Heart-Pounding Alaska Adventures
By: Courtney Dowd-Stanley
Anyone who knows anything about summertime Alaska adventures knows that the options for outdoor entertainment are seemingly unlimited. When the midnight sun is shining and the fish are running, it’s hard to quit. Locals will go, go, go until fall rolls around and the impending darkness puts a damper on all those dog days of summer. Hiking, biking, hunting, camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, kayaking, and day trippin’ are just some of the many Alaska adventures that keep locals and visitors alike going strong for four solid months a year. But when all the dust settles and you’ve “been there, done that” – what’s left to fuel your wanderlust? It just so happens that these seven adrenaline-packed Alaska adventures will totally transform the way you enjoy summer fun in the Last Frontier. [caption id="attachment_9829" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Alaska Skydive Center[/caption]
1 - Ziplining [caption id="attachment_9836" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - sergio_leenen[/caption] Lose yourself in a sea of lush forest as you soar through the towering treetops. Ziplining is an adrenaline-packed Alaska adventure that is guaranteed to have you grinning from ear to ear. Walk across swinging sky bridges and feel your stomach drop as you tackle each obstacle. This is an incredible outdoor activity that families and friends will love enjoying together under Alaska’s midnight sun. [caption id="attachment_9830" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - Adam Skowronski[/caption] While the Last Frontier isn’t known for ziplining per se, many are surprised to learn that Alaska is home to the World’s Largest ZipRider which is located at Icy Strait Point in the southeast community of Hoonah. If you’re looking to enjoy awesome Alaska adventures in your neck of the woods, you’ll find ziplining tours in Talkeetna, Seward, Ketchikan, Sutton, Hoonah, Denali National Park, and Skagway.
2 - Snorkeling [caption id="attachment_9839" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Snorkel Alaska[/caption] Snorkeling in Alaska? You betcha! While many may think that these aquatic Alaska adventures are more on the mellow side, there is an undeniable level of excitement that comes with exploring the fascinating ocean waters. [caption id="attachment_9832" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - elaine[/caption] Snorkel Alaska in the southeast community of Ketchikan, will get you up close and personal with the most spectacular marine wildlife. You won’t believe your eyes if you get the opportunity to spot orca whales passing by or humpback whales breaching just a few paddles away. The beautiful sea creatures that you’ll be able to explore will be a wildly unexpected thrill that’s guaranteed to take your summer Alaska adventures up a notch.
3 - Whitewater Rafting [caption id="attachment_9831" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - Alex Guichet[/caption] On a hot summer day, there is nothing quite like these aquatic Alaska adventures to cool you down while keeping the fun going nonstop. Get wet and wild and hold on tight as you glide over the swift turbulent waters. [caption id="attachment_9842" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] NOVA River Runners Inc., Alaska's Guides to Alaska's Rivers[/caption] Anyone that want to splish and splash while soaking in scenic beauty can do so in many communities all throughout the state. Alaska has numerous rivers for epic rafting trips such as Six Mile Creek near Hope, Nenana River near Denali National Park, Matanuska River in Palmer, Kennicott and Nizina Rivers in McCarthy, or the world-famous Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula.
4 - Jet Skiing [caption id="attachment_9838" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Glacier Jetski Adventures[/caption] Alaska’s rugged coastline is what adrenaline-junkie dreams are made of. I mean … this is UNREAL! Push that throttle down and get ready to experience waterfalls plunging down into the ocean waters that you’re swiftly cruising atop on your very own jet ski. Zip right up in front of gorgeous, glistening glaciers and soak in every last ounce of the regal sounds of nature. The towering Chugach Mountains will make you feel so small, yet so fulfilled inside. [caption id="attachment_9840" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Glacier Jetski Adventures[/caption] Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. You never know when a massive humpback whale is going to shoot up out of the open water right in front of your eyes. Glacier Jetski Adventures in Whittier offers these exceptional Alaska adventures on the scenic waters of Prince William Sound.
5 - Surfing [caption id="attachment_9835" align="aligncenter" width="850"] Flickr - Land Rover MENA[/caption] From Homer, Sitka, and Douglas Island to the remote community of Yakutat—Alaska is home to some of the world’s greatest surfing spots. If you can handle those infamous frigid temps, you’ll be in for the thrill of a lifetime. In a land of towering snow-capped mountains, salty dawgs can catch waves while bald eagles soar majestically above the break line. Alaska has arguably some of the most impressive surfing scenery on the planet. [caption id="attachment_9833" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - Emma Forsberg[/caption] Whether you’re an experienced rider that hails from somewhere sunny and warm, or you’re a novice that is interested in learning a new hobby—you’ll find what you need in the mighty Last Frontier. Kite-surfing is another option that’s a great way to enjoy a beautiful day when the wind kicks up. Surf Alaska is an excellent company to start with for local area knowledge on all the surfing culture nitty gritty.
6 – Skydiving [caption id="attachment_9827" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Alaska Skydive Center[/caption] Jumping out of a plane that is 10,500 feet up in the air is the quickest way to take your Alaska adventures from zero to sixty within a matter of seconds. Soar over of the incredibly scenic community of Palmer in Alaska’s Mat-Su Valley while soaking in the large river valley bordered by the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountain Ranges. [caption id="attachment_9826" align="aligncenter" width="831"] @skydive_curt[/caption] Learn the ropes with accelerated free-fall training courses or book a tandem jump with a professional guide at the Alaska Skydive Center. With Alaska adventures that fuel your need for speed and cater to your inner adrenaline-junkie heart, you simply cannot go wrong!
7 – Glacier Climbing [caption id="attachment_9834" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - Ian Kelsall[/caption] Sure, Alaska is filled with more trails than we’ll ever be able to tackle in our lifetime. But when the standard ‘take a hike’ thing just isn’t getting you out of bed in the morning, try taking things up a notch with an EPIC glacier climbing experience. Because, really—nothing gets the blood pumping more than hanging on the edge of sheer ice. [caption id="attachment_9837" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Flickr - Visions Service Adventures[/caption] Glacier hiking and climbing adventures can be found in many of these locations: Matanuska Glacier, Exit Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, Portage Glacier, Byron Glacier, Knik Glacier, Root Glacier, and more.
Looking for more where that came from? Learn about the world's largest ziprider that's located right here in the Last Frontier. You'll love exploring Alaska's Mendenhall Ice Caves for a surreal glacier experience. Visit El Capitan, Alaska's largest aboveground cave, for an enchanting middle-earth experience. If you're on a budget this summer but still want to soak in all the exceptional outdoor fun, check out these 50 free Alaska activities that you can do without spending a dime.
Did we leave any of your favorite adrenaline-packed Alaska adventures off the list? We’d love to hear about your favorites and see your pictures! If you are living and loving The Alaska Life – share your adventures with us on our Facebook page HERE, and they might just end up getting featured in one of our next blog posts.