To be honest, I am a warm-weather person. I love the feeling of the sun hitting my skin, the ocean breeze flowing through my hair, and relaxing with a good book and cocktail in hand. Alaska, the final frontier, was not on my radar. That is until my family decided that this vacation needed to happen, and it didn’t take long for me to fall in love.
The Last Frontier
Alaska is a state full of majesty and wonder. With its majestic peaks, mirror lakes, and wonderous glaciers, Alaska is a vacation that many families have on their bucket lists. Over the past two years, I have planned over 30 Alaska vacations both on land and from the sea and had the privilege of sailing with my family on our Alaska Adventure. Helping clients plan this amazing vacation is such a joy and many that go once want to go again and again.
Alaska can feel overwhelming, so here are my top five questions to ask when planning for a successful Alaska vacation.
1. Why Alaska?
That sounds like a simple question, right? But Alaska has a hugely diverse ecosystem. Deciding what exactly is drawing you to Alaska can help shape the type of vacation you are trying to plan. Is Glacier watching top on your list? Then cruise through Glacier Bay might be just the ticket. Want to experience the great outdoors, go fly fishing, and see some amazing wildlife? Then let’s look at Denali Park and all that it has to offer. If you just can’t decide, then maybe a cruise tour is your best option.
2. Who is going?
I often hear we aren’t going to Alaska because x/y/z are too young or I’m too old. There is so much to do, that you can find a perfect vacation for everyone involved. Alaska cruises are perfect for this. For the active traveler, glacier treks and hikes might be top of the list. For those families with younger cruisers, enjoy a whale-watching excursion for some of the larger vessels, a train ride through the Yukon, or even a bus trip that stops for some husky puppy play. Cruise ships are also filled with entertainment for entire families. Don’t forget about those kid’s clubs, that can give mom and dad a little break in all the excitement.
3. What time of year?
Alaska vacations typically span the months of May to September, with some cruises continuing into October. The most popular months are summer when kids are out of school and families can travel. May and September are considered shoulder seasons. While you have fewer crowds, you may also have cooler weather or more rain. Your focus while in Alaska may also affect when you would like to travel. If you are hoping to see bears, the months of May, June, and July are best. Looking to schedule fishing? Try the months of June, July, and August. Want to experience the Northern Lights? You will want to book during those later September cruises.
4. What should I wear?
This is probably the most asked question. Alaska temperatures can vary greatly, especially if you plan to visit multiple locations. The key here is layers. Plan to pack or purchase a good waterproof jacket and wear long and short sleeves while out exploring. Also, although cruise lines will schedule a formal night, guests tend to dress more casually compared to those on Caribbean Cruises.
5. Is Alaska worth it?
100% yes! Visiting Alaska is one of my favorite vacation memories with my family. Pictures online do not do justice to just how beautiful the landscape is. The people, the land, and the experience are something you will treasure forever.
-Written by Laura Skates, VTA
Skipping Stones in the Yukon
Alaska: The Final Frontier
Whale Watching in Icy Strait Point
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