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Best things to do in Alaska

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Where in the world: USA  /  Alaska

Top 15 things to do in Alaska

1. Kincaid Park, Anchorage

Periodically host to major events like U.S. winter Olympic trials, Kincaid Park is principally known for its ski trails. However, it offers a place for a number of outdoor activities, even without snow. The park hosts skiing, sledding, and biathlon or triathlon venues, as well as ice fishing in the lake. Other options include hiking, biking, disc golf, soccer, adn more. Or, walk on the beach and soak in the ocean view.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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2. Nature & Wildlife Tours, Fairbanks

Suggested duration: 5 hours
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3. Dolphin & Whale Watching, Seward

Get a close look at Alaska's impressive marine residents on a dolphin-and-whale-watching tour from Seward. Cruise Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park while skimming the icy waters for gray whales that migrate here from Baja California in search of food. As your skillful captain navigates the boat towards areas frequented by orcas, porpoises, seals, and sea lions, you'll learn about their habits and behavior from the onboard naturalist. With many tours, you'll be able to finish off a 4-hour trip with a light lunch right on the boat.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Misty Fjords National Monument, Ketchikan

Visit Misty Fjords National Monument to see snow-capped mountains behind jagged granite cliff walls that were carved by ancient glaciers. The fjords are part of a coastal rainforest area that is often shrouded in clouds and mist, giving the area its name. In the water, watch for orcas, porpoises, sea lions, seals, and salmon. On land, you might see bears, deer, wolves, wolverines, moose, and mountain goats as well as hummingbirds and migratory sea birds. You can only access the remote fjords by floatplane or cruise ship. For the more adventurous, boat drops for kayaking can be arranged.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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6. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Girdwood

Experience Alaska’s diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Set on over 69 hectares (170 acres) of land, the center is dedicated to education and the preservation of Alaskan wildlife, housing an assortment of endangered animals native to the state. Meander through the park in your car or on foot, stopping to admire the animal residents, including dozens of elk, moose, musk oxen, and Hugo, the center’s beloved grizzly bear. For an extra fee, you can opt to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility to learn more about the animals and their trainers and to gain access to some of the park’s off-limits animal enclosures.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Resurrection Bay, Seward

Tour Resurrection Bay, a haven for marine wildlife framed by rugged cliff walls. Birdwatchers will delight in spying colorfully beaked puffins, cliff-breeding fulmars, and black-and-white murres colonies. Take a boat tour of the bay from Seward for a chance to see leaping orcas, humpback whales, seals, sea otters, and sea lions. Visit Fox Island and Bear glacier for a chance to see black bears, wolves, and coyotes in their natural environment. Fish for salmon or take a hike in the Caines Head State Recreation Area for expansive views of the bay.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Prince William Sound

Experience a part of the Chugach National Forest with more than 6,100 km (3,800 mi) of shoreline. Prince William Sound of the Gulf of Alaska is known for its beautiful scenery and abundance of wild plant and animal life, as well as its significant commercial fishing and oil involvement. The coastal region has hundreds of bird, land, and marine species, including the country's national animal, the bald eagle. Book a boat tour to see some of the 150 glaciers in the region. You can also kayak or sail through the bays, hike beyond the coastline, or take a wildlife-watching cruise.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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10. Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center, Seward

With a mix of mountains, ocean, glaciers, and wildlife, Kenai Fjords National Park Visitor Center is a natural wonder of beauty. This national park covers 270 ha (669,984 acres) of the Kenai Peninsula and is home to such animals as whales, seals, bears, moose, mountain goats, and bald eagles. One of the largest icefields in the United States, Harding Icefield is contained in the park and features about 40 glaciers. The largest of these glaciers is Bear Glacier. Only a small portion of the park is accessible by maintained hiking trails, including an easy hike to Exit Glacier and a more challenging trek to Harding Icefield. You'll need a boat (try one of the organized boat tours) to access to the rest of the rugged park.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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11. Fishing Charters & Tours, Ketchikan

Comb the Alaskan sea for world-class salmon Ketchikan is known for as you cruise the tranquil waterways of the Inside Passage on a private fishing trip. Aboard a commercial fishing boat--one of those featured in the Discovery Channel's hit series "Deadliest Catch"--you'll learn how Ketchikan earned its nickname, "The Salmon Capital of the World." Keep an eye out for sea lions, whales, eagles, and other native animals, as your skillful captain navigates the marine waters teeming with crabs, prawns, eels, and octopuses. Under professional guidance, you can try your hand at angling regardless of your previous experience. Most trips take at least 3 hours, with departures throughout the day.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, Fairbanks

Home to more than 85 antique vehicles, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum presents the history of Alaska's automobiles prior to World War II. Peruse its sizable collection of motor vehicles, ranging from early convertibles and trucks to motor-powered platforms built before the turn of the 20th century. Don't miss the displays dedicated to specimens of local significance, including the first car ever constructed in Alaska. Join a 90-minute guided tour to find out more about the state's automotive history and engineering challenges. Or, grab an audio set to enjoy a self-guided tour of the exhibits.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau

At the end of Tracy Arm Fjord are the mighty twin Sawyer Glaciers, which are actively calving. You can see chunks of ice, some the size of a building, breaking off and floating in the water. Harbor seals, mountain goats, bears, wolves, and deer are not uncommon sights. Along its 48 km (30 mi) length, the fjord offers views of the surrounding mountains, with numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs. Take a cruise down the fjord, but dress warmly.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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14. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Anchorage

Winding gently down the coast from downtown to Kinkaid Park, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail offers bikers and walkers a chance to explore Anchorage's scenery and encounter some of its typical wildlife. The 18 km (11 mi) paved stretch will lead you past the fault line of the record 1964 earthquake, through forests, and to viewpoints of the ocean and North America's highest peak, Mount McKinley. Moose, bald eagles, and beluga whales frequent the area, so be on the lookout--and don't forget your binoculars. You can rent a bike just a few blocks from the trailhead at Downtown Bicycle Rental.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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15. University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks

With collections that span scientific genres from botanical to cultural, University of Alaska Museum of the North gives a well-rounded perspective of the state. Exhibits are as varied as the subjects represented, from frozen tissues to ethnological artifacts. Beyond displays, you'll find research that benefits the life that thrives in the far north. The museum is small enough to move through quickly, but the density of the exhibits may prompt you to take more time.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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