Official State of Alaska Vacation and Travel Information
Submitted By: Bill Howard - Landing on a glacier in Denali
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Alaska is one of a kind – a land bigger, wilder and more remote than anywhere else in the United States – and there are tons of once-in-a-lifetime experiences only to be had here. So if you've been to the beach, seen the geysers, hit the boardwalk and cruised the interstate and are ready to up the ante on your next vacation, read on to learn about amazing and life-changing sites, destinations and events you'll only find in Alaska.
Let's start with the northern lights. Also known as the aurora borealis, the northern lights are one of Alaska's biggest attractions during the winter months. The lights are theoretically visible anywhere in Alaska, but the best and most predictable viewing is found in places like Fairbanks, Coldfoot, Deadhorse and Barrow, which sit beneath what scientists refer to as the "auroral oval," the place on earth where displays of aurora are brightest and most frequent. The lights themselves are caused by energetic particles that enter the earth's upper atmosphere. Their appearance can vary depending on the strength of the display, from a faint green glow on the horizon to unmistakably dramatic bands of light ranging from green to white to red and sometimes even purple that hang like curtains in the sky and flutter as though blown by a gentle breeze. There are a variety of tour operators, lodges and destinations that specialize in helping visitors experience the northern lights, so be sure to visit the northern lights viewing directory at TravelAlaska.com to get in touch with an expert. Not planning on visiting in the winter? While winter is definitely the best time for northern lights viewing, it's not the only time. Visitors to the Interior and Far North regions who travel in late April/early May or in September may have a chance to see the lights as well. The only thing preventing their visibility in the summer is Alaska's abundant summer daylight, which waxes and wanes dramatically on either side of the summer solstice, June 21.
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Seth Kantner is a lifelong resident of the arctic and a prolific writer and photographer. He is the author of the bestselling and award-winning novel “Ordinary Wolves.” Kantner is a commercial fisherman who makes his home in the Northwest Arctic community of Kotzebue, and offers his tips on things to see and do in Kotzebue here.
Tok to Eagle Road Trip
This three-day road trip from Tok to Eagle features the off-the-beaten-path charm of some of Alaska’s most remote and historic gold mining communities – Chicken and Eagle – as well as the iconic Fortymile Country made famous by Jack London. Read on to learn how to incorporate the fun and unusual Taylor Highway into your Alaska driving itinerary.
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