Explore Alaska, the Last Frontier
From the 19th century through today, Alaska continues to earn its unofficial nickname of “the last frontier.” With its vast and awe-inspiring terrain, there’s a sense of mystery surrounding the 49th state. And, that’s precisely why so many people have Alaska on their travel bucket list. If visiting – or revisiting – Alaska is on your wish list, expand your knowledge with a few little-known facts below.
70% of Alaska is not accessible by roads.
This stat is even more impressive when you consider how gigantic Alaska is. Consider this: The next three largest states — Texas, California, and Montana — could all fit within Alaska, with plenty of room to spare.
The state’s size is one reason Alaskan cruises are so appealing. With more coastline than all the other U.S. states combined, traveling by ship enables visitors to conveniently cover a lot of sometimes hard-to-reach territory, optimize the sightseeing, and take in scenic views all along the way.
Wildlife is plentiful, with 1 bear for every 21 people.
Spotting wildlife is a given in Alaska. You’ll see bald eagles soaring overhead or spot moose and bears right from the deck of your cruise ship. Also look for – or opt for excursions to up the chances – whales, harbor seals, sea otters, puffins, and mountain goats.
For optimal wildlife viewing, plan your trip for May when larger animals migrate, and bears are out of hibernation. Or, if fishing is on your must-do list, visit in June for peak salmon fishing.
Glaciers cover 3% of the state.
When more snow falls than melts over a period of years, the ice thickens to form glaciers. Alaska has an estimated 100,000 glaciers, including more than 1,000 in Glacier Bay National Park alone. Out of all these Alaskan glaciers, 616 are notable enough to have official names.
For travelers looking to maximize their glacier experience, we recommend a one-way Gulf of Alaska cruise, which is known as the “Voyage of the Glaciers.” The itineraries often include stops in picturesque towns like Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, or Haines, with options to see the many glaciers of College Fjord, which are named after East Coast colleges, such as Harvard and Bryn Mawr, or highly active glaciers like the Hubbard Glacier. Warmer weather in June is ideal for active glacier calving.
Denali is the tallest mountain in North America.
Mount McKinley, now known as Denali, which means “the Great One,” peaks 20,310 feet above sea level, with its upper half permanently covered with snow. Unpredictable weather and extreme cold make it one of the more challenging for climbers.
Travelers can opt for a combined cruise and land tour that includes visiting Alaska’s interior and a stopover Denali National Park. However, seeing the mountain itself isn’t guaranteed. Denali is obscured by clouds and fog about one-third of the time. Keep your eyes peeled. With rapidly changing weather conditions, the peak can appear at any moment. Even when the peak isn’t in view, the surrounding national park and preserve offer six million acres of amazing scenery, including one million acres of massive glaciers.
Alaska is one of the best places on earth to view the Northern Lights.
Also known as Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are made up of electrically charged particles from the sun that collide with gasses in the earth’s atmosphere, creating colorful flares of light in the night sky above the Northern hemisphere’s magnetic pole. The most common color is a bright yellowish green, but you may also see flares of red, blue, and purple.
For best viewing opportunities, choose a cruise and land tour, with a visit to Fairbanks included. While the prime Northern Lights season extends from late August through mid-April, the Alaska cruise and land tour season runs May through mid-September. With that in mind, we recommend September for optimal viewing. Plus, the cruise ships are less crowded after children head back to school, making rates for both cruises and hotels lower than during the summer season.
With 14 mountain ranges, 3 million lakes, and 22 million acres of national forest, Alaska truly is the Last Frontier. The Cruise Dreams team is ready to help you explore Alaska in the style and pace that best suits you. We can help you choose from the different itinerary options, including the classic round-trip cruises through the Inside Passage or the one-way voyages North or Southbound. And, of course, we can help you design a Trip of a Lifetime that combines both cruise and land tours via train and motorcoach. Plus, if you’re looking for a little extra adventure, an expedition cruise via a smaller ship will deliver up-close experiences in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.
Whatever option you choose, we’ll help you plan a luxurious, memory-making trip to the Last Frontier. Call us at (877) 999-4533 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waves to you and smooth sailings ahead!