between “flea market” and “farmer’s market,” the Anchorage Market is a labyrinth of food, florals, arts, crafts and clothes.
Its vendors change daily, so you might see 80 stalls one morning and 200 stalls the next.
It’s very easy to get lost, and you never know what will be around the next corner.
You might stumble across a pyramid of fresh produce; you might find yourself shimmying past racks of jewelry or following your nose to ice cream trucks or sandwich stands.
Doesn’t that sound like a blast?
Running from May to September, the Anchorage Market is a staple of its city, and it’s also one of the most vibrant places to visit in Alaska.
If you’ll be in the state at the right time of year, it’s definitely worth a look!
Address: 225 E St, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
7. Dr. Seuss House
If you’re looking for quirky places to go, check out the Dr. Seuss House.
You can’t miss it: Its tallest tower reaches 185 feet, and each of its floors is stacked on the next in an odd, disjointed and tumble-style stack.
An interesting fact about the Dr. Seuss House is that it has nothing to do with Dr. Seuss at all.
Its official name is the Goose Creek Tower, and it was built by a local man just for fun.
However, it’s easy to see why locals think of The Cat in the Hat whenever they gaze at its colorful and whimsical architecture.
The Dr. Seuss House is a landmark like none other, and it’ll serve as a cool and unique vacation destination for anyone who likes going off the beaten path and discovering new things.
Address: 46370 S Caston Way, Talkeetna, AK 99676, United States
8. Moose’s Tooth
For great eats in Alaska, it doesn’t get more local than the Moose’s Tooth.
This warm little restaurant is a chance to escape winter’s chill while also enjoying stick-to-your-ribs fare that you can only find in the arctic north.
For example, have you ever had moose meat?
Have you ever tried reindeer as a pizza topping?
You might also be interested in bull steaks, moose ranch salads or sockeye salmon spreads on bread.
For dessert, ask for Eskimo ice cream or aqutak, which is an Alaskan specialty whipped up with snow, fat, wild berries and seal oil.
Wash it all down with a dark handcrafted beer.
Moose’s Tooth is an iconic destination in the Arctic Circle.
Its menu is unique; its atmosphere is fun and inviting.
If you’ll be in the area, it’s worth loosening your belt, grabbing a seat and trying something new.
Address: 3300 Old Seward Hwy, Anchorage, AK 99503, United States
9. Kenai Beach
Alaska might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about tropical getaways, but the land isn’t covered in snow all of the time.
It has summers just like anywhere else, and during those summers, you’ll want a nice sandy beach to help you cool off.
Kenai Beach is located in Kenai, Alaska, and it’s a popular destination for swimming, fishing, camping, kiting and more.
Fishing is especially popular during the month of July when the salmon are out; it’s quite common to see crowds of people with dip nets.
There are plenty of amenities at the beach to keep you comfortable, and it also isn’t far from other conveniences in the greater city of Kenai.
If you’re wondering what to do during an Alaskan summer, consider a trip to Kenai Beach.
You’ll be able to engage in all sorts of fun, sun-soaked activities, and you’ll also get to confuse people when you tell them about your tropical beach vacation in Alaska.
Address: 1112 Kenai Ave, Kenai, AK 99611, United States
10. Kennicott Ghost Town
There’s at least one place in Alaska where you won’t have to fight crowds of tourists.
In fact, you might not see anyone at all.
It’s Kennicott Ghost Town, and it’s been long abandoned by those who used to live and work there.
The heyday of the town was in the early 1900s when people flocked to the nearby copper mines in search of wealth and fortune.
A bustling community grew around the mines, one that included shops, saloons, schools, post offices and even brothels.
Over time, the mines dried up, and the people moved on.
Kennicott Ghost Town is now a relic of turn-of-the-century living.
Visitors can explore it at their leisure or even talk to the handful of residents who still live in the surrounding areas, but don’t expect any fireworks here.
It’s a calm, quiet and slightly eerie destination, and as such, it’s one of the most memorable of Alaska’s attractions.
Address: McCarthy Rd, Chitina, AK, United States
11. Tongass National Forest
With its lush forests, shimmering glaciers and crystalline lakes, Alaska is one of the most beautiful places to travel in the US.
Nowhere is this more apparent than Tongass National Forest.
Tongass National Forest is the largest forest in the entire country; it spans a staggering 16.7 million acres and covers a large swath of southeastern Alaska.
While most of it’s rain forest, you can also find dry mountainous regions as well as water-dominated areas with lots of glaciers and fjords.
Visitors can go hiking, fishing, kayaking, mountaineering and more.
Wildlife observation will cough up everything from brown bears to white mountain goats.
There are a number of cabins dotting the lakes and rivers if you want rustic-style accommodations; otherwise, camping is common.
Unique features of the forest include waterfalls, old mining sites and a special “upside-down garden” where flower towers have their roots on top.
Maybe you’re a family looking to disconnect from phones and video games for awhile.
Maybe you love nature photography and are always on a quest for the next amazing shot.
Whatever your reasons for seeking outdoor wonders, you can find them at Tongass National Forest.
