When it comes time to plan your 2014 vacation your mind might immediately jump to an image of you on a beach with an umbrella drink having fun and getting in a little relaxation. But before you make your plans, consider taking a completely different kind of vacation and visiting Alaska. While the beach may not look like the one you are dreaming of and the drinks aren’t guaranteed to come with umbrellas, the breathtaking scenery, natural surroundings, and interesting cultures that Alaska has to offer can be just as much fun and relaxing as a sunny beach anywhere in the lower 48. Here are 8 reasons why you should plan your 2014 vacation in Alaska.
1. Alaska is for Everyone
While the rugged terrain, incredible hiking, and abundance of outdoor activities may make Alaska seem like it is only a great vacation spot for outdoorsy types and adventurers, there is more to Alaska than the outdoors. The state is rich in culture and history and offers a wide range of museums, art installations, and historical sites.
2. Alaska is Closer than You Think
When you look at the map, Alaska can seem like a vast wilderness far, far from home. However, it is really only a two-hour flight from popular southeast Alaskan cities. You can also get there by sea and travel on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry from Washington state to Alaska via the scenic Inside Passage or take one of the many cruises that bring visitors to various ports and points of interest in the state.
3. Alaska Appeals to All Ages
From retirees to families with children, Alaska has something to offer visitors of all ages. From sightseeing to hiking to fishing and more, no matter who you are traveling with, there is enough to see and do in Alaska to ensure everyone enjoys their stay, no matter the age.
4. Alaska is a Cultural Safe Haven
Unlike many other states, Alaska continues to have a rich native culture where old traditions are honored and old customs continue to be observed. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich and diverse culture of the state and get a feel for the history that happened there.
5. Alaska has Amazing Scenery
If the word breathtaking came from any one place on the planet, it was in Alaska. From glaciers to mountains, volcanoes to islands and amazing wildlife, Alaska offers incredible scenery almost everywhere you look.
6. Alaska has Glaciers
Glaciers are something you won’t find in many other states and certainly not in the quantity available in Alaska. There are around 100,000 glaciers in the state and many provide opportunities for sightseeing and hiking. Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska has 53 named glaciers and many yet to be named. It has more glaciers than any island in the world. In fact, Sitka’s drinking water is glacier fed and crystal clear after filtering. It tastes amazing right from the tap and at Alaska Ocean View it comes out of the tap at 42 degrees even in the summer thus is cooling and refreshing without the need of ice cubes.
7. Alaska has Abundant Wildlife
Whether you love bird watching or would really love to see a bear or a whale, the potential for viewing a wide variety of wildlife in their natural surroundings is prevalent in Alaska. There are almost 500 different species of birds which means Alaska, especially in Sitka, with its location on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska just outside the Inside Passage on the outer coast of the Pacific Ocean is a bird watchers paradise.
8. Alaska has Unique Features
Have you ever visited a town that can only be accessed by boat or plane? Ever taken a ride in a floatplane or sped over the water in a jet boat? The vastness of Alaska paired with its rugged terrain offers a unique experience especially for travelers who are used to cars, commercial planes, and subways.
Alaska’s massive coastline encompasses two oceans (Pacific and Arctic) and three seas (Bering, Chukchi, Beaufort). The absolute best way to see Alaska is to make several trips to Alaska concentrating on one of its amazing regions at a time. Each region deserves two to three weeks to see and do it properly but even if you only have a long weekend you can still see and do alot by focusing on one town in Southeast Alaska.