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

Take a journey to planet ice
Photo by Mark Conlin / Alamy

Take a journey to planet ice

Yes, some are melting fast, but Alaska’s glaciers are still huge and impressive. Most visitors head to Glacier Bay, day-tripping up Tarr Inlet to watch Margerie Glacier calve (drop chunks of ice into the water). But when locals send visiting relatives to a glacier, they’re more likely to steer them to the Tracy Arm–Fords Terror Wilderness (pictured), south of Juneau. It’s more intimate and more dramatic—ice chunks fall off with near-frightening regularity, kicking up waves. And watch for shooters, bergs that break off below the surface, then shoot up like they’re hoping to fly.

Info: From $169; late May–early Sep; allenmarinetours.com

While you’re there: Juneau has another good glacier 12 miles north of downtown: Mendenhall (907/789-0097), in the Tongass National Forest.

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