Last Updated: 4/30/2019
If you’re considering a move to Alaska, you’re not alone. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people move to the Frontier State every year. In fact, the state boasts the highest rate of gross migration in the United States, which means that more people move in and out of Alaska yearly than any other state.
Moving to such a remote destination is a big decision. Before making a change this significant, you may spend a serious amount of time turning over the possibility in your mind.
If you’re on the fence, we’ll share our nine favorite things about the 49th state in the hopes that we can push you over the edge. Although Alaska living is a unique experience that’s not for everyone, we love it—and we’d love to help you join us in the land of the midnight sun.
Reason #1: It’s a Seafood Lover’s Paradise
Most of America’s salmon, crab, halibut and herring come from Alaska, so you’ll find an abundant supply in the state. Add some culinary creativity—and that Alaska “can-do” attitude—and you can eat seafood in more ways that you can imagine, with dishes like:
- Smoked salmon pot pie
- King crab cakes—or pick the legs yourself!
- Kachemaks® Alaskan oysters, which have a character all their own
- Seafood lasagna
- Halibut enchiladas
- Salmon cakes
- Hot & sour crab soup
- Salmon macaroni and cheese
And, of course, you can enjoy fresh halibut or salmon simply grilled or pan seared to let the fish’s natural flavors shine through!
Prefer to catch your dinner? Many argue that Alaska offers the best fishing in the United States. It can also be an economical way to feed yourself in a state where the cost of living tends to be higher. Find inspiration for cooking your catch in the recipe archives of Fish Alaska magazine.
Reason #2: The Northern Lights, Ice Caves and More
Did you know that you can see the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) an average of 243 days a year in Fairbanks? Think about that: For two-thirds of the year, you can simply waltz outside and see a sight that many people travel thousands of miles to marvel at.
Alaska’s wonders don’t stop there. Among its vast landscapes you’ll find an estimated 100,000 glaciers, ice caves and the nation’s two largest forests, including the Tongass National Forest, a temporate rainforest.
Whether these sights inspire awe or remind you of your innate connection to nature, they offer a landscape you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Reason #3: There’s No State Tax
As many U.S. residents flee states with high income taxes (California’s highest bracket clocks in at 13%!), Alaska offers a welcome respite. With no state income tax and no state sales tax, you’ll get to keep more of your paycheck as an Alaskan resident. Although you will encounter some local sales taxes, you’ll still fair better than residents of most states, since Alaska collects a good chunk of its state revenue by taxing natural resources.
You’ll also get one more boon for your bank account: the Permanent Fund Dividend, paid annually to permanent Alaska residents. Last year’s payout was $1,600—a nice boost for your budget.
Reason #4: Everything Is Bigger . . . in Alaska
It’s well known that Texans are proud of their state, but, we have to brag a little here. Alaska is 2.5 times the size of Texas—and Alaskans love big things, too, such as:
- Big salmon: The world-record king salmon was caught in Alaska’s Kenai River and weighed in at 97 pounds.
- Big mountains: Alaska’s Denali Mountain is the highest peak in North America.
- Big glaciers: The Bering glacier is the largest in North America.
- Big national parks: The largest in the U.S., Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, is located in Alaska.
- Big vegetables that enjoy all that extra summer sun, including an Alaskan pumpkin that clocked in at 1,780 pounds!
With more than 22 hours of sunlight in the summer, Alaskans not only have the time to grow big things, but we also have the daylight to enjoy them.
Reason #5: Alaskans Know How to Travel
The Alaska Interstate highway system is comprised of just four roads, so it’s no surprise that Alasksans love to get creative about getting around. When you move to Alaska, you might find yourself traveling by:
Sled dogs – Even if you’re not watching the Iditarod, you may still see your neighbors using sled dogs to get around in the winter, especially in more remote areas.
Snowmachines – Given the average snowfall in Alaska (74.5″ per year in Anchorage), it’s no wonder that this mode of transportation is widely popular in Alaska. Insider’s Tip: If you want to sound like you’re a local, make sure you call them “snowmachines” and not “snowmobiles.”
Float Planes – If you want to explore Alaska’s most remote areas, you’re going to need a plane. Float planes are a popular choice for quick trips that allow you to access even the remote corners of Alaska’s breathtaking wilderness.
Ferries – Alaska’s ferry service, the Alaska Marine Highway, will transport you to 33 ports throughout the state. Get to know the “blue canoes,” as the ferry boats are known. They’ll be essential transportation as you explore the state.
Reason #6: We Brake for Moose
And it’s not just because we have to. We want to.
When you move to Alaska, you’ll enjoy a different pace of life, the kind where you can take a moment to marvel at a magnificent moose leisurely crossing the road. Things move more slowly up here. Alaskans are less inclined to rush around. Culture here is less “plugged in” to what’s popular in the lower 48 states. In other words, life in Alaska is pretty laid back—and that’s what many people move here to experience.
It might take some getting used to at first. However, once you settle in, you’ll find more time to appreciate the beauty around you.
Reason #7: Enjoying the Outdoors Is a Way of Life
For many Mainlanders, outside adventures have to be planned way in advance—or shoehorned into an already-packed schedule.
Not so in Alaska. Outdoor time is just a natural part of the lifestyle. Whether you want to kayak, hike, fish, ski or even golf, all of this is available to you—and more. This is especially true in the summer months, when you have plenty of extra daylight for outdoor activities.
Plus, you’ll find that the residents around you embrace this mindset. If you want to learn a new hobby (ice golfing, anyone?) or find an outdoor activity partner, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Reason #8: There’s Plenty of Culture to Enjoy
With a population on par with the Midwest’s bigger cities like Cincinnati, St. Paul and St. Louis, you’ll find plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy in Anchorage.
- Take in local art during a First Friday art walk.
- Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to explore the rich culture of Alaska’s first settlers.
- Enjoy events and concerts put on by the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.
- Take a culinary tour of Anchorage’s finest food.
You’ll also find a burgeoning live music scene in Anchorage that features everything from indie folk to blues rock to dubstep. Check out the Anchorage Free Press for event listings that will keep you busy all week.
Reason #9 – Alaskans Know How to Have Fun
Throughout the summer months, you’ll enjoy a busy calendar of celebrations. Alaskans love their festivals, so make sure you keep your eyes out for Salmonfest, the Sitka WhaleFest, the Alyeska Resort Blueberry Festival, the Girdwood Forest Fair and, of course, the can’t-miss Alaska State Fair.
Even the winter months feature festival fun, with the Anchorage International Film Festival, the Fur Rendezvous Festival (aka “Fur Rondy”) and the Alaska classic, the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.
You’ll find a comprehensive list of festivals on Alaska.org so you can mark your calendar for year-round fun.
Nine Reasons Why There’s No Time Like the Present
There’s no question—there’s nowhere else quite like Alaska. When you consider a move to such a unique place, it’s understandable to weigh your decision carefully. However, if you’ve been dreaming of making the move, we hope these nine reasons give you a little extra ammunition to start your Alaskan adventure ASAP.
We’d be happy to help! If you need some assistance moving your possessions to your new home in Alaska, just reach out to us. We’ll get you a guaranteed quote for turning your Alaskan dream into a reality.