21 Fun & Interesting Facts About Alaska that you would love to know!

If you are a curious person and are interested to know facts about Alaska that attract visitors from all over the country, and the world, you are in the right place!

Alaska is known for being one of the most intriguing places to visit and explore. It is isolated, with 75% of the State being untouched by nature with lots of incredible things to discover. Between my travel planning and research, combined with driving the State, I have learned a lot of interesting and fun facts about Alaska.

As a travel lover and a curious person, I believe that learning more about the places we visit increases our connection with these places, the culture, nature, and the people. Plus after you read these 21 fun facts about Alaska, you will learn so much more about Alaska. If you are planning a perfect Alaska itinerary, you will be an expert to have a safe and successful trip experience.

If you are interested to learn more about Alaska, I recommend you also check the 20 things Alaska is famous for. So, without any further ado, let’s dive into the fun facts about Alaska!

If you are planning an Alaska Itinerary, these are a must-read:

Alaska bucket list

Fast Facts About Alaska

The population of Alaska (as of 2020)736,990
Largest City in AlaskaAnchorage
Capital of AlaskaJuneau
Statehood1959 as the 49th State
Alaska Namefrom the native Aleut, means “great land”
Water in Alaska Alaska is 14.2% water. There are more than 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes
CoastlineMore coastline than the rest of the US combined with more than 34,000 miles
Pilots in AlaskaAlaska has more than ten thousand active pilots, with more than 1% of the state’s population

Interesting Facts About Alaska

1. The first fact about Alaska, is that it’s the largest State in the United States

If you’re looking for interesting facts about Alaska then this is the first one you should know! Alaska is known for being one of the biggest U.S states by far with a land area of around 665,000 square miles. The second largest state is Texas which covers an area of around 268,000 square miles so as you can see there’s quite a difference!

Stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean in the South, this impressive state also has the longest coastline in the U.S. With 66,000 miles of coastline and a distance of 2,400 miles from East to West – Alaska is HUGE!

Facts about Alaska

2. The contiguous United States is referred to as the Lower 48

There are 50 states in the U.S and the majority of them are joined together making up the Lower 48. This includes the most popular states of California, Florida, New York, Nevada, and Texas. However, Alaska and Hawaii aren’t included in this as they aren’t connected to the other U.S states.

Alaska is separated from the Lower 48 by British Columbia in Canada. If you’re not planning to fly there then you’ll have to drive through Canada first to reach the state border of Alaska. The closest Canadian/U.S border is located near Stewart although many people choose to enter along the Alaska Highway through Yukon.

3. Barrow in Alaska has the longest and the shortest day

Barrow, Alaska has the longest and shortest day in the country. Although many cities in Alaska encounter variations in hours due to the solstice – this small town takes it one step further.

Situated 330 miles North of the Arctic Circle; Barrow is the northernmost town in Alaska. The winter solstice doesn’t have the same effect here as the sun sets on November 18th and doesn’t rise again until January 23rd – that’s 67 days without sunlight!

Likewise, when the sun rises on May 10th it doesn’t set for nearly three months giving residents over 80 days of the midnight sun.

Itinerary in Alaska

4. Juneau has no road access

Juneau is the largest capital in the United States covering 3,108 square miles but the crazy thing about it is that there’s no road access! Actually, it’s the only capital in the U.S that can be reached solely by plane or boat that’s still on the mainland. So, why is there no road access?

Although Juneau is located on the Alaskan mainland it’s surrounded by the Juneau Ice Field which makes creating a road impossible. This icefield is the size of Rhode Island and it’s located between the capital and Atlin in British Columbia. A road along the Taku River was also looked into but the presence of ever-shifting glaciers made this impossible too.

interesting facts about Alaska

5. Your driving is limited in Denali National Park

Denali National Park is a bucket list destination for many but there’s one thing you should know! Unlike other national parks in the U.S which you can drive through, there are restrictions in Denali.

Although the Denali Park Road that runs through the middle of the national park is 92 miles long, you can only drive private vehicles up to mile 15. Only these first 15 miles of road are paved meaning you can drive from the park entrance to Savage River, but after that, you’ll have to take a bus into the park if you want to explore further.

how to visit Denali National Park

6. The weather in Alaska is unpredictable

There’s no denying that the weather conditions in Alaska are very unpredictable! Although the spring/summer season generally runs from May to July and the winter season runs from October to April, the weather varies dramatically throughout. August-September is also considered to be fall in Alaska which is quite confusing!

In all honesty, you can experience the four seasons in one day if you travel to Alaska. During the summer, you can encounter warm temperatures which can quickly turn chilly, and then you’ll be greeted with plenty of rain (or snow) depending on where you are. For this reason, I recommend that you dress in layers and pack accordingly when visiting Alaska.

