Yes, it’s true that Alaska offers some of the most beautiful, unspoiled wilderness in the United States. Yes, you can kayak around glaciers and spot the Northern Lights. And, yes, you might spot a bear or a moose walking down the street like it owns the place.
However, that being said, life in the Last Frontier can offer its challenges. The winters are cold and dark. Buying necessities isn’t always as simple as hopping in your car and driving to the nearest shopping center. Cabin fever is a real thing. And if your friends and family live in the lower 48, you simply might not see them as often.
That said, for every moment that a die-hard Alaskan wonders what it’s like to live on a beach in Hawaii, there are just as many (and hopefully more!) “I love Alaska!” moments.
In this article, we’re going to share nine of our favorite activities that inspire our love for this wacky, wonderful and weird state. If you’re considering a move to Alaska, maybe they’ll entice you to join us in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
1. Grabbing an Amazing Apricot at Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage
If we were to ask you, “Where’s the best pizza in the U.S.?” you’d probably say, New York. According to TripAdvisor, you’d be right. A few years ago, the travel site awarded the top honors to Juliana’s Pizza in New York City, owned by the legendary Patsy Grimaldi.
However, would you be surprised if we told you that third place went to Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage? If you’ve enjoyed one of their famous Amazing Apricot pies with blackened chicken, cream cheese, apricot sauce, and carrots, we don’t need to tell you how amazing the pizza is.
By the way, travel site rankings aside, Moose’s Tooth has also ranked as the highest-grossing single-unit independent pizzeria in the United States. In other words, the people have voted (with their dollars!), and Moose’s Tooth was the clear victor.
Insider Tip: When you head over, make sure you try our team favorite, the Mac N Cheese pizza with reindeer sausage.
2. Catching Some Local Music at the Alaskan Bar in Juneau
We’ve heard rumors that the Red Dog Saloon is the place to go in Juneau. We politely disagree. Instead, if you want one of those “only in Alaska” moments, head on over to The Alaskan Bar. The exterior may be a bit unprepossessing, but, trust us, there’s magic inside.
In addition to having an excellent selection of beer, the real draw at The Alaskan Bar is the music scene. The bar opened in 1913, so you’ll get a little side of history served with your drinks. And if you’re there while the bar has live music, you’re in for a real treat. Cozy up to the stage, pray for bluegrass and you won’t be disappointed.
3. Touring Alaska by Air (Keep Your Bush Pilot Friends Close!)
Alaska has six times more pilots per capita than any other state, so you’re likely to make a friend with a pilot’s license sooner rather than later in Alaska. Nurture those friendships! Many of Alaska’s remote areas are only accessible by plane, and there’s nothing experiencing Alaska’s wilderness from the air.
Although you can certainly take a commercial flight, some of our favorite moments have happened when riding with friends in their own planes. So if you meet someone with his or her pilot’s license (someone who, of course, seems like a relatively level-headed, responsible person!), don’t pass up the offer to join him or her for a flight. You’re practically guaranteed an unforgettable experience.
4. Catching Dinner in Your Secret Spot
If there’s anything more quintessentially Alaskan than salmon or halibut fishing, we can’t think of it. You’ll not only bask in the pride of being able to feed yourself and your family for the night, but you can also enjoy the peace and quiet that likely brought you to Alaska in the first place.
Now, when it comes to fishing spots, everyone’s got their favorites, but they might not be willing to share right away with a newcomer. So, stay friendly, bide your time and you’ll find yourself privy to some of the best secret fishing spots soon enough.
(By the way, if you want to know our spots, you’ll at least have to buy us a beer or two first!)
5. Celebrating the Solstice with a Late-Night Hike
The solstices can be a big deal in Alaska since they mark either the high tide of summer light or the halfway point of winter’s darkness. Alaskans find many ways to celebrate these events, but our favorite is to take a late-night hike through the night of the Summer Solstice. What better use of 24-hour sunshine, than to and admire Alaska’s breathtaking natural beauty?
Anchorage’s Flattop Peak is a popular destination for locals during the solstice, but we encourage you to get creative (and avoid the crowds)! You’ve got all night, so pick a hike that will allow you to cover some serious distance.
Just make sure you’ve got your blackout curtains and your sleep mask ready when you get home so you can sack out for a good day’s sleep.
6. Splurging a Little on PFD Day
It’s the age-old debate: What do you do on PFD Day, that joyous day in October when most Alaska residents receive their dividends from the state’s Permanent Fund? (Yes, it’s true: Every permanent Alaska resident is entitled to a payout from this fund, made up of revenue that the state receives from its natural resources.)
Do you squirrel away your PFD for a rainy day? Or do you blow it all on PFD Day?
There’s a middle ground, and it offers the best of both worlds: Sock away a portion of your PFD, but also go ahead and splurge a little on something you’ve had your eye on. That way, you get your “only in Alaska” moment by giving into the festive air that PFD Day brings while putting a little away for another one of those “only in Alaska” moments, like a broken fishing pole.
7. Grabbing a Cone at Hot Licks in Fairbanks and 8. Soaking Up Some Heat Afterward
When you think “Alaska,” you might not think “ice cream,” but, trust us, you’re missing out if you’ve never stopped into Hot Licks in Fairbanks. Where else can you get Alaska Blueberry and Alaska Cranberry ice cream, made from local berries?
Insider Tip: Our favorite is the Arctic Refuge Wildberry Snap: vanilla ice cream with ginger snaps, swirled with a puree made from Alaska cranberries and blueberries. (Although, frankly, you really can’t go wrong with any of the shop’s flavors!)
And while you’re in the area, don’t miss a soak in Chena Hot Springs. It’s open year-round. During the colder months, there’s a bit of perverse pleasure in finding your hair frozen while your body stays delightfully warm.
8. Getting Away from Everything (and Everyone!) in Kenai
Believe it or not, you’ll still encounter those times in Alaska when you just want to get away. When we feel those feelings creeping in, we head for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and its 60 lakes. You might have to port your canoe over land a few times (a reliable set of waders will be your best friend), but soon you’ll find yourself blessedly alone, with loons, bald eagles, beavers, moose and bears your only companions.
We practically guarantee you’ll emerge refreshed, loving life, and read to tackle Alaska living once again!
Finding Your Own Reasons to Love Alaska
Whether you’re considering a move to the Frontier State or you’re already a proud resident, we hope these nine experiences will act as inspiration as you discover your own “I love Alaska!” moments. Life in the Land of the Midnight Sun might not always be easy, but it will show and teach you things you can’t discover anywhere else, which is the ultimate reason why we love living here.
Moving to Alaska? We’d love to help! Whether you’re moving to Alaska to experience moments like these or leaving Alaska to try something new, we can help you make a safe, easy and affordable move. Just get in touch with us for a free quote to get started.