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Alaska Vacations | Suntan Spots in Alaska

 

Family vacation spots: Anchorage, Seward, Sitka, Nome, Juneau, Kenai Peninsula, Ketchican, and Fairbanks.

 

Best places for fun: The Alaska SeaLife Center, Denali National Park & Preserve, Mount Robson, Murie Science and Learning Center, and Imaginarium Science Discovery Center.

 

What’s to do? Visit Mount McKinley, count moose; watch whales, go backpacking, bird watching, camping, climbing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, salmon fishing, hiking, stargazing and wildlife viewing. Watch glaciers calving, visit heritage museums or enjoy baseball at midnight.

 

One of the reasons people choose to visit Alaska is for the wildlife. A family trip to the Denali National Park allows people to experience the wildlife and so much more! On a tour through the park, you get the opportunity to see active glaciers and the highest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley. The best months to visit are May through September. McKinley Chalet Resort is a full service mini-suite resort providing quick and easy access to all park activities and local recreation. The accommodations are in a wilderness setting with modern conveniences and comforts. The resort is the home of the Tundra Wilderness Tour, Cabin Night Dinner Theatre and whitewater raft adventures.

 

Guided Alaska Family Vacation – Bear watching, salmon fishing, and really cool glaciers! You hear and read about the hypnotizing beauty of Alaska and the best way to fully appreciate it is to have an Alaskan family vacation. A state so big and full of wonderful sights and sounds, it will take an entire lifetime to discover everything that Alaska contributes to the world. Taking a guided Alaska vacation with a reputable company provides you with just a handful of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There are so many things to explore in Alaska that you can rarely find anywhere else in the world - fjords, glaciers, flight-seeing and flight-fishing, sled dog races, grizzly bears, orcas and moose. So plan your Alaska family vacation as carefully as possible, making sure the only thing you worry about when you get there is to absorb and enjoy everything. On guided tours your guide will point out unique aspects of the park you are visiting, whether it is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park or Denali National Park. If you can; be sure to check out a dog race popularly known as the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Tours are tailored with an easy schedule to allow you to enjoy your vacation in Alaska; stress-free and making plenty of alone-time with your family. You can enjoy outdoor activities such as sea kayaking, biking or just walking around and exploring the vicinity on your own. Try to plan a visit to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

 

Alaska is legendary for its winters and that is the reason most visitors go in the summer when the days are long and the temperatures are quite comfortable. Generally the time period between May and early September is the best time to visit Alaska with late May through June being the best due to the combination of long days, clear skies and warm afternoons. Wintertime brings 24-hour darkness to only the part of Alaska above the Arctic Circle. Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, Nome and the rest of the state all get some sunlight, however pale, for a few hours each day. The longest nights occur around the winter solstice, December 21st and the days and nights in the spring and fall are 12 hours long. Summer and fall are the rainy season and in winter the heaviest snow falls occur in the coastal mountains and the area around Valdez.

 

Anchor River State Park is a great place for those who enjoy salmon fishing with a variety of types found here. Speaking of salmon, it is the favorite food of Alaska bears, of which there are primarily three kinds in this state. Brown bears are very well known for their salmon-fishing antics, their size and their ferociousness. On Kodiak Island, browns grow to 1,200 pounds or larger because of the great supply of salmon and the mild winters. Black bears are smaller than browns and also found all over the state. Their fur color isn't always black; it may even appear brown or cinnamon. Black bears may be seen feeding on salmon at Anan Creek, but they're seen a lot in Juneau, Seward and parts of Anchorage and are considered pests. Polar bears, who can reach 1,200 pounds (males mostly), live along the northern coastline and most of the time they live on pack ice in search of ringed seals to eat. These long-necked bears often visit coastal towns such as Barrow and Point Hope.