Address: Juneau, AK 99801, United States
12. Great Kobuk Sand Dunes
They look like they’re straight out of the Sahara Desert, but they’re surrounded by the alpine forests and snow-covered mountains of the Arctic Circle.
They were formed because of a natural phenomenon millions of years ago.
When their glaciers started to shift, the massive pressure of the ice acted as a grinding agent for the rocks below, eventually turning them into nothing more than a sandy dust.
Today, you can explore the dunes as part of Kobuk Valley National Park.
You’ll need to take an air taxi since there are no roads or trails leading into the wild.
Because of its inaccessibility, this park is one of the least-visited national parks in the entire country, but it’s worth making the trip for the story alone.
The desert in the middle of a winter wonderland is just a bonus!
Address: Alaska, United States
13. Chickenstock Festival
Known as a “cluckin’ good time,” the Chickenstock Festival is one of Alaska’s funniest and most irreverent events.
It’s officially advertised as a musical festival, but music is only part of its appeal.
Those who make the pilgrimage to the Chickenstock Festival can enjoy an entire weekend of food, music, games, competitions and general revelry.
There are outdoor concerts; there are food trucks and craft stalls; there are 5K “chicken leg” marathons.
The crowning glory of the event is when a helicopter flies overhead and drops 1,500 marshmallow Peeps onto the cheering crowds below!
In Alaska, it’s all about Chickenstock.
If you’ll be visiting during the summertime, you won’t want to miss this incredible festival and all of the fun that it brings!
Address: Alaska, United States
14. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
One of Alaska’s nicknames is “The Last Frontier,” and when you’re standing on the edge of a 15,000-foot cliff and gazing at the massive, ice-covered glaciers below, you’ll realize why the explorers of the past felt so strongly that they had reached the end of the world.
It isn’t easy to climb the mountains of the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Their terrain is difficult, and their weather is unpredictable.
Some mountaineering expeditions can take a month or more.
If you have the time, however, or if you’re just interested in views unlike any other, the Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve will provide an incredible experience for those who are adventurous enough to take it on.
Address: Alaska, United States
15. Jewell Gardens
Located in Skagway, the Jewell Gardens enjoy a perpetual summer even when everything around them is cold and remote.
Their beauty is all the more impressive since they’re bright, cheerful and brimming with life despite the harshness of their surrounding landscape.
Their secret lies in both their location and their architecture.
Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, they also make use of many glass features to trap heat and moisture.
Visitors can tour the gardens, sign up for glassblowing demonstrations and more.
Tea ceremonies are arranged daily, and luncheons are guaranteed to have fresh ingredients straight from the source.
If you’re wondering where to visit in Alaska that isn’t perpetually covered in snow, consider a trip to the Jewell Gardens.
They definitely live up to their name as a shining gem in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Address: Mile 1.5, Klondike Hwy, Skagway, AK 99840, United States
16. Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour
Made famous by the Discovery Channel series Deadliest Catch, this vessel stunned viewers when it was rocked and rolled onto its side thanks to a rogue wave crashing into its belly.
Thankfully, it was righted again, and it’s now enjoying a second life as one of Alaska’s top tourist attractions.
Visitors can climb aboard the same ship that they saw on TV and enjoy a live fishing and crabbing experience with the crew.
It isn’t quite the deadly adventure that was depicted on the show, but it isn’t a leisurely cruise, either.
You’ll get a real and authentic taste of what it’s like to be a fisherman in the frigid waters of the north.
Of the many things to do in Alaska, it’s hard to top something that left viewers all around the world gasping in shock.
If you’re looking for awesome vacation experiences, book a tour with the Bering Sea Crab.
Address: 316 Icehouse Ln, Ketchikan, AK 99901, United States
17. Aurora Express Bed and Breakfast
Are you looking for unique accommodation in Alaska?
If so, you’ve just found some of the most curiously compelling lodgings in the entire state: the Aurora Express Bed and Breakfast.
Housed in a ragtag assortment of train cars, this B&B offers you the chance to sleep inside of a real but stationary locomotive.
It all started with one woman’s dream to own a train; she began collecting cabooses, sleeper cars and dining compartments in her backyard, and eventually, she had the idea to repurpose them as lodging for adventurous travelers.
The end result is that the Aurora Express Bed and Breakfast is one of the most unusual tourist spots in Alaska.
If you’re looking for something a little more exciting than your usual hotel, how about sleeping in a train going nowhere?
Address: 1550 Chena Ridge Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States
18. World’s Largest Chocolate Waterfall
Chocoholics, this one is for you.
The World’s Largest Chocolate Waterfall is a 20-foot cascade of pure chocolately goodness, and to make it even better, it’s housed in a chocolate shop where you can buy your fill of truffles, bites, bars, fudges and caramels.
The “waterfall” is actually a series of copper tins and kettles that create a cascade of chocolate.
It gushes from the fountain head, floods through the tins and eventually settles in a swirling pool at the bottom.
It moves more than 3,000 pounds of chocolate per day!
When you’re done marveling at the sheer decadence of the falls, you can explore the chocolate shop and its collection of odds and ends, including a five-pound chocolate bar marketed as Alaska’s biggest.
The World’s Largest Chocolate Waterfall is a must see for gourmands, chocoholics, dessert lovers and anyone else with a sweet tooth.
