Hi, my name is Dani. I grew up in Anchorage in Alaska and have lived here my whole life. I got my first digital camera in the fifth grade and have enjoyed taking photos ever since. It wasn’t until 2017 that I purchased my first DSLR camera and began learning on my own and from others.
I initially wanted to use the DSLR camera to show my hikes around Alaska but it ended up developing into something more. The Midnight Sun here in Alaska provided me with the opportunity to stay up late and capture the magic of Alaskan sunsets and experience this natural phenomenon.
With COVID, I have had a lot more time to explore my home state this past summer and fall. It turns out there’s a silver lining in everything.
Why Alaska should be on your Bucket List
When you think of traveling or vacations one might think margaritas on a beach or Disneyland. To me, Alaska is one of the best destinations because it’s so unique and offers that feeling of “wild” you can’t find in many places anymore. There are so many things I love about Alaska.
A few being how I can look outside and always see massive mountains, that it only takes me 15 minutes to be on the highway heading somewhere more remote than Anchorage, that I’m surrounded by incredible hiking spots and secret adventure spots that a lot of people don’t know about yet.
My Travels and Adventures around Alaska
You would think that living in Alaska would have given me time to see most of the state, but I have not. Living in Anchorage, I have access to the Seward Highway which takes you south on the Kenai Peninsula and the Glenn Highway which takes you north towards Denali National Park.
Most of my adventures are spur of the moment things: a weekend whim or a late-night adventure before work the next day. I would hop in my car and take off camping or go exploring for a few hours or take multi-day trips.
To the south, I’ve been to all towns accessible by car. To the north, I’ve driven past Denali National Park to Fairbanks and through the Denali Highway (a dirt road that stretches from Cantwell to Paxson) and of course our state’s capital Juneau. There are so many places I still want to see.
These include: Nome, Seldovia, Katmai National Park, Valdez, Kodiak, Sitka, Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) and of course the Aleutian Islands.
Favorite Place: Homer on Kachemak Bay
There are so many places in Alaska that are special to me but I would have to say Homer is my favorite. There’s something special and quaint about it – the ocean breeze, harbor, surrounding mountains, fireweed in the summer and walking the spit in the middle of the night after a campfire.
I’m not entirely sure why Homer is so special to me. It just gives me the feeling of wanting to return every time. I guess we all have places that are special to us and we can’t quite pinpoint why they leave this impression.
10 Best Things To Do in Alaska
Alaska is the adventure playground of America. Discover a land where bears roam, national parks offer hidden treasures and glaciers shimmer in the sun. My top 10 adventures might be different from someone else’s but nonetheless will provide you with some epic experiences.
- Swim in the Arctic Ocean
- Explore an ice cave at a glacier
- Kayak to a tidewater glacier
- Visit Katmai National Park to view the bears catching salmon
- Catch a salmon and barbecue it that night
- Swim in a glacial lake and climb on chunks of broken glacial ice
- Go backpacking literally ANYWHERE here, Denali, Hatcher Pass, etc.
- Ride on a dog sled
- View the Northern Lights and capture photos of it
- Book a flight over glaciers, looking down upon the vastness of Alaska.
People, Culture & Cuisine of Alaska
Alaska’s culture is difficult to describe. While there are many different types of people who now call Alaska home, this land will always belong first to the Alaska Natives. I believe the best way to learn about their culture is to visit the villages or get to know someone who is an Alaska Native.
I cannot put their culture into words because that is not for me to do, but I feel lucky to be able to live here every day. It’s a place of immense beauty.
The food of Alaska is always something that brings people together. The cuisine is amazing especially when you are able to eat fresh oysters caught in Homer or fresh salmon caught straight from the Copper River.
Breweries are worth tracking down in this state too. Alaska continues to surprise me with them. My favorite brewery in Anchorage is Onsite Brewing Company and my favorite beers are Spasm, Alpine and Magic Ooze.
Where to Stay on your Alaska Trip
The best way to experience Alaska is to rent a car and go camping. Airbnb’s are easy to find and you can often find remote cabins listed to stay in that are awesome. Staying in a yurt at Chena Hot Springs is a must-do.
Favorite Memory from my Travels in Alaska
A few years ago I drove north with friends on a road trip to Prudhoe Bay. We started in Eagle River and made it to Fairbanks. We continued and made it to the Dalton Highway, known for being the trucker’s road. We crossed the Yukon River and drove past the Arctic Circle.
We went to Prudhoe Bay and back. A great memory from that trip was taking a floaty (donut) out with my friend Travis and floating down the river above the Arctic Circle in May. Not many people can say they’ve done that!
What you Need to Know Before you Go
The first thing I would say is to make sure you respect the land wherever you go in Alaska. What makes Alaska so great is that it is still wild. Leave the wildlife alone, don’t try and feed the moose or bears and just observe them if you see them. They are wild animals, keep your distance always.
Be prepared for anything in this state. Alaska’s weather can change in an instant and you never know if you’ll get caught in a thunderstorm after a hot hike. Don’t litter, that goes without saying but pack your trash, and most importantly, be safe, this land is still wild. Thanks for reading!