Alaska can be a great destination for you to visit with your kids. Read all the spots you should check and start planning your family trip to Alaska!
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Alaska is utterly unique from the rest of the US and while it might not be the first place you think of, a family trip to Alaska is a magical experience. With glaciers, eight national parks, and more wildlife than seems possible, this is a wondrous state.
Much of Alaska's best sights are natural. Each and every sight is powerful enough to amaze both adults and children alike from the whales to the ice floes. Bringing the whole family to Alaska gives you the chance to show your kids a completely different way of life.
Traveling to Alaska with kids isn't as hard as it sounds either. While the weather is often changeable and sometimes unforgiving, being well-prepared with warm clothes and sturdy shoes will get you a long way. Summers are usually mild but frequently warm with average highs of 78 F.
With jaw-dropping sights and incredible animals, a family vacation to Alaska is a once in a lifetime experience. Keep reading to find out our top nine things to do with kids in Alaska.
1. Go HikingThere's so much hiking in Alaska that you'd need many lifetimes to even get around to half of it. For families, hiking is a perfect way to immerse children in nature and let them discover the wonder of a challenge with the best views at the top.
Mount Baldy trail is just 2 miles with plenty of options to extend your hike if you want to go further. You'll get fantastic views from the ridge and it's manageable for children. The Twin Peaks trail is another family-friendly trail at just 2.5 miles. If you're traveling with older children, you can extend the hike but either way, you'll get the reward of beautiful sights.
2. Take a Bear-Watching TourAlaska is a wild state, filled with some of the USA's most incredible animals. Bears are one of Alaska's most treasured wild animals and seeing them in their natural habitat is something children will never forget.
A bear-watching tour is the best way to see bears out in the wild and learn all about their behavior. Set in some of the most incredible landscape, seeing bears often comes with other animal sightings like otters and wolves.
3. Go on a Whale-Watching Boat Trip Alaska's landscape is phenomenal but it also holds so much beauty in its coastal waters. There are few experiences as humbling as seeing whales in the wild and up close, so why not treat your family to a whale-watching tour?
You could see orcas, humpbacks, belugas, and gray whales on your boat trip. It's difficult to understand the size of these friendly giants until you're up close and they're guaranteed to amaze you. You can take a whale-watching boat trip from many places including Juneau and Katmai National Park.
4. Visit a Reindeer Sanctuary Whether you're visiting Alaska in summer or winter, hanging out with reindeer is a big treat for children. These elegant animals have a special place in children's hearts and in winter you could go on a reindeer sled ride.
There are several reindeer farms and sanctuaries in Alaska where visitors can learn about the history and lives of these famous deer. Winter is the best time to see them as they'll have their fluffy winter fur.
5. See Eklutna Glacial LakeEklutna Lake is one of the most photogenic lakes in Alaska and easy to get to from Anchorage. With stunning blue water and a vast mountain backdrop, it draws visitors from all over the world to photograph it.
You can hire kayaks on the lake and paddle around to see the whole landscape with a 360° view. You'll find lots of hiking trails along the lakeside and while the water looks lovely for swimming, it'll be exceptionally cold. Look after those toes!
If you want to camp at the lake, there's plenty of campgrounds to choose from. In summer, this is the perfect way to make the most of your visit.
6. Explore Anchorage MuseumAnchorage Museum isn't a place where kids will be dragging their heels and declaring it boring. In fact, this museum is packed with family-friendly exhibits and activities from history, art, and science.
With a planetarium and an interactive discovery center, the whole family will have endless fun here. This is an ideal place to teach children more about Alaska and help them understand the history of everything they've seen outside.
7. Go Dog SleddingZooming across the snow on a sled pulled by dogs is something every child (and adult!) will fall in love with. You can go dog sledding at any time of year as the glaciers still have snow in summer and taking a tour of sled dog kennels is an adorable experience.
Kids will love meeting the fluffy, powerful, and well-trained dogs. You can learn all about the ancient history of dog sledding and experience the speed and power of these majestic creatures for yourselves.
8. Visit Thunderbird FallsOne of the easiest waterfalls in Alaska for families, Thunderbird Falls is just south of Eklutna Lake and you can combine both in one day. The hiking trail to the falls is easy, even for small children, at just 1.8 miles long.
Hike this trail after the snow and ice have melted so you can walk the trail safely and enjoy the beautiful forest.
9. Pan for GoldEl Dorado gold mine near Fairbanks is a brilliant tourist attraction for families. When you visit, you'll hop on a little train for a grand tour of the mine and the friendly hosts will narrate as you go.
Kids will learn all about gold mining history before sieving for their own gold to take home as a souvenir. This experience mixes education with hands-on fun and kids and adults alike will have a blast.
Have a Magical Family Trip to AlaskaAlaska is a magical place filled with wild animals and astounding scenery. Alaska's history has always relied on humans working with nature and every vacation to this beautiful state will reveal new discoveries about the great outdoors.