It’ll also be a fun experience for folks who like weird or bizarre roadside attractions that are unique to their vacation destinations.
How many times in your life will you get the chance to see a chocolate waterfall?
Take advantage of the opportunity while you can!
Address: 5225 Juneau Street, Anchorage, AK 99518, United States
19. Burial Spirit Houses
Located in the tiny town of Eklutna, the Burial Spirit Houses represent something far greater than themselves.
It all started with Russian Orthodox missionaries who came to the area in the early 1800s.
They formed a bond with the local Athabascan and Danaina people of the Native American tribes, and over time, their cultures started to mingle.
One of these mergings resulted in burial spirit boxes.
Whenever someone died, their loved ones would create a colorful, dollhouse-style burial box to place over the grave, and they’d leave it there to slowly decay as part of the natural processes of the world.
If you’re exploring Alaska and wondering what to do that isn’t listed in a glossy travel brochure, consider a trip to see the Burial Spirit Houses.
They’re the result of an utterly unique community with equally unique cultural practices in one of the least-traveled regions of the world.
It doesn’t get more offbeat than that!
Address: 26339 Eklutna Village Rd, Anchorage, AK 99567, United States
20. Petroglyph Beach
The world is filled with petrogylphs carved into cave walls, but in a little town called Wrangell, Alaska, their location is more unique.
They’re etched on sea stones that are only visible during the low tide.
Dating back more than 8,000 years, it’s believed that Petroglyph Beach was originally the site of a human settlement, and that’s when the stones were given their markings.
Over time, the land eroded and the sea rose, so the stones were shifted into their current position as a craggy collection along the coast.
Today, you can walk the beach and see the petrogylphs for yourself.
Look closely enough and you might even be able to make out the primitive shapes of salmon, snakes, whales and other animals.
Even if you aren’t into history, Petrogylph Beach is one of the niftiest places to go in Alaska, so make time for it on your vacation itinerary.
You don’t want to miss a landmark that was 8,000 years in the making.
Address: Grave St, Wrangell, AK 99929, United States
21. Husky Homestead
You can’t visit the frozen tundras of the north without seeing sled dogs in action.
It’s a long-standing tradition of the region, and it’s a big draw in terms of Alaska attractions.
Fortunately, you don’t have to brave an icy tundra to see sled dogs.
The Husky Homestead lives up to its name by being the breeding and training grounds of dozens of huge, furry and hard-working huskies.
The homestead is run by Jeff King, four-time winner of the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and he welcomes visitors who want to learn more about the unique roles of huskies in Alaskan culture and history.
You can also play with the pups and marvel at the fully-grown working dogs who take their jobs just as seriously as any human.
Hop on the back of a sled and see what it’s like to yell “mush.”
It’s an attainable dream when you visit the Husky Homestead in Alaska and partake in its many things to see and do.
Address: Milepost 229 Parks Hwy, Hickory, Denali Park, AK 99755, United States
22. Red Onion Saloon
Back in the day, the Red Onion Saloon was one of the most scandalous places to visit in Alaska.
While the first floor was a regular saloon for drinking, talking and shaking off the dust of the nearby mines, the second floor operated as a bordello.
According to legend, the working girls were represented by dolls at the bar.
Men would choose the doll that they wanted, and when they went upstairs, that girl would be waiting for them.
Today, the Red Onion Saloon functions as both a restaurant and a museum.
Visitors can grab a bite to eat on the first floor before heading upstairs for a tour.
Many of the original furnishings have been preserved or replicated, including the dolls, and there are also a number of racy paintings done in an old-fashioned style to evoke the mood of days gone by.
The Red Onion Saloon has been making visitors happy for more than a century.
It can make you happy as well, so give it a shot!
Address: 201 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, United States
23. Sealaska Heritage Institute
Dedicated to the indigenous tribes of Alaska, the Sealaska Heritage Institute plays an important role in preserving the art, history, folklore and culture of the first groups to settle in the state.
Calling itself “a steward of our past and a catalyst for our future,” the Institute is home to numerous relics and artifacts from long-ago ways of life.
You can see tools from hundreds of years ago, for example, and furs and hunting weapons that are still in use today.
Another feature of note is the extensive collection of Native artwork from both past and present creators.
If that wasn’t reason enough to visit, a portion of your admission will go to projects within the Native community, including language revitalization and cultural awareness campaigns.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is one of the major places of interest for folks who are interested in the indigenous tribes of the U.S. and Canada.
If you want to know more about the people who worked the land before any Europeans did, you won’t want to miss a trip to the Institute.
Address: 105 S Seward St, Juneau, AK 99801, United States
24. Pasagshak River
With its shimmering waters that are undisturbed and unpolluted by man, the Pasagshak River is a top 10 destination in Alaska.
It stretches for more than three miles through the rugged beauty of the Kodiak region and contains a number of natural landmarks.
There isn’t a lot of infrastructure at the river.
There are designated areas for camping, including both tent and RV camping, but the amenities are scarce.
For example, there are a limited number of latrines and only a single hand-pump well for fresh water.
Its rustic living, however, is part of its charm.
