Add These Small Alaskan Towns to Your Vacation Bucket


Alaska is home to some of the best national parks in the United States, offering breathtaking views of an arctic landscape. Sitting comfortably next to Canadian territories, Alaska is an ideal destination for adventure tourists and nature lovers. From whale watching to wildlife viewing, Alaska offers an array of sights and activities that make it an unforgettable destination. While an Alaska cruise in July sounds like fun, exploring Alaska by car sounds more appealing to some. Plus, there’s more to see in Alaska when traveling by car, especially in its smaller towns. So, when you visit Anchorage, don’t forget to stop by these tiny Alaskan towns!

8 Seward

Considered a top destination for travelers “with limited time and a big to-do list”, Seward is guaranteed to take your breath away. This small Alaskan town is home to the Alutiiq and Sugpiaq peoples, who inhabited the landscape blessed with dramatic coastal views and mountain ranges. Tourists can also visit the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska’s only aquarium open to the public! However, visitors would be careless do not to see Kenai Fjords National Park, home to the Harding Icefields and exposed crystalline glaciers. With a population of just 2,600, Seward is an ideal getaway for nature lovers.


7 North Pole

Travelers who don’t believe in Santa Claus should head to Alaska’s North Pole to change their minds. Located just 15 minutes from Fairbanks, this Alaskan town has a small population of 2,200. This does not prevent them from having a good time! The North Pole is famous for its Christmas-themed streets like Santa Claus Lane or Kris Kringle Drive. Visitors also love to tour Santa’s House, complete with a sculpture of Merry Saint Nick, and shops selling candy, fudge, toffee, Christmas decor, and made-in-Alaska goods. Travelers who can brave Alaskan winters should visit the North Pole in December for their annual winter festival! RELATED: Portage: The Alaskan Ghost Town Destroyed in the 1964 Earthquake


6 Hope

This very small town has only 200 inhabitants. However, it was the first town in the Alaskan Gold Rush, a once bustling town full of curious gold hunters and miners. Visit the Hope & Sunrise Historical Mining Museum to learn more about Hope’s history with gold. Tourists can try their hand at panning for gold at Resurrection Creek, which is also a sight for Alaskan pink salmon populations. Adrenaline seekers and couples who love thrilling destinations can get their fix by white-water rafting down Six Mile Creek or enjoying a leisurely hike around the Kenai Peninsula!

5 Gustav

Travelers looking for a cozy atmosphere that can only be found in pretty small towns must visit Gustavus. Home to the Huna Tlingit community, Gustavus offers stunning views of Glacier Bay National Park and a glimpse of Alaska’s majestic wildlife. Enjoy whale watching or see the glaciers surrounding the Ice Strait on a kayaking tour. A small population inhabits Gustavus, in stark contrast to the bustling tourist crowds found in major cities and popular vacation destinations.


4 kake

The small town of Kake is rooted in strong ties to Tlingit traditions due to the community’s significant heritage. The city may not be as big as Anchorage or Juneau, but Kake has a charm that suits those looking to experience Alaska’s peaceful nature and unique wildlife. Kake is best explored by hiring a car and examining the stunning views of Kupreanof Island. Visitors can also visit sites like Cathedral Falls Creek or Kake’s Totem. Tourists visiting Alaska in July or August can plan to visit Kake during their Dog Salmon Festival, considered one of the city’s most festive celebrations!


3 Thorne Bay

Thorne Bay is not for travelers looking for bright lights and 24-hour parties. Instead, this town is perfect for nature lovers and travelers looking for a quieter vacation. Historically known as a lumber town, today the town offers several fun excursions and activities due to its proximity to Thorne Bay and the Thorne River. Enjoy a day of shrimp or freshwater fishing, or take a road trip and explore Alaska’s Scenic Byways. Don’t forget to stop and take pictures under “The Claw”, which is Thorne Bay’s welcome sign for visitors and tourists. RELATED: 10 Reasons You’ll Likely Fall In Love With Cuba


2 Nenana

About 55 miles from Fairbanks, visitors can reach Nenana via the George Parks Highway. Despite its small size, Nenana had made a dent in Alaskan history and rose to fame in 1923 when President Warren Harding visited the small town to signify the completion of the Alaska Railroad. Since then, Nenana has enjoyed its modest notoriety and the attraction of curious tourists. This Alaskan town is a great place to stop while exploring Denali National Park and Preserve, a beautiful park with stunning views of the Alaska Range (admired by 400,000 visitors all year). Tourists should also stop by the Nenana Visitor Center to learn more about the town. It also helps that the visitor center is located inside a cozy log cabin!


1 Adak

Adak is not just any average small town. This small town was once a naval air base built during World War II and later designed to house up to 6,000 soldiers (including their families) during the Cold War. Today, this westernmost city in the United States can be considered a “semi-ghost town”, located on Adak Island between Russia and the United States. Curious tourists wishing to visit Adak will find a small number of residents in the town, but many buildings remain derelict. At the same time, Adak also offers some of the most unparalleled views of Alaskan wildlife and scenery, making this small town worth visiting. Brave travelers who like to explore abandoned cities will surely enjoy their peaceful visit to Adak! NEXT: Rockies Vs. The Maritimes: Which Side of Canada Should You Visit?


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