Hi there pals! If you’re anything like me, you look out for once-in-a-lifetime adventures when you travel. If there’s a painting, a garden, or a slice of cake that’s unlike anything else in the world, I have to check it out!
The thing about Alaska is…there are so many unique experiences, it’s almost impossible to do them all in one trip! That’s why I’ve started compiling all the things I want to do in Alaska on a bucket list.
Alaska is one place I know I’ll keep coming back to my whole life. From hiking to history to regional cuisine, there’s no shortage of one-of-a-kind experiences to explore. Here are 15 things I’m adding to my Alaska bucket list this year. For more bucket list inspo, check out my blog on 30 crazy bucket list ideas!
Hike a Glacier
As you’ve probably heard, glaciers are shrinking! That’s why I’m going to be hiking Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park next time I’m in Alaska.
Hiking a glacier is almost like hiking on another planet. If you’re spending time in southwestern Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park is another great (and remote) place to experience a stunning glacier hike.
Spot the Alaskan Big Five in Denali National Park
Denali National Park is famous for its wildlife, especially the “big five”: moose, bear, Dall sheep, caribou, and wolves. Only in Alaska could you spot all five in one day! Denali National Park, located outside Fairbanks, is a great place to get a glimpse of these magnificent animals by bus or foot.
Go Kayaking at Bear Glacier
Going to Alaska without kayaking is like going to Italy without eating cheese. It just doesn’t make sense!
Bear Glacier, which is located outside Seward, is an “iceberg forest.” You can actually take a kayak through this freshwater lagoon and wind between huge floating icebergs!
Watch the Iditarod Kick Off from Anchorage
The Iditarod dog sled race kicks off from Anchorage each March. I’ve always wanted to check out this historic Alaskan race! While it would be fun to take a dog-sled ride (and there are tons of tours to do it!), I would rather witness the real thing from the sidelines.
Take an Alaskan Uncruise
There’s a reason so many people experience Alaska by boat—the views are stunning, especially from the water! I’d love to travel through the inside passage someday—this breathtaking route weaves around the cities and islands in southwestern Alaska.
I want to take an UnCruise instead of a regular cruise. UnCruises are designed to help you spend more time outside and offer special excursions like kayaking and scenic hikes (maybe you’ll even spot a brown bear or two!).
Go Hiking at the Mendenhall Ice Caves
So we’ve talked about glacier hiking and kayaking with icebergs, but there’s one more icy experience on my Alaska bucket list—exploring an ice cave! The Mendenhall ice caves, located near Juneau, are a series of caverns within a glacier. I’m dying to see these icy blue caverns for myself.
Just don’t try this one if you’re claustrophobic, since the thought of thousands of pounds of ice over your head just might scare you a little!
Grab a Slice of the Best Pie in Alaska
I don’t know about you, but after a day spent pushing myself outdoors, all I want to do is cozy up with a hot slice of pizza (or three!). Word on the street is that the absolute best pizza in all of Alaska can be found at Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage. You better believe I’ll be checking this out next time I pass through!
Road Trip Along the Seward Highway
The Seward Highway is a 127-mile-long designated scenic road spanning from Anchorage to Seward. There are tons of fun towns and hikes to check out along the drive, but even if you just stick to the car the whole time you can get a glimpse of waterfalls, beluga whales, and bald eagles.
Go Whale Watching
If you go on an Alaskan adventure and don’t see a whale, did you really try? There are tons of whale watching tours you can go on in Alaska, and since I missed out last time I came to Alaska, this one’s still on my bucket list. A great place to see whales is in Kenai Fjords National Park near Seward.
Experience the Midnight Sun over Summer Solstice
Alaska’s location in the northernmost part of North America comes with some pretty amazing natural phenomena. From the northern lights to the midnight sun, there are some things in Alaska you’ll be hard-pressed to witness anywhere else!
Alaskan summers are notoriously bright—they get almost 24 hours of sunlight during the summer solstice. If you’ve ever wanted to experience a day that doesn’t seem to end, you have to spend time in Alaska in the summer.
If you need more ideas for summertime activities in Alaska, check out my recent post!
I’ll admit, I’ll have to save up for this one since flightseeing doesn’t come cheap! But I would love to check out Alaska’s natural beauty from the air eventually. There are so many beautiful mountains, glaciers, and bodies of water that you can only really wrap your mind around by air.
Take a Ride on the Alaskan Railroad
The historic Alaskan Railroad stretches from Fairbanks to Seward (and passes through Anchorage on the way). It’s more than just a way to get from one place to another though! The Alaskan Railroad train cars have huge picture windows, so you can take in Alaska’s beauty from the comfort of your seat.
Take a Food Tour in Juneau
Did you know Juneau is the capital of Alaska? Turns out this city has a ton to offer, starting with amazing food! Juneau is famous for its Alaskan cuisine, like king crab and fresh salmon. I’d love to take a food tour and check out all its historical landmarks (and eats!) with a local guide.
Witness the Magical Northern Lights
You might think you understand how majestic the northern lights are from photos, but trust me—until you’ve seen the real thing, you really can’t imagine what this one-of-a-kind wonder is like.
I saw the northern lights when I traveled to Iceland, and I can’t wait to witness them again someday. One of the best places in Alaska to see the northern lights is on the outskirts of Fairbanks.
Make Your Way to the Top of the World
The northernmost place in the United States is called Utqiagvik. It’s actually on the Arctic Ocean, north of the Arctic Circle! While traveling here is probably the toughest thing to do on my list (the easiest way to get there is to fly in from Fairbanks), an Alaskan bucket list just doesn’t feel complete without one almost impossible adventure!
Utqiagvik is rich in Alaskan history and polar bears (yup, you heard that right!). It’s been home to the Inupiat people for over 4,000 years, so if you want to get a taste of non-Americanized Alaska, then Utqiagvik is a must-see.
In Alaska, Adventures Abound
There are dozens more experiences you could add to an Alaska bucket list, but these are my top 15. What do you think? Have you done any of these awesome adventures?
Wherever you travel, I hope you get a chance to experience the unique cultures, food, and people that each new place has to offer. Bucket lists help me really take advantage of each trip I go on. But I’m done dreaming—now it’s time to start checking things off!