Hiking in Wrangell

Alaska Activities for Every Traveler: No Experience Required

Alaska Activities for Every Traveler: No Experience Required

Alaska is a big state full of big adventures, but the good news is – you don’t have to embark on an epic wilderness trek or get off the beaten track to soak up the incredible scenery, wildlife, and culture that Alaska has to offer. We’ve gathered our list of activities that are suitable for any traveler to Alaska – offering the perfect combination of comfort, affordability, accessibility, and just the right amount of adventure.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking and Biking

A must-do activity for every visitor to Alaska, hiking is one of the most affordable and approachable outdoor activities in Alaska. Throughout the state, visitors will find hikes suitable for all experience levels, including short hikes on easy trails with little elevation gain. Check out our top picks for some of the best easy trails and the best family-friendly hikes. If you prefer to travel by pedal power, consider renting a bike or an e-bike for a relaxing day of cycling sightseeing. Outfitters throughout the state offer bike rentals and can direct you to the best routes for a low-key ride. If you want to leave the navigating to someone else, consider a guided hiking or biking trip – many of which are catered to all levels of activity.

Hiking in Sitka
Hiking in Sitka

Glacier Trekking

While donning a pair of crampons and hiking across a glacier might sound intimidating, there are plenty of glacier treks throughout the state that are beginner-friendly. Exploring the otherworldly terrain and impossibly blue pools and streams is an experience you will never forget. Tour guides will get you geared up with crampons and lead you across the undulating terrain. The most accessible and affordable glacier trekking experience is at Matanuska Glacier in the Mat-Su Valley, where each 2-hour tour is catered to meet the group’s activity level.

Matanuska Glacier
Trekking on Matanuska Glacier. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Matt Hage

Aerial Trams

Prefer to get up into the mountains without working up a sweat? Alaska is home to two aerial trams that whisk you thousands of feet into stunning alpine terrain. The Goldbelt Tram in Juneau ascends 1,800 feet up Mt. Roberts for panoramic views over the city and Gastineau Channel. From the top of the tram (after taking in the views), you can enjoy a meal or a drink, browse the gift shop, watch a free film on Tlingit culture, and access hiking trails. Further north in the town of Girdwood, the Alyeska Aerial Tram climbs 2,025 feet up Mt. Alyeska where you’ll be surrounded by the peaks of the Chugach Range and views of the Turnagain Arm. The upper tram station features two restaurants, the Roundhouse Museum, and access to the North Face hiking trail. Both experiences offer magnificent sightseeing from the enclosed tramways – plus activities and food with a view once you get to the top.

Alyeska Aerial Tram
Alyeska Aerial Tram

Day Tours

Train Trips

One of the best tour options combining sightseeing with relaxation and comfort are railroad day trips. The Alaska Railroad stretches 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks and offers day-trip and multi-day opportunities. Passengers enjoy comfortable seating and large windows, along with narration and onboard dining. For the best amenities, book GoldStar Service to be seated on the top level with glass-dome ceilings, exclusive outside viewing decks, excellent meal service, and a private bar. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway in Skagway follows the path of the Klondike Gold Rush and offers half-day and full-day train trips that highlight the impressive, rugged scenery and fascinating history of the area. Both train trips give you the opportunity to sit back and relax in comfort while viewing Alaska’s breathtaking scenery and wildlife.

Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad on the Turnagain Arm. Photo Credit: Travel Alaska, Michael DeYoung


Day Cruises

Book a day cruise to experience the coastal sights of Alaska. Cruises range from around an hour to full day and are the best way to view whales and get up-close views of towering tidewater glaciers in Alaska. Cruises feature heated cabins, narration, and typically offer onboard food and drink options. Passengers can take in the sights and sounds from outside viewing decks and then warm up inside with a hot drink. Some of the best spots for day cruising in Alaska are Juneau, Ketchikan, and Gustavus in the Inside Passage and Seward, Whittier, and Valdez in the Southcentral region.

Day Cruise in Glacier Bay National Park from Gustavus
Day Cruise in Glacier Bay National Park from Gustavus

Dog Sledding Tours

If you’re looking for a little more adventure – but still no experience required – try an immersive experience with Alaska’s state sport: dog mushing. Dog sledding tours are available year-round and give you the opportunity to feel first-hand the excitement, energy, teamwork, and strength of Alaska’s canine athletes. Tours typically range from a couple hours to half day and include a ride in a dog sled or a cart (depending on the season) plus a tour of the kennel. If you’re lucky, you may even get to snuggle some puppies. Dog sled tours give you an insider’s perspective on dog mushing along with the thrill and pure joy of riding along with a dog team.   

Dog sledding in Fairbanks

Wildlife Conservation Centers & Wildlife Excursions

You don’t have to go trekking in the wilderness to glimpse magnificent wildlife. Visitors can get up-close views of animals both large and small at conservation and rehabilitation centers located throughout the state. These centers rescue and rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals, providing them with comfortable, enriching habitats, and releasing them back into the wild when possible. In addition to this important work, these centers contribute significant research to wildlife conservation. Don’t miss:

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Even more up-close animal encounters can be found at The Musk Ox Farm and Reindeer Farm in Palmer, and Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks. These farms are fun for the whole family and offer tours and educational opportunities alongside their domesticated animals. You can even take a walk with a reindeer or do some reindeer yoga at Running Reindeer Ranch!

Running Reindeer Ranch

Cultural Experiences

Alaska is home to rich and unique cultural experiences that highlight the people, places, arts, and food that make this great state what it is today. Take a break from the outdoor activities to spend a leisurely day wandering a museum, watching cultural demonstrations, or enjoying some urban sightseeing on a city tour.

Alaska Native Culture

At the center of culture in Alaska are the Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land for more than 10,000 years. With 229 federally recognized tribes and 20 distinct cultural groups, Alaska Native cultures are vibrant and varied, with their own unique traditions, arts, cuisine, languages, and subsistence lifestyles which are continued today. Visitors to Alaska can learn more about Alaska’s First Peoples through cultural tours and experiences throughout the state, including song and dance performances, art demonstrations, cultural centers, purchasing authentic artwork, festivals & events, and more.

Yup'ik dance at Festival of Native Arts
Yup'ik dance performance at Festival of Native Arts. Photo Credit: Wáats'asdiyei Joe Yates Credit


With more than 60 museums throughout the state, there are plenty of opportunities to learn about Alaska’s history, people, landscapes, and art. Some of the most popular museums are the Anchorage Museum, the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, and the Museum of the North in Fairbanks – though you’ll find fascinating, interactive museums in communities both large and small throughout the state.

Ketchikan Museum
Ketchikan Museum

City Tours

City tours are another interactive way to learn about Alaska’s culture and history. Tours in communities like Fairbanks, Anchorage, Seward, Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway, and more take you sightseeing using a wide array of transportation. You’ll find walking tours, bike tours, trolley tours, van tours, streetcar tours – and even Segway tours. Some excursions highlight the state’s exciting culinary scene and include stops for tastings at top restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.

Culinary tour in Juneau
Enjoy some of the best bites in town on a culinary tour.

Ready to learn more about tours and activities in Alaska? Visit our Things to Do and Play Your Trip pages, and request a free print or digital Alaska State Vacation Planner for page after page of travel inspiration.     


Alaska: AKA Your Next Adventure

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