Visiting Wild and Wonderful Alaska

Sarah Palin has made Alaska interesting again to main-landers who have never thought about visiting this far away state. Alaska is the 49th state of the Union and is the largest in area of any state. It is as big as Spain, Italy, France and England together. The U.S. bought Alaska from Russia in 1867. After we bought it, the purchase was called “Seward’s Folly”. The name Alaska comes from Alyeska or Alasxaq which means “the great land” in the Aleut language. Alaska and Russian are only 3 miles apart so she may have been serious when she said she could see Russia from her front porch on a clear day. About 65% of the land in Alaska is owned by the Bureau of Land Management. It is the world’s largest wildlife refuge. More than ½ of the world’s glaciers are in Alaska. It is the only state in the contiquous U.S. that does not have another state as a common border.

Alaska is one of the most chosen cruise destinations. The ability to travel the Alaskan coastline and see the whales, the mountains, forests, and glaciers is what makes it such a wonderful boat trip. The trip by land will introduce you to the 40 pound silver salmon that seems to cost so much on the menu of your favorite seafood restaurant. You might meet a moose on your walk through the woods or be greeted by a bear but you probably won’t notice because you will be so mesmerized by the beauty of the forests around you. The fishing in Alaska is an adventure in itself. Salmon are so prolific that you can pick them up with your hands. Then you will want to cook the one you catch over an open fire until it is so tender it will melt in your mouth. Once you have experienced this, nothing will ever taste as good. While you are there you might want to “pick up” one for a friend back home; just have it sent to him by air freight. Then pick up one and have it stuffed and mounted for your wall.

In the summer months you can take a dog sled tour. after you have flown over the area in a helicopter. Guides will take you on tours where the cruise ship can’t go and you will see wildlife you never dreamed you could see up close and personal. You can go kayaking, river rafting, fishing with a guide, go glacier viewing, take an eco tour. If you want to, you can even pan for gold like they did during the Gold Rush days. While you are there see the Aurora Borealis. Alaska is still wild and untamed. It is the last frontier of the United States. People who live there still carry guns (legally, of course) for protection. People who live there are often hunters and eat the meat of the animals they hunt. Sarah Palin has been known to joke that there is room for wild life in Alaska “right next to the mashed potatoes”. Maybe it’s time to plan a visit to “the Land of the Midnight Sun” state.

Alaska Fly In Fishing From the Kenai Peninsula

Fly In Fishing from the Kenai Peninsula opens up a myriad of fishing options and can take you to some of Alaska’s most fabled and remote fishing locals. From North Kenai we immediately leave the Kenai Peninsula and cross Cook Inlet toward the main Alaska Peninsula and the magnificent Alaska Range. Many of the less expensive and more frequented destinations lie in the coastal areas of the west forelands and these rivers hold some prolific returns of both sockeye salmon and silver salmon. Rivers such as the Kustatan and Big River receive the majority of the flight service traffic and fishing pressure. For the most part, both destinations have sizeable runs and offer ample water to fish, so the added pressure is seldom an issue. Apart from these locations directly across Cook Inlet from North Kenai, there are a number of remote Kenai Peninsula Lakes and Rivers that are also well within your reach and of course, there is also the option of chartering the plane for the entire day yourself and reaching out to western Alaska destinations such as Lake Illiamna, or the Nushagak River. You might also a consider a trip to Kodiak Island or neighboring Afognak which both have a number of remote salmon fishing options.

The Alaska Fly In Fishing season begins in late May and early June with remote fly in fishing for mountain trout, pike and also some early arriving sockeye. By mid June, a number of sockeye locations are seeing high numbers of fresh sockeye as well as excellent bear viewing opportunities. Moving into late June and early July, the sockeye fishing typically gets stronger as does the bear viewing and this time period also opens up some king salmon fly in options, most notably the Nushagak River in western Alaska. This is the largest run of King Salmon in all of Alaska and offers lots of action along with a remarkably scenic plane ride going to and from. This run peaks by the end of June and is fished via fly in until roughly the tenth of July. Mid July brings the first silver salmon to the west side of Cook Inlet and by late in July, these fisheries are in full swing. Silvers are available in a number of west side Cook Inlet rivers but the most popular fly in destinations remain Big River Lake and the Kustatan. For those wanting to hike and fish smaller rivers and streams there are some rivers that are perfect for this as well but they are less accessible and less dependable with run strength, water conditions, etc… The majority of the silver fly in destinations on the west side of Cook Inlet are past their peak and done by the end of August. One location that does peak later for silvers is Crescent lake and this fishery is good from mid to late August well into September. This is a very picturesque setting and an excellent bear viewing location.

