For many people, a trip to Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime dream fulfilled. For others, it’s a return to one of their favorite places on the planet. And some visit once and decide to make the state their home.
There are reasons aplenty to come to the Great Land and explore: An abundance of wildlife, unique cultural experiences, and unparalleled scenery are just a few. Building time into your itinerary to relax and absorb the small delights is always a good idea, too—enjoying quirky cafes, strolling through a boat harbor, groovin’ to some live local music.
And if you’ve never been here, we hope these photos nudge you to start planning. Who knows, in just a few short months, you could be watching humpback whales bubble-net feeding or be flightseeing around the summit of Denali. After all, every adventure starts with an inspiration.
1. A pair of courting horned puffins at St. Paul Island, where millions of birds migrate and nest.
2. A Seven-year-old boy holds his first king salmon of the season.
3. A roped-up mountaineer reaches the summit of Denali after a 15-day climb.
4. A humpback whale breaches in Sitka Sound.
5. An Alaska Railroad train crosses a river. More than 17 percent of visitors to Denali National Park arrive by rail.
6. Flightseeing helicopter views of a turquoise river just north of Cordova.
7. And they’re off! Sled dogs at the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage.
8. The Festival of Native Arts is held each spring by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and invites people of all cultures to learn and share traditions of Indigenous Alaskans from around the state.
9. A panoramic view of Columbia Glacier seen from Prince William Sound.
10. Historic Creek Street in Ketchikan is reflected in the river below.