It’s a pristine piece of wilderness that has yet to be spoiled by humans.
As such, the Pasagshak River is one of the best vacation spots for people who truly want to “get away from it all.”
Whether you’re interested in camping, fishing, hiking, trekking or wildlife observing, this river is a must do.
Address: Alaska, United States
25. Kuskulana River Bridge
The Kuskulana River Bridge used to be one of the most hair-raising bridges in the world.
It stretched over a deep, jagged and rock-lined gorge more than 230 feet below, and its extremely narrow pathway didn’t have guard rails or any other modern safety features, so people took their covered wagons and walked as slowly as possible to the other side.
When the bridge was snowy or slippery, it was even more treacherous.
The bridge still stands today, but it’s been outfitted with wooden planks to make it wider, and a metal rail has been erected on other side to prevent falls.
It isn’t quite as dangerous, so it isn’t quite as thrilling.
That said, it’s still fun to cross the Kuskulana River Bridge.
The views of the gorge are amazing, and even though it’s safer now than it used to be, there’s still an element of peril in its old-fashioned construction.
If you’re thinking about what to do in Alaska to get the adrenaline flowing, this could be a good way to test yourself and your nerve.
Address: McCarthy Rd, Chitina, AK 99566, United States
26. Kannery Grill
Though it has exotic delicacies like reindeer sausage and seal oil berries, Alaska is most famous for its seafood.
Wild salmon is abundant, and it’s also easy to find crab, cod, halibut and more.
So where are the best seafood restaurants in Alaska?
While every town has its favorite local dives, one particularly famous name is the Kannery Grill.
It prides itself on serving fresh, locally-sourced seafood, and it offers everything from fancy oyster plates to pop-em-and-eat-em shrimp and prawn skewers.
It also prepares its fish in fun and creative ways, so if you’ve never tried barbecue salmon or Hawaiian-style tuna poke, you’re in for a treat!
Another nice thing about the restaurant is the amazing view that you can enjoy from its outdoor patio.
The shimmering waters of Kachemak Bay will highlight the distant, misty mountains, so it’s like getting dinner and a sightseeing show.
The Kannery Grill is far from the only seafood restaurant in Alaska, but it’s one of the best.
If your stomach starts rumbling during your vacation, see how far you are from this excellent dining destination.
Address: 451 Sterling Hwy, Homer, AK 99603, United States
27. The Aurora Ice Museum
The Aurora Ice Museum is one of the coolest places to visit in Alaska, and we mean that literally.
Since it’s carved from snow and ice, it’s kept at a perpetual 25°F, and visitors are given parkas to stay warm.
If you don’t mind the chill, however, the museum is a dazzling place.
Not only is it a remarkable piece of architecture all by itself, but it’s also filled with things like elaborate ice sculptures and color-changing lights that are designed to mimic the aurora borealis.
There’s even an ice outhouse if you’re interested in truly one-of-a-kind sites!
The Aurora Ice Museum is part of the Chena Hot Springs Resort, but you don’t have to be a guest to take a tour.
It’s also open 365 days per year, so no matter when you’re visiting Alaska, you can experience its colorful creativity and whimsical wonder.
Address: 17600 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712, United States
28. Seward Scenic Highway
Are you traveling to Alaska on a budget?
Don’t worry; you don’t have to spend big bucks to have a good time.
In fact, there are many free things to do that won’t cost a dime, including a drive down the Seward Scenic Highway.
Covering more than 125 miles in total, the Seward Scenic Highway runs from Seward to Anchorage, and it passes all kinds of astounding sights.
You’ll be able to marvel at towering cliffs, rushing rivers, snow-topped trees, saltwater bays and more.
Additionally, since it’s a self-guided drive, you can take your time and explore the area without being rushed.
You can even stop and pull over whenever you see something worthy of further exploration!
These side trips will be the only thing with a potential cost since the highway itself is toll- and admission-free.
When money is tight, it’s a good idea to find budget-friendly places to go in Alaska.
Hit the road with the Seward Scenic Highway for an amazing travel experience that won’t break the bank!
Address: Alaska, United States
29. Aurora Borealis Lodge
Many people have “see the northern lights” on their bucket list, but few take the time to actually do it.
If you want to be the exception, you’ll need to travel to a place like the Aurora Borealis Lodge.
Located just outside of Fairbanks, which is widely regarded as one of the best destinations for seeing the lights, the Aurora Borealis Lodge offers accommodation as well as guided evening tours.
The guides will lead you to observational points far from electricity and pollution where the lights are at their dramatic.
An important thing to note about the lights is that seeing them is never guaranteed!
Even if they don’t appear, however, you’ll still get to enjoy stunning night skies filled with stars.
The aurora borealis is one of the greatest wonders of the world, and seeing them is one of the greatest things to do in Alaska.
If you’re ready to gaze into the heart of the universe, book a room at the Aurora Borealis Lodge.
Address: 1906 Ridge Run Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712, United States
30. Kodiak Lab Aquarium
Another great destination for animal lovers, the Kodiak Lab Aquarium will let you get up close and personal with everything from shrimp to starfish.
It houses an incredible 3,500-gallon tank filled with dozens of different species of marine life, and many of them can be petted and stroked to fulfill your lifelong curiosity about a sea urchin’s spines or a mollusk’s shell.
