Glorious Alaska is the largest and one of the most beautiful states in the USA. It's a wild and spectacular wilderness with vast landscapes of unfathomable natural beauty that seemingly stretch to infinity.
A cruise is a great way to see Alaska's famed Inside Passage with its coastal towns, mountains, glaciers and marine wildlife thanks to the medley of fjords, islands, bays and inlets. Alaska's capital, Juneau, is the main city here, along with Sitka, with its mix of Russian and Native Alaskan history; Skagway, where gold rush fever lives on; and charming Ketchikan, which has an amazing collection of totem poles, diverse attractions and activities. However, if you prefer to explore away from the coast the superlatives only multiply with high peaks, an estimated 100,000 glaciers, national parks, lush forests and the USA's third-longest river.
Alaska's biggest city is Anchorage, an urban enclave surrounded by wilderness that uniquely combines the convenience of the modern world with a rugged natural environment. The city offers rich history in museums, prized works of local artists in galleries, great shopping, fine restaurants, theatres and dozens of parks. Anchorage is also the perfect springboard for all that Alaska offer, whether you wish to flightsee over Mt McKinley, visit grizzly bears; see calving glaciers and enormous whales on a day cruise or drive some of the world's most spectacular highways.
Creating a backdrop to Anchorage are the dramatic peaks of Chugach State Park where you'll find some of the most accessible outdoor adventures in the state. Alyeska is your gateway to the mountains and summer activities include hiking, rafting, biking, ATVing, kayaking and fishing, while in winter skiers of all levels will delight in the 76 named trails and over 669 inches of snow annually.
North of Anchorage are the towering granite spires and snowy summits of Denali National Park, Alaska's most popular attraction and home to Mt McKinley, North America's tallest peak. The park's varied terrain includes the massive peaks, alpine meadows, glacial rivers and colourful tundra. The wildlife is abundant and you may spot moose, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep or wolves, as they roam the unfenced lands living as they have for ages.
About two hours drive north of Denali is Fairbanks, a former gold rush boomtown, now known as the 'Golden Heart of Alaska'. In this engaging city try panning for gold, take a float trip along the Chena River, cool off in an ice museum, enjoy an exhilarating hike watching for birds and wildlife, visit a dog mushing kennel or be captivated by the array of art galleries, museums and historic sites. This region experiences endless daylight hours in summer while in the winter, you can often see the incredible Northern Lights.
The friendly hub of Tok sits just over 90 miles from the Canadian border and has highways leading away from the town in all directions. It's the sled dog capital of Alaska and many of its residents are involved in some with dogs and dog mushing. It's also an outdoor enthusiasts paradise being surrounded by wild lands teeming with birds, mammals and fish with plenty of bird watching, hiking, float trips and other exploring to be done.
GMT -8 hours (British Columbia); GMT -7 hours (Alberta).
Flights via Seattle to Anchorage in Alaska take approximately 14 hours 30 minutes.
Best time to travel: The best time to visit Alaska is mid-May to mid-September as the days are long and temperatures surprisingly pleasant, so perfect for truly experiencing the great outdoors. However, temperatures vary wildly depending on which region you plan to visit, with visitors sometimes experiencing all four seasons in one day! Your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights is during the cold, winter nights between September and April.
If you are eligible to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme, you will need to obtain an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA) prior to travel. Please ask for detailsFind out more