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A family trip to Alaska is on every outdoor family’s to-do list. While less adventurous families brainstorm vacation destinations like the shady palm trees of Hawaii or the romantic streets of Paris, you’re thinking about the wilder places. With more than 100 volcanoes, 3 million lakes and 24 national parks, Alaska offers family vacationers some of the world’s most beautiful natural scenery, wildlife and adventures. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg (Alaska has a lot of those, too). If you’ve decided to visit the 49th state with your family, here are some must-see attractions and activities.
Roughly half of the world’s glaciers are in Alaska, and seeing at least some of them is an absolute must. However, many of the most fascinating glaciers are impossible to reach by land. You might want to splurge on a helicopter tour, so you can get as close as possible to these natural wonders. The stunning photos you’ll capture of the landscape from above will be worth the effort.
Three million lakes can be a difficult to imagine. A guided tour can take you to the most jaw-dropping ones and arrange for kayaking in various mountain lakes. You also can venture out to sea, fish for your lunch, hike, shop and explore quaint coastal communities.
Alaska is bursting with wildlife, and simply admiring rare animals in their natural habitats can be an adventure your family will never forget. Hop on a day cruise from Juneau to go whale watching and also spot porpoises, sea lions and bald eagles. Or venture into the wilderness of Katmai National Park to see grizzly bears living and hunting in their native surroundings. It’s not uncommon to spot as many as 20 bears in a single location.
A family trip to Alaska at the end of summer means you’ll enjoy one of the most scenic times of year. The leaves change color, the wildlife actively prepares for winter and, as the fall equinox approaches, the Northern Lights intensify. Consider a seven-day tour that will land you in the most postcard-worthy areas.
If you want to go where few have gone before, head north to the Alaskan Arctic. There you can discover the Inupiat Eskimo culture and admire polar bears playing in frigid waters. This region is best explored from Fairbanks with the help of a tour company, as many rental car companies won’t allow you to take their vehicles this far north.
For thrill-seeking families, a family trip to Alaska offers plenty of adventure. Paddle into the roaring rapids of one of Alaska’s more than 3,000 rivers and feel an adrenaline rush as you admire remote scenery, wildlife, glaciers and more.
Alaska is a dream destination for families, whether you’re interested in climbing mountains, sightseeing from above, admiring rare wildlife or discovering rich local culture. Explore the Last Frontier with the ones you love, and you’re guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime.
Looking for more ideas? Check out lots more family adventures here >
Doreen Toller is Sales and Operations Manager for Alaskan Tour Guides, a center that provides family and small group Alaskan land tours with a personal and luxury experience. She has 25 years of experience in the industry and focuses on custom Alaska travel planning highlighting once-in-a-lifetime adventures.