That’s right: At this aquarium, you don’t have to stand around and just watch the fish swim.
You can actually touch amazing sea specimens that will bloom to life under your fingertips.
The staff will facilitate the handling while the tour guides will answer your questions and point out any cool creatures darting through the waters of the gigantic, glass-walled tank.
There are many Alaska attractions dedicated to its abundant natural wildlife, but if you want a more intimate experience than peering through binoculars at a distant wolverine, you’ll need to visit somewhere like the Kodiak Lab Aquarium.
It’ll let you get hands-on with the critters and creatures of the sea for an unforgettable vacation memory.
Address: 301 Research Ct, Kodiak, AK 99615, United States
31. Alaskan Bore Tide
A bore tide is a special kind of tide that can result in amazing altitudes and trajectories.
There are several hot spots around the world where bore tides are particularly impressive, and Alaska has one of them.
Known as simply the “Alaskan Bore Tide,” this stretch of coastline in the Turnagain Arm of Anchorage has jaw-dropping tidal waves.
They can reach between 6 – 10 feet tall, and it isn’t uncommon for their speed to surpass 10 – 15 miles per hour.
Viewing these tides is just a matter of finding good places to see among the observational points of the area.
There isn’t an official site, so feel free to hike, bike or drive wherever the locals point you.
At the end of the day, when you’re witnessing these amazing bore tides crash into sands, cliffs and dunes, you’ll realize why Alaska holds such power as a nature destination.
Address: Alaska, United States
32. Kroschel Wildlife Center
Animal lovers, are you wondering where to go in Alaska to get the best and most unobtrusive views of local wildlife?
The answer is the Kroschel Wildlife Center.
Functioning as a sort of “anti-zoo,” the Kroschel Wildlife Center is a sanctuary for abused and neglected animals where they’re allowed to roam freely through natural, wide-spanning habitats.
The visitors are the ones who walk through an enclosed path to observe whatever bears, wolves, foxes, lynxes, moose or reindeer might be visible beyond it.
There are chances to get close to certain critters through interactive feeding and grooming sessions, but you’ll need to arrange for those in advance.
Ultimately, the Kroschel Wildlife Center is a chance to support a good cause while also enjoying an unfiltered look at Alaska’s native flora and fauna.
It’s a must do for animal lovers but an enjoyable experience for anyone with an open mind.
Address: 18 Mosquito Lake Rd, Haines, AK 99827, United States
33. Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
Did you know that the first automobile in Alaska was a 1898 Hay Motor Vehicle?
It’s a sight to behold, and it’s available for viewing at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.
Housing one of the state’s largest collections of cars, the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum tells a story of transportation throughout time.
Its earliest vehicles are horse-drawn carriages, and it progresses from speedsters to midget racers to cycle cars as it eventually makes its way to more modern models.
It’s amazing to see the journey of cars from stuffy Victorian carriages to the bright and dazzling electric engines of recent years.
If you’re all interested in cars, you’ll want to make time for the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum.
Address: 212 Wedgewood Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
34. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Located even further north than the Arctic Circle, the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is one of the prettiest places in the US.
Part of its beauty comes from its scenery.
Like many destinations in Alaska, it’s dominated by tall mountains, icy rivers and boreal forests of pines, spruces and larches.
A unique feature of the park, however, is its careful preservation by the state.
There are no roads and minimal trails; once you hit the remote, rugged terrain, you’re on your own.
To top things off, the cold and arid tundra is sometimes referred to as an “arctic desert,” so you’ll be challenged by the climate as well as the landscape.
If you can hack it, however, the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is a stunning example of what nature can look like without the interference of man.
Address: Airport Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701, United States
35. Girdwood Forest Fair
With homemade art, hand-crafted beer and folk musicians fluting and fiddling on outdoor stages, the Girdwood Forest Fair will take you right back to the days of Robin Hood and his merry men.
It isn’t actually a renaissance festival.
It’s just an old-fashioned kind of event that prioritizes good, clean fun among families and other members of the community.
It also has a focus on supporting local creatives; in fact, it was originally started by artists who wanted to bring people together in celebration of food, music, theater and crafts.
Today, the Girdwood Forest Fair is magicked into existence every summer by volunteers from all around the state.
Admission is free, and the festivities last an entire weekend.
If you’ll be in Girdwood during the warmer months, venture into the forest and follow the sounds of music to reach a lively and lovely event!
Address: 250 Egloff Dr, Girdwood, AK 99587, United States
36. Little Diomede Island
With a small population located on a remote, self-sufficient island, Little Diomede Island might just be one of the most unusual destinations in the world.
For starters, it’s inhabited by Native Americans who have lived in the same place for thousands of years, and most of them still have a traditional hunting-and-gathering lifestyle.
They’re self-sufficient, needing only the occasional supply drop via helicopter to make it through the harsher winters.
That’s the other thing: the island is only accessible by boat or air, so while visitors aren’t forbidden, it’s rare for people to care enough to make the trip.
Last but not least, the island is only a stone’s throw away from the slightly larger Big Diomede Island, but that land is claimed by Russia and marked by a different time zone.
