The Northern Lights in Alaska

17 Best Places to Visit in Alaska this 2024

Brrr-illiant adventures await in the frosty wonderland of Alaska! This isn’t just a state; it’s a frontier of excitement, where glaciers shine brighter than diamonds, and wildlife roams wilder than your wildest dreams. 

Whether you’re a snow enthusiast, a wildlife whisperer, or just eager to witness nature’s grandeur, Alaska has you covered. From charming towns to untamed wilderness, we’ve rounded up the top 17 best places to visit in the Last Frontier. 

So, grab your parka, channel your inner explorer, and get ready for a chilly rendezvous with Alaska’s unparalleled beauty!

1. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve: Glacial Symphony

17 Best Places to Visit in Alaska this 2024
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Embark on a breathtaking journey to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a pristine Alaskan wonderland that awaits your exploration. Discover the park’s untouched beauty, and the best part? No entrance pass is required for this natural haven.

As you navigate the glacial waters, consider engaging with commercial outfitters, guides, and tour boats to enhance your experience. These experts can unveil hidden gems and offer unique perspectives on the park’s mesmerizing landscapes. Plan ahead and arrange reservations through these seasoned professionals to ensure a seamless and enriching adventure.

Camping enthusiasts, rejoice! Glacier Bay National Park invites you to immerse yourself in nature without the burden of camping fees. Embrace the untamed wilderness and create lasting memories under the vast Alaskan sky.

Whether you’re drawn to majestic glaciers, diverse wildlife, or the thrill of outdoor activities, Glacier Bay National Park promises an unforgettable experience, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

2. Ketchikan: Coastal Charmer

Creek Street at Ketchikan

Embark on an Alaskan adventure in Ketchikan, a charming town nestled between lush forests and crystal-clear waters. Begin your journey by marveling at the intricate totem poles, capturing the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

Immerse yourself in the quirky charm of Creek Street, where vibrant shops and galleries line the boardwalk. Explore the town’s unique character, adorned with colorful buildings that reflect the spirit of the Last Frontier.

For a bird’s-eye view of Ketchikan’s breathtaking landscapes, opt for a flightseeing tour. Witness the town’s beauty unfold beneath you as you soar over misty fjords and verdant mountains, creating memories to last a lifetime.

Dive into Ketchikan’s aquatic wonders by partaking in water adventures – whether fishing, kayaking, cruising, or snorkeling. The pristine waters teem with marine life, offering a chance to connect with nature in an unparalleled Alaskan setting. Ketchikan beckons you with its diverse experiences, making it a must-visit destination for every avid traveler.

3. Juneau: Capital in the Wilderness

Auke Bay at Juneau

Embark on an unforgettable Alaskan journey in Juneau, a city embraced by wilderness and boundless adventure. Begin your exploration with a thrilling 3.5-hour whale-watching tour, where the majestic humpback whales breach and play in the waters of Auke Bay. Marvel at these gentle giants as they reveal their captivating behaviors against the stunning backdrop of the Alaskan landscape.

Continue your expedition to the iconic Mendenhall Glacier, a breathtaking masterpiece of ice and nature. Witness the glacier’s blue hues and colossal beauty, creating a surreal experience that’s both awe-inspiring and humbling. Immerse yourself in the ethereal surroundings, surrounded by the serenity of this frozen wonder.

For an authentic Alaskan encounter, delve into the Sled Dog Discovery experience. Engage with spirited sled dogs and learn about the time-honored tradition of dog mushing, a vital part of Alaska’s cultural heritage. Feel the exhilaration of being pulled by these remarkable canines against the picturesque backdrop of the Last Frontier.

Juneau invites you to witness the untamed beauty of nature, from leviathan whales to ancient glaciers, all wrapped in the warmth of local hospitality. Each adventure unfolds a chapter of Alaska’s narrative, leaving you with indelible memories and a profound connection to the Alaskan wilderness.

4. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve: Wilderness Epic

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Embark on an Alaskan odyssey to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, a vast wilderness where towering mountains and expansive glaciers become your backdrop. Uniquely, this national park doesn’t charge an entrance fee, welcoming you to explore its wonders freely.

Start your adventure with Nabesna Road, winding through the northern wilderness. Engage in backpacking, immersing yourself in pristine landscapes. Feel the adrenaline of mountaineering as you conquer peaks that pierce the clouds, or opt for the tranquility of day hikes, discovering hidden gems within the park.

