What Is Alaska Known For? Top 12 Things People Know Of AK

Have you ever wondered what is Alaska known for? We believe that Alaska is one of the best places on earth!

Alaska is a place of natural wonder and beauty, and it is no wonder that many consider it to be the best place on earth. With its rugged coastline, pristine wilderness, and diverse wildlife, Alaska offers something for everyone.

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One of the main reasons why Alaska is so magical is its natural beauty. The state is home to many national parks, such as Denali and Glacier Bay, which offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Additionally, Alaska is known for its glaciers, fjords, and rugged coastline. These natural wonders are truly breathtaking and offer a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else.

And Alaska has an interesting and diverse wildlife. From majestic grizzly bears to elusive wolves, Alaska is home to a wide variety of animals that can be seen in their natural habitats, including polar bears.

The state is also home to thousands of species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Visitors can also see whales, walrus, and seals swimming in the icy waters of the Bering Sea.

Did you know: Russia isn’t far from Alaska.

Alaska offers a unique culture and history, with a strong Indigenous presence and a history of gold mining and commercial fishing.

Visitors can learn about the state’s history and culture by visiting museums, cultural centers, and historical sites. Additionally, many people also enjoy activities such as fishing, hunting, and dog sledding in Alaska.

Alaska is home to landscapes not found anywhere else on the planet. From the moment you arrive, to the moment you leave, there are so many Alaskan experiences you need to enjoy.

Below are 12 things Alaska is known for and why you should take a trip to come visit our great state.

1.) Alaskan Cruises Offer Something For Everyone

Alaska Is Known For Cruises - Taking A Cruise Ship In Skagway Alaska
Photo – Nicole Goodman (Off Your Beaten Path)

So many people come to Alaska every year on an Alaska cruise. Usually leaving from Seattle, they will journey up to Juneau and back down. There are many cruise ports in Alaska:

  • Ketchikan
  • Skagway
  • Juneau
  • Whittier
  • Sitka
  • Seward

From these ports, passengers can experience some of what Alaska has to offer. Those who have a final port of Seward can also take the Alaska Railroad up to Denali or up to Anchorage. Then you can drive from Anchorage to Denali and back to Anchorage for your flight home.

With so many cruise ports and so much of Alaska to explore, many people choose to go on an Alaskan cruise because everything is planned out for them.

2.) Glaciers Galore

Alaska Is Known For Its Glaciers - Group Touring The Matanuska Glacier In Alaska
Alaska Is Known For Its Glaciers – Group Touring The Matanuska Glacier In Alaska | Photo – Phillip Flippo

A trip to Alaska is never complete unless if you’ve seen one of our many glaciers.

There are tour groups that will take you to a glacier and some even operate year round. The Matanuska Glacier is always a unique experience whether you go in the summer or in the winter.

In the summer everything is melting, and you will see rushing glacier water. In the winter everything is frozen, allowing you to explore snow caves, being able to go inside of the glacier and walk on the frozen glacial lake.

Even getting to the glacier is an adventure in itself. For example, the Matanuska glacier in the summer will require a 45 minute hike but in the winter it will be a 5 minute snowmachine ride.

Those exploring our glaciers from the water can see these massive chunks of ice from the safety of a boat.

3.) Fresh Seafood, Wild Game and Berries

Alaska is a land of natural beauty and diverse wildlife, and its cuisine is no exception. Known for its seafood, particularly salmon and halibut, Alaska is a seafood lover’s paradise. The state’s cold waters are home to an abundance of fish, and Alaskans have been perfecting their fishing and seafood processing techniques for centuries.

Salmon is one of Alaska’s most famous exports, and it’s not hard to see why. The state’s rivers and streams are teeming with different species of salmon, and Alaskans have developed a variety of ways to prepare this delicious fish. Whether it’s smoked, grilled, or used in sushi, salmon is a staple in Alaskan cuisine.

Halibut, another popular Alaskan seafood, is a firm, white fish that is often served as fish and chips. The mild flavor of halibut makes it a versatile fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be grilled, fried, or baked and paired with a variety of sauces and sides.

Wild game is also a big part of Alaskan cuisine. Caribou, elk and moose are some of the wild game that can be found in Alaska, and they are often served as sausage, steaks, and in stews. Reindeer sausage, also known as caribou sausage, is a unique Alaskan delicacy that is often served as a breakfast meat or as an appetizer.