A family trip to Alaska will show kids sights they've never imagined, allow them to see animals in the wild, and teach them a whole new way of life. From bear watching to mountain-top views, Alaska is a place the entire family will want to return to.
If you'd like to find out more about bear watching or custom tours in Alaska, get in touch with us. We're experts in taking guests and families on tours they'll never forget.
Even though Alaska is America's largest state, it's not one that usually comes immediately to mind when thinking about winter vacations. That should change, however.
Alaska is home to diverse terrains and wildlife that will provide countless opportunities for jaw-dropping to all visitors. Despite its frigid temperatures in the winter, there's still so much to see and do that many people won't mind the cold.
Are you considering taking a winter trip to The Last Frontier? Continue reading and we'll walk you through the best things to do in Alaska in the winter.
Check Out the Northern Lights
Aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are bursts of red and green photons that light up Alaska's night sky. Thousands of people visit Alaska each year just for this spectacle.
The viewing season for the Northern Lights is quite long, lasting around seven months. People can view the lights usually from mid-August to mid-April. Going in winter is a great time because it's darker for extended periods of time.
The more north you travel, the more likely you're going to be able to get a more clear view. Cities like Fairbanks are excellent viewing places. Although people watching in Southeast Alaska can get a view, conditions are usually not as ideal.
Something that just about everyone thinks about when they think of Alaska is dog mushing. Home to the well-known Iditarod race, dog mushing has a long and storied history in Alaska.
Snowy conditions make for ideal dog sledding conditions so it's best to go in the middle of winter. Dog mushing is a thrilling opportunity for people love dogs, the great outdoors, and unique experiences.
Bear Viewing Tour
There are three types of bears in Alaska: brown bear, polar bear, and black bear. The best way to get a glimpse of these majestic animals is by going on an actual bear viewing tour.
These tours typically last a few days and involve bear watching as well as marine activities such as kayaking and small boat excursions.
Visit Chena Hot Springs
Want to heat up among the blankets of snow? Take a dip into the Chena Hot Springs. About 60 miles east of Fairbanks, the hot springs are the perfect place to relax with friends and family.
Adults 18 and older can hang out in the natural hot springs while families with younger children can soak in the indoor pool or outdoor hot tub. Because it's so close to Fairbanks, you can hang in the springs while also watching the dancing lights of aurora borealis.
Snowboard or Ski in Girdwood
A lot of the land in Alaska is unoccupied wilderness. So if you want to go snowboarding or skiing at an established location, you have a handful of options. The town of Girdwood is one of the most popular places to ski thanks to its ideal weather conditions and beautiful scenic vista. The town sits on the coastline of a glacier-carved valley thus offering beautiful views. Girdwood takes about 50 minutes to drive to from Anchorage. More adventurous skiers may want to try out heli-skiing. That's when you start at the top of a slope that can only be reached by helicopter.
Go Ice Skating on Westchester Lagoon
Westchester Lagoon is a lake surrounded by distant mountains and forests. And it's only a quick 15-minute walk from Anchorage.
If you don't have your own ice skates on you, there's no need to fret. You can rent a pair at Play It Again Sports in Anchorage. A family-friendly location, Westchester Lagoon is popular among toddlers, grandparents, and everyone in between.
Every Saturday from January to early March they have "Family Skate" from 1 to 3 p.m. There, visitors can play enjoy games, refreshments, free skating instructions, and different themes.
Sled in Hatcher Pass
No matter the time of year, Hatcher Pass is a must-see destination for anyone visiting America's 49th State. It's a wild area of mountains and valleys and all sorts of diverse and beautiful wildlife.
You can easily access the area from either Willow or Palmer. Be sure to check it out in the winter and bring a sled with you.
Speeding down the hills at Hatcher Pass is a lot of fun. Most visitors like to sled from the Independence Mine parking lot. There's a $5 fee to park at the lot for the day.
Take a Flightseeing Tour
It might seem a little scary to people who have never flown on a small plane before. But once you're floating through summits, over glaciers and swaths of white snow, your fear will quickly turn into awe and wonder.
As wonderful as seeing Alaska from the ground is, it's nothing compared to seeing it from the sky. Flightseeing tours in Alaska usually run year-old as long as the weather conditions are fair.
Looking for The Best Things to Do in Alaska in the Winter
As we can see, there are all kinds of things to do in Alaska in the winter. Whether you're an adventurer or just looking to post some jealousy-inducing photos to your Instagram, there's something in this beautiful State for everyone to enjoy.
Just make sure to dress warm and plan ahead. Weather isn't the most predictable thing in Alaska so it's always good to have a backup plan if certain events or adventures become unavailable.
Want to get started planning your dream Alaska vacation? Contact us today to learn more!
Capt. Andy Schroeder, Co-founder of GMX
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