5 Reasons You Should Visit Alaska NOW!

Fall Colors at Broad Pass

There are some places on Earth that are changing or disappearing at an alarming rate. Glaciers are melting, cultures are being lost, languages are dying, animals are going extinct. We live in a crazy time. Wow! I sound so pessimistic I might get a gig on CNN or FOX News or could run for President in the Republican party!

Alaska happens to be of those rapidly changing places. Aside from change, there are a few factors making Alaska an appealing travel destination in the very short term. Let me tell you about it.

Why you should visit Alaska now

1. Northern Lights 

Northern Lights at Glacier Bay

The northern lights are in a heightened state of activity, and the winter of 2015/2016 should be a great time to see them. If you check out the Alaska photography Facebook groups, you will see near daily photos of the sky blowing up in crazy colors. In a few years these nightly displays will be diminished and visitors hoping to see them will be disappointed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2. Glaciers Are Melting

Exit Glacier melting before and afterLast year when I walked up and saw Exit Glacier near Seward for the first time in 7 years, my heart sank. The Glacier has retreated so much that it isn’t even that incredible anymore. Unless you are hiking up to the top, I’d almost recommend skipping it.

Having said that, what remains of the glaciers can be truly incredible but some of the most accessible glaciers will continue to recede. Don’t wait too long.

3. You Aren’t Getting Any Younger

Okay, this is going to be playfully ageist, but stay with me for a minute. Most visitors to Alaska are, in a word, old. The Alaska Tourism Board ran a now defunct campaign called Alaska Before You Die, with catchy billboards like this:

Alaska before you die

We used to joke that is should be amended to say ” See Alaska RIGHT before you die,” or “See Alaska while you are dying.” The best part about visiting Alaska is the adventure of hiking, kayaking, rafting and exploring the wilderness. It is difficult to do this with a knee replacement or a pacemaker.

Too many tourists go around the state in a tour bus, experiencing the Great Land through a window, not unlike watching a documentary. Go while you are young or young at heart. Go while you can properly enjoy it!

4. Alaska Is A Relatively Good Deal Right Now

Alaska can be expensive. Shipping food and supplies to the state isn’t cheap, and since most hotels and tour companies are only open 4 months a year, they have a limited time to make money. This leads to higher prices across the board.

However, Alaska is relatively cheap right now.  Due to a price war with Delta and AK Airlines, flights to Juneau have been very low lately, and cheaper gas prices worldwide have led to cheaper flights in general. In fact, if you rent a car, you can get gas for under $4 a gallon –  dirt cheap by our standards.

In addition, there has been a building boom the last few years. In Denali Park, for example, approximately 750 hotel rooms have built in the last 10 years. If you travel during the shoulder season, there are deals to be had.

5. I work in Tourism

My wife and I work in the tourism industry, and your dollars help support us. So please come soon. If you are an American and you go overseas to travel, you don’t love America and your act is almost treasonous. So come visit and tip well.

Anyone have a trip to Alaska planned soon?

37 Comments on “5 Reasons You Should Visit Alaska NOW!

  1. Northern Lights YES and I’m not getting any younger! Turning 30 this November and I feel the ‘good’ pressure!

  2. All valid reasons for visiting Alaska NOW. But, now is October and it’s winter. How about now in the spring? I truly thought your selfless promotion should have been number the one reason!

    • I did realize that NOW was a little inaccurate. I should have said 2016, but you are coming soon enough in three years – although the Northern Lights may be on a the downswing.

      I am all about selfless promotion.

  3. I love the glaciers – it’s so cool how blue the ice is!

    I do have to disagree on one thing though – don’t visit in October. Maybe September when the skies are blue and clear and all the trees are yellow – that’s lovely. But October is when people are starting to be all bummed and hunker down for winter.

    Visit in the spring – go up to Fairbanks in March when the ice park is open – it’s warming up from winter and the entire town is on this natural high. It’s contagious!

    • I may need to change the headline from NOW to 2016. I agree, that now is bad timing, and winter or next year is better.

      Glaciers are the coolest. Thanks for commenting!

    • Just about anywhere you can easily escape the tourists. Most of them go around on bus tours so if you go hiking, you’ve lost them! Having said that, Otto Lake near Denali Park or kayaking in Glacier Bay are two great ways to get away from the crowds.

  4. I hope tourism Alaska has you on salary! As you know definitely on our list. Can you remind me of what you believe to be the very best time to come?

  5. I kept meaning to go to Alaska. After living in Aspen, CO for ten years, it was one of the places I thought of moving to. Didn’t happen. Still hasn’t. But I was serious about coming there to work! I almost got offended by your last lines. Then realized it was you being you. When I lived in Mexico, I met a couple people who worked at Denali, bought a motorhome and wintered in Manzanillo.

  6. No Alaska trip planned – but I really wish I had! 🙂 Not enough time and money. I was surprised to learn about the major difference you have observed on Exit Glacier in only 7 years. That is very sad. I was laughing at the billboard. Is it for real – no I am sure to must be something you pulled together? 🙂

    • Oh no, the billboard is real. That was the actual campaign for a few years! 🙂 But thank you for thinking it is something I may have thought of.

      Exit Glacier is sad – it really surprised me to see it that way.

  7. I live in india and Anchorage is my dream city.I will surely come and spend some time there when i come to the states after 4 years to study.Hope the glaciers remain till then.

  8. Omg! I love Alaska so much! And my boyfriend is alaskan. I have never been there but I really want it! Hope I can go there one day! And btw I am studying about Touristm Industry in Touristm High School.And Thanks for your information.

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