2-Day Alaska Adventure: Sightseeing with Friends Off-The-Beaten Path

Alaska

2 days

Aerial view of the Prince of Wales island
Explorer standing near a clear blue lake on the Matanuska Glacier
Porcupine bay at Kenai Fjords National Park
Kayaking among the glaciers
The scenic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

About Alaska

Experience the majestic beauty of Alaska, a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights, explore the vast Denali National Park, home to North America's highest peak, and cruise through the stunning fjords of the Kenai Peninsula. Discover the rich cultural heritage of the native tribes in Anchorage, or try your hand at dog sledding in Fairbanks. Alaska's diverse wildlife, including bears, eagles, and whales, offers unparalleled viewing opportunities. Enjoy world-class fishing, hiking, and skiing, or simply relax and soak in the breathtaking landscapes. From its glacier-carved mountains to its charming coastal towns, Alaska promises an unforgettable journey of discovery and adventure.

2-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring Anchorage's Cultural and Natural Highlights

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. Here, you will learn about the diverse indigenous cultures of Alaska through exhibits, demonstrations, and live performances.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This 11-mile trail offers stunning views of the mountains and sea. You might even spot some wildlife.

Afternoon

After lunch, head to the Chugach State Park for a hike. With over 495,000 acres of land, it's one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. offering a variety of trails for all levels.

Dinner

Have dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Alaska is famous for its fresh, sustainably-caught seafood, so don't miss out on the halibut, king crab, or salmon.

Evening

End your day with a visit to the Northern Lights Center. Here, you can watch a spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis in a comfortable, indoor setting.

Morning

Start your second day with a trip to the Denali National Park. Take a bus tour to see the stunning landscapes and wildlife, including grizzly bears, caribou, and moose.

Lunch

Enjoy a packed lunch amidst the natural beauty of Denali National Park. There are several picnic areas in the park where you can relax and enjoy your meal.

Afternoon

After lunch, embark on a Guided glacier hike in the park. It's a unique opportunity to explore Alaska's icy landscapes up close.

Dinner

Have dinner at a local restaurant in Denali. Try some Alaskan game like reindeer or bison for a truly local experience.

Evening

End your day with a visit to the Murie Science and Learning Center. Here, you can learn more about the park's natural and cultural history through exhibits and films.

Attractions in Itinerary (7)

Alaska Native Heritage Center

1
Alaska Native Heritage Center

A cultural center and museum dedicated to preserving and promoting the traditions, languages, and art of Alaska's native people.

Museums
Cultural Experiences
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

2
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail

An 11-mile long trail along the coast offering stunning views, wildlife sightings, and a great place for biking, walking, and rollerblading.

Attractions
Parks
Tours
Chugach State Park

3
Chugach State Park

A vast park with over 280,000 acres of land offering a variety of recreational activities including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

Parks
Northern Lights Center

4
Northern Lights Center

The Northern Lights Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, is a must-visit for anyone interested in the natural phenomenon known as the aurora borealis. The center offers educational exhibits and live viewings of the lights when conditions are right, providing a unique and unforgettable experience.

Attractions
Cultural Experiences
Denali National Park

5
Denali National Park

A national park home to North America's highest peak, Denali, and a variety of wildlife.

Parks
Attractions
Tours
Guided glacier hike

6
Guided glacier hike

A guided glacier hike in Juneau, Alaska, is a must-do for any adventurous traveler. These tours offer a unique opportunity to explore the stunning Alaskan wilderness, learn about the region's geology and wildlife, and experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the glaciers up close.

Tours
Sports
Cultural Experiences
Murie Science and Learning Center

7
Murie Science and Learning Center

The Murie Science and Learning Center in Denali, Alaska, is a hub for education and research about the region's natural and cultural history. The center offers a range of programs and exhibits, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Alaska.

Museums
Cultural Experiences

Local Food and Drinks (12)

King Crab

King Crab

King Crab is a popular seafood delicacy in Alaska, known for its sweet and tender meat. It's often served boiled, steamed, or grilled.

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Wild Alaskan Salmon

Wild Alaskan Salmon is a must-try when in Alaska. It's often served grilled, smoked, or in sushi. The salmon in Alaska is known for its rich, full flavor and deep red color.

Reindeer Sausage

Reindeer Sausage

Reindeer Sausage is a unique Alaskan dish. It's made from reindeer meat, which is lean and flavorful, and is often served in a bun or with breakfast.

Akutaq

Akutaq

Akutaq, also known as Eskimo Ice Cream, is a traditional Alaskan dessert made from whipped fat, berries, and sometimes fish. Each family has its own recipe and it's a special treat in Alaska.

