Take the trip of a lifetime to Alaska

04 Aug 2014

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The USA's largest state, Alaska, is one of the world's most breathtakingly beautiful destinations, and it makes for an out-of-this-world travel experience.

Visit this snowy wonderland and see a whole host of incredible sights, including glaciers, lakes, wildlife such as bears and whales, and natural phenomena like the dazzling Northern Lights.

Here's some more information on things to see and do when you travel to Alaska.

Essentials for travelling to Alaska: The seasons and the Northern Lights

Naturally, Alaska is a cold destination. The most popular time to visit is during the summer season when the days are so long there's almost always daylight, between mid May and mid September. The shoulder seasons consist of early May, late September and October, with mild weather still allowing for many activities and also providing for a lot of good deals and discounts.

While fewer activities operate during the winter months of November to April, this is a great time to travel if you want to witness the stunning Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis. The long nights of winter offer clear skies and the perfect opportunity to gaze upon the stunning colours of these lights dancing across the sky. It's best to head out of a big city to the outskirts or to a remote area to get an optimal view. The Interior region, in particular Fairbanks, and the Far North area, offer some of the best viewing points.

During the winter months, you can also experience other winter delights, such as dog sledding, skiing and ice carving.

Wildlife viewing 

A visit to Alaska wouldn't be complete without its fair share of wildlife viewing. Some of the most popular and commonly sighted animals include polar bears, bald eagles, blue and humpback whales, wolves, grizzly bears, moose and dozens of others.

Brown bear in Alaska

There are wildlife tours operating state-wide that can help you spot these animals safely. From Anchorage, popular bear viewing spots include Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Wolverine Creek. You can also view polar bears in the wild near Fairbanks. Silver Salmon Creek in Lake Clark National Park is another great destination for grizzly bears.

Don't miss your chance to see whales in their natural habitat, either. There are a great number of vantage points across the country's coast that can provide you with your own close encounter. The remote northern town of Barrow offers up off-the-beaten-track sightings, while the popular Anchorage's coastal trail and Cook Inlet provide plenty of glimpses of whales playing and breaching the surface.

In many cases you can watch the whales simply from the shore, but there are also many cruise operators who can give take you closer to the action.

Other natural wonders

Take some time to gaze upon more of Alaska's natural wonders, such as its glaciers. Visit the Portage Glacier in Chugach National Forest, south of Anchorage. Embark upon a hike that leads right up to the glacier or take a boat cruise across Portage Lake. Here, you can also visit the Alaska Wildlife Center, a refuge for at-risk animals such as grizzlies.

Matanuska Glacier is another impressive glacier between Anchorage and Glennallen, Take a walk in this area and witness the 27 mile-long river of ice!

The rest 

This is but a mere fraction of what's on offer in the vast state of Alaska. There is also a whole host of culture and history to discover and much more to see and do out in the wild.

There are plenty of options for your accommodation, from grand and luxurious lodges to cosy bed and breakfasts and cabins, so you can always travel in comfort and style. There are even options for sailing around the coast on decadent cruise ships.

If Alaska is on your travel bucket list, contact your nearest Travel Associates store and let our experienced consultants help you plan a memorable Alaska holiday tailored to your needs and budget.