Beginner's guide to Alaska

You don’t have to see the same places everyone else does. Here’s our guide to the coolest glaciers, biggest bears, and best small town

The ultimate dream vacation
Photo by Michael Hanson

The ultimate dream vacation

Alaska is the ultimate dream vacation. But the thing about dreams is that they can be amazing and a little scary.

Same with Alaska. The state has 100,000 glaciers, thousands of brown and black bears, and 586,412 square miles—bigger than Arizona, California, Montana, and Oregon combined. How can you decide which glaciers/bears/square miles to see? The sheer overwhelming magnitude prompts many first-time Alaska travelers to take shelter in guided group tours, which visit all the same places your sister-in-law saw on her Alaska vacation.

There’s nothing wrong with that—Alaska’s standard tourist stops are, indeed, astonishing. But if you want your first Alaska visit to be even more extraordinary, plan on hitting these 10 destinations that locals mostly keep to themselves. You’ll leave knowing that your dream vacation has been one-of-a-kind.

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