Chances are you'll only go once, so you won't see it all. We asked Grant Sims, the former editor of Alaska Magazine and author of Leaving Alaska, to pick some destinations not to be missed.
Brooks Range: Fly to Bettles, above the Arctic Circle. Much of Alaska is too soggy to hike during the peak travel months of May through September, so the best overland trips combine hiking with rafting or canoeing. The sunny, southern Brooks Range offers gentle terrain and rivers that are tamer than many in other parts of the state. Sourdough Outfitters can get you started, 907-692-5252.
Kachemak Bay: Hike in the Kenai Mountains, fish in the bay's abundant waters, and birdwatch. The Cook Inlet has the second highest tide in the world. Stay at the beautiful Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, which features the usual stunning views and not-so-usual, delicious gourmet food, 907-235-8910.
Prince William Sound: The area has almost entirely recovered from the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster. Spend your days touring the sound in a sailboat, whale watching, hiking through old-growth coast rain forests and sea kayaking in glacial bays and fjords. Alaska Wilderness Sailing Safari Outfitters, 907-835-5175, can make all the arrangements.
For information on other outfitters, hotels, and inns, or an Official State Guide and Vacation Planner, contact the Alaska State Division of Tourism, 800-862-5275.
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