Alaska's most populous city, Anchorage offers both small-town charm and the amenities of a larger city. Start your vacation day in Alaska by grabbing a cup of the local's favorite heritage coffee at Dark Horse Coffee Co. Then take a horse-drawn carriage ride — the best way to get your bearings at a comfortable pace. Horse Drawn Carriage Alaska offers rides ranging from 15 minutes to an hour, so you can tailor the length to meet your itinerary and cozy up under the northern sky with someone special.
Invigorated by the fresh air, you may be ready to take on some more urban pursuits. From local chocolates to native art, there are many ways to take a little bit of Alaska home with you — and it is all sales tax free. Shopping is hungry work, and there are many eateries to fill a growling belly. With quality local ingredients available to city chefs, look out for fresh seafood and locally crafted products to make the most of mealtimes. The Rustic Goat serves up elevated American classics with a touch of nostalgia in a family-friendly environment.
After eating, head to one of Anchorage's museums to discover more about Alaska's history, from the area's indigenous peoples to Russian links to the gold rush and pioneer times. Afterwards, treat your special someone to a meal with an incredible 360 panoramic view at Bridge Seafood Restaurant(re-opening May 2022) or dine beneath a breathtaking sunset at Simon and Seafort's.
Denali National Park is arguably Alaska's most popular destination and is an absolute must for visitors. Visiting Denali is almost exclusively done through an organized tour, and private vehicle access is severely limited. A special way to see the highlights is to engage in a little bit of flight seeing. Grab a helicopter tour from Fly Denali, sit back, and take in the incredible glacial scenic views.
If you prefer to keep your feet on terra firma, bus tours are a great way to see a lot of the park while staying snug and warm (that Alaska weather can be unpredictable!). Keep in mind the main summer season is generally late May through mid-September, so plan your day in Denali in advance through the National Park Service site. Then, round out the day with a short tour of Husky Homestead, the home of Iditarod Champion Jeff King. Cuddle up with some sled dog pups and get a glimpse of a true Alaskan lifestyle.
Alaska's second-most populous city started off as a frontier boom town during the gold rush. Located south of the Arctic Circle, Fairbanks offers some breathtaking sightseeing.
Don't miss Aurora season, an opportunity to see the Northern Lights from August 21 to April 21. Couples on vacation looking to wind down and have a cozy night together should rent a heated "aurorium" cabin for a unique way to view the aurora borealis. And if you're planning a relaxing honeymoon, look no further than the Chena Hotsprings resort, which also makes allowances for day-trippers to take in the waters at the natural hot springs.
If you're visiting in the summer, snuggle up with a loved under a blanket and cheer on your team during the midnight sun baseball game. Starting around 10:30pm, this game is an annual tradition and an experience you'll never forget.
The Alaskan state capital is oft-touted as the most remote in the country, which makes sense since there's no actual road to Juneau. With sea and air access only, an adventure vacation cruise is a perfect way to start off a visit to Alaska.
Grab your loved one's hand or explore Juneau on your own with a walk to a bear viewing platform raised above the salmon spawning streams. Then jump on a state-of-the-art boat, nestle into a cozy heated cabin, and journey into the deep blue in search of humpback whales and other marine wildlife native to the area.
Nestled at the southernmost entrance to the famed Inside Passage, Kethcikan is the gateway to frontier living. This melting pot region of different cultures includes no less than three Alaskan Native tribes (the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian) combined with various influences from across the globe, notably Norwegian fishermen and boatbuilders, Asian merchants, and pioneer-era English entrepreneurs.
As with most frontier towns, a former red-light district on Creek Street is now an arts, crafts, and museum area with brightly painted buildings. After a day of strolling along viewing art and taking in history, wind down with the locals for some eats at the quaint Alaska Fish House or visit Bar Harbor for fine dining with a side of sunset taken directly from your scenic restaurant view.
At the end of your Alaskan cruise but not ready to end your adventure vacation? The homey Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is the perfect post-cruise extension. Book in advance and receive a complimentary tram ride in the lap of luxury situated in the heart of rugged frontier surroundings. Close to much of Alaska's natural splendor, it's the perfect launching pad for family excursions to Denali National Park and Wrangell-St. Elias — the largest national park in America. The Alyeska Resort also offers activities to occupy the kids while you unwind at the spa.
Make a reservation at the Seven Glaciers, one of the coziest spots in Alaska as well as a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning restaurant — with a spectacular scenic view to match. The chef's tasting menus with suggested wine pairings, all highlighting Alaska's local bounty, and purveyors help make this the vacation extension you deserve.