Since it’s 21 hours behind its bigger cousin, Little Diomede Island is sometimes known as “Yesterday Island.”
If you’re intrigued by Little Diomede Island, feel free to arrange a visit or even just a site seeing trip to the border of the nearby town.
It isn’t much, but it has an awesome story, and it’ll be a unique pit stop on your greater Alaskan journey.
Address: Alaska, United States
37. Sullivan Arena
Alaska might be a hard place to reach compared to the continental United States, but many actors, athletes and musicians make the trip.
When they do, their final destination is usually Sullivan Arena.
Located in Anchorage, the Sullivan Arena can seat more than 6,000, so it’s the go-to venue for everything from concerts to sporting events.
It’s played host to basketball, football and ice hockey championships; it’s welcomed musical acts ranging from Elton John to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It’s even been the stage of choice for large-scale theater productions!
Check the schedule to see what’s happening at the Sullivan Arena.
There might be something exciting going on during the dates of your Alaskan getaway.
Address: 1600 Gambell St, Anchorage, AK 99501, United States
38. Dimond Center Mall
You’ve climbed the tallest mountains of Alaska.
You’ve seen the largest whales and scaled the largest glaciers.
How about shopping at the biggest mall, too?
Covering more than 728,000 square feet, the Dimond Center Mall offers much more than just shops and kiosks.
There’s a bowling alley; there’s an ice skating rink; there’s a health club.
There’s a food court for trying moose burgers and a nine-screen movie theater for catching all of the latest blockbusters.
There’s even an office tower that houses the radio infrastructure for iHeartMedia!
Stepping into the Dimond Center Mall is like stepping into a brightly-lit beehive with people scurrying to and fro across multiple stories.
As long as you don’t mind parting with a little cash, it’s one of the most amazing places to visit in the area.
Address: 800 E Dimond Blvd, Anchorage, AK 99515, United States
39. Alaska Raptor Center
Alaska might be known for its abundant wildlife, but it still suffers from the deforestation and other environmental problems of the rest of the world, so its animals can require a helping hand to survive.
This is what motivated two women to start the Alaska Raptor Center in 1980.
Originally just a backyard project with a single bald eagle, it’s grown to a sprawling, multi-acre complex staffed by numerous volunteers and filled with twice as many birds.
The goal is to rehabilitate sick and injured birds and release them back into the wild.
Some of them, however, wouldn’t make it on the outside, so they’re used as feathered friends to teach visitors about conservationism.
The birds of the facility include owls, eagles, falcons, hawks and more.
You can walk through their habitats; you can observe their training; you can even “adopt a raptor” by funding the expenses of their sanctuary.
There’s a lot to love about the Alaska Raptor Center.
Not only will it be a fun experience, but it will also be a good cause to support.
How many tourist attractions can say that?
Address: 1000 Raptor Way, Sitka, AK 99835, United States
40. Poker Flat Research Range
Built beneath an “auroral ring” where the northern lights are prone to occur, the Poker Flat Research Range is one of the largest astronomical research centers in the Arctic Circle, and it’s an amazing destination for those who are interested in the night sky.
Most of their work is dedicated to launching rockets across the frozen tundras of Alaska.
They have special permission from federal governments and indigenous landowners to do so.
Another part of their work revolves around the aurora borealis.
They study it; they document it; they run experiments on it and with it.
Visitors to the range can take tours, see rocket launches, join stargazing parties and participate in a number of astronomy-related events and activities.
There’s always something new on the calendar, so check it out and figure out what will be happening during your vacation time.
Of all the places to see in Alaska, there’s nowhere quite like the Poker Flat Research Range.
With its combination of science, tourism and good old-fashioned fun, it’s a unique research site as well as a killer tourist destination.
Address: 30 Mile Steese Hwy, Fairbanks, AK 99712, United States
41. Hammer Museum
If you’re the type of person who loves to stop at weird, quirky attractions like “the world’s largest ball of twine” or “the country’s only alligator petting zoo,” you might like the Hammer Museum.
True to its name, the Hammer Museum is completely devoted to hammers.
It has more than 1,400 on display, and many come with cool stories, gruesome histories, interesting factoids or just old-as-dirt origins.
The most ancient of the hammers dates back to the Roman Empire.
Additionally, the museum is the only one of its kind in the world, and it’s been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution for its unique service.
It isn’t just an oddity; it’s a genuine collection of historical objects and artifacts.
If you’re wondering what to see in Alaska that’s thoroughly off the beaten path, swing by the Hammer Museum.
You can’t miss the towering, larger-than-life hammer statue outside, and the inside will be just as fun and unusual as the rest.
Address: 108 Main St, Haines, AK 99827, United States
42. Running Reindeer Ranch
Some of the best tourist attractions in Alaska are ones that are off the beaten path, and this includes the Running Reindeer Ranch.
It’s a small, family-owned farm just outside of Fairbanks, so you won’t find it listed in official travel guides, but it can provide a wonderful experience for you and the kids.
Activities include everything from educational “reindeer walks” to fun and silly things like “reindeer yoga.”
The docile reindeer of the farm will let you pet them, feed them and engage them in various reindeer games.
