Why it’s a great time to plan a trip to Alaska
While no one can predict the course the COVID-19 outbreak will take as we enter the summer one thing is for sure: Alaska’s tourist attractions will see far fewer visitors this year than in any year for the past decade. Due to CDC travel restrictions and Canadian port closures the cruise industry has all but stopped the flow of cruise visitors into the state for most of the 2020 season. Cruise tours and inland adventures have been cancelled. Considering that Alaska is one of the top three cruise destinations in the world and that approximately half of Alaska’s visitors arrive by cruise ship the magnitude of these cruise restrictions will leave much of the state free and clear of tourists this summer.
Since the pandemic is still raging on I wouldn’t recommend committing money to airfare or other non-refundable components, but it is worth planning a trip for late summer so you are ready to go if and when things clear up. If you want to see Alaska free of crowds and in it’s most natural state this is certainly the year to do it.
Although in “normal” times I usually recommend clients combine both land based and sea based components to their Alaska itinerary the truth is that much of the state’s magnificence can be enjoyed with a good old fashioned all American road trip. We have pre-planned road trip itineraries and specialize in making custom arrangements, please let us know if you’d like to learn more.
For those who don’t want to drive there are also plentiful rail options that will give you a fantastic look at the wilds of Alaska. Christopher Travel is happy to help you plan either option.
- Denali: One of the most popular national parks, Denali encompasses more than 6 million acres of Alaskan wilderness. Denali is also home to Mt. McKinley. Take one of the National Park Service tours into the park for wildlife viewing or if you are feeling adventurous consider a stay in one of the back country lodges. Other activities such as day hikes, flightseeing, glacier walking, fishing or sled dog experiences will round out your time in this beautiful region.
- Talkeetna: This quintessential Alaskan town captures an idealized glimpse of small town life in the Great North. In addition to enjoying the charming small town life fishing, hiking and flightseeing into Denali are all available here.
- Katmai: Katmai is renowned for it’s brown bear population which thrive along the river catching the abundant salmon. A photographer’s dream, Katmai is located in a remote part of the Alaska peninsula and accessible exclusively by air or water for day trips or backcountry lodge stays. Very few services exist within the park so a visit to Katmai takes some advanced planning and is best done through an established tour provider. Christopher Travel is happy to help find the perfect fit for your needs and budget.
- Wildlife Conservation Center: This wildlife sanctuary is a great place to get up close with Alaska’s wildlife. Focused on conservation, education and research the center provides quality care to injured and orphaned animals.
- Glacier Cruises: Available in many locations in Alaska the most popular are Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords and Portage Glacier cruises. Not only will you get up close viewing of magnificent glaciers you will have a wonderful opportunity to view both marine and land wildlife.
- Anchorage Museum and Alaska Native Heritage Center: Explore the traditions of Alaska’s Indigenous cultures in the interactive heritage center and then head over to the Anchorage Museum for a glimpse at the thousands of Alaska artifacts in their collection.
- Alyeska Aerial Tram: Take this tram to the top of Mt. Alyeska for an incredible views of the Turnagain Arm, multiple glaciers, and the seemingly endless peaks of the Chugach Mountains. And if you don’t forget to look down you might even see bear or moose in the wilderness below.
While this list includes many of the hot spots of Alaska tourism the real treasure of Alaska is in the quiet expanses of ordinary wilderness. Go kayaking, canoeing, hiking anywhere in Alaska and you will not be disappointed. One of my absolute favorite Alaska memories is a canoe trip I took with my daughter on Harriet Hunt Lake (the cover photo for this page is from that trip). The quiet of the pristine wilderness will capture your imagination in ways you never thought possible.
Fun fact: Did you know Alaska reportedly has more than three million lakes, approximately three thousand are named?
Let Christopher Travel help you plan your Alaska vacation, by car, ship, rail, or air! For road trips we have pre-planned itineraries as well as semi-custom and custom options.