Plant yourself in a winter wonderland, surrounded by mountains blanketed in snow, mile-wide glaciers and a dancing light show in the sky.

Places to go, things to do, people to see
Alaska has its share of hot spots (no, not literally – it can get cold there, really cold) and cool places (okay, pun intended) to visit.

Anchorage is what Hawaiians might call the, “Big Kahuna” of the Last Frontier. It’s the largest city in the state. Whether you are taking in nature or enjoying the local cuisine – it has plenty to offer. Get a sneak peek of Anchorage’s beauty by booking a whale watching tour, dog sledding adventure or flightseeing experience. Don’t forget the electrically charged, spectacular glow of the Northern Lights! There are several viewing spots near Anchorage. When it comes to grub, the city is known for fare like king crab, halibut and salmon, along with restaurants such as Glacier Brewhouse, Snow City Cafe and Simon & Seafort’s Saloon & Grill.

Alaska has an array of national parks including Kenai Fjords – known for its glaciers and ice caps; Katmai – notorious for brown bear sightings and an ash flow from a 1912 volcanic eruption; and Denali – one of the most popular places to visit in all of Alaska. Denali National Park is home to the country’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley, and offers wildlife sightings ranging from bears to moose and wolves.

Can’t pick where to go? Cruises offer the perfect solution. Most are seven-day excursions. The capital city, Juneau, serves as a major port for many of the cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess and more. Other popular stops include Skagway and Ketchikan.

Timing is everything
Like any other destination, it’s all about timing. Seeking the best weather? Consider June, July or August for more sunshine and the warmest temps. It’s also the most popular time for travel, so expect higher rates.  

By fall, temperatures are beginning to steadily decrease. September is ideal for taking in some of the fall colors. Heavier snowfall is not unusual by mid-October.

Sure, winter is colder and darker, but there also are less tourists, which means the costs tend to be lower. If you enjoy winter sports, this is a perfect time to book your visit. Most of the state is covered in snow between November and March, which also makes it an ideal time to enjoy activities like snowboarding, skiing and snowmobiling. There’s also the notorious Iditarod, along with the Fur Rendezvous

Finally, there’s spring. The snow is beginning to melt, and Mother Nature is starting to reveal her greener, lusher side. By May, temperatures are typically beginning to warm and the tourists aren’t out in full force quite yet.

Baby, it’s cold outside
With temps ranging anywhere from -30 to 60 degrees, how does one pack for an Alaskan adventure? Fleece jackets are a great option. While you will want to layer outerwear in the winter months, a single fleece may be the only jacket you’ll need during the summer months. Waterproof jackets and rain paints are a must to keep you warm and dry if you plan to spend time outdoors. And while you’re at it, don’t forget your hiking boots, along with travel binoculars to take in wildlife and nature. Sleeping masks won’t hurt, either. For roughly two months out of the year – between May and July – some parts of the state experience 24 hours of sunlight. Over the course of an entire year, Alaska gets anywhere from 10 to 17 minutes more daylight per day than the rest of the country.

Regardless of the time of year you plan your visit, your Alaskan destination or if your travels keep you on land or at sea, the Last Frontier is bound to “wow” you with its majestic beauty. See you in Alaska!