Alaska is best described as huge, and full of nature. With such extremities of cold in winter, tourists have a small window of summer months to see the vivid lifestyle of the state each summer. Cruises are an ever popular way to see the coastal areas, but inland journeys are equally rewarding and there are more than a few different approaches one can take.
May to September are the main cruising months. Cruises can be divided up between the (Southeast) inside passage and the (Southcentral) Gulf of Alaska. Inside passage navigates waterways at the bottom of the state around Juneau, Ketchikan and Glacier Bay national park. The Gulf of Alaska is a more glacier and remote shoreline type of cruise, but can also include Anchorage, Seward and Juneau.
This is Alaska’s largest city and probably your best bet for airplane arrival, with flights connected all over. Anchorage is a lovely city with an impressive skyline. The downtown area is the most easily explored portion of the city on foot. Anchorage is a city of blended culture and this translates to all aspects of life. Here one will see native traditions in food, art and architecture blended with the facets of museums and gardens.
The best time to visit by far is in the summer months. Days are extra long, festivals are plentiful as are markets are bustling. Browse innumerable shops which still have that old time charm of mom and pop selling general goods, explore the many museums to learn about frontier life, native life and wild life. A good pastime is exploring natural wonders like the nearby glaciers, or hiking the endless trails about the city, of these Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is a great pick for unbeatable panoramas. If you visit in winter be sure and catch some of the great ski action, which happens right near the city.
This town is set in what is known as the interior region. It is possible to fly here from several destinations, but if you happen to be exploring Anchorage already, this is the next logical stop, especially if you are driving. You will actually pass through Denali National Park on your way here if coming from Anchorage. Part of what defines Fairbanks is definitelythe Chena river . It is the lifeblood of the city in more ways than one, but most historically gold. Be sure and check out the El Dorado gold mine for a hands on experience. There is also the relaxing Chena Hot Springs and the Aurora Ice Museum which boasts year round displays of ice sculpture culminating in the towns World Ice Art championships every year.
The town is a unique state capital, which is more inviting and friendly than the typical imposing government buildings. The city has good shopping both in modern malls and in nice downtown shops. The cuisine experiences here can only be described as heavenly, especially when talking about the seafood. Salmon, halibut and crab are the most popular delicacies. Try to Westmark Baranof Hotel for some of the most elegant delights in town.
The best compliment to the leisure of the city itself is exploring the inviting nature which surrounds it. Be sure and get out to see the Mendenhall glacier. This fascinating wonder is just a few minutes ride outside town and it is a great place to hike and explore.