Journey along McCarthy Road in the central region, leading you to McCarthy and Kennecott. Explore abandoned copper mines that tell the tales of Alaska’s mining history. Immerse yourself in floating and boating adventures, navigating the glacial waters with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Wrangell-St. Elias is a haven. Witness grizzlies and caribou roaming freely, capturing the untamed essence of Alaska. Engage in sport hunting or fishing, surrounded by nature’s grandeur. This park invites you to be part of its unparalleled beauty, making your visit a truly Alaskan experience.

5. Denali National Park and Preserve: Wilderness Majesty

Denali National Park and Preserve

Embark on a journey to the heart of Alaska, where the untamed wilderness of Denali National Park and Preserve awaits. 

For a truly immersive experience, opt for the narrated bus tour, unraveling the park’s secrets. If solo exploring is your style, a $15 entrance fee grants you seven days of unbridled access, while kids 15 and under enter free.

Consider the Denali Annual Pass if traveling in a group, a steal at $45 for four adults, valid for an entire year. As you traverse the park’s sprawling landscapes, be prepared for awe-inspiring encounters with grizzlies, moose, and breathtaking mountain vistas.

Denali’s accessibility is a testament to its allure, merely a 5-hour drive from Anchorage or a 2.5-hour journey from Fairbanks. Immerse yourself in this vast wilderness, where every turn unveils a new chapter in Alaska’s magnificent story.

6. Kenai Fjords National Park: Glacial Wonderland

Kenai Fjords National Park

Embark on a journey to Kenai Fjords National Park, where the stunning landscapes come without a price tag—no entrance fees required. 

The park opens its arms, inviting you to explore its wonders, free of charge. Unlike some National Park Service sites, Kenai Fjords National Park generously exempts you from any entrance pass or fee.

As you delve into the park’s beauty, camping enthusiasts will rejoice—there are no camping fees to worry about. An intimate 12-site, tent-only campground awaits at the Exit Glacier Area, offering a tranquil retreat amid nature’s embrace. 

For those seeking a more rustic experience, consider the Public Use Cabins, where reservations are essential. Coastal cabins in summer and the Willow Cabin at Exit Glacier in winter offer unique getaways at $75 and $50 per night, respectively.

7. Seward: Coastal Gem

Resurrection River at Seward

Welcome to Seward, Alaska, a hidden gem nestled between mountains and the sea. Dive into the enchanting world of Kenai Fjords National Park, where glaciers meet the ocean in a breathtaking dance. 

Embark on a day or multi-day cruise, navigating through icy waters, and witnessing the majesty of wildlife and the stunning tidewater glaciers. Brace yourself for a front-row seat to nature’s grand spectacle.

For thrill-seekers, the Exit Glacier Rafting Adventure awaits on the Resurrection River. Feel the adrenaline rush as you raft through the pristine wilderness, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Alaskan landscape.

Expect a symphony of sights, from playful otters to majestic whales. The landscape unfolds like a storybook, with towering cliffs and emerald waters creating a picture-perfect backdrop. Seward, Alaska, is a haven for those seeking an unforgettable blend of adventure and natural wonder.

8. Katmai National Park and Preserve: Land of Volcanoes and Bears

Katmai National Park and Preserve

Welcome to the untamed beauty of Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska, a wilderness lover’s paradise. Brace yourself for an awe-inspiring journey with the mesmerizing Brooks River, a haven for bear-watching enthusiasts.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure as you witness the spectacular Brooks Falls, where majestic brown bears engage in their iconic salmon-catching rituals. The sheer power and grace of these creatures will leave you in awe, providing a rare glimpse into their natural habitat.

While there’s no entrance fee to Katmai, a float plane flight from Anchorage, priced at around $1,000 per person, ensures a scenic and convenient entry into this remote haven. The cost is a small price to pay for the unparalleled wildlife encounters awaiting you.

For a day trip, make Anchorage your home base, where a plethora of hotels and AirBnBs offer comfort and convenience. The city’s compact size ensures you’re only 15 minutes away from any adventure, creating the perfect launchpad for your Katmai National Park exploration.

