With Alaska’s extended summer daylight hours…aka summer solstice, visitors to Anchorage can pack in a lot of adventure. Yesterday was the official mark of summer and Anchorage had 19 hours of sunlight above the horizon, so scratch an early bedtime off your “to-do” list and prepare to wake up early! Flightsee over vast, snow-covered mountains, reel in fresh Alaska king salmon, hike across a rainforest or get up close to a glacier. Solo or with a guide, there’s plenty to see and do in and around Anchorage.
No matter how you prefer to see Alaska, cruise ship, remote lodge, or train United Military Travel can book your airfare, accommodations, car rental, and train tickets through a travel now and pay later easy assist loan!
The Last Frontier experiences the phenomenon called the Midnight Sun….
But what is the midnight sun???
Alaska receives more sunlight in spring and summer than any other state and many other parts of the world. In Barrow, the state’s northernmost community, the sun does not set for more than two and a half months—from May 10 until August 2. (The contrast is from November 18 to January 24, when the sun never rises above the horizon!)
The real boundary of the midnight sun is the Arctic Circle, latitude 66 degrees, 33 minutes north. That imaginary line marks the lowest latitude at which the sun remains above the horizon for a full 24 hours during summer solstice (June 20 or 21) and below the horizon for a full 24 hours during winter solstice (December 21 or 22).
At the equator, the sun rises straight up from the horizon and sets straight down to it. In Alaska, the sun travels in a slanting 360 degree circle in the sky, so even if it’s below the horizon, it’s barely below it for a long period. This means that even though the sun isn’t visible, we still receive very bright twilight that can last for hours or until the sun rises again. For example, Fairbanks, which is below the Arctic Circle by almost 200 miles, still receives 24 hours of light for a long period in the summer. Conversely, in winter, the sun may only be above the horizon for a few hours, but there are many more hours of visible light due to the very low arc the sun travels across the horizon.
Nearly one-third of Alaska lies above the Arctic Circle, but Alaskans are fairly informal about claiming they live with the midnight sun. All parts of the state enjoy long daylight hours in summer, even Ketchikan, the state’s southernmost population center, where there are more than 17 hours of daylight on June days. SOURCE
With all this sunshine ditch your summer reading and head out into the great wilderness with any of these suggestions!
This is the ultimate treasure hunt! Head out with your family, GPS devices, and coordinates to start your journey through Alaskan moutains, streams, and valleys to find your treasure. But is the end really the best part, or is the adventure???
Hike, walk, run. No matter your preferences, Anchorage has ranked the highest among all 50 states for the best atmosphere for all three. Low temperatures and humidity along with impeccable views – exercise has never been more enjoyable!
Finding adventure in Anchorage is as easy as riding a bike! Power up on Powerline Pass, screech down the steep grades of the Chugach Mountains, twist around the spiral bridge of the Ship Creek Trail, pave your way from Bird to Gird, coast along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail or take a ride at Eklutna Lake. Serious riders might want to test their quads on the 6.4-mile climb up Arctic Valley Road or the lift-accessed, Alyeska Resort Mountain Bike Park while families with little ones can gear down with a tour around Westchester Lagoon’s paved trail.
There are 155 peaks within Chugach’s park boundaries. Some of the more popular ascents include Flattop Mountain, O’Malley Peak, Bird Ridge, Mount Baldy and Rendezvous Peak.
Nature & Children
Alaska is a fantastic family vacation because connecting with nature keeps young children entertained and inspired, and there are plenty of opportunities in Anchorage to do just that. Check out special programs for tots at the Alaska Zoo, Alaska Botanical Garden, Eagle River Nature Center and enjoy some family time in Anchorage.
Finding wilderness by way of water is no problem near Anchorage. Whitewater rafting is rip-roaring fun on the relatively easy-going Matanuska River or the guaranteed-to-get-you-wet Sixmile Creek. If a relaxing float is more your style, enjoy a gentle float on an area lake or kayak across glacier-fed Eklutna Lake. Make a splash in Anchorage.