We’re about to kick off the high season for travel to Alaska: Summer is a popular time for vacationers looking for mild temps, plenty of wildlife, and no shortage of outdoor activities to keep all ages entertained. But this year there’s even more to look forward to. As 2019 marks the 60th year since Alaska became a state, the destination is upping the ante on adventure offerings for travelers.
Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, told us she’s especially thrilled about the state’s new offerings in its anniversary year. “So many of the visitor experiences are about being immersed in nature and our way of life,” she says. “There’s outdoor adventures like hiking, whale watching, kayaking, bear viewing, and glacier trekking. And our National Parks system has made several updates, like a new bear watching platform in Katmai National Park and Preserve.”
All the major airlines fly in and out of Anchorage (United Airlines launches a daily nonstop service from Newark in June and budget airline Allegiant Air debuts a new route from Bellingham, Washington, on May 22; meanwhile, stalwart Alaska Airlines showcased the first of its modernized fleet earlier this year, with upgrades and amenities designed to increase comfort for passengers). It’s also worth noting that the Alaska Railroad meanders across more than 500 miles of the most picturesque parts of the state. With the incredible access—and awesomely scenic rides—that helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, cruise ships, and seaplanes grant, getting around Alaska has never been easier. Here are eight of our favorite adventures to consider adding to your list this year.