So, depending on what you plan to fish for and when you plan to visit, there are a number of great Alaska Fly In fishing options available from the Kenai Peninsula. These one day excursions vary in price depending on the distance to your destination. Many opt for the good fishing of closer, less costly flights and endure a few fellow anglers but some prefer to charter a plane for the day and enjoy more solitude and more distant locations. Either way, Alaska is sure to make it well worth it as one can hardly go wrong with the right advice from a trustworthy guide and experienced pilot. With all the great fishing Alaska has to offer, the sky truly is the limit!

Alaska – Brief Travel Guide

WHAT TO SEE, TO DO AND WHERE: Mount McKinley is the highest mountain in North America (6,194 m or 20,306 feet), 150 miles from Fairbanks. Mountain climbing season is very short because of cold weather, strong winds and avalanche hazards. Nearly 1,000 people each season attempt the mountain, the best climbing conditions are in June.The peak is located in Denali National Park that offers superb mountain scenery and incomparable wildlife viewing, from 400-kg (900 lbs) grizzlies to Alaska state birds, willow ptarmigans, from Dall sheep to porcupines.

Many visitors come to Alaska in winter to see Aurora Borealis when Northern Lights glow in all its glory. Birdwatching is also very popular among Alaska visitors, over 250 bird species inhabit the area, especially the southwest region. You can find all Alaska nature watch viewing sites including detail maps here. Whale watching boat trips allow the visitors an opportunity to observe and photograph Beluga, Orca, Humpback and Gray whales, along with many other marine mammals, in their natural environment. Available Alaska whale watching tours are listed by geographic region here. There many miles of trails for backpackers- from the pristine glaciers and fjords of remote Wrangell-St Elias National Park to the famous Chilkoot Trail where you follow the footsteps of the Klondike gold prospectors on this demanding 33-mile route near Skagway. It is a difficult hike and usually takes three to five days.

The Alaska Trail system has over 40 both land and water-based trails with recognized recreational, scenic, and historic value. If you travel by RV or motorcoach, you need to know where to camp. Alaska RV parks index comes in handy.

Do not also forget to visit Talkeetna – every Alaska visitor’s favorite small town is the base for superb flightseeing trips around Mount McKinley. Alaska’s capital Juneau is worth seeing. Founded as a roughneck mining town in 1880, Juneau is very much urbane these days. The city is also close to breathtaking glacier lookouts. If you enjoy driving, challenge the lonely Dalton Highway , a 500-mile road leading from Fairbanks to the Arctic Ocean. On the way you can try recreational gold panning on any Federal stream segments along the Dalton highway south of Atigun Pass. For those looking for downhill skiing opportunities, Alyeska Ski Resort, located 40 miles south of Anchorage, offers 3 double chairs, 2 fixed quads, 1 high-speed detachable quad and a 60-passenger tram to move you 840 m (2,800 feet) above scenic landscapes. For cross-country skiing fans Alaska’s many trails are available to trek through mountain valleys or to ski beside the ocean.

Annual sled dog races (dog mushing) is Alaska’s official sport that attract participants and spectators from all over the world. The most famous race, Iditarod, runs for 1680 km (1,049 miles) from Anchorage to Nom and lasts 9 days starting on the first Saturday in March. Throughout the year many Alaska’s communities host festivals and carnivals, there are interesting events for everyone. One of them is World Ice Art Championships held at Fairbanks in February-March where competitors carve magnificent sculptures from blocks of ice. Among other outdoor activities we would like to mention are boating on Alaska waterways, snowmachining and ATV-ing. We also devoted three separate web pages to Alaska Sport Fishing , Hunting and Cruises.

WHEN TO GO: Alaskan summers are cool, the average temperature is +14 deg.C (58 F) in summer and -12 deg.C (11 F) in winter. It receives midnight sunshine in May- July and goes into 24-hour darkness during the part of winter. May to September are the best months to visit for warm time activities. You can check next week weather forecast for Anchorage here.

GETTING THERE: There are many direct or one-stop flights from major US cities. The largest Alaska’s city, Anchorage, is under 4 hours from Seattle by air. Anchorage is 2,463 road miles from Seattle, 3,608 miles from Los Angeles. It is more convenient to fly to Anchorage and rent a car or RV on the spot. To travel by water you can take a cruise to Alaska or use the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry.