 

Glacier Bay National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve. Here you will see “tidewater glaciers”, formed over thousands of years by snowfall from the surrounding mountains. Tidewater glaciers follow inlets and fjords in their march to the sea where pieces break away in an act called “calving”. Glaciers cycle based on the climate, so they have grown and receded over thousands of years. Glacial retreats expose a land that is extremely resilient with a variety of plant life. As the glaciers advance and retreat so do the human and wildlife populations. It also gives scientists the opportunity to study the area previously covered by the glacier, a very exciting chance to look into the past. Wildlife includes Humpback and killer whales patrolling the nearby waters with five species of Pacific salmon swimming through. The shoreline is a resting place for many migrating birds and on land you can watch for bears, both brown and black. There are also moose, Sitka deer, wolves and wolverines.

 

The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is in an area where four mountain ranges meet and is home to the second highest peak in the US, Mount St. Elias at 18,008 feet. The park is 20,625 square miles and recorded as our nation's largest national park. Nine of the country's 16 tallest mountain peaks are here. This park is home to more glaciers than any other and includes Malaspina Glacier which is larger than the state of Rhode Island in size. The park is home to a large population of black and brown bears, caribou, sheep and goats, with the Copper River system adjoining being one of the richest in salmon. The Chugach National Forest is southwest from here and to the southeast are Tongass National Forest and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, as well as Canada's Kluane National Park.

 

Anchorage is a modern city in a beautiful setting with an estimated 274,000 people living there full time. It rests in between the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet, and within sight of Mount McKinley, the continent's tallest peak. The city looks like an ordinary city to the many who visit, but nature is never too far away. There are spawning salmon that migrate up Anchorage's streams, and anyone taking a stroll through the woods may come face to face with a moose. The city came about as a railroad construction camp on Ship Creek in 1914. The population increased quickly during World War II and with the pipeline construction of the 1970s. Parts of Anchorage were severely damaged in 1964 from an earthquake of 9.2 on the Richter scale. The city, however, healed quite fast and is now the financial, cultural and medical capital of Alaska. Don’t forget to check out the neat shops, museums and cultural centers while there.

 

Fairbanks sits near the center of the state and has a population of 82,000 residents. It was founded in 1902 as the trading place for the gold miners working to develop the Interior fields. It is about 110 miles south of the Arctic Circle and 357 miles north of Anchorage. The city was a stopping place for warplanes traveling to Russian in World War II. In the 1970s, Fairbanks boomed with the construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which passes just to the east of the town.

 

Juneau, the capital of Alaska, is located on the upper Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska, almost 600 air miles from Anchorage and 900 miles from Seattle. Juneau was founded as a gold-mining camp in 1880 and this city was swamped with prospectors. It became Alaska’s territorial capital in 1906, home to the Legislature in 1912 and Alaska state capital in 1959 upon statehood. It now has a population of approximately 31,200 residents is home of the University of Alaska Southeast. In the summer time, it bursts at the seams with hundreds of thousands of cruise ship passengers! You’ll need to take a ferry or plane to get to the Alaskan capital. There's a lot to do both indoors and out here. There are airplane charters, helicopter tours, canoe and kayak rentals, tours and fishing and fishing charters. They have “Gold Rush Days” towards the last week of June, July 4th celebrations and the “Golden North Salmon Derby in August. Raincoats are needed here in April (averages 3”) and in September (averages 7”) because of the rain. Summer high temperatures only get to the 50’s so pack warm clothes.

 

Sitka, a town on Baranhof Island, is a hotbed of Alaskan history. The original inhabitants were the Tlingit Indians. It was the site of Alaska’s discovery in 1741 by the Russian, Alexei Chirikof, who was part of a Russian expedition under the command of Vitus Bering (Bering Straits). The Russian influence can still be seen in some of the architecture. The most notable natural feature is the dormant volcano that puts one in mind of Mt. Fuji in Japan. It was in this city, in October 1867, that the United States took possession of Alaska in a transaction known as Seward’s Folly. Until 1906, Sitka was the capital of the territory until the move to Juneau, yet the Governor did not move until two years later. A visit to the Sitka Historical Society and Museum might be a good place to start when visiting this interesting town. Sitka is a stop on the Alaskan cruises and there is also an airport on the neighboring island of Japonski.

 

This 49th state of the union is truly a fascinating and naturally beautiful place to visit.

 

 

-Ms. Suntan

 

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