Alaskan Halibut

Alaskan Halibut

Alaskan Halibut is a white, flaky fish that's often grilled, baked, or fried. It's known for its mild flavor and is a staple in many Alaskan households.

Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Pancakes are a popular breakfast dish in Alaska. The sourdough starter gives the pancakes a unique tangy flavor.

Alaskan Amber Ale

Alaskan Amber Ale

Alaskan Amber Ale is a popular local beer. It's a rich, full-bodied beer that's brewed in the style of a traditional altbier.

Fireweed Honey

Fireweed Honey

Fireweed Honey is a unique Alaskan product. It's made from the nectar of fireweed flowers and has a light, floral taste.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie is a popular dessert in Alaska, especially during the summer when blueberries are in season. The pie is often made with wild Alaskan blueberries, which are smaller and more flavorful than cultivated varieties.

Birch Syrup

Birch Syrup

Birch Syrup is a unique Alaskan product. It's made from the sap of birch trees and has a complex, molasses-like flavor. It's often used in cooking and baking.

Alaskan Spruce Tip Ale

Alaskan Spruce Tip Ale

Alaskan Spruce Tip Ale is a unique local beer. It's brewed with the tips of spruce trees, which give the beer a unique, resinous flavor.

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Smoked Salmon Chowder is a hearty soup that's popular in Alaska. It's made with smoked salmon, potatoes, and cream, and is a comforting dish on a cold Alaskan day.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Alaska as a tourist is during the summer months, from mid-June to mid-August. During this period, the weather is generally mild and most of the wildlife is active. The days are also the longest, providing ample daylight for various activities. However, if you are interested in seeing the Northern Lights, late September to early April would be the ideal time to visit.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

Renting a car is a popular option for getting around in Alaska, especially for those who want the freedom to explore at their own pace. Most major rental companies have offices in the larger cities and airports. Keep in mind that some remote areas may not have paved roads, and rental companies may have restrictions on driving on gravel roads.

The Alaska Railroad runs from Seward in the south to Fairbanks in the north, passing through Anchorage. It offers a comfortable and scenic way to travel between these cities, with options for day trips and overnight journeys. The train also provides access to Denali National Park.

Bus services are available in larger cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. There are also shuttle services to popular tourist destinations like Denali National Park and the Kenai Peninsula. Some remote areas can only be reached by bus.

The Alaska Marine Highway System operates ferries along the coast, from Bellingham, Washington up to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. This is a great way to see the coastal scenery and visit towns off the beaten path. Cabins are available for overnight journeys.

Alaska has a vast network of small planes and air taxis that provide access to remote areas, including many national parks. These flights can be an adventure in themselves, offering stunning aerial views of the Alaskan wilderness.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in larger cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks. This can be a convenient option for short trips within the city. However, availability may be limited in more remote areas.

In the summer months, cycling can be a great way to get around in Alaska. Many cities have bike rental shops, and there are numerous bike trails, including the famous Tony Knowles Coastal Trail in Anchorage.

Cruise ships are a popular way to see Alaska's coastal scenery and wildlife, with routes that typically run from Vancouver or Seattle to various ports in Alaska. Some cruises also include shore excursions to places like Glacier Bay National Park or the Inside Passage.

In the winter months, dog sledding is not only a mode of transportation but also a popular tourist activity. Several companies offer dog sled tours, where you can experience this traditional Alaskan way of getting around.

Many of Alaska's cities and towns are walkable, and hiking is a popular activity throughout the state. There are countless trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging mountain hikes.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Alaska as a first time visitor

1

Alaska is the largest state in the U.S., so plan your trip accordingly as distances between destinations can be vast.

2

The weather can be unpredictable, so pack layers to accommodate sudden temperature changes.

3

The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer months (June to August) when the weather is warmest, averaging 60-80°F (15-27°C).

4

During the winter months (December to February), temperatures can drop as low as -30°F (-34°C), so pack appropriate winter gear if you plan to visit during this time.

5

Alaska is known for its wildlife, so always maintain a safe distance from animals and never feed them.

6

If you plan to go hiking or camping, bear safety is crucial. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.

7

Alaska has a high cost of living compared to other U.S. states, so budget accordingly.

8

Many parts of Alaska are only accessible by plane or boat, so plan your transportation in advance.

9

Alaska operates on Alaska Standard Time, which is one hour behind Pacific Standard Time.

10

Alaska has long daylight hours in the summer, sometimes up to 24 hours a day, known as the 'Midnight Sun'.