TRAVEL TIPS: Northern weather can be unpredictable. Consider taking with you and wearing multiple layers of clothes in response to a wide variety of temperatures and weather conditions. Alaska is more expensive than most other states: apart from two dozen hostels there’s little budget accommodation, and eating and drinking will set you back at least twenty percent more than in the Lower states. Still, experiencing Alaska on a low budget is possible, though it requires planning and off-peak travel. From June to August room prices are very high. May and September, when tariffs are relaxed and the weather only slightly chillier, are just as good times to go, and in April or October you’ll have the place to yourself, together with a smaller range of places to stay and eat. Winter months are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for the spectacular aurora borealis . At this time of year hotel rates drop by as much as half.

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Alaska Cruise – A Sensational Experience

If you are planning for a vacation then the best place would be to take an Alaska Cruise. If you want to make it to the great wonders and majestic place come for an Alaska Cruise. It is one of the most recent members of the United States of the America.

There may be doubts in most of the minds whether Alaska Cruise exists or not. This is due to the fact that whenever one talks about the cruise the people think that they are talking about the exotic and beautiful beaches of the tropical heaven like the Caribbean islands. The Alaska Cruise also exists for that matter and you can spend your holidays there also and relax with all the comfort and services. So it’s similar to that enjoyed in the Caribbean.

Alaska Cruise differs to that of the Caribbean in the sense that they provide a lot many different things to the vacationers than that provided in the Caribbean. So if you like enjoying something different then try the Alaska Cruise.

One of the wonderful features of the Alaska Cruise is that it allows you to experience each pleasurable moment onboard and it also gives the kids opportunity to have fun and visit the exotic places of Alaska. Thus this type of vacation is perfect for the entire family members.

The forty ninth American state is Alaska and it is famous for the excessive cold. There are whole lots of things that can be enjoyed in the state of Alaska. In view of many people the beauty and the experience it gives while traveling and knowing different places in Alaska cannot be experienced any where else. Alaska is the biggest state with area extending upto 586,000 square miles. It is beyond the imagination which can be found in such a state.

There is a list of things you should look out for when traveling to Alaska.

a. Helicopter Trip
b. Wildlife
c. Train Rides
d. King Salmon Fishing
e. The Bus Journey to Denali State Park

In normal circumstances it will probably take 2 lives to discover all these beauties of Alaska. But worry not; the Alaska cruise will help to experience all these thrills within a week.

Alaska has huge Wilderness and with such varied wildlife you can have chance to look to the Mother Nature both from closeness and from a distance. A large population eagles can be seen in this part of the world. It will simply be breath taking when you see them doesn’t matter whether you are a nature lover or just a simple person. Every one has got something for them.

Across the United States the one of the largest tropical forest is found in Alaska. You would be fascinated to know and learn about these. Apart from these dense forest the Alaska also houses huge snow covered mountains and large glaciers.

Thus if you have decided to go for an Alaska cruise you are sure to witness all these. Seeing the formation of the glacier and wonderful waterfront city and town will definitely invite every nature lover to explore the place unique beauty. You can enjoying climbing a glacier and can take a trip on port of call towns.

The one of the best chances to witness these is to go for Alaska cruise and take the path called Inner Passage. Thus if you happen to go for Alaska Cruise then it is the best way to explore and discover the beauty of the Alaska cruise in its wholeness and completeness and that too in style and comfort.

The vacationers are taken special care in terms of good food, accommodation and transportation. It is being beautifully handled and you can choose to pursue your activity of choice.

If you wish you can have the chance to go the helicopter tour and climb over a glacier or you may watch a whale; the sea queen . You can also enjoy taking a ride to the Pass Railroad which is simply amazing. You can break free while taking a jeep trip on various road trail and roads.

Each town of Alaska which you will visit has their own unique culture and beauty and has a great history. Thus you will surely not want to miss all these. The Museums are the best place where you can know about the history of the towns in greater details.

Thus it is believed that Alaska has got all the beauty and wonder that nature can bestow to any place.

The fantastic display of light of Aurora Borealis can be witnessed in Alaska which will make you fall in love with the place.

With all of this on table, it is expected that Alaska will soon become one of the most famous and favorite cruise vacation destination of every traveler.

Things to Do in Alaska

Let’s Go Fishing

Alaska offers its visitors many things to do. Among the most popular activities available in Alaska is fishing. Home to some of the finest fishing in the world, Alaska’s waters are rich and are filled with an abundance of sea life. Anglers find both fresh and saltwater fishing widely available throughout Alaska. The most commonly targeted species in Alaska’s saltwater fisheries are halibut and salmon. Lakes and rivers draw fly-fisherman in search of rainbow trout, steel-head, and northern pike.