9. Anchorage: Urban Wilderness


Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska, where adventure meets serenity in a stunning fusion. Dive into the heart of the Last Frontier with thrilling 4-wheeling and ATV excursions, navigating rugged terrains for an adrenaline-pumping escape.

Embark on an eco-friendly journey with adventure and eco tours that unveil the city’s hidden gems, providing a deeper understanding of its unique natural wonders. Immerse yourself in the true Alaskan spirit with a summer dog sledding experience, where the camaraderie between musher and canine creates an unforgettable bond.

For a scenic escape, explore the landscape on horseback or carriage rides, immersing yourself in the breathtaking vistas that surround Anchorage. Glide through the pristine waters with kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding, offering a peaceful yet invigorating connection to nature.

Anchorage is your gateway to an Alaskan odyssey, where the thrill of adventure and the tranquility of nature converge, creating an experience that lingers in your heart.

10. Homer: Coastal Haven

Kachemak Bay at Homer

Step into the picturesque haven of Homer, Alaska, where nature’s wonders unfold in a breathtaking spectacle. Brace yourself for unparalleled bear-viewing experiences, immersing you in the untamed beauty of these majestic creatures.

Embark on a journey to explore Kachemak Bay and the waters beyond, where marine life dances beneath the surface. Witness the vibrant ecosystem through boat tours, kayaking, or fishing charters, offering an intimate connection with the rugged Alaskan coastline.

Land adventures beckon with hiking trails leading to panoramic vistas, while Argo Tours provide an off-road escapade through the wilderness. Expect to be captivated by the diverse landscapes, from towering mountains to pristine beaches, creating a backdrop that defines the essence of Homer.

Visit Homer for a harmonious blend of wildlife encounters and outdoor escapades, where the spirit of adventure intertwines with the serenity of nature, leaving you with memories that last a lifetime.

11. Kodiak: Island Sanctuary

Kodiak Bears at Kodiak

Welcome to Kodiak, Alaska, a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking a unique Alaskan experience. Witness the mighty Kodiak bear in its natural habitat, an awe-inspiring encounter that defines the wild beauty of this island.

For fishing aficionados, cast a line into the rich waters surrounding Kodiak. Whether seeking salmon or halibut, the abundance of marine life ensures a thrilling angling adventure with stunning landscapes as your backdrop.

Hiking enthusiasts, gear up for an exploration of Kodiak’s diverse terrain. Trails weave through lush forests, unveiling breathtaking vistas and providing glimpses of the island’s vibrant wildlife. Expect an immersive journey where nature unfolds at every step.

Visit Kodiak for an unrivaled blend of wildlife encounters, fishing excursions, and hiking adventures. The island’s untouched landscapes and diverse activities promise an authentic Alaskan experience, creating memories that resonate long after your departure.

12. Misty Fjords National Monument: Wilderness Elegance

Misty Fjords National Monument

Embark on a journey to Misty Fjords National Monument, a breathtaking escape in the heart of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Accessible from Ketchikan, this natural wonder awaits with daily jet services connecting you to its untouched beauty.

Opt for a mesmerizing flightseeing tour departing from Ketchikan, providing awe-inspiring aerial views of Misty Fjords’ dramatic landscapes. Some tours even offer a unique lake landing, allowing you to hike through the rainforest and soak in the pristine surroundings up close.

For a more immersive adventure, explore the fjords by day cruises, offering heated vessels to navigate the stunning waterfalls, sheer cliffs, and abundant wildlife. Alternatively, kayaking through protected coves and inlets unveils a different perspective, with water taxi options making Misty Fjords accessible even for novice kayakers.

Visit Misty Fjords for an unforgettable blend of air and sea exploration, where the untouched wilderness invites you to witness nature’s grandeur. Whether soaring above in a plane or paddling through serene waters, Misty Fjords promises an Alaskan adventure like no other.

13. Fairbanks: Northern Frontier

Aurora-viewing at Fairbanks

Welcome to Fairbanks, Alaska, a winter wonderland where the northern lights dance across the night sky, offering an incredible aurora-viewing adventure. Brace yourself for a celestial spectacle that paints the heavens with hues of green, pink, and violet.

Explore the University of Alaska Museum of the North, a treasure trove of natural and cultural wonders. From ancient artifacts to contemporary exhibits, delve into the rich tapestry of Alaska’s diverse history and ecosystems.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center. Discover the stories of indigenous communities, marvel at traditional artwork, and gain insights into the unique heritage that defines Fairbanks.

