Alaska City Stays & Day Tours

Alaska’s scenic cities

In addition to the magnificent Inside Passage, Denali National Park and other wild reserves teeming with grizzly bears, Alaska has a number of very scenic cities, which are gateways to even more beautiful sights. Most Alaskan cruises call in at Juneau, the state’s remote capital. Unusual amongst American capitals in that no roads lead to Juneau, the city is hub for visitors wishing to view the Juneau Icefield. Of the 30 glaciers in this impressive icy mass, Mendenhall is the most popular and accessible via six hiking trails.

Other things to do from Juneau include dog sledding, helicopter flightseeing and bear-viewing on Admiralty Island, best done when the salmon run is in full swing (July to mid-August).

North of Juneau is Fairbanks, set at the crossroads between the Arctic, Canada and Denali National Park. Fly here for Aurora Borealis in winter, or to embark on epic day trips beyond the Arctic Circle in summer. You can also visit the United States’ northernmost city, Barrow, home to Alaska’s largest Inupiat community.

Picturesque Anchorage nestles between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet in southeast Alaska. From humble beginnings as a railway construction camp, the city is today Alaska’s most populous and home to first-class restaurants and fantastic museums. Anchorage also boasts a fabulous network of scenic trails, where you are likely to encounter some of the city’s 1,500 resident moose.

Some of the state’s most iconic destinations are within easy reach of Anchorage including Kenai Fjords, which is filled with glaciers and rich in marine life. There’s also Prince William Sound, a haven for millions of seabird as well as countless bald eagles and otters. Of course, Anchorage is your best entry point into Denali, which harbours grizzly bears, Dall sheep and wolf. You can also take a train from the city to Talkeetna, centre of flightseeing tours over Mt Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Accommodation in Alaska

Below are some of our other recommended Alaskan wilderness lodge accommodation options, carefully selected for their superior location, incredible wildlife and wilderness experiences, service and level of comfort.

Brooks Lodge

Probably the most famous lodge in Alaska for grizzly bear viewing, Brooks Lodge occupies prime position next to the salmon-rich Brooks River and Brooks Falls.

Katmai Wilderness Lodge

Amongst the finest bear viewing destinations in Alaska, Katmai Wilderness Lodge is also one of the few lodges within Katmai National Park.

Redoubt Bay Lodge

Family-run Redoubt Bay Lodge is the only lodge in a vast 171,000 acre wilderness teeming with bears and other native Alaskan wildlife.

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Anchorage

This bustling city has a wide range of attractions that deserve a few days of dedicated exploration. Landmarks well worth a visit include the Museum of History and Art, as well as the Alaska Native Heritage Centre. In summer, take advantage of the city’s excellent network of walking trails and make the most of the midnight sun. In winter, the dark skies around Anchorage are perfect for Aurora-viewing.

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Kenai Fjords National Park

In the shadow of towering mountains with sparkling blue waters at its doorstep is Seward, an historic town through which most visitors pass to enter the wonderful Kenai Fjords National Park. This enormous reserve is home to countless glaciers as well as a dizzying array of sealife from humpback whales and harbour seals to sea otters and orcas. Things to do here include kayaking, hiking, glacier walks and marine cruises.

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Juneau

Alaska’s remote capital is where visitors can take a scenic helicopter flight, then learn about the annual Iditarod Race and try their hand at mushing a sled and pack of huskies across the Mendenhall Glacier. It’s also the main float plane departure point for Admiralty Island, a hotspot for grizzly bears. This beautiful rainforest reserve also harbours plenty of Bald Eagles and Sitka black-tailed deer, with whales a common sight in the surrounding waters.

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Fairbanks

Set in Alaska’s rugged interior, Fairbanks is where visitors can fly into for nature’s most spectacular light show – Aurora Borealis – in winter. In summer, it’s a launchpad for light aircraft flights across the Arctic Circle, with the opportunity to return to town along the isolated Dalton Highway. For an insight into traditional culture, you can fly up to Barrow, where Alaska’s largest Inupiat community resides.

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