June 2012

Photo by TravelAlaska.com user
   Submitted By: Submitted By: Lisa Stelter — Moose and calf grazing in the valley of Denali

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Family fun in the Last Frontier

Traveling to Alaska is an opportunity to make unforgettable family memories and there are now more family-friendly options than ever. Whether it's your first time or an encore adventure, taking in the state’s magnificent wildlife and majestic scenery through the eyes of your children (or grandparents) is always a rewarding experience. Visitors can make the ever-popular journey along Alaska’s coast on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry, traveling the area’s scenic waterways from town to town. Another great stop for families is Denali National Park and Preserve in the Interior, home to Mount McKinley and opportunities for fun as big as North America’s tallest peak. There are also plenty of family friendly activities, festivals and attractions across Alaska that cater to children’s curiosity while showing off only-in-Alaska wonders.

Day 1 Juneau 
Arrive in Juneau via plane, cruise ship or Alaska Marine Highway System ferry. Get the family together for a trip on Mount Roberts Tramway. Once you’ve reached the summit of Mount Roberts, take in the sweeping view of the rainforest below and the surrounding mountains. Back in town, explore the Alaska State Museum’s collection of artifacts from Alaska Natives and Russian settlers. Overnight in Juneau.

Day 2 Juneau – Sitka
Hop on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry and spend a couple hours onboard as you journey southeast to Sitka. Upon arrival, head to the Alaska Raptor Center for an up close and personal look at bald eagles and other rescued birds. Watch the birds in action inside the flight-training center, an enclosed area where rehabilitating birds regain the ability to fly. Overnight in Sitka.

Day 3 Sitka – Wrangell
Spend the day taking in the sights on your trip through the Inside Passage while the children take advantage of the playroom and arcade or listen to the U.S. Forest Service interpreter explain the wildlife and environment of the Tongass National Forest. (This journey can also be done overnight.)

Day 4 Wrangell 
Get your land legs back in Wrangell by exploring Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park and the carvings left by local Alaska Natives. Take a walk to...


Ride the Ferry

Looking for a unique twist on the family road trip? Instead of packing everyone in a car, book your passage on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry. The state-owned fleet of 11 vessels provides a fun and easy way to travel to Alaska’s coastal communities, many of which aren’t connected to the rest of the state by road. There are plenty of ways to keep kids entertained en route. They can work off some steam while you unwind and relax, taking in the shorelines or watching sea birds and other marine wildlife on the way to your destination.

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Alaska Marine Highway

The Great One

A must-see on many families’ Alaska itineraries, Denali National Park and Preserve is the home to the famed Mount McKinley and 6 million acres of wilderness. While the wild creatures that roam Denali and its rugged geography are captivating no matter your age, the park has several programs designed specifically for youngsters. Whether it’s becoming a junior ranger, learning about dinosaurs or exploring the Murie Science and Learning Center, there are plenty of opportunities to make a trip to Denali fun and educational.

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New Tours and Old Favorites

From Kodiak to Fairbanks, there are heaps of family friendly activities across Alaska. There’s a chance to do everything from viewing Alaska marine wildlife, dressing up in traditional Alaska Native garments, conducting fun scientific research, watching parades, going on carnival rides, exploring outside, competing in races and more. Here’s a roundup of new opportunities and established good times for families in Alaska.

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Family poses with caribou antlers