Staying active in the winter in Alaska is key to success! That and dressing in layers! but that's a different blog (here!)
These are the 7 Must Do's for Winter Adventure in Alaska!
#1 - Dance under the Northern Lights
There are factors we can control and those we cannot, so plan for at least 3 nights of aurora viewing to maximize opportunity! When considering aurora viewing destinations, group size is IMPORTANT! Taking our small group tour means you have fewer light distractions, and it provides a more intimate aurora viewing experience. Why go on tour? Unfortunately, we can't set the alarm for the aurora to wake you up. The hotel wake up calls that you ask for are generally reliant on night shift employees, in the midst of normal hotel duties, to look up and notice the aurora. Not the BEST strategy, but good if you give yourself a night off from aurora hunting. Another reason to go on tour is that traditionally people have a hard time feeling sleepy when joining an exciting outdoor activity! You won't want to sleep, because of Rule #1 You can't see the aurora with your eyes closed!
#2 - Walk on a Glacier
Traveling on ancient ice is a humbling journey. CNN called it "an Alaska glacier hike through uncompromising beauty" and we couldn't have said it better ourselves! Whether you walk on the Matanuska Glacier, to hear the sounds of the deep ice underfoot, or take to the skies in a bush plane, above the massive frozen rivers, to the remote wilderness of Denali National Park, you are bound to #FindYourAlaska.
#3 - Visit a Gingerbread Village
The Hotel Captain Cook's famous gingerbread village is sure to please everyone! The smell of the holidays embraces you as you walk through the 4th Avenue Entrance. While you are visiting the gingerbread village, be sure to grab dinner at one of the Hotel Captain Cook's four restaurants on site. Fletchers is one of our favorites for small plates and speciality holiday cocktails!
#4 - Drive a Dog Sled Team
A winter trip to Alaska isn't complete without a visit to the village of Talkeetna. BONUS! Trisha at the Talkeetna Roadhouse also creates a miniature village of Talkeetna with her sweet confections in the roadhouse window for all to see. This Winter Dog Sledding Tour will give you a chance to visit Talkeetna, enjoy lunch with our friends at the Denali Brewpub, then get a chance to drive your own dog sled team along the training trails at an Iditarod champion kennel! You may end up falling in LOVE with this little town! Planning a longer trip? This day trip is a great way to start your northbound journey, from Anchorage to Talkeetna.
#5 - Ice Skate at Westchester Lagoon
This may take a little extra effort. That planning will pay off, though, with the smiles you will share from your skating day! A skate rental can be purchased and dropped at your hotel (advanced reservations required) then take a taxi/uber car service to the lagoon, estimate $15-$30 each way depending on the hotel. Bring your thermos filled with your favorite hot winter beverage - check out our local favorite, the Sea Salt Hot Chocolate from Chugach Chocolates! Don't want to mess with any of that? Just book a private half day tour and the guide will take care of all the details for you!
#6 - Ride the Aurora Train
In the winter months from October - April, the Aurora Winter Train has regular service on Saturday (northbound) and Sunday (southbound) as well as special midweek departures in February and March! Figure out your dates of travel, THEN we can help you ensure the train is included in your travel plans. To create a winter vacation in Alaska, be sure to include all the ways to experience Alaska: guided day tour, a train journey aboard the iconic Alaska Railroad and a scenic flight tour!
#7 - Snowshoe in the Chugach State Park
Snowshoes make it easy to take a stroll in the Chugach Mountains. We have snowshoes for all ages! A snowshoe trip is the PERFECT way to spend a half day on the mountainous outskirts Anchorage. Pair it with a visit to the Anchorage Museum of History and Art to make it a great day. I recommend doing this the first full day in Anchorage for the ideal beginning to any winter in Alaska vacation.
Winter in Alaska can be tricky, but we are here to help navigate - be sure to book at least 2 weeks in advance. If traveling during peak season, you will want to start planning your trip 9 months in advance, and travel trends are showing most people reserve space in September for travel in February and March (peak season) in order to ensure availability of the most popular trips! For more travel ideas, or to book, please give us a call at 907.278.3572. Have a suggestion on a MUST DO? We'd love to hear from you!