Top 10 Alaska Attractions

Sunrise over the Brooks Range mountains, north of Coldfoot, Alaska.

Adria Photography / Getty Images 

Glaciers, whale watching cruises, fascinating museums, and hikes through the pristine wilderness—whether you visit Alaska by land or by sea, you can experience them all, and much more. Discover the best that Alaska has to offer.

01 of 10

Denali National Park

This sow grizzly bear curiously looks around as it takes break from picking ripe blueberries in Denali National Park in Alaska.

Jacob W. Frank / Getty Images

Address
Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, USA
Phone
+1 907-683-9532

The Denali National Park experience is fascinating and memorable for a number of reasons. First, of course, is magnificent Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, which at 20,310 feet is the highest peak in North America. Then there's the wildlife. Take one of Denali National Park's bus tours and you're likely to see grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and wolves. Finally, there's the gorgeous and varied color of the park's lakes and rivers, geologic formations, and tundra landscape. Spend time at the Denali Visitor Center, located at the park's northeast entrance, to learn about the seasons and the natural history of Denali, and to get information about available park tours, activities, and recreation.​

02 of 10

Kenai Fjords National Park Day Cruise

A killer whale comes to the surface below the massive glaciers of the Kenai Fjords in Alaska

troutnut / Getty Images 

Address
Alaska, USA
Phone
+1 907-422-0500

Where a visit to Denali National Park allows you to see an abundance of land-based wildlife, a Kenai Fjords day cruise will allow you to see a wide range of marine life. Otters, puffins, harbor seals, bald eagles, sea stars, orcas, Minke whales, and Dall's porpoises are just part of the list. You'll also see stunning mountain scenery, as well as hanging and tidewater glaciers. The Kenai Fjords National Park cruises depart from Seward, Alaska.

03 of 10

Museum of the North in Fairbanks

Museum of the North

John Elk / Getty Images

Address
1962 Yukon Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
Phone
+1 907-474-7505

Located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, the Museum of the North is a world-class museum stuffed with fascinating exhibits covering Alaska's history, art, and culture. The Gallery of Alaska covers each region of the state, addressing both human and natural history. Highlights of this gallery include the coverage of mammoths and mastodons and the magnificent display of gold and gold nuggets. The Alaska Classics art gallery features historical paintings, while upstairs the Rose Berry Alaska Art Gallery focuses on contemporary Alaskan art. Don't miss the movies at the Museum of the North's theater, particularly The Drums of Winter, which explores the traditional dance, music, and spiritual world of the Yupik Eskimo people.

04 of 10

Sitka National Historical Park

Indian River with bridge at Sitka National Historical Park in Alaska.

Sitka National Historical Park 

Address
103 Monastery St, Sitka, AK 99835, USA
Phone
+1 907-747-0110

Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska's oldest national park, is located on the east side of Sitka, a popular port of call for Inside Passage cruises. Begin at the park's visitor center, where you'll explore exhibits on historic and modern totem poles, Russian and Native artifacts, and temperate ​rainforest and beaches. You'll also get an introduction to the Battle of 1804 between local Tlingit Indians and Russian colonists, the event that Sitka National Historical Park interprets and preserves. Follow that with a walking tour of the Russian Bishop's House and a hike along the Totem Trail.

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05 of 10

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park in Skagway, Alaska.

Reywas92 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0 

Address
291 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, USA
Phone
+1 907-983-9200

The 1898 Klondike Gold Rush was a colorful yet somber episode in North American history. With units scattered throughout Alaska—and even one in Seattle—the major visitor center for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is located in Skagway. The visitor center offers a gripping film covering the terrible hardships and rare triumphs of the men and women who were part of the great rush, with a focus on those who passed through Skagway on their way over the Chilkoot Pass. After checking out the film, exhibits, and bookshop at the visitor center, you can hook up with a ranger-led tour of downtown Skagway and its many historic Gold-Rush-era buildings.

06 of 10

Anchorage Museum

Alaskan Native garments for winter weather wear in the Smithsonian exhibit at the Anchorage Museum.

Ins1122 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

Address
625 C St, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Phone
+1 907-929-9200
4.3

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is like several museums in one location, together covering Alaska's art, history, and science. Visitors can view contemporary and traditional art, learn about the state's history and native peoples, view amazing presentations at the Thomas Planetarium, and participate in hands-on activities. The Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, a collection on loan from the Smithsonian, is a particularly fascinating display of artifacts from Native Alaskan and other Arctic cultures. Kids will love the Imaginarium Discovery Center, which moved into the Anchorage Museum in 2010. Anchorage Museum services include a cafe, a gift shop, and guided tours.

07 of 10

Alaska State Museum in Juneau

Mining exhibit at Alaska State Museum, Juneau, Southeast Alaska, USA

Richard Cummins / Getty Images

Address
395 Whittier St, Juneau, AK 99801, USA
Phone
+1 907-465-2901

The Alaska State Museum, located in the capital city of Juneau, is the official museum for the state. You'll find exhibits on a variety of topics related to Alaska history and culture. Its presentation of Native Alaskan traditions, including the Aleut, Athabaskan, Eskimo, and Northwest Coast people, is excellent. Early Russian, European, and American settlement, as well as gold rush and mining history, are among the other fascinating subjects illuminated by items in the museum's permanent collection.

08 of 10

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Wild Sweet Peas Grow Along The Banks Of The Alsek River Near Walker Glacier And The Fairweather Range At Glacier Bay National Park. Summer In Southeast Alaska.

Michael DeYoung / Getty Images

Address
Alaska, USA
Phone
+1 907-697-2230

There are a number of ways to experience Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. Many visit Glacier Bay as part of an Alaska Inside Passage cruise. Day-long boat tours are also available. As you make the chill and quiet journey through the fingers and inlets of Glacier Bay, you'll have the chance to see several major tidewater glaciers as well as a variety of wildlife. The area around the town of Gustavus, at the southern end of Glacier Bay National Park, offers most of the amenities for land-based visitors, including the park headquarters, visitor center, and accommodations.

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

Riverboat Discovery in Fairbanks

Riverboat Discovery on the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska

Brian / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Address
1975 Discovery Dr, Fairbanks, AK 99709-4577, USA
Phone
+1 907-479-6673

Departing out of Fairbanks, the grand Riverboat Discovery will take you on a scenic tour of the Chena and Tanana rivers. Along the way, you'll learn about the contemporary and traditional ways of life in Alaska. You'll stop in front of the home and kennels of the late Susan Butcher to find out about the sled dogs. An Athabaskan fish camp is another stop, where you'll learn about the harvest, preparation, smoking, and storage of salmon. The highlight of the trip is the Chena Indian Village, where you can get off the Riverboat Discovery and explore an Athabaskan village to get an up-close look at the gear, dwellings, and animals that are a part of their culture. The cruise takes about 3.5 hours and starts and ends at a large gift shop.

10 of 10

Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau

Ice cave, Mendenhall glacier, Alaska

Grant Kaye / Getty Images

Address
6000 Glacier Spur Rd, Juneau, AK 99801, USA
Phone
+1 907-789-0097

Located just outside of Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier fills Mendenhall Valley before terminating into and forming Mendenhall Lake. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center overlooks the glacier, providing warm and sheltered viewing opportunities. Exhibits and films are available at the visitor center, where you can learn all about the science and history of Mendenhall Glacier and about glaciers and glaciation in general. A number of trails, most of which start near the visitor center, allow you to view the glaciers, recently deglaciated landscape, and wildlife.

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You'll Want to Visit Alaska Today to See These Sights