Welcome to the launch of my next series in my continuing quest to highlight the best travel locations of the world. The series is called “Best of…” and documents in words and photos the places that I have enjoyed the most in my life of travel. I hope you agree with me, and I hope that, if you have never been to a particular location, that you will consider my recommended attractions when you visit. I will begin in the United States, the country that I know the best, and then I will continue into Europe and beyond. I hope my readers will enjoy my capsule summaries and my photos.
Alaska is the largest state in America and is also the most remote. There are very few roads so travel is fairly restricted: planes to get into the interior; boats to travel along the coast and rivers. It is a wild, unspoiled land with incredible scenery and an interesting breed of resident (typically extremely self-sufficient and somewhat quirky).
My list of the best of Alaska includes only places that I have been to. Keep in mind that much of the interior is unexplored and that new attractions are likely to be found as internal transportation improves and more people move into the state.
In no special order:
Glacier Bay National Park is a spectacular location with dramatic mountain scenery, abundant wildlife, and a large collection of glaciers which can be viewed up close and personal by cruise ships.
Denali National Park surrounds North America’s tallest mountain, (aka Mt McKinley). The park is very remote but has become more accessible due to its development by cruise ship lines which tailor excursions to the area.
College Fjord is a delightful inlet, populated by many glaciers in a fairly small area.
Juneau, the state capital, is an interesting city, with no approaches by road.
The city has several worthwhile sights including the Russian Orthodox Church.
Ketchikan is usually the first stop for cruise ships in the Inside Passage. It is a very interesting town, with colorful buildings and a somewhat seedy history.
Creek Street was the notorious “red-light district” and the most famous Madam was a lady named Dolly.
Skagway was a rough and tumble Western type town, even more notorious than Ketchikan. It was the gateway into the Klondike.
Fairbanks is very close to the Arctic Circle and a very special place in the history of Alaska. We particularly liked Golden Heart Square
and the River Cruise past an Athabascan Indian Village.