Visit Alaska’s National Parks

Apart from fishing, Alaska is an immensely popular state to visit in the summer months for those wishing to explore the National Parks. Kenai Fjords and Denai National Parks in south central Alaska are among the most visited in the state. Park services offer a wealth of accommodations and tour options. Remote park service cabins may be reserved by those wanting to get away from the crowds. Many of these sites are accessible only by float plane and are very rustic. Supplies must be flown requiring advanced planning.

Pamper Yourself at an Eco-Lodge

For those seeking a balance of soft adventure and relaxation, a lodge stay offers all the amenities of home often in spectacular settings. Guests are encouraged to take in Alaska’s beauty at their own pace. Naturalists educate guests on Alaska’s geology, flora and fauna. E-lodges can range from rustic to luxurious. Those wanting to be pampered will find spa services, massage therapists, yoga instruction and wine tasting available at the upscale establishments.

Take a Small Ship Cruise

Small ships by definition accommodate less than 150 passengers; often less than 80 passengers. A small ship cruises don’t follow the traditional cruise ship routes. The idea here is to avoid ports where big ships dock. Small ship cruises are all about getting guests involved in the environment. Kayaking, paddle sports, and excursion vessels provide guests an intimate way of interacting with marine life, getting up close to glaciers, waterfalls, and visiting native villages. Don’t expect a stage show or casino on a small ship cruise. Instead you will be entertained by humpback whales, frolicking sea lions, and soaring eagles.

Take a Trip on the Marine Highway

The Alaska state ferry system otherwise known as the Alaska Marine Highway is an affordable alternative to small ship cruises or private yacht charter. From the southern terminus in Bellingham, Washington the Marine Highway stretches more than 3,500 miles to Dutch Harbor with stops in Prince Rupert, BC, throughout the Inside Passage, across the Gulf of Alaska to Prince William Sound and along the Aleutian Chain. The Alaska Marine Highway is the perfect way to experience the communities that populate Alaska’s diverse and scenic coastline. With over 656,000 sq. miles of wilderness, pristine beauty and abundant wildlife, Alaska dwarfs most countries! Traveling in Alaska via the ferry system presents many unique opportunities and things to do.

Unlike the ‘lower 48’ many Alaskan communities are not accessible by road so the primary means of travel is by air or sea. The Alaska Marine Highway makes up a large part of our ‘highway system’ and is a route so special it has been designated National Scenic Byway and an All American Road, the only marine route with this designation.

It’s all awaiting you in Alaska. There are many ways to see the great state and so many things to see and do.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning Your Alaska Vacation

Mistake #1

You’re Basing Your Travel Research on Poor Information

Alaska is a land of great expectations and the wise traveler plans ahead to experience each and every one. This advance planning and research will allow you to create an interesting and comfortable itinerary filled with memory making adventures, spectacular scenery, wildlife, and more photo ops than one can imagine.

Brochures, the Internet, and television travel programs are a great starting point for planning your Alaskan vacation. All are highly entertaining sources of inspiration for potential travel ideas, but when it’s time to plan and book your trip of a lifetime, it is important to utilize all of the available resources prior to booking.

Brochures can be very limited in terms of the scope of their information. They are used primarily as a form of advertising which means that while you may learn some positive and enticing facts about a certain travel package, tour, or destination, you’re probably not going to acquire the objective insight that can only be provided by first hand experience. Speaking with someone who has had personal experience with a tour, or cruise is always preferable.

The Internet, like brochures, is also a great place to start your search for vacation ideas. The drawback when researching online is that, unless you already know exactly what you’re looking for, you may end up missing something important. This could be something as simple as a day trip you weren’t aware of or something as important as neglecting to follow state regulations in terms of sport fishing or hunting which can carry some very serious consequences. For the sake of safety and adherence to Federal guidelines, be thorough in your research online.

Alaska Fish and Game is an excellent resource when it comes to fishing and hunting regulations, seasons and quotas and harvesting your game. Do you know when and where the biggest king salmon run is? Or what the record rainbow trout is on record? These and many other facts can be found at the Alaska Fish and Game website.

Travel Programs are the most entertaining of vacation planning. Typically, the traveler sits at home on a comfortable couch and imagines that he or she is kayaking among the icy blue glaciers, hiking through Denali National Park, dropping a line into the deep waters of the magnificent Alaska Inside Passage or following a bear’s tracks through the Yukon tundra. All of these adventures offer the imagination incredible moments of pleasure, but this is just the tip of the proverbial Alaskan iceberg. There is so much more to see and experience.

Consider beachcombing, cave exploring, historical sites like the Russian settlements in Sitka and the legendary totems of the native Tlingit Alaskans which can add a new dimension to a traditional fishing or hunting trip.

