Alaska is so dreamy! From mountains to rivers, there is so much to do, see, and eat. Nothing like the great outdoors to revive your soul from the hustle and bustle of city living. There’s nothing much better than fresh mountain air. Ahhh!
*Everywhere is referenced from Anchorage since this is where I have spent most of my time in Alaska.
“Here fishy, fishy, fishy!”
An absolute must when visiting Alaska is Salmon fishing. And there no better place than the Kenai River. It’s located about 160 miles south of Anchorage. (3 hour drive) If you’re staying in Anchorage it is worth the drive there, but probably best you go the night before and stay in Kenai so you are well rested, because fishing starts very early on the river. Here is the breakdown on what you can expect when salmon fishing at the Kenai River.
- You will need to find a charter online. There are so many great companies you can’t really go wrong with any.
- You will choose a full or half day. A full day is 7 am – 3pm and half day is usually 7am- 12pm. I did half day and it was perfect, although I definitely could have fished all day.
- The costs vary but the average will run you $250-$350 full day and $175-$200 half day. You will also need to buy a fishing license. You can get one at a convenient store or Walmart. That will cost you $25. P.S don’t forget to bring a little extra cash to tip your guide.
- Depending on the season you will get to keep the fish you catch (up to a certain amount) The guide will fillet it for you and keep it on ice.
- My favorite part is getting to take the fish home to eat. YUMMY! You can visit a fish processing store to have your catches packaged for you. Your guide will lead you where to go. Most also offer shipping services if you are unable to take the fish yourself.
The great outdoors wouldn’t be ‘the great outdoors’ without some great hikes!
Exit Glacier – Kenai Fjords National Park. 125 miles south of Anchorage near Seward.
What is more “Alaskan” than glaciers? Exit Glacier is a must see when visiting Alaska. Although this is more of a walk than a hike, it’s a really cool experience to be up close and personal with a real life glacier. And after your hike be sure to check out the town of Seward. It’s such a charming place.
Byron Glacier and Ice Caves- 50 miles south of Anchorage.
Yet another glacier hike. Again, this is less of a hike and more of a walk. It’s only about 1 mile total. There are some rocks you can climb for a stunning view from above and this also gives you more of that “hike” experience. Be careful though, because the rocks are not secure. The glacier and ice caves are worth the drive.
*After I took this photo I was told that going into the ice caves during the spring/summer are very dangerous because they can collapse. So, use your best judgment and go at your own risk.*
Flattop Mountain Trail– Chugach State Park, Anchorage.
This is probably the most popular hike in Anchorage. It’s a moderate to hard hike about 3 miles long. It gets pretty tough towards the end where you have to climb up loose rocks and you must rely on your hands to keep your balance. However, once you’re at the top, the view is worth the effort. There’s a reason why this hike is so popular.
Winner Creek Trail Girdwood- 45 minutes south of Anchorage.
I really love this hike because there is so much to see. It’s an easy 3 mile hike with gorgeous views. You first hike through a wooded area. Then you come to Winner Creek Gorge. There is a wooded boardwalk you can walk across. It’s such a cool experience because right under your feet is the river water that’s forced through a narrow tunnel that causes the water to swish and shoot through the gorge at an incredible rate. This creates a frothy white water that’s easy on the eyes. Not far from the gorge you will find the hand tram. I loved this because it’s such a random and fun thing just smack dab in the middle of the hike. It’s pretty crazy because you are 100 feet above the river creek and you are depending on a metal cage and a rope that you have to pull to get across to the other side. This is totally safe and such a unique experience. Just one word of advice; If you’re scared of heights…don’t look down!
On to my favorite subject, food!
Snow City Cafe– Anchorage
I am not a “breakfast person” unless I am in Anchorage. Snow City never disappoints. I always order the egg white crab omelet. It’s made with a very generous portion of crab meat along with swiss cheese, green onion, and topped with avocado. I have to have it anytime I visit Anchorage. This place is ALWAYS busy so either get there when it very first opens (6:30AM) or be prepared for a decent wait. Trust me, its worth the wait.
49th State Brewing Company–Anchorage
If you’re looking for some local craft beer, 49th Brewing Company is your place! Not only do they have a wide selection of award winning beers, but also great food! I love the halibut burger. Massive habit patty, fresh from the Alaskan waters with arugula and lemon aioli sauce. Fun bonus: If you visit during the summer they have a great rooftop patio.
Tequila 61 offers fabulous margaritas, craft cocktails, and a unique variety of tacos. One of my favorites is the jicama shrimp tacos. The shell is made from thinly sliced jicama. It sounds weird, but trust me, it works! There are, of course more traditional tacos and Mexican fair on the menu as well.
Club Paris– Anchorage
Being a native Texan, I know a good steak when I eat one. Club Paris is an old school steak house in downtown Anchorage that’s one of the few places that survived the 1964 earthquake. There are no frills here, as their steaks speak for themselves. I love the blue cheese stuffed filet mignon. I always get raised eyebrows when I recommend a steakhouse in Alaska, but try it out and you’ll see (and taste) why it’s on my list.
Alaskas beauty will inspire you to explore the great outdoors. With so much to offer, Alaska really is for everyone.