Alaska 50 by 50
Updated: Jan 25, 2021
Welcome to 50 by 50 where I highlight one state each week and what to do when visiting. This week is ALASKA, the 49th state to join the union on January 3, 1959. It is nicknamed The Last Frontier because only 1/3 of the land in the entire state has been defined by cities and towns, leaving a vast expanse of undisturbed, remote landscape.
Juneau, the Capital of Alaska, is also the second largest US city. With no road access to Juneau, it is the only state capital in the United States that can only be reached by airplane or boat. You will find early 19th century architecture left over from the town’s early gold mining days. It is know for unforgettable wildlife and the awe inspiring 13-mile (21-kilometer) Mendenhall Glacier,
Ketchikan is the transportation hub for the southern portion of Southeast Alaska. (The nicknames "Gateway City" and "First City" refer to its geographical location and transportation function.) Ketchikan is one of the wettest spots on Earth, with rain measured in the hundreds of inches; so make sure you have your rain gear.
Skagway is where you can experience Alaska’s gold rush history. Even before the end of the gold rush, some visitors were already arriving, not to seek gold, but to seek the seekers, so to speak. On one day in 1903, more than 300 visitors arrived on two ships just to "see" the famous Skagway.
Alaska is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, or aurora borealis, dancing overhead. Caused by supercharged solar particles colliding with the earth's atmosphere, these ethereal streamers of green, white, purple, blue and even red light draw awestruck travelers from all over the world. The best time to see them is from late August through April.
Denali National Park is one of Alaska’s most visited parks for one big reason – it is home to Denali, the tallest mountain in North America at 20,310 feet. It is also known by the name Mount McKinley. Visitors flock from around the world to see the mountain and experience the park’s 6 million acres of wilderness. It is also home to 39 species of mammals and 169 varieties of birds,
Looking for something the kids would enjoy? Visit Anchorage and Nome for the famous Iditarod sled dog race. The opening ceremony fills the streets of Anchorage with dogsleds, mushers, and excited fans cheering on the mushers. Or go to Nome where a two-week party often referred to as the "Mardi Gras of the North" draws over 1000 people to the small town on the Bering Sea. Nome has a pioneer charm and is a gracious host for the mushers, support staff and fans alike.
Anchorage also has the largest and oldest Winter Festival in late February call Fur Rondy with over 15 crazy events and hundreds of activities like competitors square off in outhouse races, craft massive yet intricate snow sculptures, and a participate in a Pamplona-style dash to keep clear of reindeer.
Are you a Foodie looking for unique experiences? Head over to the Legendary Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. The Red Dog has been recognized by the Alaska Legislature for its longevity as the oldest man-made tourist attraction Founded during Juneau's mining era, the Saloon has been in operation for decades.
How about a meal with a view? The Crow’s Nest sits high above Anchorage atop the Hotel Captain Cook, allowing for unparalleled views of downtown Anchorage, and the natural beauties beyond. The Crows Nest is dedicated to providing a fine dining experience, with classically trained chefs and a decidedly French flair. OR visit Seven Glaciers’ location at the top of Alyeska Resort offers patrons a unique experience even before setting foot in the restaurant. Both guest and staff can only access this restaurant via a scenic gondola ride up the face of the mountain. Once there, the dining room delights with 360 degree views of the rugged, majestic Alaskan wilderness.
And if you are looking for just a relaxing retreat, Alyska Resort is the perfect year round destination getaway. It is surrounding by the magnificent Alaskan wilderness, from pine forest to mountain peaks. There 304 luxury guest rooms and suites, some with views of the nearby mountain ranges and pine forests. Besides the Seven Glacier’s there are also several other restaurants located in the hotel, from steakhouse to fine dining. The Hotel Alyeska is home to many different activities, from skiing to summer kayaking, as well as many relaxing, sightseeing tours.
Do you have your favorite places to visit in Alaska? Let me know below. Also subscribe to my channel for ideas on vacations to other destinations.