Brochures, websites and travel programs are designed to paint an establishment in the most favorable light. They focus on the most positive attributes and downplay the negatives. Brochures typically highlight only the very best accommodations, the biggest fish, the happiest guests, and omit their less attractive attributes. But will what you find upon your arrival match your expectations? Alternately, a quality destination or tour may be rejected due to a less than flattering brochure. Again, speaking to a friend or travel professional that is objective and has firsthand knowledge of the destination is the key!

Mistake #2

You Don’t Know What You (Really) Need To Pack

Because Alaska’s weather can vary dramatically throughout the course of a single day and the course of your entire visit, you’ll need to consider carefully the clothing and accessories you pack in order to remain comfortable. This is hugely important! I’ve seen poor packing ruin more trips than I can count.

For instance, it’s not just anglers and hunters who intend to be out in nature for days on end who need to put serious thought into the type of clothing they’ll be packing on their excursion; everyone should be mindful of their clothing choices.

In the summertime, Alaskan daytime temperatures average in the 60s, and can go as high as the low 80s. Evenings can drop down into the 30s and 40s. Whether you’re out on the town or fishing in the wild, be sure to pack light-weight clothing that can be worn in layers which will absorb perspiration in order to remain comfortable during your stay. Fabrics such as Fleece, Gortex, and Cordura offer lightweight, moisture-­resistant protection from the elements.

Many coastal regions of Alaska receive significant precipitation. Staying dry is extremely important. It is critical to check with your outfitter regarding rain gear and boots. Many fishing lodges provide foul weather gear to their guests. If they don’t, you’ll need to bring these items with you.

In warm weather or cold, the sun does shine in Alaska! Remember to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Packing the right clothes for the right season, destination and activity allows the wise traveler to enjoy all that Alaska has to offer. From Wrangell wildlife to Nome nightlife, from Anchorage’s sunny days to Aurora Borealis’ sunny nights, you’ll be ready!

Mistake #3

You’ve Failed to Purchase the Correct Travel Insurance

Alaska is now one of the world’s top 5 vacation destinations. The tourism industry makes up a large portion of Alaska’s economy, so when you book an Alaskan vacation, chances are quite good that you will be in the hands of qualified professionals. Alaska can be an unforgiving wilderness. Occasionally, even well planned outings can go unexpected wrong, so it’s important to purchase travel insurance that will keep you protected financially and offer emergency medical treatment and evacuation if required.

Travel Protection Insurance is a worthwhile investment for any travel that involves outdoor activities in the wild. Whether you are an adventure traveler, angler, or hunter, an “Adventure Travel Policy” will provide the travel insurance coverage you need for your trip. These policies typically include: Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage for your trip deposit; travel delay coverage; medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation and lost baggage coverage. In many cases your policy also will include 24/7 emergency travel and concierge services so that you are only a phone call away from the assistance that you need.

The savvy traveler knows that Alaska is one of the most rugged and remote vacation destinations in the world. Many sojourners to Alaska come in search of high adventure. Not all travel insurance plans cover costs such as medical evacuation which could cost thousands of dollars in remote areas. Injuries or illness that happen during travel can wind up being very expensive if you’re left uncovered.

Most claims are based on trip cancellation due to personal or family health issues. Travel protection policies can reimburse you for 100% of your expenses. The cost of a policy can vary, but expect to pay about 7 – 10% of the total trip cost. Be sure to purchase the right travel insurance for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you and your companions will be covered in the event of any emergency.

Mistake #4

You’re Not Taking the “Road Less Traveled” (Avoid Herds Of Tourists!)

Most travelers to Alaska head toward the well-­known attractions such as Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords and Glacier Bay and these certainly are at the top of the Alaska “Must See” list; however, there are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered by those who plan ahead.

With a little research at the library or local book store you can plot a unique Alaska itinerary filled with jewels that you most probably won’t find online. These lesser-­known but highly rewarding attractions can easily be added to your itinerary. And, of course, once you’re there, it never hurts to ask a local for activity recommendations. You’ll be surprised at some of the great local events, or secret fishing holes you’ll discover by simply asking.

There are numerous benefits to fitting these hidden gems into your itinerary. The biggest is time and logistics. Alaska tourist attractions can range from affordable to extravagant. By choosing activities unknown to most tourists, you’ll likely save money and more importantly discover your personal Alaskan experience. Choosing these less publicized destinations sets you apart from the herds and tourist traps, and allows you to encounter the adventure that is Alaska.

If you think there is more to Alaska than the cookie-­cutter packages so many tourists experience by limiting their itinerary to what is found in brochures and online, then contact your travel agent to work with you in creating a one-­of-a-­kind vacation that is off the grid but right on target with your sense of adventure.