You can also book cabin-style lodgings right on the property if you want to stay close to the critters!
The Running Reindeer Ranch is one of the most fun places to visit for families in Alaska.
It gets rave reviews from locals and tourists alike, and it’s an utterly unique destination that’s sure to create lifelong memories.
Hop on your sleigh and come say hello to Santa’s helpers!
Address: 1470 Ivans Alley, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States
43. Mendenhall Ice Caves
If “running around inside a glacier” isn’t on your bucket list of things to do in Alaska, it’s time to correct this oversight.
The Mendenhall Ice Caves will provide an eerie and out-of-this-world experience for anyone brave enough to explore them, and what’s more, there’s only a limited time to see them.
What are the ice caves?
Simply put, they’re part of the greater Mendenhall Glacier, but they’ve formed in a way that allows people to climb inside of them.
They have strikingly blue walls that are part ice, part snow and part water; it’s said that they’re one of the rare places in nature where you can see every stage of the water cycle.
The only downside of the caves is that they won’t be around forever.
Even now, they’re melting, shifting and eroding; it’s only a matter of time before they’re gone for good.
If you’re interested in the Mendenhall Ice Caves, you’ll need to get there sooner rather than later.
This incredible experience has an expiration date.
Address: 6000 Glacier Spur Rd, Juneau, AK 99801, United States
44. Eagle River Nature Center
Many vacation spots in Alaska are dedicated to the outdoors, but the Eagle River Nature Center adds education to its entertainment by also serving as a portal for things like environmental awareness and wildlife conservation.
Visitors to the center can learn all about plants, animals and assorted nature topics.
There are kid-friendly exhibits as well as more advanced and specialized ones for adults.
While the little ones are enjoying story time, you can listen to a lecture or take a workshop from a naturalist.
When you’re done with all of the center’s indoor activities, lace up your hiking boots and hit the nature trails.
Some are easy walks around flower-filled prairies while others are more strenuous treks to hidden cliffs and waterfalls.
All things considered, the Eagle River Nature Center is a fun way to spend an afternoon in Alaska, and it’s educational to boot.
Kids and adults can both learn a thing or two.
If you’re looking for tourist attractions with substance, this is the place to go!
Address: 32750 Eagle River Rd, Eagle River, AK 99577, United States
45. Shuyak Island State Park
Another great place for people who are interested in exploring the rugged and untouched terrain of Alaska, Shuyak Island State Park is located in the Kodiak Archipelago, and it offers stunning sights as well as unique activities and opportunities.
Places to visit include beaches, forests, campgrounds, nature trails and fishing holes.
You can go trekking through the trees; you can go canoeing or kayaking in the water.
Most sites can only be reached by sea or air, which adds to the undisturbed nature of their landscapes; people only go to the trouble of reaching them when they’re serious about experiencing the true outdoors.
One thing to note about the park is that it’s quite remote, so beginner outdoorsmen might want to skip it.
If you get into trouble, assistance could be hours away.
If you’re willing to take the risk, however, or if you just love the thought of disconnecting from modern life and reconnecting with nature, Shuyak Island State Park is easily one of the top destinations of Alaska.
Address: Alaska, United States
46. Totem Bight State Historical Park
When talking about Alaska, it’s important to honor the spirit and sacrifice of its first inhabitants.
They lived all across the state in a number of tribes, and they deserve to be remembered, celebrated and supported in modern times.
One of the ways to show your support is with a trip to Totem Bight State Historical Park.
It boasts more than a dozen full-size and full-color totem poles, and it also centers itself around a replica of an 1800s indigenous village.
Many of the artistic elements of the landscape, including the totem poles, tell an ongoing story that can only be understood by visiting them all.
Other activities include learning how to carve your own totem poles and taking long, leisurely walks around the nature paths.
If you’re interested in the Native American way of life, Totem Bight State Historical Park is a must see.
It’ll provide a rich visual experience as well as an unforgettable emotional journey into the heart and soul of Alaska’s indigenous people.
It’s a truly one-of-a-kind destination.
Address: 9883 N Tongass Hwy, Ketchikan, AK 99901, United States
47. Tiny Church
Have you ever been inside of a church the size of a broom closet?
Such is the case with Tiny Church, a minuscule house of worship located in the similarly small village of Soldotna, Alaska.
The church was created in response to the community’s wish for a praying space that was never closed.
Unlike bigger churches with fixed hours of admission, they wanted somewhere that was always open to those in need of divine guidance.
The result was Tiny Church.
It’s open 24/7, 365 days per year, and the doors are never locked.
You can come and go as you please.
There are three pews inside and a small assortment of Bibles.
If you’re a religious person wondering what to do on vacation that can broaden your spiritual horizons, you might enjoy a trip to Tiny Church.
Its surprisingly wholesome origins go hand-in-hand with its quiet, peaceful atmosphere and its perpetually welcoming presence.
Address: 37710 Kenai Spur Highway, Soldotna, AK 99669, United States
48. Eldred Rock Lighthouse
Looming in the misty fog of its canal, the Eldred Rock Lighthouse is the oldest original lighthouse still standing in the state of Alaska.
It was constructed in the early 1900s after a series of shipwrecks.
