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

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Really get away from it all
Photo by David Fenton

Really get away from it all

No other state in the country makes it so easy to get away from everybody: Park the car, grab a tent, start hiking, and you’ll be alone within minutes, even from the outskirts of Anchorage or Fairbanks. But Alaska also offers more luxe offerings, remote lodges where you can fish, watch animals, or just hang out with the scenery in considerable style. Among the best of these is Tutka Bay Lodge, south of Homer near Kachemak Bay. With only six cabins (some sleeping up to seven, so good for a family) surrounded by more than 400,000 acres of protected wilderness, you’ll never feel crowded. And the range of available activities—hike, kayak, fish, stroll the beach—will fill as many days as your vacation lasts. Tutka Bay also offers something you won’t find anywhere else in wild Alaska: a cooking school, where you can learn the best local ways of preparing all the bounty that Kachemak Bay offers, from halibut to mussels to seaweed that makes the best salad you’ll ever taste. Don’t want to learn to cook? No worries; all meals at the lodge are included in the price. From $975; May 1–Sep 30;

In the neighborhood: Homer is jumping-off point for trips to Tutka Bay, but it’s worth time on its own. Gallery hop on the Spit, the 4.5-mile-long curve of land that juts into Kachemak Bay. Then board a ferry for an elegant seafood dinner at the Saltry ($$$; May 26–Sep 2;, in Halibut Cove.


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