With vast swaths of wilderness, communities that are only accessible by boat or plane, and plenty of untamed characters who’ve chosen to live in one of the most rural and dramatic landscapes in the United States, it’s no surprise that Alaska is called the Last Frontier.
The hardest part of planning a trip to Alaska is knowing what to do and how many great places to put on your itinerary. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures in Alaska's amazing national parks, to spot wildlife, or to admire the northern lights, you will find memorable and fascinating experiences at every turn.
These are the top things to do in Alaska.
Alaska cruising is big business and one of the most popular ways to see the state. Every summer, dozens of mega-ships make their way through the waters of Alaska’s Inside Passage, visiting communities only accessible by boat (and plane), such as Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau, the state capital.
Excursions vary across ports, including flightseeing tours that take you over vast ice fields, fishing excursions that troll the deep waterways of the region, and cultural tours that bring the vibrant communities of Alaska’s Native people to life. Many people make their first trip to Alaska on a cruise because it’s an easy way to experience the state without diving into trickier travel logistics.
Planning tip: There are numerous options when picking an Alaska cruise, and your primary constraints are your travel style and budget. To minimize your environmental footprint and better support local economies, consider a small-ship cruise. Several operators, including Alaskan Dream Cruises, UnCruise Adventures and John Hall’s Alaska, offer similar itineraries to the big ships but can venture deeper into southeastern Alaska’s waterways and visit smaller communities that also need tourism support.
What makes Denali National Park special is both what you’ll find there and what you won’t. As one of the nation’s largest national parks, Denali is a huge space of wilderness, perhaps the largest undeveloped space you’ll ever experience. It's also one of the best places to see wildlife in Alaska, and you might spot moose, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, caribou, and wolves, as well as smaller mammals and many species of birds. But the national park’s highlight is Denali itself, the tallest mountain in North America. Covered in snow year-round, the “High One” stands head and shoulders above the rest of the Alaska Range.
Planning tips: The best way to visit Denali National Park is by booking one of the official bus tours. You can’t drive private vehicles past mile marker 15 of the 92-mile dirt road. But the buses go farther into the park and help limit the environmental impact of tourism in one of the last truly wild
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Long before she entered the tent as the elegantly erudite judge of The Great British Bake Off, Prue Leith was already enjoying a fascinating career: Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she studied at the Sorbonne in Paris before opening a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. Among her many, many roles in the decades since, she has written a dozen cookbooks and nearly as many novels, opened several culinary schools, and sat on the board of British Railways and Orient Express.
There are many different types of rewards cards. As such, sorting through all the available cards and determining which card (or cards) is best for you can be confusing. Once you have multiple credit cards, remembering which one to use for each transaction can make maximizing the points and miles earned on everything you buy even more difficult.
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This cheery diner might be located deep in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, but it’s immensely popular, particularly with families. It’s both child- and dog-friendly, and there’s an enormous play area out front. Once you’ve finished snapping photos of the kitsch interiors, sink your teeth into a mushroom Swiss burger or enjoy a refreshing glass of sarsaparilla from the restored 1940s soda fountain.
Pushing the limits of wilderness exploration can mean extreme weather conditions, hours or days spent outdoors, and lots of pulling and hauling, all to achieve an extraordinary experience. The products you wear, use and carry can be like superpowers that put impossible journeys within reach. Here are the best luxury gifts for exploring the great outdoors:
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