Alaska in the summer is one of the best places to go for adventure lovers and in fact, it’s one of our favorite places to recommend. There is so much more to Alaska than the long winters and arctic cold. The state is largely made up of temperate rainforest creating lush, green landscapes that brim with life each summer. It’s the perfect place to spot amazing animals like bald eagles, humpback whales, and grizzly bears as well as take part in amazing daily excursions.
Since there is so much to do and see, we rounded up some of our favorite ways to enjoy Alaska this summer.
1. Kayak in the Icy Waters
One of the best ways to experience Alaska is to try your hand at sea kayaking. Kayaking gives you an up-close view of the plants and animals that you can’t quite see from land or a cruise ship. Those sea lions will no longer be small dots resting on rocks in the distance. Instead, they will be up close so you can check out every detail and maybe even interact with them if they approach your kayak.
Typically, you don’t need any experience to enjoy sea kayaking in Alaska, and your experienced guide will assist you with a short tutorial before you get started. Kayaking is also low-impact so just about anyone can enjoy safely paddling through the sea at their own pace.
The fun part of this type of excursion is that you never know what you are going to encounter or experience. You have ample opportunities to spot wildlife like salmon, eagles, bears, and even whales! Some locations also offer one-of-a-kind views of the glaciers that you just won’t see anywhere else.
2. Zipline through the Rainforest
If you crave the exhilaration of flying, zip lining might be the perfect thing for you. Alaska is the perfect place to zipline because it is flush with enough large trees to set up extensive zip lining courses. All you need is a few layers of clothing in case of temperature change and some good hiking shoes. The zip lining company will set everyone up with their own harness and ensure that each person is safe and prepared to have a good time!
You will not only love the feeling of zooming through the air, but this is another great opportunity to come face-to-face with some of Alaska’s amazing wildlife. Anything and everything that lives in the forest can possibly show its face. Sometimes the guides are aware of things like bird nests in the area and will let you know when to be on the lookout for certain animals.
Most importantly, this is an exciting activity for the whole family to enjoy. See what it feels like to push your limits a little bit and come back feeling energized and even closer to your loved ones.
3. Spot Birds of Prey on a Hike
If you love bird watching or even just learning about these awesome creatures while stretching your legs, this type of excursion is just right for you. Some of the birds that you could encounter on your hike are bald eagles, golden eagles, hawks, falcons, and even owls.
Since Alaska is primarily uninhabited by humans, there is an abundance of habitat in which birds of prey can flourish. Some hiking routes even have markers to show you where to look for nests. (As always, respect the wildlife and maintain your distance.) While exploring, keep your eyes peeled and you might just see an eagle snag a small animal or fish for its supper.
4. Take a Day Trip to the Fjords
The fjords are some of the most stunning geological features of Alaska. Glaciers carved out these u-shaped valleys long ago and they were then filled in by the sea. It can be difficult and even dangerous to visit these gorgeous sites by land, so the National Park Service provides full-day and half-day excursions to the fjords by boat. If you are on an Alaskan cruise, your ship may also swing by so everyone can enjoy the fjords.
In the summer, it is incredible to hear the ice cracking and shifting from the relative heat of the day. You may even be able to witness large chunks of ice breaking free and making a huge splash in the water below!
5. Go Whale Watching
If you want to have an experience to remember, be sure to plan a whale watching tour while in Alaska. There are plenty of tour companies to choose from and some who even promise a guaranteed sighting of orcas or humpback whales. These powerful animals can give an incredible show by breaching and clearing their blowholes with shocking force. They may even become curious and follow your boat for a while.
This is possibly a one-in-a-lifetime chance to get close to these mysterious underwater creatures, so definitely don’t miss out on a whale watching tour!
6. Fish for Your Dinner
One thing that this beautiful state is known for is the abundance of delicious, fresh seafood.
Popular types to fish for are salmon and halibut, but it’s best to do some research so you can plan your trip around the times when the fish you want are migrating. The fisherman or fisherwoman in you is sure to appreciate the many fishing tours and charter companies who specialize in finding the best places to fish. Even if you have never fished before, your guide will help you succeed with every last detail.
Be aware that the closer to larger towns like Anchorage, the more likely you are to be bumping elbows with fellow fishermen. If you would rather enjoy the quiet solitude of Alaskan nature, consider booking a fly-in fishing trip. These trips get you out of reach of most main roads and away from other fishers. This is a great opportunity to spot other natural fish-lovers like bears and eagles!
7. Experience Alaska from Above
Many areas of Alaska are just unreachable by car, but don’t worry because you can still observe and experience the state by floatplane or even helicopter. There is an abundance of pilots in the state ready and willing to take you on your next ultimate adventure. Whether you just want a better view or if you are hoping to get a chance to land on a glacier, air tours are the best way to do just that.
Some tours offer bear sightings, some will show you glaciers, and others still display the National Parks and pristine mountain ranges at their best and most beautiful. Whatever you want to see, flightseeing tours might just be the perfect way to do it.
We hope you discovered an activity (or a few!) that got you excited about visiting Alaska this summer. It truly is a beautiful state and there are so many fun things to do that you can’t go wrong.
If you don’t already have a trip scheduled to Alaska, we highly suggest booking a cruise. New Adventures Await has several budget-friendly cruises that we love to recommend. A cruise will allow you to see much more of Alaska than you would if you were to stay in just one town. Not to mention the added time at sea allows you to enjoy the company of your fellow travelers and gives you extra chances to spot animals like bears and whales from the ship.
Either way, enjoy every minute that you spend in beautiful Alaska!