While the state of Texas is the largest state within the contiguous U.S., the largest state in all of the United States commonwealth and non-contiguous U.S. states included is Alaska. Stretching some1,400 miles from north to south and an additional 2,260 plus miles from east to west, the total landmass of this massive state is 663,268 square miles. Despite the huge size, the total population of the entire state is just 736,732 making it the least densely populated state in the U.S.
Despite the overwhelmingly ruralness of the state, Alaska also offers more than a few urban centers as well. A long history, diversity, unbounded beauty, rustic charm and unspoiled wilderness areas make this a state worth visiting. Island Trader Vacations invites you to come with us as we review 5 things you shouldn’t miss in this great state.
Get to know history
From the gold rush to earthquakes, Russian settlers to history of native Tlinggit, Tsimshian and Aleut people dating back thousands of years, the history of this often harsh land is one of riches and death or often loss and death. Historic sites paying tribute to these parts of history and others can be found throughout the state. From the historic Seward Railroad to the Gold Dredges, 10,000 year old archeological sites, churches as well as cabins, glaciers to museums, each of these and hundreds of other historic sites help tell the tale of Alaska, its past, its people and how it came to be.
Explore nature at its wildest
Alaska’s remoteness are often some of its strongest appealing features. For example, the harsh and cold climate which helps preserve ancient glaciers also provides a truly wild experience impossible to find in more than a handful of destinations. A popular way for adventure seekers to get a closer look at these glaciers is by sea kayak. While it can be dangerous, it is something that any adventurer would love to experience. For those who prefer experiencing this from a safer site, boat tours and cruises allow a look at this amazing site as well. Flight seeing is just one more amazing way to see this and other unique wild features of this stunning state as well.
See the largest and most dangerous animals in the wild
Alaska is home to thousands of miles of wilderness. The most common visitors to these areas are of the four legged variety. Plenty of guided tours on land or by air can offer those in search of these and other amazing animals both large and small are easy to find. Whether you are hoping to see brown bears foraging for food or fishing in a stream, looking for moose in their natural habitat or hoping to catch a massive salmon as it makes its run in spring or fall, these are just a few of many animal related adventures you can find in Alaska.
See the northern lights
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are rarely visible in the lower 48 states however in Alaska, during the winter months between September and April, these spectacular dancing lights are quite often visible. From green to red to white, it is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Pan for gold
Those who have learned about the gold rush in Alaska may find themselves wanting to give it a try. From Fairbanks to Anchorage, to the Kenai Peninsula, there are plenty of gold panning tours that will give you the opportunity you have been dreaming of. Start in a historic gold rush town or camp or choose a cruise, you will quickly find out why gold fever impacted more than a few over the years.
When and where you visit in Alaska will be best determined by your interests. While winter adventures may be for some, the peaceful solitude of a northern lake in summer may be better for others. Alaska is massive, diverse and ideal for a variety of interests. Spend time getting to know more about this world class destination for travel before you go and make the most of all your vacation experiences.