Monday, August 10, 2015

Anchorage, Alaska: summer time

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I have been sharing some tidbits about my favorite places to see when we were in Alaska.  Like I highlighted the fun of downtown Anchorage in July.

If you are visiting Anchorage, Alaska in the summer, join the crowd. This is prime tourist season; for good reason. It is simply stunning in the summer and the only time it is ‘warm.’ Winters in Alaska last from October until May, thus there is limited time for tourists to explore if you want warmer weather. And, because there are so many folks joining you in your Alaskan adventure, it is quite expensive.


But, don't let that scare you off!  There are a ton of family friendly adventures in this great frontier state.


Your own family adventure can consist of hiking, fishing, glacier cruises, and eating amazing seafood. Our children especially enjoyed seeing the wildlife at the zoo and game farms as well as spotting it along our drives. Just make sure you pack for inclement weather. Warm in Anchorage can mean 60 degrees Fahrenheit and often it rains and there are chilly winds. Though some summers will have highs in the 70s and beautiful sunny skies.

Being so far north, the daylight hours are abundant.  With the long days, you will get caught up in all your fun activities and not realize it is 4 hours past your kid’s bedtime. So, enjoy but be aware that you may need to sleep at some point during your trip. A sleep mask for each member of the family may be a good thing to add to your packing list.

Good tourist sights to get you started on your plan are:

If you are planning on hiking, which I highly recommend, purchase some bear mace and bear bells upon arrival. The bells will warn bears that you are coming along the trail and that will give them time to leave. Most don’t want to be around humans and only get aggressive when startled. So give them some warning. In the event you do startle a bear and they charge, the bear mace is very effective for scaring them off. Good tips on what to do when encountering a bear are found HERE. Moose also can be quite dangerous and you should keep your distance. They actually harm far more humans than bears.


You do want to actually see some animals though and you will want your camera for all those not too close encounters. Just please, make sure you and your children give plenty of space to the wildlife.
There are an abundance of parks surrounding Anchorage. Some you may want to check out are:

Chugach State Park
Eagle River Nature Center (actually located in the Chugach)
Arctic Valley Ski Area
Denali National Park

Eating in Anchorage is a seafood lover's dream.  There are several casual and upscale restaurants to choose from and if you are staying downtown, they are easy to walk to.  If you are staying farther out from town, street parking is metered except for after 6pm and on weekends.

Our children love to walk around town to look at all the unique Alaskan souvenir shops and eat street food.  The reindeer dog is my son's favorite.

If you arrive in August, you may consider climbing the hillside out of town and go berry picking. Wild blueberries grow in abundance and are a tasty treat.  My youngest had the one to eat/one for the bowl picking method.


Getting out on the water is also a great way to experience the Anchorage area and the wildlife of Alaska.  We took a cruise on Major Cruise line out of Seward, Alaska. (about a 3 hour drive from Anchorage that is full of gorgeous views)  The captain of the boat gave a running commentary on the wildlife and geology of the area.  As we walked on the dock to the boat my four year old was giddy with excitement and announced, "This is going to be amazing!"  And she really was right.  We did not see any whales, (unusual) but we saw endangered Stellar sea lions, Dall's porpoise, lots of sea birds, eagles, and sea otters.

Glacier and Wildlife Cruises

Well, there are just a few ideas that prompt you to consider exploring Anchorage, AK as a family.

If you have visited Alaska in the summer, what was your favorite activity?

If you are interested in hearing more from us, there are a couple ways for you to keep in touch!


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