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Alaska Holidays

Alaska, the 49th state, deserves every superlative you can think of. This is a travel destination unlike any other and it’s truly epic, with glaciers the size of European countries, the longest days in the summer and longest nights in the winter, the highest mountain in North America, the largest National Park and more coastline than the rest of the USA put together. Alaska is a place of magnificence and beauty, where getting away from it all means just that.

For outdoors enthusiasts, Alaska is paradise. Whether you’d prefer to hike on an ice age glacier, skim above the wilderness in a bush plane, canoe through ice speckled waters or take an exhilarating dog sled ride, you’ll find yourself in one of the world’s most pristine natural playgrounds. The state’s famous rivers, some 3 million lakes and protected coastal waters also offer the chance to experience rafting, kayaking or jet boat rides from sedate to adrenalin-pumping.

America’s largest state is also one of the least densely populated so it’s less about people watching here and more about wildlife watching. On a long stretch of road, you’re more likely to pass a moose standing on the verge than another human being. You can also watch grizzly bears catching the salmon that leap upstream on Kodiak Island, see thousands of bald eagles congregating at the Chilkat River or take a boat trip out to see breaching hump-backed whales up to 50ft long.

You’ll find it surprisingly easy to access the wonders of Alaska. You can travel by rail from Anchorage to Denali National Park in glass-domed carriages, hire a car or motorhome and drive down deserted roads, cruise along the Inside Passage or get in a bush plane and hop from one destination to another. However you choose to explore, you’ll find the rewards are as immense as the state itself

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National Parks

Like everything else in the state, Alaska’s National Parks are vast. The largest, Wrangell St. Elias National Park is larger than both Denmark and Switzerland. These parks are some of the least visited in the USA and they often don’t have the same infrastructure and facilities as other National Parks. However, the hiking trails are spectacular and well worth the effort. For a more relaxed view, take one of the many guided bus tours.


Bear Essentials

For many people, the thought of Alaska conjures up the image of bears standing above cascading waters, skilfully catching the salmon that are jumping upstream. Alaska is home to all three American beer types; black, brown (or grizzly) and polar bears. There are plenty of tours that will take you to see these beautiful creatures but you’re just as likely to come across them when you travel independently. But remember to stay at a safe distance.


On Track

Alaska offers not one but two of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys – the Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Route. The first is a modern rail line stretching from Seward to Fairbanks with popular stops in Anchorage and Denali National Park. The second dates back to the Klondike Gold Rush and runs from Skagway to Fraser in British Columbia. Both lines go where cars can’t reach and offer rugged, breath taking views.


Northern Lights

Alaska is one of the best places on earth to see the Northern Lights. You can see the aurora borealis all over the state during winter and the shoulder seasons of early spring and autumn. The best place of all to watch them is Fairbanks, where the Northern Lights play across the sky on average 240 nights of the year. Many Alaska hotels even offer a wake-up call when the lights are out – strictly on request of course.


History and Culture

Alaska has a fascinating history, influenced both by native Inuit cultures and by Russian settlement from the 18th century onwards. You can learn more about the former at the Alaska Native Heritage Centre in Anchorage which features exhibits and performances from all of the state’s native cultures. For Russian heritage, visit one of the onion-domed Orthodox Christian churches in Sitka, Juneau and Kenai with their beautifully painted interiors.

Fly Drive Holiday: Alaska Highlights in Nine Days

Anchorage – Denali National Park – Fairbanks – Valdez – Seward – Anchorage

This is the perfect introduction to the epic and majestic state of Alaska, covering the most popular highlights from Seward, nestled at the foot of Mount Marathon in the south of the state to Fairbanks, the gateway to the Arctic. During your 8 night road trip, you’ll see epic glaciers and peaks, dramatic waterfalls, picturesque harbours and stunning fjords. There will also be plenty of opportunity to see some of Alaska’s abundant wildlife including moose and bears.
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Fly Drive Holiday: Alaska and Yukon Highlights

Anchorage - Denali National Park - Fairbanks - Tok - Dawson City - Whitehorse - Haines - Haines Junction - Wasilla - Seward - Anchorage

Head into the wilderness on a two week fly drive holiday and discover the spectacular landscapes of Alaska and Canada’s remote Yukon province. Your journey takes you from Anchorage to Denali National Park and Fairbanks before you traverse the Top of the World Highway taking you into Canada at the northernmost international border crossing in North America. Find out more about the Klondike Gold Rush and First Nations history in Dawson City and Whitehorse, before boarding a ferry at Skagway and navigating the Lynn Canal to Haines, Tok and Seward for the Kenai Fjords National Park. Along the way, you’ll be treated to pristine landscapes, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, rushing rivers and dramatic waterfalls, along with the chance to spot a wide variety of wildlife.
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Alaska Cruise: Glacier Bay From Seattle

