Make Anchorage Your Base Camp
Alaska invites adventure of all kinds: Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, a serene outdoor oasis, rich northern cultures, or iconic wildlife encounters, the Great Land teems with opportunities to experience wide-open spaces and an unforgettable way of life. But how do you fit it all into one trip? Anchorage makes it easy.
With Alaska’s largest city as a base camp, premier adventures await in every direction. Be awed by ancient, dazzling glaciers. Hike mountain trails under the midnight sun. See some of Alaska’s most memorable wildlife. Paddle turquoise waterways through a vast state park – then relax, reset, and recharge with Anchorage’s outsized assortment of top restaurants, cozy accommodations, vibrant arts and cultures, and a buzzing variety of local entertainment.
Planning the perfect Alaska getaway is easier than you might think: Follow this guide to get started.
Anchorage has been called “the air crossroads of the world,” and direct flights from major U.S. hubs make it an easy entry point for any Alaska adventure. Board a plane bound for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and prepare to be amazed.
On the ground in Anchorage, transportation options abound. Rent a car for a self-guided day trip down the scenic Seward Highway, where jaw-dropping views have earned the road a triple crown: It’s a USDA Forest Service Scenic Byway, an Alaska Scenic Byway, and an All-American Road. Don’t feel like driving? Ride the rails with the Alaska Railroad, or catch a shuttle bus or coach service to one of the many dreamy destinations just outside the city.
Within Anchorage proper, a web of paved trails connects Downtown with some of the city’s incredible parks and cultural destinations. Rent a bike, then go for a ride.
Spend more time enjoying Alaska and less time navigating hotel transfers and luggage loading: Make Anchorage your base camp, then settle into the suite of your choice.
Options range from name-brand hotels to boutique B&Bs, budget accommodations, and beyond. Book a Downtown Anchorage room wrapped in panoramic mountain and ocean views, or relax at an alpine resort surrounded by all the scenic beauty of Chugach State Park. When it comes to accommodations, Anchorage offers more options than anywhere else in Alaska – which means guests can find a room to fit any travel style and price range.
From historic gold mines to glacier cruises, Anchorage provides a plethora of exciting day trips for every kind of traveler. Head north for hiking and biking trails, ATV tours, or kayaking at Eklutna Lake. Tour the icy expanse of Knik Glacier by helicopter or dogsled. Learn about the Anchorage area’s deep Dena’ina Athabascan heritage with a trip to the Eklutna Historical Park.
To the south, find family-favorite gold panning activities at Indian Valley Mine or Crow Creek Mine. See bears, moose, and other Alaska animals with an excursion to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Explore Portage Valley to encounter some of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers, including Byron Glacier or impressive Portage Glacier itself. Stop in Girdwood to ride the Alyeska Aerial Tram, soak up the views of the surrounding glaciers and mountain peaks, then savor a slice of local history via the Roundhouse at Alyeska Museum.
Guests never need to wander far to find incredible Alaska experiences in Anchorage.
Ship Creek, located mere blocks from major Downtown hotels, comes alive with king salmon and silver salmon all summer long. Rent gear from The Bait Shack, spend an afternoon angling, then process and ship your catch with the help of a local company like 10th & M Seafoods.
Head for the Alaska Native Heritage Center to learn more about Alaska’s diverse Indigenous cultures, then enjoy a self-guided public art tour to admire the modern works of Alaska Native artists and other local muralists. At the Anchorage Museum, exhibits feature everything from impressive historic artifacts to eye-opening Alaska art and culture. Closer to the airport, the Alaska Aviation Museum gives guests a firsthand look at Alaska’s extensive aviation culture and history.
Access the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge for a dose of outdoor serenity. A half-mile boardwalk at Potter Marsh is the perfect place to spot migratory birds and moose, and a popular beach trail at Kincaid Park offers a chance to feel the sand between your toes. In the spring, summer, and early autumn months, watch for pods of Cook Inlet beluga whales slipping between the whitecaps off the city coastline. And if you’re traveling in the fall, winter, or early spring, keep an eye on the aurora forecast: When the skies are clear and the atmospheric conditions are right, the northern lights can be seen dancing over the city skyline. Head for the Glen Alps Trailhead, Point Woronzof, or Earthquake Park for the best views.
Alaska is a huge place, but planning the ultimate Alaska adventure doesn’t have to be a huge chore. Set Anchorage as a base camp, pick your preferred season, must-see attractions, and can’t-miss activities, then get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Need planning tips in one convenient place? Order a free Official Guide to Anchorage – click here to get started.
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