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Known as the Last Frontier, Alaska welcomes outdoor lovers to experience unmatched landscapes, wildlife, and coastlines. A vacation here is unlike any other as its vast expanse of land offers the adventure of a lifetime and sights that your family will never forget. Settle in and stay awhile in one of hundreds of Alaska vacation rentals spread throughout this vast state.
Since Alaska is a large state, it has multiple climate zones, including an oceanic zone in the southeast, a subarctic zone around Anchorage, a subarctic oceanic zone in western Alaska, and an arctic zone in northern Alaska. In Fairbanks, summer temperatures climb to the low 70s, while winter temperatures dip to about 10 below zero. In moderate Anchorage, temperatures top out at 65 in the summer and drop to about 15 in the winter. No matter when you visit, be sure to pack layers since temperatures can change rapidly. Also keep in mind that climate and the hours of darkness during the winter and daylight during the summer can vary greatly depending on when and where you are visiting in the state.
Areas within Alaska
Families looking for Alaska vacation rentals can choose from places to stay in the state’s four main regions:
- Southeast Alaska is often referred to as Alaska’s inside passage. This region contains cities, such as Juneau and Sitka.
- South Central Alaska is the home of Anchorage, a place where tourists will easily find plenty of Alaska vacation rentals. This region includes rivers, rugged coastline, forests, and glaciers.
- The interior of Alaska includes areas such as Denali National Park, Fairbanks, Eielson Air Force Base, and the North Pole. In the Western region you’ll find the Kodiak Islands and Aleutian Islands.
- Northern Alaska is arctic Alaska where there are plenty of polar bears and caribou. Barrow is located in this northern region, and it is known for two-month long nights in the winter and two-weeks of sunshine in the summer.
Getting to Alaska is a breeze, thanks to the Juneau Airport in southern Alaska, the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in the state's largest city, and Fairbanks International Airport in central Alaska. Once you land, plan to take a scenic train ride to your destination or rent a car and enjoy the open roads. Driving can be treacherous in the winter, but in the summer, it's a convenient way to travel between most Alaska vacation homes and the state's top sights.
Things to Do
When you visit Alaska, you'll want to spend the majority of your time exploring the great outdoors. Start your trip with a visit to Denali National Park and Preserve in central Alaska, which includes a whopping 6 million acres of land. Just one road runs through the park, which means the vast majority is undeveloped trails, climbing areas, wildlife spotting areas, and places where you can truly experience tranquility.
Kenai Fjords National Park is another outdoor adventure that families will enjoy. Don’t miss the Aurora Borealis overhead as it is an amazing sight to behold from anywhere in the state.
In southeast Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve includes over 3 million acres of glaciers, mountains, coastline, fjords, and rainforest where visitors can hike, kayak, take a cruise, and watch for birds and other wildlife. This park is part of an internationally protected World Heritage Site that covers 25 million acres, the largest of its kind.
You won't go hungry in Alaska, where diners, pizzerias, and pubs serve hearty fare in every major city. Seafood and game are the foods that Alaska is most known for having on the menu. Fish, including king salmon and halibut, are commonly found in homes and dining establishments, while moose is also a food often enjoyed by locals. Reindeer or caribou and flat bread called Bannock are popular foods statewide, and Akuktaq, commonly known as Eskimo Ice Cream, is a traditional treat that combines animal fats and oils, berries, and snow or water.
In Anchorage, stop by the Snow City Café to indulge in the Kodiak Benedict with poached eggs and king crab cakes, the tundra scramble with reindeer sausage, or the sockeye smoked salmon cakes with eggs. In Fairbanks, don't miss the Loose Moose Café, where you can grab a buffalo burger, a reindeer hot dog, or a deep-fried halibut sandwich.
Every year, the state's biggest event is the Alaska State Fair, held in late August and early September. Here you'll see some of the state's best livestock, beautiful handicrafts, impressive woodwork, bountiful crops, and plenty of local food.
In June, don't miss the Seward Halibut Tournament, which encourages fishermen to get a head start early in the season in this southern town. Blueberries stand out as one of Alaska's best homegrown fruits, and the town of Girdwood celebrates the harvest every August. Visit this spot just east of Anchorage to indulge in blueberry pie, pancakes, and fresh fruit.
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race is a one 1,000-mile dog sled race that begins in Fairbanks every February. The Festival of the North is held the same month in Ketchikan and includes performances, entertainment, and a wearable art show during the month-long celebration.
Whether you visit for the summer festivals or for the snowy sports in the winter, you'll feel right at home when you stay in your choice of Alaska vacation homes in destinations throughout the state.