Mistake #5

You’ve Failed To Calculate The Complexities Of Alaska Travel

Some of the most stunningly beautiful sites and charming remote towns in Alaska are inaccessible by roads including the state capitol of Juneau. So if you plan on including any of these not-­to-­be missed treasures on your itinerary, then it’s vital to plan how you will be traveling to and from these locations.

Fortunately, there are sufficient small airports for both floatplanes and traditional aircraft. In addition, water taxis, rental cars, trains, and ferries transport visitors around the state.

It is important to keep in mind that travel within Alaska does have its challenges. Planning the most reliable and cost effective way to transverse the state requires research and an understanding of Alaska’s unique transportation system. Many of Alaska’s coastal cities and towns can be reached via the Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry System), or by the ever popular floatplane.

Some Remote Cities That Are Not To Be Missed:

Barrow: Accessible only by small plane is a fascinating place to visit for anyone with an interest in anthropology. It is also home to the Inupiat Heritage Center and is a great location to watch whales and other Arctic wildlife. If, however, a romantic sunset is more to your liking, keep in mind that Barrow has no sunsets between May 10th and August 2nd.

Prince of Wales Island (POW): Located in Southeast Alaska. POW Island is the 3rd largest island in the United States after the Big Island of Hawaii and Kodiak. The Island has several hundred miles of drivable roads, hundreds of lakes, dozens of rivers, and camping is available at very reasonable costs. POW can be reached by ferry from Ketchikan or by floatplane. The main town is Craig. Both the Haida and Tlingit tribes inhabit POW and their culture can be observed in totem parks and ceremonies offered to visitors.

Sitka: Accessible only by boat or plane. This town is less frigid than many Alaskan cities and boasts relatively mild weather with summer highs in the 60s. It’s home to Castle Hill where Russia signed over Alaska to the United States in 1867. This historic former Russian jewel is a trip highlight and the perfect place to learn about Alaska’s diverse history. It also contains numerous hiking trails for nature enthusiasts. Sitka is also one of Alaska’s most sought after fishing destinations. Based on reports by Alaska Fish & Game, Sitka boasts the lowest rod hours per king salmon in the state for over 12 concurrent years. With good planning, it’s easy to enjoy many of Alaska’s iconic destinations while still making it back to the lodge in time for dinner.

Mistake #6

You Miss Golden Opportunities Due to Restrictive Itineraries

Alaska, more than twice the size of Texas, certainly has plenty of room for organized guided tours! These large regulated tour groups can be a safe, convenient, and affordable vacation option. For some, having their luggage outside the hotel door at 7am ready to be picked up is the perfect start to each vacation day. Others, however, want more than what the standard itinerary allows. To them, exploring Alaska means adventure up close and personal.

Often, the most memorable parts of your vacation are not necessarily the ones you planned in advance or saw in the brochure. Instead, the best spur-­of-­the moment side trips often come as the result of passing by an interesting looking shop, asking a knowledgeable local about the area, or having consulted with a friend who knows Alaska prior to your departure.

To assure you have the time and energy to give in to your side trip impulses, leave half a day free or a few hours that you can spare in your itinerary for whatever unexpected opportunities you discover along the way.

Alaska welcomes visitors year round with majestic scenery, native culture, wildlife, all-­season sports, and exciting events, especially during the longer days of spring and summer. Last-­minute memories abound but a too crowded itinerary can mean an opportunity missed. Venture away from the crowd and experience Alaska on a deeper level.

Mistake #7

You’re Overpaying for Accommodations, Tours, and Services

As is the case in many other vacation destinations, the prices for numerous tours and services in the Alaskan tourism industry increase the closer you get to the event date. Many Alaskan small businesses that charter boats and planes to travelers for the purpose of fishing and hunting trips are a particular example of this. Services that charter boats and planes within the state operate seasonally, and are anxious to have their vehicles booked in time for the appropriate migration or spawning season.

In order to fill the space, many charter companies offer Early Bird deals that can reduce costs as much as $200 and sometimes even more just for booking several months in advance. As a bonus, booking ahead allows for you to get the best dates during the peak times for the type of game or fish you want to pursue.

Booking hotels in advance offers many benefits, as well. Many hotels offer guests a reduced room rate of 20-30% or higher for booking at least 21 days in advance. Plus, by booking ahead of time, you stand a better chance of getting the room you really want. Never under estimate the lure of Alaska. To experience the trip of your dreams, book well in advance for the best rooms, tours, services, and rates.

