Alaska is full of epic outdoor activities that you can easily do yourself. If you’re looking for the best outdoor adventures in Alaska, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.
From glacier hikes to multi-day kayaking trips, I’m going to share the most adventurous things to do in Alaska.
Planning a trip to Alaska? Start with my Alaska Travel Guide.
Top 7 Outdoor Adventures in Alaska
1. Glacier Adventures
Alaska has more than 100,000 glaciers and there are so many ways to see them: you can drive, hike, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or see them from the sky.
Some glaciers even have hidden ice caves that you can explore but please make sure that you’re educated in glacier travel before you actually do this on your own.
If you want to stand on top of a glacier your best options are to head to Matanuska Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Root Glacier in Wrangell St. Elias National Park, or do a glacier landing on Ruth Glacier during your Denali flightseeing tour (video link).
2. Visit Denali National Park
Next on the list of best outdoor adventures in Alaska is to visit Denali National Park. There’s actually only one road that goes through the national park and it leads you to one of your best chances to see moose, caribou (video link), Dall sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears.
Most of the year you can drive your personal vehicle on the road until Mile 15, which is where I tend to see the most wildlife anyways. However, Denali National Park hosts a road lottery every year and if you win, you can drive as much of the Denali park road as you want.
I highly recommend seeing Denali mountain from above. It’s an unforgettable experience. There are plenty of flightseeing experiences that you can book in Talkeetna and I would definitely add a glacier landing to your tour!
If you’re looking for a real Alaskan adventure, then you really need to head into the woods!
There are so many amazing trails for all different skill levels and there’s also a lot of options for multi-day hikes like Resurrection Pass, Kesugi Ridge, and the historic Chilkoot Trail in Skagway.
Alaska has no shortage of places to pitch your tent for the night. Many camping spots can be found just off the main road system, which makes it a great place to try it out if you haven’t already done so.
You can choose to sleep in a tent or live your best life glamping in a yurt or one of Alaska’s many public use cabins.
5. Whale Watching
Getting to see a whale breach right next to you is a magical experience. You can see whales all around Alaska. Beluga whales can be seen as you drive along Turnagain Arm and humpback whales are seen off the coast in Sitka.
One of my favorite places to go to see whales is Seward. Whether you want to see orca whales, humpback whales, or gray whales, Seward is the best place to go for whale-watching tours in Southcentral Alaska.
Now, if you want a more intimate experience, I highly suggest getting on a sailboat. Last summer, I took a sailing trip with my good friends at Resurrection Bay Sailing Charters and it took whale watching to a whole new level.
It’s just so much quieter being on a sailboat than what you would typically experience on one of the larger passenger boats through Resurrection Bay.
One of my favorite outdoor adventures in Alaska is kayaking. There are many different types of kayaking to do in Alaska. Lake kayaking and river kayaking are great ways to see different landscapes and wildlife like moose and bald eagles.
Sea kayaking is a must if you want to see a whole different side of Alaska. The Alaskan coastline extends for 6,640 miles and truly provides some of the greatest sea kayaking locations in the world.
Getting on the water gives you a chance to have up-close experiences with glaciers, icebergs, forests, and if you’re lucky, breaching whales and Dalls porpoise (video link). Some of my favorite places for sea kayaking in Alaska can be found across Homer in Tutka Bay.
Read: Swan Lake Trail
7. Bear Viewing
Last on the list of adventurous things to do in Alaska is bear viewing. You can easily see bears at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near Portage or the Fortress of the Bears in Sitka. Both of these are rescue centers.
I went on a bear viewing trip with my mom a few years ago and it’s still one of my favorite things that I’ve ever done in Alaska. We took a scenic flight across cook inlet to Lake Clark National Park and landed on a remote beach. We walked around the area and our naturalist guide took us around to see bears digging for clams in their natural habitat. They completely ignored us it was amazing.
A bear viewing tour to Katmai National Park or Lake Clark National Park will cost you over $650 USD per person. It’s a little bit pricey but if you could only choose one big tour to do on your trip, this is it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to explore Alaska?
The best way to explore Alaska is by car. There are so many places in Alaska that are easily missed when you’re not driving your own vehicle.
What is the most beautiful part of Alaska?
The most beautiful parts of Alaska are definitely within the seven national parks around the state. These areas are full of beauty landscapes and incredible wildlife.
What should you avoid in Alaska?
When traveling around Alaska, you should avoid eating at chain restaurants. Alaska is full of amazing local restaurants to eat at and you don’t want to miss out.
What is Alaska’s most famous for?
Alaska is most famous for its abundance of wilderness and untouched landscapes. Alaska is also home to the tallest mountain in North America, Denali.
YouTube Video: Top 7 Adventurous Things To Do Alaska (Summer)
Pin For Later
Do you have any questions on the best outdoor adventures in Alaska? Let me know in the comments.