Southcentral Alaska — [Traveling During COVID-19 Part 8]

I’ve been daydreaming about Alaska for some time now. Seven years to be exact. I got obsessed with a small town called Barrow (Utqiagvik) and wanted to visit Alaska ever since. Barrow is one of the northernmost cities in the world and the northernmost in the United States! It’s located in a very remote part of Alaska (accessible only by air and in summer, by sea), so for my first trip to ‘The Last Frontier’ I decided to explore Southcentral Alaska. This includes the Anchorage area, Mat-Su Valley, Prince William Sound, and Kenai Peninsula. I always knew I would love Alaska once I visited, but I never expected to actually fall in love and not want to leave! To say it was absolutely beautiful is an understatement and I feel as if my pictures doesn’t do it justice. It’s one of those places you just have to see for yourself!

Along Seward Highway
Kenai Lake

When To Visit & Where To Stay:

Most people who visit Alaska do so during the summer months. This is usually because the days are longer (sometimes up to 21 hours of daylight) and the temperature is pleasant, but with warmer weather comes bugs! Some Alaskans joke the mosquitoes there are their state bird. Even though longer days sound intriguing, visiting Alaska during the fall and winter is a must! Fall is a short season there, but it’s well worth it to see the leaves changing colors. You might also have a chance to catch the northern lights if you visit mid-September to April. (It’s important to note most excursions run until mid-September and then open again in the spring or summer unless it’s an excursion specifically for winter time like dog sledding or viewing the northern lights.)

Greetings From Alaska!
A beautiful waterfall right off Seward Highway

We chose to visit Alaska in September so we could still do some tours, but also dodge the crowds from the busy season. The weather was also cooler which I didn’t mind at all, besides the boat excursions when it was in the 30s.

The sunrise from our Airbnb
Downtown Anchorage – You can see how far it is from the rest of the U.S.

It was very beneficial for us to stay near downtown Anchorage because we were almost in the middle of everything we wanted to do, but I would suggest splitting your stay between Seward and Anchorage to eliminate the two hour drive back and forth. Even though it sounds like a lengthy drive, it’s one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. There are plenty of places to pull over and enjoy the view. Especially around the Turnagain Arm where you can see beluga whales. We unfortunately didn’t see any whales on this trip, but when we got to Beluga Point we were informed someone had just died and there was a body floating in the water. It was very eerie as they were trying to retrieve the body and more people were pulling in the parking spots.

Turnagain Arm near Beluga Point
The fog covering the mountains

Aside from Anchorage, another popular location to stay is at Alyeska Resort. It’s about an hour south of Anchorage and a more convenient location if you plan on exploring Seward and The Kenai Peninsula.

Fall colors along the river
Hanging out in the woods
So peaceful

What To Do:

Trust me when I say there are an endless amount of activities to do in Alaska as long as you enjoy the outdoors. You can get caught up in numerous hiking trails with spectacular views or simply hangout by one of the clear lakes at a park. (just make sure you have your bear spray!) We did three excursions including a guided hike with Go Hike Alaska. I highly recommend Matt! He was super informative and still took my mom and I out even though no one else signed up for a hike that day. It ended up being like a private party tour at no extra cost.

Us & Matt on our guided hike in Chugach State Park
Blue skies in Chugach State Park
Different types of mushrooms growing in Chugach
Gorgeous fall colors peaking through
Beautiful views all around!
Eagle River Nature Center
My mom & I
There were a lot of dead fish in the water as they reached their lifespan

The other two excursions we did were boat tours. One was in Seward with Kenai Fjords Tours, but unfortunately our tour was cut by two hours and rerouted because the waves were 16 ft high off the Gulf of Alaska. That was the wildest boat tour I had ever been on in my life and they say many people get seasick from the choppy water! We still managed to see some sea lions and otters though.