Mistake #8

The Best Timing Your Alaska Fishing Adventure

Alaska is a veritable Mecca for sportsmen, especially hunters and fishing enthusiasts, and with good reason. When it comes to anglers, there are numerous types of both salt and freshwater fish to be caught in Alaska’s three thousand rivers, three million lakes, and along the over six thousand miles of Pacific coastline. In these innumerable bodies of water, fishermen and women can find some of the world’s finest halibut, as well as the northern pike, lingcod, the Arctic char, the Dolly Varden and many, many more.

Alaska is also world renowned for its assortment of high quality salmon and trout which swim upstream at different times of year. With such a grand variety of fish available, it’s no wonder that enthusiastic anglers travel thousands of miles to bring home their own boxes of Alaska’s fishing bounty. However, when you’ve planned for months for this fishing trip, you need to be sure you’re traveling at the right time of year.

For instance, various varieties of salmon move upstream between Alaska’s assorted rivers between June and July, with some cold water fish swimming upstream as late as October. During Alaska’s peak fishing season, it’s not uncommon for fish storytelling anglers to return home with salmon that weigh as much as 30 lbs. or more. Before booking the informed angler coordinates with Alaska Fish and Game or charter guides for the best locations and peak times to catch the all important trophy fish with the attached bragging rights! This same planning ahead is just as important for hunters to know peak seasons, as well.

Get to Know Alaska’s Big Crabs

Crab fishing in Alaska is a great experience. But before you go crabbing, you’ll need to know some details about Alaska’s crab species. Having this knowledge will enhance your fishing experience and when you know how to identify them, you’ll have an easier time fishing for crabs. Read on to find out more about tanner, king and dungeness crabs.

Tanner Crabs

Known by two names, tanner crabs or snow crabs are a popular crab species in Alaska. You probably recognize snow crabs as the ones with the tasty red legs. These crabs have a semi-transparent shell with a small abdominal flap. Like other Alaskan crabs, tanners have five sets of pointy legs including one set with pincers. Smaller than king crabs, tanners typically range from a to 4 pounds in weight.

Many types of fish feed on tanner crabs and of course, humans enjoy them too. Their fish predators include bottomfish (like pollack or cod), oily fish (like herring.)

King Crabs

Also known as stone crabs, king crabs are the most sought after crabs in Alaska. The king crab population consists of three different species. The three types of kings are red, blue and golden crabs. All three species are prevalent in Alaska’s waters.

King crabs are identified by spiny shells, five distinct pairs of legs and fan shaped tails that curl under the back part of their shells. The first four legs on both sides are visible, but the fifth pair is tucked under their back shell. King crabs also have front pincers, of which the right pincer is slightly larger than the left. The large size of kings also sets them apart from other types of crabs. These monster crustaceans can reach weights of over 20 pounds.

Like humans, many organisms enjoy dining on king crabs. Major predators include cod, octopus, otters, other king crabs and Alaskan halibut In fact, there have been cases of fishermen finding 10 or more king crabs in a halibut’s belly.

Dungeness Crabs

These crabs are characterized by wide oval shaped bodies enclosed in a hard semi-transparent shells. Like king and tanner crabs, dungeness have five sets of legs with one set containing pincers. You can tell the difference between dungeness crabs and other species because they have small short legs and they lack a spiny shell. Dungeness crabs are around the same size as tanners and not as large as kings. Mature adults generally weigh about 2 to 3 pounds and are over 6 inches long.

Major predators include dogfish, octopus, otters and other crabs (including those of the same species.) At the larvae stage, crabs are food to fish like salmon.

Now that you know the distinguishing features of Alaska’s crab species, you can easily tell them apart from one another. Fishing for crabs can be a lot of fun and a nice change from rod and reel once in a while. Plus, nothing makes a better meal than fresh steamed crabs. Happy Fishing!

An Alaska Luxury Fishing Lodge Makes the Adventure Special

If you are looking for one of the best fishing adventures you will ever experience, then go to Alaska. The good news is there are lots of lodges to provide your accommodations during your visit. But apart from the regular fishing lodges, you can choose the special experience that an Alaska luxury fishing lodge offers. You will get the best relaxation experience possible at night after an exciting day of fishing and enjoying the Alaskan outdoors.

The main thing about Alaska luxury fishing lodges is they are made to be very beautiful lodges while giving you the best possible comfort. Imagine having a luxury hotel in the most spectacular of settings. These luxury lodges are among the most elite accommodations you can find anywhere in Alaska. If you are looking for these lodges online, you will find the following amenities available in some of these lodges.

• One of the main features offered is the amount of room you will find inside. Just like elite suites, they are large in terms of room size full and they have many different amenities available.