11

Conversely, winter days can have as little as 3-4 hours of daylight, known as 'Polar Night'.

12

If you're planning to fish or hunt, be sure to obtain the necessary permits and licenses.

13

Alaska has many remote areas with limited cell service, so consider a satellite phone for emergencies.

14

Always inform someone of your travel plans, especially if you're heading into remote areas.

15

Mosquitoes can be abundant in the summer, so bring insect repellent.

16

Alaska's tap water is some of the cleanest in the world, so feel free to drink it.

17

Tipping is customary in Alaska, with 15-20% being the standard for good service.

18

Alaska has a casual dress code, even in upscale restaurants and hotels.

19

Alaska has strict laws regarding the collection of artifacts and natural objects, so leave what you find.

20

If you plan to drive, be aware that many roads are gravel and can be rough. Consider renting a vehicle with 4-wheel drive.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Thermal underwear

  • Insulated pants

  • Long-sleeve shirts

  • Sweaters or fleece jackets

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Insulated, waterproof boots

  • Warm socks (wool or thermal)

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Warm hat and scarf

  • Sunglasses

  • Swimsuit (for hot springs or indoor pools)

  • Toiletries

  • Travel-size shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Moisturizer and lip balm

  • Sunscreen

  • First-aid kit with band-aids and medication

  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Valid ID or passport

  • Airline tickets or e-ticket confirmation

  • Hotel and car rental reservations

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Cash (in local currency)

  • Emergency contact information

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone

  • Charger and power bank

  • Camera with extra memory card and batteries

  • Headphones

  • Travel adapter (if necessary)

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Snacks and water bottle

  • Books or e-reader for entertainment

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Earplugs and eye mask

  • Reusable shopping bag

  • Binoculars for wildlife viewing

  • Maps and guidebooks

Weather Conditions

Visiting Alaska can be a breathtaking experience, but the weather can be quite unpredictable, so it's essential to be prepared. In general, the best time to visit Alaska is during the summer months, from June to August, when the weather is typically mild, with temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C). However, even in summer, it's wise to pack layers as temperatures can drop significantly in the evenings. If you're planning to visit in the winter, be prepared for very cold temperatures. From November to March, temperatures can range from 0°F to -30°F (-18°C to -34°C), and even colder in the northern regions. It's essential to pack warm clothing, including thermal layers, a heavy coat, gloves, a hat, and boots. Regardless of when you visit, it's always a good idea to pack rain gear. Alaska is known for its sudden rain showers, especially in coastal areas. A waterproof jacket and shoes can make your trip more comfortable. If you're planning to see the Northern Lights, the best time to visit is during the colder months, from late September to early April. However, keep in mind that this is a natural phenomenon and sightings can never be guaranteed. Remember, Alaska's weather can change quickly, so always check the local forecast before heading out for the day. And don't let the weather deter you - Alaska's natural beauty is worth experiencing in any conditions!

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

-10° / -28°

January is the coldest month in Alaska, with temperatures often dropping below -28°C. It's a great time for winter activities, but make sure to dress warmly.

February

-8° / -25°

February is still very cold, but slightly warmer than January. It's a good time for snowmobiling and ice fishing.

March

0° / -18°

March sees a slight increase in temperature, with the high reaching up to 0°C. The snow starts to melt, making it a good time for skiing.

April

8° / -8°

April is the start of spring in Alaska, with temperatures ranging from -8°C to 8°C. The days get longer, and it's a good time to see wildlife.

May

15° / 0°

May is a pleasant month, with temperatures reaching up to 15°C. It's a great time for hiking and bird watching.

June

20° / 7°

June is the start of summer in Alaska, with the longest days of the year. It's a perfect time for fishing and camping.

July

22° / 10°

July is the warmest month in Alaska, with temperatures reaching up to 22°C. It's an ideal time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

August

20° / 8°

August is still warm, but temperatures start to drop towards the end of the month. It's a good time for berry picking and fishing.

September

15° / 0°

September marks the start of autumn in Alaska, with temperatures dropping to 0°C. The fall colors make it a beautiful time for photography.

October

8° / -8°

October is a chilly month, with temperatures dropping below 0°C. It's a good time to see the Northern Lights.

November

-5° / -18°

November is the start of winter in Alaska, with temperatures often dropping below -18°C. It's a good time for winter activities, but make sure to dress warmly.

December

-8° / -25°

December is a cold month, with temperatures often dropping below -25°C. It's a perfect time to enjoy the winter wonderland that Alaska becomes.

Did you know?

Did you know that Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. by land area, covering over twice the land area of Texas, the second largest state?

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