Top 5 Alaska Travel Bucket List (with video)

Are you planning a vacation to Alaska? Alaska is truly America’s last frontier. You will have plenty of opportunities to get up close to see animals in their natural habitat. See the breathtaking natural landscape of Alaska. There is so much to see and so little time. Today I’ll be helping you cross items off your Alaska travel bucket list by giving you the top 5 things to do on your next Alaska vacation.

1. See a Bear in the Wild

Alaska is home to over 30,000 grizzly bears. There are many places in Alaska to see grizzly bears in the wild, but the two best places to see wild grizzly bears in Alaska are at Katmai National Park and at Kodiak Island.

If you want to see the largest grizzly bears in the world in the wild, you should book a tour to visit Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. There you will see Kodiak Bears in action. If you go in the summer when the salmon are spawning, you will have a very high chance of spotting hungry grizzly bears hunting for salmon.

At Katmai National Park, there is a viewing platform that overlooks a waterfall where you will see bears waiting at the edge of the falls waiting to catch salmon swimming upstream.

How to Get to Kodiak Island and Katmai National Park

It’s difficult to get around Alaska. You can get to Kodiak Island by plane or via the Alaska Marine Highway ferry. You can get to Katmai National Park by plane. I recommend leaving the logistics to the experts. Book a tour, don’t try to DIY your Alaska trip. Your tour operator will know the best places to view grizzly bears in the wild!

2. See the Northern Lights

You will be in awe when you gaze at the Northern Lights or aurora borealis. The best place to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is in Fairbanks. The best time to go to Fairbanks to see the Northern Lights is from late August to mid-April.

3. Kayak Near a Glacier

Kayaking near a glacier should be on everyone’s Alaska travel bucket list. It is truly magical to paddle around ice floes and icebergs while taking in the majestic glacier backdrop. Book a kayak tour with an Alaska tour operator. Good places to kayak are Kenai Fjords National Park, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and Glacier Bay National Park. Summer is the best time to kayak near Alaska’s glaciers. 

4. Go Dogsledding

Dogsledding on a glacier in Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The unforgettable experience of dog sledding should definitely be on your Alaska travel bucket list. There are many tour operators in Alaska that offer dog sledding experiences. To get to the glacier for dog sledding, you’ll usually need to take a helicopter ride.

5. Go Whale Watching

Whale watching in Alaska should be on everyone’s bucket list. The bodies of water in Alaska are home to humpback whales, killer whales, gray whales, and beluga whales. Book a tour for your whale watching experience. Depending on when you go, some tour operators will guarantee whale sightings or your money back! Whales are that abundant in Alaska! Summer is the best time to go to Alaska for whale watching. 

What is the Best Way to Visit Alaska?

Alaska is large and many of the cities and towns are not easily accessible. Alaska is unlike any other state when it comes to travel. A road trip in Alaska is not practical. A lot of Alaska destinations are only accessible by seaplane or boat. 

In my opinion, the best way to visit Alaska is by taking a cruise. When you take an Alaska cruise, your cruise ship will dock at popular Alaska destinations. Plus you will sail past breathtaking glaciers while onboard the cruise ship.

Check out our article: Best Alaska Cruises for Families

When is the Best Time to Visit Alaska?

The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer months. Summer in Alaska is when the weather is most conducive to outdoor activities. Summer is also salmon spawning season, which means you’ll have a better chance of seeing bears and other wild animals. Whale watching is also prime during the summer months in Alaska.