• Apart from just having beautiful rooms, some lodges may even offer access to much of the rest of the lodge. They look like great estates made of logs and with cozy designs that match the beautiful Alaska landscape.

• In addition to comfortable accommodations inside other options may include a Jacuzzi hot tub or spa to help you after a busy day of fishing. The bubbles produced by jets will surely give you the warm and relaxing experience you seek while on vacation.

But apart from the accommodations, these lodges have among the prime fishing packages available anywhere. They set out to provide the best possible fishing experience – no matter what your experience. From fly fishing to rest and relaxation to just enjoying the beauty and wildlife of Alaska, there is something for everyone. Your final choice of location can be focused on the perfect place to land the biggest fish, or other fishing activities, or just relaxing and enjoying the whole experience.

Overall, an Alaska luxury fishing lodge can provide among the best vacation experiences you will find anywhere. With the help of a few online searches, or by attending a local fishing and sports show, you can find the absolute best luxury lodge which meets your budget and also provides the ideal location for a vacation you will never forget. Compare price, location and amenities to find the perfect place for your Alaska fishing vacation.

Finding New Apartments in Alaska

The mere idea of finding a new apartment can already cause stress and anxiety. When you add cold temperature and several hours of darkness to the equation, the task seems to be a little more difficult.

If you need look into different apartments in Alaska, you are probably feeling uneasy and worried, right? Do not fear. This is a challenge that you can easily overcome so long as you are a bit more strategic in accomplishing your goal.

The good news is that there are a lot of options for you when it comes to apartments in Alaska. You do not need to have a hard time just finding a place that is open for rental or purchasing. Even if it is the largest state in the U.S. in terms of area, it remains as the least densely populated.

When finding apartments in Alaska you need to set your parameters right away. Because there are several options, you need a guide when it comes to trimming down your options. Look into your income and see how much you can afford to rent. Then, examine the different places in Alaska and choose the one that will be most convenient for you.

The location should make it easy for you to go to work. The kids should not have a hard time going to school. You can live near the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Southeast or Anchorage. There is also Alaska Pacific University and other schools for earlier education.

Most of the population in Alaska live within the Anchorage metropolitan area where you will find the Municipality of Anchorage and Matanuska-Susitna Borough. If you prefer to stay in a quiet and peaceful place, you can also consider Fairbanks and Knik-Fairview.

Another aspect to look into is the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and the total area that you need. When you have set the specific details, that is when you start checking out the different apartments in Alaska that matches your criteria.

Aside from examining the features of the available apartments, you also have to check out the conveniences that you would need for day to day living. For example, how far is the nearest market or grocery? Is there a gasoline station that is close to where you plan to live? Are the commercial establishments easily accessible? Juneau is the state capital and rent here may be a bit higher, but it is an ideal place to live because of all the easily accessibly establishments.

Next Trip to Alaska

Alaska is often referred to as the last frontier, the last wild place in America. It truly is a remarkable and rugged place to visit, let alone live. It takes a certain kind of person, with a certain sense of adventure and toughness to make it out in the north like that. Now, don’t be mistaken, Alaska has its share of modern conveniences and has everything that everyone is used to.

It’s just that those things are limited to the larger cities and it is such a huge state that everything is so spread apart and seems so remote. It is thirteen times the size of England and is by far the largest state. It is the forty ninth state and was bought for a mere 14 million dollars in the nineteenth century. That works out to about two cents an acre. What a bargain, I am sure that Russia has been kicking itself ever since. Russia used the territory to hunt wild animals and for the fur trade, nearly wiping out the sea otters that are native to the area. It is home to Native Americans and Indian and Eskimo tribes.

The population is pretty scant considering the amount of land the state covers. What sets Alaska apart from every other state in the union is its natural beauty and natural resources. It has been nearly unspoiled by humans and is a vast land of natural riches. The highest mountains on the continent are in Alaska; it has many rivers and lakes and is home to many species of wildlife including bears, moose and elk.

The waters around Alaska are rich with fish and crab and are a necessary part of the countries food supply. Alaska is also rich in natural resources such as timber and oil. But that is best left for debate for someone else, what we care about is its unspoiled and natural beauty for visiting and enjoying. Alaska offers nearly every type of outdoor activity that you could imagine, from fishing and hunting to camping and canoeing. There is such an abundance of nature that narrowing it down could be your biggest problem.

The cities of the south, Juneau in particular are as metropolitan as any city that you would want to visit, and offer the amenities and services that you would need and require. It’s when you start exploring and visiting the smaller towns and villages that you really get a feel for what the state is all about.