Alaska Road Trip Planner The first item of business in planning a road trip in Alaska is to find out if the vacation spots you plan on visiting even have road access. You may find yourself in need of a private plane or a ship, instead. Or on a “road to nowhere” (Sorry, Ms. Palin, the “bridge to nowhere” was never actually built). No problem. Let’s start discussing the roads that do exist, and its pretty simple.
The “main drag” of Alaska, connects Anchorage with Fairbanks and points north, with Denali National Park between the two. The road is called, at various points, Highway 1, Highway 3 and the Parks Highway. The drive is quite scenic and provides good access to the tourist attractions of mainland Alaska. An Alaska road trip can continue south of Anchorage to Homer or Seward or east connecting up with the Alaska Highway, which is almost wholly located in the Yukon and British Columbia, Canada and is the only way one can actually drive to Alaska. You can actually head north on the Dalton Highway all the way to the Arctic Ocean, but don’t.
Alaska Tourist AttractionsMost visitors to Alaska arrive by cruise ship in the summer months. Inner Passage cruises are typically about a week in length and leave from the cities of the Pacific Northwest. The popular ports of call in the Alaskan Panhandle are (in the order a north-bound ship visits them) Ketchican, Juneau and Skagway. Each of these stops are host to a variety of tourist attractions, including lumberjack shows, glacier flights, hikes to wilderness and glacier views, fisheries, Native American exhibits and more. Juneau is the capital of Alaska - enjoy this small urban pocket surrounded by deep wilderness. Skagway is tiny – on peak summer days at least nine out of ten people in the town are cruise passengers. Skagway has access to the Yukon via land and from there to the rest of the state.
Cruise ship visitors continue by sea to Seward on the Alaskan Mainland. Seward is a bus, car or train ride from Anchorage. Smart travelers spend some time in Anchorage rather than heading straight for the airport and home.
Anchorage is an almost non-Alaskan city smack in the middle of the state. There are a nice range of tourist attractions in Anchorage, including biking the coastal trail and watching the float planes land. If you have made it this far, head to Denali for a shot at seeing Mt. Mc Kinley, the highest peak in the United States, or just a chance to enjoy nature and wildlife. You can keep going to Fairbanks (and even a bit further to the Arctic Circle) and catch a plane for the trip home. For those who prefer a rail trip over an Alaska road trip, the Seward – Anchorage – Denali – Fairbanks route is covered by a very popular and scenic rail line – the Alaska Railroad. Try to spend some time in the dome car.
Alaska Vacation Spots An Alaskan vacation is a rustic experience out in nature. The towns and cities of the Alaskan Panhandle cannot really be called vacation spots, since most visitors are day tourists off the cruise ships. Denali National Park is the number one Alaskan vacation spot offering a full range of accommodations and types of excursions into nature.
Major Tourist Attractions in the Region
Denali National Park and Preserve - Alaska
Alagnak Wild River - Alaska
Kodiak Island Borough - Alaska
Cruising Alaska's Inside Passage - Alaska Panhandle
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race - Nome, Alaska
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad - Skagway, Alaska
Gates Of The Arctic National Park and Preserve - Alaska
The Chena Hot Springs Resort - Fairbanks, Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier - Juneau, Alaska
Moose Mountain Ski Resort Area - Fairbanks, Alaska
Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure - Juneau, Alaska
Dawson City - Yukon Territory, Canada
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race - Anchorage, Alaska
Klondike Gold Fields - Yokon Territory
5th Avenue Mall - Anchorage, Alaska
Gastineau Salmon Hatchery
Inupiat Heritage Center - Barrow, Alaska
Misty Fjords National Monument - Ketchikan, Alaska
Kenai Fjords National Park - Alaska
Chena Hot Springs - Alaska
Alyeska Ski Resort Area - Girdwood (Anchorage), Alaska
Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes - Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve - Alaska
Alaska Sealife Center - Seward, Alaska
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park - Skagway, Alaska
A-J Mine / Gastineau Mill Enterprises - Juneau, Alaska
Totem Heritage Center - Ketchikan, Alaska
Denali State Park - Alaska
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve - Alaska
Pioneer Park - Fairbanks, Alaska
Hilltop Ski Area - Anchorage, Alaska