Family Activities in Alaska | trip to alaska

For your next family vacation, it’s time to think big. As the nation’s largest state, Alaska offers great family adventures. You’ll find activities statewide that appeal to people of all ages, from wildlife viewing and hiking to adventures like ziplining and kayaking. Check out our top 5 family activities in Alaska:

1. Wildlife viewing

Alaska is home to some of the most magnificent wildlife in the world, including brown and black bears, whales, moose, wolves, caribou and more. Kids and parents alike will be amazed to see Alaska’s diverse wildlife in their natural habitats on a wildlife viewing tour, and be sure to keep an eye out wherever you go, wherever you go. on a hike, cruise or coach, or simply on foot. having dinner.

For a guaranteed close-up view of Alaska’s wildlife, be sure to visit one (or more!) of the fantastic Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation Centers located throughout the state. These centers care for and rehabilitate injured and orphaned animals and support important research to protect Alaska’s land and sea wildlife. From bears to birds to beluga whales, Alaska Conservation Centers are a fantastic way to experience Alaskan wildlife. Many centers offer behind-the-scenes tours and animal encounters so you can learn even more about animals. Be sure to check the following:

If that wasn’t enough, you can also befriend reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch in Fairbanks and Reindeer Farm in Palmer, and take a walk among musk oxen at Musk Ox Farm in Palmer.

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Photo Credit: ATIA, Brian Adams

2. Hike

No visit to Alaska is complete without lacing up those hiking boots and exploring on your own. There are countless mountains to climb and miles to cover, and you’ll find a great selection of family hikes almost everywhere you go. Here are some of our favorite family hikes that lead to great views and wildlife-spotting opportunities without being too long or strenuous:

Want ideas for making your Alaskan hikes as fun as possible for the little ones? Bring binoculars so your kids can get an even better view of the wildlife and scenery. Organize a treasure hunt along the way. Look for walking sticks. Have the kids carry a light backpack with some of their favorite snacks. Depending on the age, don’t aim too high for the distance. Allow extra time for children to explore at their own pace and enjoy the little things. If you prefer to let the experts guide you, consider joining a guided hike or glacier hike.

A family hikes Flat Top in Anchorage, Alaska.
Photo credit: ATIA, Chris Arend

3. Winter activities

Winter or summer, Alaska offers fun for all ages. There are plenty of outdoor winter activities to keep you busy all day, then snuggle up with a hot chocolate and enjoy some quality family time in the evening. Get active with winter sports, including downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating, fat biking and snowshoeing. And don’t forget Alaska’s official sport: dog sledding. The whole family will enjoy the thrill of riding behind a team of dogs as they ride through a snowy forest. Many kennels in Interior and Southcentral Alaska are open year-round and offer kennel tours and demonstrations before hitting the trail with the dogs for a dog sledding excursion.

Winter in Alaska is also the time to attend some of the best festivals and family events in the state, including Roundy furthe Ice Art World Championshipsand the Iditarod. If you’re ready to keep the kids up a little late, consider joining a Northern Lights viewing tour, where experienced guides will take you to the best places to view the Northern Lights, sometimes equipped with a heated cabin and hot beverages to keep everyone warm and cozy.

A mother and daughter go dog sledding in Fairbanks Alaska
Photo credit: ATIA, Chris McLennan

4. Museums and cultural centers

Alaska is home to world-class museums and cultural centers that will delight children and adults alike with their interactive exhibits and opportunities to learn about Alaska’s diverse wildlife, history and native culture. . Don’t miss the Anchorage Museum with its fun and interactive discovery center, full of hands-on exhibits and an impressive planetarium. Other most family-friendly museums and cultural centers in Alaska include:

A baby walks through Sitka National Historical Park
Sitka National Historical Park

5. Tours (from mountain bikes to zip lines)

There are enough tours and excursions in Alaska to fill a lifetime of travel, and you’ll find that most tours offer options the whole clan can enjoy. Here are some of our best family tours, from A to Z:

  • ATV tours that take you into the Alaskan backcountry to admire the scenery and wildlife. Especially popular in the Denali area, many operators offer multi-passenger ATVs so kids can ride for fun.
  • Day cruises from cities like Seward, Whittier, Juneau, Valdez, Gustavus, and many other Alaskan coastal communities to see whales, wildlife, and glaciers. Many cruise lines offer half-day excursions ideal for families, with educational programs for children and onboard activities.
  • Flightseeing to get a better perspective of the size of Alaska. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the bird’s-eye view and the excitement of flying in a small plane, with some tours landing in remote locations — even on glaciers — for more exploration.
  • Kayak among protected coves in coastal communities throughout Alaska. Choose a family-friendly half-day tour that features double kayaks for a fun way to get up-close views of wildlife and seascapes. For even more thrills on the water, book a rafting day trip.
  • Train travel on the Alaska Railroad or the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a favorite with families. The Alaska Railroad connects Seward to Fairbanks, with several stops along the way for fantastic day trip options. Wildlife viewing, scenery, onboard snacks and meals, and entertaining narration are all part of the experience. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad departs from Skagway and explores the Klondike Gold Rush history, with hiking options.
  • Zip lines! Need we say more? Zoom through the trees on thrilling zipline rides in the Interior, South Central, and Inside Passage communities. You are sure to have family ties in this adrenaline-filled adventure.

No matter what you do, a family vacation in Alaska is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

A family on an aerial tour in Alaska.
Photo credit: @janellepage11

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