Alaska is also known for its wild berries and mushrooms that are abundant in the region. Blueberries, cranberries, cloudberries, and morel mushrooms are among the most popular and can be found in many dishes. These wild ingredients add a unique flavor and freshness to Alaskan cuisine, making it a true culinary experience.

Alaska’s cuisine is a reflection of its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. With an abundance of seafood and wild game, wild berries and mushrooms, Alaskan cuisine offers a unique and delicious experience for foodies looking for something different.

If you ever have a chance to visit Alaska, make sure to try some of these delicacies and experience the taste of the last frontier.

4.) The Incredible Amount Of Wildlife

Alaska is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife, making it a top destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The state’s vast wilderness and unique ecosystem provide a habitat for a wide variety of animals, many of which can be found nowhere else on earth.

– Bears

One of the most iconic animals in Alaska is the grizzly bear. These powerful predators can be found in many parts of the state and are a popular sight for visitors. They are known for their shaggy fur, which can range in color from blonde to brown, and their massive size. Visitors can safely see grizzly bears in the state’s national parks or in guided bear viewing tours.

Our favorite place to go see Alaska’s bears – Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood.

– Wolves

Another popular animal in Alaska is the wolf. These elusive predators are known for their intelligence and pack behavior, and they can be found in many parts of the state. They are often seen in remote areas, but visitors can also see them in guided wildlife tours.

– Moose

One of everyone’s favorite Alaskan animals is the Moose. They can be found in most parts of the state and are commonly seen in the wild. Moose are known for their large size and long legs, and the males have large antlers. They are often seen grazing in meadows and along rivers and streams. Or sometimes even in your back yard!

– Marine Life – Whales, Seals and Walruses

In addition to land animals, Alaska is also home to a wide variety of marine life. Visitors can see whales, walrus, and seals swimming in the icy waters of the Bering Sea. The state is also home to thousands of species of birds, making it a paradise for birdwatchers. Visitors can see Bald Eagles, Puffins, and many other species of birds in their natural habitats.

– Birds – Eagles and Owls

Both eagles and owls are common and can be seen year round in Alaska. There is even an Eagle Festival in Haines each year, which is an incredible place to see thousands of eagles in their natural habitat.

Each year over 3,000 eagles gather in this small 4 stretch of the Chilkat River.

5.) Dog Sledding

Alaska is known for dog sledding
Dog sledding tour | Photo – Bonnye Matthews

If you have watched any of the recent movies about dog sledding in Alaska, specifically Togo on Disney+, you may begin to understand the importance of dog sled teams to Alaska’s history.

In 1925 there was an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome Alaska and at the time the only way to bring the life saving serum was by dog sledding teams – traveling over 700 miles.

Dog sledding is something Alaska is known for and many travelers to the state will take dog sledding tours in both the summer and winter.

Even if you come in the summer you can experience a dog sledding tour, just not as fun as it is in the winter and being pulled on fresh snow.

The Iditarod is also an event that runs every year in March and starts in Anchorage and finishes in Nome Alaska.

6.) Abundant Fishing

Alaska is known for fishing - this guy is fishing on the Kenai
Photo – Grant Gibbs

Fishing in Alaska is an experience like no other, offering anglers the opportunity to catch a wide variety of fish in some of the most beautiful and remote locations on earth. From the mighty king salmon to the elusive arctic char, Alaska is a fisherman’s paradise.

One of the most popular fish to catch in Alaska is salmon. Alaska’s rivers and streams are teeming with different species of salmon, including king, sockeye, coho, and pink.

These fish are not only delicious to eat, and a staple of many Alaskan’s diet, but they also provide a thrilling fight for anglers. Fishermen can try their hand at fishing for salmon in the state’s rivers, streams, and coastal waters, or they can go on guided fishing charters for a more in-depth experience.

Another popular fish in Alaska is halibut. These flatfish can be found in the state’s coastal waters and can grow to be quite large, weighing up to hundreds of pounds. Halibut fishing is often done on a charter boat, as they are found in deeper waters. Halibut fishing can be done with both conventional and fly fishing gear, and can provide anglers with a unique and exciting experience.

Alaska is also home to a wide variety of freshwater fish, including arctic char, rainbow trout, and grayling. These fish can be found in the state’s rivers and streams and provide anglers with a different kind of fishing experience.

Arctic char for example, are found in remote Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, and are known for their beautiful colors and strong fighting abilities.