One of the most notorious wrecks resulted in both a major loss of life and the mysterious disappearance of a large cache of gold, so state officials decided that it was high time for something to change.
The Eldred Rock Lighthouse was just one of almost a dozen lighthouses built along the canal, but the others fell into decay and disrepair, so it’s the only one that remains today.
If you’re looking for cool things to see and do in Alaska, its oldest lighthouse should do the trick!
By the way, the gold from that shipwreck was never recovered.
Maybe you’ll get lucky and discover more than just a lighthouse during your vacation, eh?
Address: Alaska, United States
49. Alaska State Fair
Held every summer, the Alaska State Fair welcomes thousands of visitors each year for clean, all-ages fun.
Many people come for the food, of course, and it’s true that you’ll find everything from deep-fried candy bars to larger-than-life burrito bowls and seafood skewers.
But fair food isn’t the only draw of the event.
There are also rides, carnival games, musical performances, souvenir stalls and seasonal curiosities such as record-breaking gigantic vegetables.
If you’ll be in town during the dog days of summer, you’ll want to make time for the Alaska State Fair.
It’s the last hurrah for a place that knows a long and brutal winter is ahead.
They go all out with their celebrations, and you can reap the benefits!
ddress: 2075 Glenn Hwy, Palmer, AK 99645, United States
50. Kenai Fjords National Park
Hailed as the place where “mountains, ice and oceans meet,” Kenai Fjords National Park is a top tier sightseeing destination in Alaska.
Not only does it offer some of the largest ice fields in the country, but it’s also teeming with glaciers, fjords and other incredible land and water features.
The best way to see the sights is with a ferry tour; it’ll take you along a picturesque path while also opening the door for whale watching and other wildlife observation.
If you’re lucky, you might see all kinds of orcas, puffins, porpoises, sea lions and arctic birds.
Another option is to go by foot.
Hiking paths are open even in the winter for those who want to test their mettle against the howling wind and snow.
In the summer, there are also opportunities for camping, kayaking, sportfishing and taking sled dog tours.
Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the best places to visit for nature lovers in Alaska.
The things that you see here will stay in your memory for a lifetime.
Address: Alaska, United States
51. Whittier Tunnel
Driving through Whittier Tunnel is one of the coolest things to do in Alaska.
Sure, it isn’t an amusement park or a grizzly-filled wilderness preserve, but it has a kind of fun, everyday entertainment value that’s worth the cost of admission.
Also known as Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, Whittier Tunnel is the longest bimodal highway tunnel in North America, and it’s a one-way passage into the city that’s shared by cars and trains.
To get there, you’ll drive to its mountain and pass both through and underneath it, your view turning dark and eerie as you enter the underground cavern and drive for several miles before reaching the other side.
There’s a schedule for moving through the tunnel since the cars need to avoid the trains, so make sure to call ahead and plan your trip accordingly.
Whittier Tunnel might not be the craziest of Alaska’s attractions, but it can add a little excitement to your road trip, and it can become a fun memory to share with others if you snap some creepy selfies along the way.
If you’re aiming for outside-of-the-box tourist destinations, this one is a bullseye.
Address: Portage Glacier Rd, Chugach National Forest, Whittier, AK 99693, United States
52. Santa Claus House
Do you love the holiday season?
Do you dream of visiting a place where it’s Christmas all year long?
Located in North Pole, Alaska, the Santa Claus House makes dreams come true.
This isn’t an exaggeration; it’s staffed by volunteers who answer children’s letters from all across the country.
In terms of visiting, you can shop ’til you drop in a store absolutely stuffed with holiday-themed goodies, or you can munch on some milk and cookies in the cafe.
You can also snap a selfie with a 42-foot-tall Santa or visit the stables to see Mr. Kringle’s reindeer team in action.
You don’t have to wait for December to get into the holiday spirit.
Visit the Santa Claus House to bring a little “ho ho ho” to your vacation at any time of year!
Address: 101 St Nicholas Dr, North Pole, AK 99705, United States
53. Kingfisher Aviation
Last but not least, if you want to end your trip with a bang, consider a flight with Kingfisher Aviation.
They offer tours around the beautiful, uncharted wilderness of both Kodiak Island and the Katmai Coast by means of sea-skimming floatplanes, so you’ll be able to say goodbye to Alaska in style.
It starts with stunning aerial views of lakes, forests, fjords and snow-topped cliffs.
During bear season, you’ll get to touch down for awhile and observe them; during other times of year, you’ll detour to the local volcano and sour around it with the eagles.
Other services offered by the airline include charter trips to hunting lodges and fishing camps that are inaccessible by land, so they’re also a useful source of transport in addition to a great portal for sightseeing.
There’s nothing like a 360° view of Alaska from high in the clouds.
Say farewell to the stunning majesty of the state with a flight that you’ll never forget!
Address: 1829 Mill Bay Rd, Kodiak, AK 99615, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Alaska
These are just a few of the best things to do in Alaska.
Whether you’re backpacking, vacationing, honeymooning or simply traveling for the fun of it, put some of these destinations on your to-do list.
You won’t want to miss any of the opportunities presented by the Land of the Midnight Sun!