Go outside and play

No day in Alaska is complete without a wildlife encounter.

That could be a bear-viewing, or a sighting of a moose in a roadside pond. Alaska has many species that aren’t found anywhere else in the United States — and many species that are at risk in the Lower 48 thrive here. Look for moose and sheep along the road system. Excursion boats go out along the ragged cliffs every day to watch whales, sea lions and sea birds.  If you’re hiking, mountain biking, fishing or camping, the chances are good that you’ll see wildlife close up. Birders in Alaska, for example, have nearly 450 species to look for.

The northern lights are just about the only thing that could get Alaskans to stand outside without a coat in January. As summer’s extended daylight hours fade into the crisp cool nights of fall, Alaskan skies become the perfect backdrop for the beautiful northern lights. Curtains of green, purple and white northern lights dance across the northern heavens. September has been an active month for aurora, and the viewing forecast remains good for most of the state.

The daredevil rivers of Alaska’s mountain country lure raft riders and kayakers from around the world. And other rivers — placid but full bodied — sweep past caribou and bears grazing on open arctic tundra. The Six mile Creek is one of the most Challenging rafting rivers on The Kenai, and should only be attempted by expert rafters, or with a reputable rafting company. The excitement and thrill of running this river with an expert is an experience unlike others on The Kenai. Towering rocky cliffs looming over the huge waves provide a stunning setting for this thrilling run.

Fishing in Alaska comes in multiple flavors. Tens of thousands of people harvest and feast on salmon, halibut, crab, trout, and other varieties of finfish and shellfish under subsistence, personal use, and sport fishing regulations. Connoisseurs of the art of angling try their skills in wilderness and urban settings. Guides, lodges and charter operators provide residents and visitors with memorable fishing experiences and contribute significantly to Alaskan fishing experience.

Even if you don’t have a lot of outdoor experience, day excursions and guided tours allow you to discover true Alaska wilderness during the day and sleep in a comfortable bed at night. For the seasoned outdoor expert, Alaska is teeming with the opportunities for the rugged, backcountry treks. Whether you prefer to hike on an ice age glacier, skim the wilderness in a “bush” plane or take a dog sled ride, you’ll find plenty of options to experience the Alaska you’ve always dreamed about. The state’s many famous rivers, lakes and protected coastal waters offer the chance to experience rafting, kayaking or jet boat rides from mild to wild. No matter what your interest, you’re sure to find some adventures tailor-made for you.