As far as family vacations go, beaches and amusement parks have nothing on America’s last frontier. Between its wild beauty and the nearly endless amount of outdoor activities to partake in, it’s no surprise that Alaska is a popular year-round travel destination. From watching the spectacular aurora borealis to riding on a dog sled, Alaska is full of activities your whole family will enjoy.
See the Northern Lights in Fairbanks
Watching the Northern Lights is exciting and memorable for people of all ages. Alaska is one of the only places in the U.S. where you can see this fascinating display of brightly colored solar energy. There’s no better place to view the aurora than in the Alaskan city of Fairbanks. The city is located perfectly within the aurora-circle, meaning the display is visible between August and April - that’s nine months of aurora watching!
There’s more to do in the city than just enjoying the Northern Lights, though. When you land in Fairbanks, check out some restaurants near the airport. From cozy coffee shops to eateries featuring fresh-caught seafood, there’s something for every palate.
Tour Denali National Park
Denali National Park is the crown jewel of the Alaskan wilderness. Home to Denali, the highest peak in North America, the park features over six million acres of alpine forests, glaciers, tundra, snow, and rocks. There are many ways to explore Denali, including hiking, dog-sledding, and snowmobiling. For younger travelers, there’s also a tour bus that takes you past stunning vistas - if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of buffalo or moose!
Hike the Angel Rocks Trail
Alaska is home to hundreds of spectacular trails, but Angel Rock is the most popular. Located only 50 miles from Fairbanks, it’s an easy day trip from the city. The family-friendly, 3.5-mile loop takes you up Angel Rocks for a stunning view of the Chena River State Recreation Area. If your littlest hikers are feeling especially adventurous, you can continue up the 8.3-mile one-way trail towards the hot springs. The springs are the perfect place to warm up, relax, and rest your feet.
Dog mushing is Alaska’s official sport, so as the saying goes, “when in Alaska, do as the Alaskans do!” Riding on the back of a sled through the snow is an unforgettable way to experience the Alaskan wilderness. Denali National Park offers daily sled trips, so your whole family can experience the park’s wild side from the comfort of a guided sled.
The next time you plan a family trip into the great outdoors, look to Alaska. From rugged mountain views to hot springs and dog sledding, Alaska has family-friendly activities that no other state can offer. Grab a couple of hot chocolate, have fun, and immerse yourself in the state's untamed beauty!
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