With Holland America, I traveled through coastal and inland Alaska including Juneau, Skagway, Chicken, Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage. See my full review of the Holland America cruise in my post Alaska and the Yukon Cruise with Holland America.
The capital of Alaska is a small city dwarfed by the magnificent snow covered mountains looming behind the city. There is a tram that takes passengers up to the top of Mount Roberts where there is a viewpoint, some hiking trails, and a small conservatory with information and a gift shop. The trip to the top is worth it simply for the stunning views. It’s pretty common to spot bald eagles from this vantage point.
While in Juneau, stroll through the streets and do some shopping! There are many stores that sell hand crafted items made in Alaska by local and native artisans. It’s a great place to pick up some gifts for friends and family back home. If you’ve time for a meal or drink, pop into the Red Dog Saloon. This is an institution in Juneau and opened up during the mining era. To this day, floors are still covered in sawdust and the decor is rustic and authentic.
There are many whale watching excursions off of Juneau. This is a great location to take a tour out into the waters of Glacier Bay. Seal and Humpback Whale sightings are common. I was there in June and spotted multiple whales as well as twin Humpback Whale calves.
Skagway is a charming little town right out of the Gold Rush. Strolling down Main Street feels like you’re in the middle of a Clint Eastwood film. While here be sure to check out Sugar Mamas for some delicious sweet treats.
Take the White Pass train through Chilkoot Pass into Yukon Territory. This train ride is quite intense if you’ve any fear of heights. Tracks are narrow and run along the mountain edges. If you’re brave, you can stand outside between the cars and get some great photographs.
For information of my travels through the Yukon, see my post The Frontier of the Yukon.
After exploring much of the Yukon, I drove from Dawson City, Yukon back into Alaska along the Top of the World Highway. We passed Poker Creek Alaska border point which is the most northerly border point in the United States.
Chicken is probably one of the tiniest towns in existence. With a population of 7 people (2010), the only stops in town are a general store, saloon, and cafe. All set on one small strip and primarily visited by tourists and travelers going through the area. The cafe has some amazing chicken noodle soup!
We made a few other stops along the road in Tok and Big Delta Alaska. Rika’s Roadhouse in Big Delta is a great place to stop for a bite of food! Everything is fresh and made from scratch.
Fairbanks is a pretty city along the Tanana River. Many people live here year round and have beautiful homes along the river. Hop aboard the Discovery for a tour up and down the river. This is a great vantage point to see the riverfront homes, a sled dog training facility, and lots of bi-planes!
Visit Chena Village to learn more about the indigenous people, their way of life, and support the current generations. The village is run and operated by these families. They take pride in their culture and enjoy sharing it visitors.
Take the glass ceiling Alaskan train from Fairbanks to Denali. This scenic route twists and turns through mountains, valleys, and along rivers and into Denali National Park. The vast landscape and mountains make everything else seem so small.
Take a tour through the park or hike on your own. I went with a tour and our guide was passionate about the park and the natural wonder of it all. He was the perfect spotter for wildlife and located twin moose calves.
I did not get a chance to spend much time in Anchorage, but it’s a nice city to wander through with plenty to do and see within the city and along the outskirts. Go horseback riding, flightseeing, dog sledding, kayaking, or fishing. There are plenty of hikes, glacier adventures, shopping, and delicious food.