After James Cook first explored Alaska in the late 1700s and Russia sold the state to the United States for a cool 7-ish million in 1867, Woodrow Wilson authorized the construction of the Alaska Railroad in 1915. A tent city sprung up around the headquarters of the project, called the Alaska Railroad Ship Creek Landing. There, a popular hardware and clothing store called “The Anchorage” began doing business, housed in an old dry-docked steamship named Bertha – and a city was born.
Welcome to 24-hours in Anchorage – the ultimate road trip
Enjoy your day of exploration here with a car rental so you can experience as many uniquely Alaskan adventures as possible on what could quite possibly be the most intriguing road trip of your life.
Seward Highway to Beluga Point
Incredible Beluga whale sightings can be yours if the tide is in during late summer. Get your Instagram buzzing with a breathtaking selfie as a Beluga breaches the Pacific, its white head photo bombing you, with the inlet’s majestic mountains in the distance. If the tide is out, the black sand beach will take your breath away. Be sure to stop at Potter’s March on your way to Beluga Point to check out over 400 bird species from Canadian Geese to Trumpeter Swans. Beware of Moose!
A bit further on down Seaward Highway to the Whittier Exit finds you at the Visitor’s Center to collect your map and hit the trailhead. The easy mile hike to Byron Glacier will be one you’ll write home about – another aweseome Instagrammable moment full of ice caves and glacial rivers. From here, take the Portage Glacier Ferry for an hour at sea to check out the icebergs in Portage Lake.
Head back towards Anchorage
Be sure to make a stop at Seven Glaciers Restaurant, Girdwood’s most breathtaking, innovative restaurant for sustainability, with views so incredible you’ll feel like you’re heli-dining. Perched on Mount Alyeska your journey to some of the best contemporary cuisine focuses on the region’s worldclass seafood and begins with a tram ride over the tree canopy. Enjoy indulging at one of only three AAA Four Diamond restaurants in Alaska where you’ll feel at home in a ballgown or a parka.
Drive to Flattop Mountain and hike as far up as time and energy allows. For those who reach the summit, another Instagrammable moment awaits featuring the American flag and stunning panoramic views of Anchorage. Equally as fun, is the hike up to the first rest stop. Snap photos of the killer stairs, totally worth the climb, to see gorgeous views of the wilderness.
Did someone say craft beer?
Why, yes. A craft beer crawl is the best way to spend an afternoon in Anchorage after all your adventuring and the best way to share stories from your extreme advetures too. The great outdoors provides and incredible clean and abundant resource for the best beer in the world – water, lots and lots of water. Visit The Midnight Sun Brewing Company, Anchorage’s oldest award-winning craft brewery. Or stop by The Glacier Brewhouse, with epic city views located across from the city’s performance center.
In the summer, the sun doesn’t set until late into the night – the best time to stroll a downtown usually filled with gorgeous flowers. Be sure to enjoy a trolley ride.
Learn what to pack when traveling to Alaska.