Beyond these highlights, Fairbanks unfolds as a gateway to Arctic exploration, where dog sledding, ice sculptures, and hot springs await. Visit Fairbanks for an immersive journey into Alaska’s heart, where the captivating blend of natural wonders and cultural richness awaits your discovery.

14. Skagway: Historic Gateway


Welcome to Skagway, Alaska, a charming town that immerses you in the rich history of the Klondike Gold Rush. As you sightsee through its well-preserved historic district, step back in time and relive the excitement of the Gold Rush era.

Indulge your adventurous spirit and catch Gold Rush fever with unique experiences, from panning for gold in the same creeks that sparked the frenzy to exploring historic trails that once echoed with the footsteps of eager prospectors.

For an authentic Alaskan adventure, dog sledding is a must. Traverse snow-covered landscapes with a team of energetic huskies, relishing the thrill of mushing through the serene wilderness surrounding Skagway.

Visit Skagway for a glimpse into the past, where the echoes of the Gold Rush still resonate. Whether you’re captivated by the town’s historic charm or seeking exhilarating outdoor activities, Skagway promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Alaska’s frontier spirit.

15. Mendenhall Ice Caves: Glacial Marvel

Mendenhall Ice Caves

Embark on a mesmerizing journey to the Mendenhall Ice Caves in Alaska, where nature’s frozen wonders await. 

During summer, a $5 entrance fee grants you access to the visitor center, open daily from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm. In winter, from October to April, entry is free, with visitor center hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

To reach the caves, drive to Juneau, then navigate towards the Tongass National Forest. Your adventure unfolds with multiple options: trek through the enchanting landscape, or opt for a more aquatic approach by kayaking or canoeing, adding an extra layer of exploration to this glacial paradise.

As you delve into the ice caves, expect a surreal experience. Crystal-clear blue hues, towering ice formations, and the quiet serenity of the frozen landscape create an otherworldly atmosphere, making it a must-visit for those seeking the untouched beauty of Alaska.

16. Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary: Boreal Refuge

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Welcome to the enchanting Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary, a haven for nature enthusiasts. Explore dense vegetation and guided paths, immersing yourself in the vibrant green scenery that houses a kaleidoscope of colorful birds, crawling insects, and unique plant life.

Your 2.75-hour adventure begins with a narrated scenic tour to the Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary, setting the stage for the wonders that await. A 1.25-hour guided rainforest trail walk unveils the sanctuary’s secrets, offering an intimate connection with the lush wilderness.

Delve into history with a 25-minute tour of the historic sawmill and totem park, where the rich cultural tapestry of Alaska comes to life. Before bidding farewell, spend 20 minutes exploring the gift shop, a treasure trove of mementos, and take a 20-minute transfer back to the cruise ship pier.

Visit Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary for an immersive journey through nature’s wonders and cultural heritage, leaving you with memories of an Alaskan adventure that seamlessly blends scenic beauty and rich history.

17. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve: Wilderness Odyssey

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Step into the pristine wilderness of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska, a sanctuary for true adventurers. No entrance pass is required, offering you unrestricted access to this untouched gem.

Immerse yourself in diverse activities, from backpacking through rugged terrains to birding, where the vibrant avian population paints the sky. Set up camp amidst the raw beauty, allowing the untouched landscapes to be your backdrop for an authentic Alaskan experience.

For the daring, embark on a floating adventure, navigating through pristine waters surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Gates of the Arctic is a canvas of wilderness where nature reigns supreme, promising an escape from the ordinary.

Visit Gates of the Arctic for a journey into the heart of Alaska’s untamed beauty. Whether you seek the thrill of backpacking or the tranquility of camping, this park invites you to write your own adventure in the midst of nature’s masterpiece.

Conclusion: 17 Best Places to Visit in Alaska

Alaska’s breathtaking wonders, from the Northern Lights to the majesty of Denali, have truly taken our breath away across these 17 incredible destinations. The adventure doesn’t stop here!

Our blog has other hidden gems waiting for you to explore. Your stories and insights fuel our journey, so don’t be shy—share your thoughts! Let’s keep unraveling Alaska’s magic together!

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