Arctic char caught in Alaska
Arctic char caught in Alaska | Photo – Mikie Shearer

In addition to the fishing opportunities, many people also enjoy fishing-related activities such as fly-tying and fly-fishing casting lessons. The state also offers a variety of fishing lodges and resorts, providing visitors with comfortable accommodations and access to some of the best fishing in the state.

Fishing in Alaska is an experience not to be missed. With its abundance of fish, breathtaking scenery, and remote locations, Alaska offers something for every angler. You can choose to fish on your own, or go on a guided fishing charter for a more in-depth experience.

7.) The Vast Wilderness To Explore And Unique Geography

Alaska is known for its wilderness - wilderness of the Wrangells
Photo – David Canales

Alaska is a land of natural wonder and beauty, and its unique geography is one of the main reasons why. The state’s vast wilderness and rugged coastline offer visitors a glimpse into a world that is both wild and pristine. From towering mountains to glistening glaciers, Alaska’s natural wonders are truly breathtaking.

Alaska is known for its vast wilderness and incredible landscapes. The beauty of Alaska is what draws over 2 million visitors every year who come to our state to explore.

One of the main attractions of Alaska’s geography is its national parks. Denali National Park is home to North America’s highest peak, Mount Denali, which towers over the park at 20,310 feet.

The park also offers visitors the chance to see a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, and caribou.

Glacier Bay National Park is another must-see destination in Alaska, with its glaciers, fjords, and rugged coastline. Visitors can take a boat tour to see the glaciers up close, and also spot wildlife such as whales, sea lions, and seals.

One aspect of Alaska’s stunning geography is its coastlines. The state has a 6,640 miles of coastline, which includes a variety of landscapes such as rugged cliffs, sandy beaches and even volcanic islands. The state’s coastal areas are also home to wildlife and scenery that is hard to find anywhere else.

Alaska’s is also home to tundra, which is a treeless plain that covers much of the state. The tundra is home to a wide variety of plants and animals, and it is a popular destination for hikers and backpackers. Visitors can also experience the tundra by taking a guided tour, or by visiting one of the state’s tundra preserves, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Alaska’s unique geography offers visitors a chance to experience some of the most beautiful and remote places on earth.

8.) The Midnight Sun

Alaska is known for the midnight sun
At midnight you can find views like this in Denali National Park, Alaska | Photo – James Davey

Welcome to the land of the midnight sun!

The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in Alaska during the summer months, and it is a unique experience that visitors to the state love.

The midnight sun refers to the phenomenon of the sun being visible at the local time of midnight, and it is caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis in relation to the sun.

During the summer months, Alaska is located far enough north that the sun never completely sets, and the sky remains light even at midnight. This means that visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, fishing, and sightseeing, even at night!

The midnight sun also provides a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Alaska, as the sun casts a soft glow over the landscape, creating a magical and surreal atmosphere.

The midnight sun is most visible in Alaska’s northernmost regions, such as the Arctic Circle and the Brooks Range. Visitors can experience 24 hours of daylight by taking a trip to these regions, or by visiting one of the state’s midnight sun festivals.

Many towns and cities in Alaska host midnight sun celebrations, which include a variety of activities such as parades, fireworks, and live music.

The midnight sun can also be seen in the south part of Alaska, but it is not as intense as in the northern regions. The farther north you go the longer you can see the sun.

In Utqiagvik Alaska, the sun will shine for 84 consecutive days.

The midnight sun is a unique experience that visitors to Alaska should not miss. The phenomenon of the sun being visible at midnight creates a surreal and magical atmosphere, and provides a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Alaska.

9.) The Northern Lights

Alaska is known for the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights Over North Pole Alaska in April | Photo – Laura Gardner

The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the skies above Alaska and other parts of the northern hemisphere. The Northern Lights is caused by the collision of charged particles from the sun with the Earth’s upper atmosphere and it creates a stunning display of light that is both mesmerizing and awe-inspiring.

Alaska is one of the best places on Earth to see the aurora borealis, as the state is located within the auroral oval, an area around the Earth’s magnetic poles where the aurora borealis is most active.

The northern lights can be seen in Alaska during the fall and winter months, with the best viewing opportunities occurring between September and April. As long as it gets dark outside, you have the chance of seeing the northern lights.

The best place in the state to see the aurora borealis is in the Fairbanks and interior Alaska region, where the lights can be seen more frequently and with more intensity.