Sea lions hanging out on a rock in the middle of Resurrection Bay
The sea lions just chillen’
Resurrection Bay

We also did the 26 Glacier Cruise in Whittier. The calm waters of Prince William Sound attract many tourists since they guarantee no seasickness. Even if you don’t go on a boat tour in Whittier, I highly recommend visiting this town! 95% of the people who live there stay under the same roof in this huge building. You have to enter and exit through a tunnel that is 2.5 miles long and is also shared with a railroad. The tunnel has a set schedule and cars can enter on the half hour and leave on the hour in summer. There’s also a $13 fee since it’s considered a toll. While we were waiting in line to enter Whittier, we got to talking with the guy behind us and he told us he was heading back home from Anchorage. Him and his wife went into town to buy some items and groceries since it’s marked higher where they live. They were going into Whittier to catch a six hour ferry ride back home. Talk about remote livin’ !

View of Whittier from the plane! You can see how small the town is and the building that 95% of the residents live in
Driving through the tunnel to get to Whittier
Driving through the tunnel
Whittier dock
You can see how clear the water is
So many waterfalls !
Some sunshine peaking through the clouds
Pure Glacier Ice ๐ŸงŠ
26 Glacier Cruise
Beautiful waterfalls from the glaciers feeding into Prince William Sound
You can hear the boat hitting the ice
*Insert Titanic theme song here*
A piece of the glacier breaking off
Ice cold
Beautiful views from the boat
We got to try the ice from the glaciers first hand!
My mom & I

Aside from excursions, there are several other locations worth checking out. Some places I would recommend are:

Chugach National Forest
The only moose I saw ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
A brown bear at the Alaska Wildlife Conservatory
Eklutna Lake
The fall colors on Eklutna Lake
So beautiful to see the leaves change!
Absolutely beautiful !
Eklutna Historical Park
Eklutna Historical Park – Cemetery
Eklutna Historical Park – Cemetery
Eklutna Historical Park – Cemetery
Portage Lake & Portage Glacier in the far distance
Portage Glacier
Kenai Fjords National Park – Exit Glacier
Where Exit Glacier was in 1917
Where the glacier was in 1926
Steep, but easy
Hiking to Exit Glacier
In Alaska, you find pieces of glaciers on trails
Beautiful fall colors
Such a beautiful view
Exit Glacier
Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass
Hatcher Pass

Where To Eat:

Before traveling to Alaska, I had a ‘must eat’ list. Not even joking. For example, you cannot go to Alaska without getting Alaskan king crab! Some other ‘must eats’ I had were reindeer and yak. Finding reindeer sausage on a menu in Alaska is not unlikely and seems to be eaten a lot by locals. I will definitely vouch for the fresh seafood! Southcentral Alaska did not disappoint when it came down to eating!

Reindeer Chili
Alaskan King Crab

Some restaurants I would definitely recommend are:

Alaska was everything I dreamed of and more! I’m already planning another trip for next year because there is so much I still want to see and do. It’s crazy to think Alaska is part of the United States still while being so far away. I think it’s safe to say Alaska is now my favorite state (sorry Cali) and I can’t wait to go back and explore more. It really is that magical!

Xox

La Flare

You can watch the planes take off from Point Woronzof

10 thoughts on “Southcentral Alaska — [Traveling During COVID-19 Part 8]

Add yours

  1. You are truly living your best life!!!! I think most people outside the USA think of Alaska of just snow, but with your blog I have seen how lovely and green it is, the beautiful lakes there are and off course the snow.Great post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alaska is huge and some parts are covered with a lot of snow, but in southcentral Alaska, they have a mild summer, so it isn’t snowy year round. It’s absolutely beautiful in every season! Thank you so much for reading!

      Like

  2. Alaska is truly breathtaking (from what I’ve seen via documentaries and travel shows or bloggers like yourself). It’s definitely a place I would like to visit as nature around there is truly remarkable. It’s worrying that it’s being so impacted by climate change as these places are being changed right now. Seeing Alaska through your post and photos is a reminder of it’s beauty, incredible Indigenous communites and area populations that take care of it — amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Global warming is definitely taking a toll on Alaska, but hopefully we can all come together sooner than later to slow it down. I know other places like Iceland are also suffering with glaciers melting at rapid speed. Thank you so much for reading!

      Like

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