Seattle – Juneau – Skagway – Ketchikan – Victoria – Seattle

From the vibrant city of Seattle, set sail for the pristine waters of Alaska on this 7 night cruise. You’ll have fabulous views of the Cascade Mountains before reaching the wilds of the USA’s largest state, where you can drink in awe-inspiring vistas of majestic peaks, glaciers and waterfalls whilst looking out for wildlife from beaching whales to black bears. Your voyage ends back in Seattle where you can choose to stay or fly back to the UK.
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Grand Alaska Escorted Tour Holiday

Anchorage – Valdez – Fairbanks – Denali National Park – Anchorage

Gain an insight into the vast, stunning state that is Alaska on this 9 night escorted tour by coach and rail. Your journey starts in Anchorage, which is home to more than 40% of Alaska’s population. Travel along the Matanuska Valley to Valdez and take a cruise on the breathtaking Prince William Sound, then continue north to Fairbanks, the Northern Lights capital of the world. From here, turn southwards and enter Alaska’s most popular National Park, Denali where you’ll experience a tundra wilderness tour. Then it’s time to catch a train along the Alaska Railroad, back to Anchorage at the end of your unforgettable holiday.
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Overnight Wilderness Stay at Brooks Lodge, Kodiak Island (from Anchorage)  
Fly from Anchorage via King Salmon for a night on the stunning Kodiak Island. Brooks Falls is world renowned for its population of brown bears due to the annual salmon migration through Brooks River. Two special platforms offer unobstructed, up-close bear viewing and there are daily ranger programs available. Your stay at Brooks Lodge includes a brief orientation by with park service staff. The Lodge offers simple accommodation and there is a dining area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Prices from £825pp.

Talkeetna Rafting and Rail Tour from Anchorage, Anchorage, AK  
Crisp mountain air, a fresh glacier-fed river and intriguing wildlife are just some of the reasons to visit southern Alaska for this full-day train and rafting tour. Ride one of the last flag-stop trains in America through lush mountains and then gear up for a relaxing ride along Alaska's crystal-clear Susitna River. Watch for eagles, salmon, moose and even the occasional bear as you cruise through this quiet Eden on an adventure you won't soon forget. This is a small-group tour limited to 15 people, ensuring a personalized experience. Prices from £212pp

Denali Helicopter Tour and Nature Hike 
Fly by helicopter and walk the tundra of Denali National Park with an experienced naturalist guide. See the home of caribou, Dall sheep, Arctic ground squirrel and the Toklat grizzly bear on this 5-hour tour including a round-trip helicopter flight and a rugged nature hike. The terrain is wild and varied, and the stunning scenery and remote locations make this tour like no other. Bring your outdoor gear for this Denali adventure. Prices from £369pp

Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks
Journey to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks for a first-hand experience of the Earth's northernmost circle of latitude. Here, in the summer and winter, the sky is completely dark or light for 24 hours a day! Travel along the famous Dalton Highway and spot wildlife as you cross the Yukon River. When you arrive, learn about the area's indigenous Eskimo culture, take a walk with your guide, snap photos of the arctic landscape, and enjoy lunch amidst the incredible surroundings. You'll take home an official Arctic Circle certificate to commemorate this amazing Alaska experience. Be sure to bundle up! Prices from £118pp

Time Difference:
GMT- 9 hours

Closest Airport:
Anchorage International Airport (approx. 19 hours, indirect flight), Fairbanks International Airport (approx. 19 hours and 55 minutes, indirect flight)

Getting around:
The best methods of transport in Alaska are car, motorhome, bush plane or ferry. Car hire is available from £50 per day.

Climate:
Visitors to Alaska usually come between May and September. All our tours and fly drive packages are based on travel in this period. Although it’s possible to travel in Alaska out of season, many roads are closed due to snowfall and there are less hours of daylight. Temperatures in Anchorage range between 13 and 26°c in the summer and between 11 and -5°c in winter.

Insider Tip:
Invest in some good binoculars. You’re going to really appreciate them when looking out for wildlife.

You’re going to need an ESTA:
For anyone travelling to the USA, the US authorities have imposed a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Just fill in the online application form which you can find at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. You will need to apply for entry via ESTA at least a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.

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Deposits from £59pp 

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Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate

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