It's no wonder so many families dream of Alaska. There's adventure, nature, wildlife - and yet it's still relatively safe and comfortable.
Alaska's just a short flight from the Pacific Northwest. People speak English and accept American currency. But most of all, a trip to Alaska is a chance to expose your kids to nature at its most wild — and there's no telling how much impact that can have on the people they grow up to be.
Tips on Traveling to Alaska with Kids
- Get Prepared. Not matter if you're coming for a week or a month, there's a lot to sort out. Chat with your kids about what they're most interested in and be sure to work that in. Your son loves collecting things? Make time for a beach-combing walk along Lowell Point near Seward. Got a daughter who loves biking? Be sure to bike to Wonder Lake from Kantishna. Then, talk to our team of Alaska travel experts for real insider advice (call 1.800.808.8068) and to make sure you haven't missed anything. By the time you're ready to get on the plane, hopefully you're relaxed because it's all organized.
- Stoke the Excitement. In the months leading up to your trip, read books about grizzly bears, watch short films about Alaska, look at the map in close detail after dinnertime — all of this will help your kids get excited about the trip, and prepare them for what's coming. The more they know, the more excited they'll be about what's going to happen and the more they'll get out of it.
- Explore the past. From Native Alaskan culture to Gold Rush bonanzas, human history is alive and well here. And it's fun! Discover heritage buildings in Talkeetna where time seems to have stood still and the locals are as colorful today as a century ago. Visit the historic Crow Creek Gold Mine, en route to Seward from Anchorage, to dig for gold. Anchorage's Earthquake Park is also a cool spot for kids.
- Ships Ahoy! Kids love boat tours. At Kenai Fjords Tours, options range from 3.5 hours to 9 hours. All involve chances to see wildlife and get your Junior Captain pin. There are friendly deckhands eager to help your kids get the most out of the tour as well. You know best how you're kids will do on board a boat - talk to the team at Kenai Fjords Tours to find the right tour for your family.
- Wildlife. Of course, you're keen to spot wildlife with your kids. Talk about memories! There are whales, sea lions and otters at Kenai Fjords. And on the Denali Backcountry Adventure, older kids can even strive to spot 'the Big Five'. See some of our tips on how to up your chances when you're here.
- Glaciers! You can measure the health of our planet through Alaska's glaciers. The hike to Exit Glacier, just outside Seward, is easy to access. Kids can get up close to the ancient ice and learn about how - and why - the glacier has receded.
- Getting around. Part of the fun in Alaska is getting from place to place. Families can travel by bus, train, ferry and car as they make their way around. Keep a checklist as you go!
- Leave in free time. As organized as you are, you never know exactly what'll happen. There may be a herd of caribou on the side of the road or a bluegrass concert in a park. Be sure you slot in a few undetermined hours each day to stumble upon the spontaneous joy that traveling brings.
Make sure you've packed properly and don't plan too much! There's got to be some spontaneity and mystery to your Alaska trip - the kids will thank you for decades to come.