The sheer scale of the Last Frontier ignites a primal sense of awe. Alaska’s “bigness” puts the Lone Star State to shame. More than twice the area of Texas, Alaska lays claim to 17 of the 20 tallest mountains in the U.S., including the 20,310-foot Denali, the loftiest summit in North America.
Great icecaps and tidewater glaciers, ethereal volcanic landscapes such as Katmai National Park’s Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the exquisitely conical Mount Shishaldin stratovolcano in the Aleutian Islands, braided rivers, sand dunes, and trackless muskeg. The vast and lightly peopled terrain of Alaska takes the breath away, and the state’s human story is just as fascinating, from the diverse and vibrant indigenous cultures—Tlingit, Haida, Gwich'in, Inupiat, Aleut, and others—to a Euro-American history encompassing everything from Russian sea-otter hunters to gold-panning “sourdoughs.”
"Alaska is a great destination to travel to because it’s a reminder of how beautiful our country is," says Greta Goorsky, a travel product specialist with AAA. "Alaska is also a great destination because it catches the interest of people of all ages. From children to adults, there is something in Alaska for everyone."
With so many choices, advice from a travel advisor is invaluable. Here are just a few of Alaska's highlights, plus insights from Greta, who has cruised Alaska from Juneau to Anchorage.