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The Last Frontier
True or False: Alaska is the largest of the 50 states? The answer is TRUE! Alaska is 663,300 square miles, making it 1/5 the size of the rest of the United States. That fact in itself is wild and why Alaska is known as the Last Frontier. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of unexplored land in Alaska. It’s time to get exploring! With so many options and so many activities, Alaska should be added to your bucket list for sure. It’s definitely an adventure for the whole family.
How To Get There
Alaska is about as far from New Orleans as you can get! Our recent trip started with a flight to Seattle and from there, a second flight to our final destination of Ketchikan, where my in-laws live.
You have the option of flying, driving, or cruising into Alaska. I have done the flying and driving options. I said the next time we go, it will be on the Disney Cruise. The drive to Alaska is long as there are stretches of amazing scenery as well as some areas with not so much scenery.
To drive, you take the Alaska Highway, a 1,400 mile long drive starting in British Columbia, Canada and ending deep in Alaska. If you drive, you can also take the Alaska Marine Highway, which adds a ferry ride to the route. The ferries have daytime and nighttime schedules and offer private cabins for overnight routes. Once you disembark the ferry, you can get back on the Alaska Highway and continue your adventures.
If I don’t make the Disney Cruise, my next choice is to take an Alaskan railway trip. There are two options for this: the Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. The Alaska Railroad will hit all the top spots in the state like Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali National Park and Preserve. It is the more convenient of the two, available for one day or multi-day bookings, and it would make a fun post-cruise adventure as well. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad takes you through a rugged terrain that was built during the Gold Rush.
What To Do When You’re There
There is so much to do in Alaska. No matter if you’re the outdoorsy type or the sit and enjoy the view type, it will not disappoint. Alaska really does offer every type of lodging you can imagine: beautiful bed and breakfasts, lodges, cabins, hostels, and of course camping.
If you cruise into Alaska, you will be given the option of daytime excursions in each port. No matter which cruise you embark on, Ketchikan will be your first Alaskan port. In Ketchikan, many tourists choose to walk around the quaint downtown area and shop the local vendors. There are several museums that highlight the Native culture, as well as Alaska’s history. Ketchikan is home to the largest collection of totem poles, is the salmon capital of the world, and is rich in art and history. From sightseeing to food, you will not be disappointed.
Fishing in Alaska is on the bucket list of most of those who fish. It is magical and no matter your skill level in fishing, your chances of reeling one in are extremely high. Alaska offers freshwater, saltwater, fly and ice fishing. Be sure to plan accordingly and along with reservations. You must get your fishing license and make sure it’s the right season to fish for the fish you want to catch. Airlines will check properly packed fish to your home destination. When we went in July, my father-in-law had set out Dungeness crab traps the night before, and we went out to retrieve them and brought back 8 huge crabs for dinner that night. There is truly nothing better than freshly caught seafood!
Whether you are an armature or experienced hiker, Alaska has a trail for you, and the views are unreal. No matter which season or which part of Alaska you visit, there will be somewhere to hike. Travel Alaska provides guides to hikes that you can filter by amenities, type of hike (guided, glacier, trail, etc), city, and season.
One Alaskan adventure I would love to take is to Fairbanks, which is in the interior of the state. Fairbanks is the best place to see the Northern Lights. There is an Aurora Overnight trip to see the lights while camping in a heated tent called an “Arctic Oven.” To get to and from the camp, you “drive” your own mushing team of 4-6 dogs. It really does seem like a super fun experience, however, if the idea of camping in the Arctic Oven, isn’t your idea of fun, there are also day excursions with the mushing dogs.
Alaska is truly The Last Frontier. There are so many things to do and see that it would be impossible to do it all in one trip. I would highly recommend that you add Alaska to your “to do” vacation list with kids. It is really like a fantasy and something so different than what our NOLA kids experience on a day-to-day basis. Do some research and planning then bundle up and book that trip!