Visitors can also experience the northern lights in other parts of the state, such as the Arctic and Brooks Range, where the lights are seen frequently in all their glory. The best viewing of the northern lights is away from city lights, places where the night sky is clear.

Continue reading: Stargazing In Alaska, Night Sky Views In AK

Many visitors experience the aurora by taking a guided tour, which will bring them to the best viewing locations and provide information about the lights. Many tour providers also offer transportation to and from the viewing locations, and some even provide warm clothing and hot drinks to keep visitors comfortable during the tour.

It is important to note that the aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon and its visibility can be affected by several factors such as weather conditions, solar activity, and light pollution. The best time to see the northern lights is on a clear night with minimal clouds and light pollution.

The University Of Alaska Fairbanks has an easy to view Aurora forecast. Follow them to get an idea of when the Aurora may be visible in Alaska.

10.) The Mild Summers

Alaska is known for its mild summer temperatures
Photo – Debra K Reeves

Alaska summers are usually mild with average temperatures in the 70°F range. Depending on where in the state you travel the temperature can reach over 90°F up north, while Denali National Park can range in the 45 to 75 °F range. If you’re tired of hot and humid weather, come up to Alaska for a few weeks in the summer.

Some summers are known to be cold and rainy and weather is usually unpredictable. Up in Fairbanks, temperatures can reach over 90°F and because of the tilt of the earth towards the sun, your skin can burn quickly.

One thing you will notice is the intensity of the sun, but overall our summers are very mild and comfortable.

11.) The Cold Long Winters

Alaska is known for its very cold winters
In Alaska, everything freezes in the winter | Photo – Debra Kelly

Alaska is known for its cold winters, with temperatures dropping well below freezing in most parts of the state. The cold temperatures, along with snow and ice, can make for a challenging and rugged environment, but it also provides people with a unique and exciting experience.

One of the main reasons for the cold temperatures in Alaska is its location. The state is located far north of the continental United States, and the northernmost regions are located within the Arctic Circle. The cold temperatures are also caused by the state’s proximity to the Bering and Chukchi seas, which can cause cold winds and weather patterns.

The cold temperatures in Alaska can make outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping difficult, but it also provides the exciting opportunity for other activities such as dog sledding, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.

The state’s cold temperatures also provide the perfect conditions for skiing and snowboarding, with many ski resorts and backcountry areas offering visitors a unique and exciting Alaska winter experience.

During the winter, daylight is scarce, with some northern areas like Utqiagvik experiencing a phenomenon called polar night, where the sun does not rise for several weeks.

Despite the cold temperatures, many Alaskans and visitors still find ways to enjoy the winter season. Many towns and cities in Alaska host winter festivals and events, such as the Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage, which features dog mushing, ice carving, and other winter activities.

Alaska’s cold winters are a unique and exciting experience. Visitors should be prepared for the cold temperatures and lack of daylight by bringing warm clothing and other necessary gear, but with proper preparation, visitors can still enjoy the winter season in Alaska.

Whether you are an adventure seeker or simply looking for an extreme winter experience, Alaska’s cold winters offer something fun for everyone.

12.) The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

Alaska is known for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Part of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline | Photo – Scott Adams Photography

If you come to Alaska you will probably see at one time the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. There are pull-offs along the highway and views of the 800+ mile long pipe that runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

Alaska is known for its oil and the pipeline that transports it over 800 miles of land.

The pipeline has been in the news in recent years because of thawing permafrost. Over 400 miles of the pipeline is elevated because of the permafrost but with some of this thawing, it is causing issues with the massive oil pipeline.

Construction finished on the pipeline in 1977 at a cost of $8 Billion and took over 70,000 workers to build.

Being such a massive project, once you see the pipeline today, you will quickly recognize it from a distance.

Many tourist will make it a point to stop at the pipeline, just to see it and read about its history.

What Is Alaska Known For
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After living over 14 years in Alaska, Megan McDonald can confidently state that there’s not much of the state on the road system that she hasn’t visited. From the Brooks Range to McCarthy, Homer, and everywhere in between, every nook and cranny of Alaska is always her new favorite place.

As President and co-founder of Alaska-based boutique media agency HuMu Media, she spends her work time writing, photographing, and traveling, and her off time writing, photographing, and traveling. They say do what you love, and she is lucky enough to do so!

You can follow her travels on Instagram at @theitinerantginger

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