Read More: What to Pack for Alaska + FREE Printable List

interesting facts about Alaska

7. Be prepared to find incredible views along the highway

A road trip in Alaska is a bucket list for many. The Alaska Highway is one of the most famous roads in the world and it’s not hard to see why! Sometimes known as ‘Alcan’, this highway begins at Dawson Creek in BC, Canada, and ends at Delta Junction. The Alaska Highway is an impressive 1,387 miles long and is 4,250 feet at its highest point!

As you can imagine the views along the highway are breathtaking and you’ll find plenty of stop-off points along the way. Some of the most popular places to stop include Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Haines Junction, and Destruction Bay. After Delta Junction, the AK Highway changes to Route 2 but it still offers the same magical views.

Alaska Facts

8. The gas stations in Alaska are far between

If you’re planning a road trip through Alaska then you NEED to know this! The gas stations in this isolated part of the United States are few and far between so if you see one – make sure you fill up.

This isn’t as much of a problem on the Alaska Highway as it’s the main road but if you head more remote, you’ll struggle to find gas stations in some areas. Generally, the main highway will have gas stations an average of 20-50 miles apart but there’s known to be a stretch of around 100 miles where you won’t have access to fuel.

interesting facts about Alaska

9. Wi-Fi is limited in Alaska

It’s important to know that Wi-Fi is limited in Alaska! Although you won’t really have problems in the larger cities such as Anchorage and Fairbanks, you’re likely to struggle in the more remote locations. Some areas do have public Wi-Fi spots that are free or that you can use for a small fee but you don’t want to rely on them.

If you’re not a U.S citizen then I’d recommend investing in a pre-paid sim card once you enter the state. These can be found at the airport, in stores within major cities, and in large supermarkets like Walmart.

Alaska Itinerary

10. A very important fact about Alaska is that the travel season is only during summertime

If you are planning a perfect itinerary, this is a very important fact about Alaska to keep in mind! Although the majority of U.S states are accessible at any time of year, this is not the case with Alaska! Due to its remote location and intense weather conditions during the winter, the travel season only takes place during the summer.

Even if some people visit out of season, you’ll want to keep in mind that lodging and tour operators are only open during the summer months. Many of the national parks remain open all year round but that’s not much good if you’ve got nowhere to stay or eat…So, there’s another interesting fact about Alaska for you!

Alaska facts

Fun Facts About Alaska

11. You can visit the famous bus from the Into the Wild movie

If you’re looking for fun facts about Alaska then how about visiting an iconic movie location? The famous 142 bus from the ‘Into the Wild’ movie used to be located in the Alaskan wilderness but has had to be moved due to its dangerous location.

Unfortunately, hikers have died and many more have had to be rescued trying to reach this iconic bus. For this reason, the Alaska Army National Guard transported the bus to a ‘secure site’ but now it’s finally going to get a new home!

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources, in the United States, has just announced that the relic will be exhibited at the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks – just two hours away from its place of origin.

how to visit Denali National Park

12. Fun fact about Alaska is that there are mosquitoes

Another interesting fact about Alaska is that there are plenty of mosquitoes waiting for you! Yes, I know…it sounds crazy just saying that out loud. I’m from Florida and hey, I know all about these pesky critters.

You can imagine my surprise when I realized how intense the mosquitoes are during the summer here. This is especially the case if you’re visiting between May and August so make sure you’re prepared. If you’re notorious for getting bitten then pack some good quality bug spray, long clothing to deter them, and a mosquito net/hat. I’d also recommend packing some insect bite cream!

10 days Alaska Itinerary

13. You can fly your drone in Alaska

Unlike many areas in the United States, you CAN fly your drone in Alaska! In a state with such amazing landscapes, this will be music to your ears if you’re a keen photographer. Of course, the requirements will differ depending on the size of your drone and the purpose of its use (recreational/commercial).

If you’re a recreational user and your drone weighs less than 55 pounds (250 grams), then you’ll simply need to take a free test called the Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST). Once you’ve passed that keep hold of the certificate, and familiarize yourself with other restrictions such as allowed altitude and locations.

10 days Alaska Itinerary

13. Fall in Alaska is late August and September

Another fun fact about Alaska is that during this time, it’s not summer, but instead, it is fall in Alaska. Now, I know that sounds crazy but it’s true! Fall in Alaska starts relatively early and it doesn’t last long either.

Generally, the further north you go the earlier the season starts. Above the arctic circle, colors can change as early as mid-August although lower down in Alaska this tends to be late August to early September. Either way, the golden foliage tends to be gone by the end of September meaning fall only lasts a couple of weeks here.

interesting facts about Alaska

Nature & Wildlife Facts About Alaska

14. You cannot see the Northern Lights all year long

Although many people think that you can see the Northern Lights all year long in Alaska, this is simply not the case! However, it’s still one of the best places in the world to spot them.

Actually, you can see the Northern Lights from Fairbanks 243 days of the year which is pretty insane! The Aurora season here runs from August to April and during this time, the aurora Borealis can be spotted on average four out of five nights. That’s pretty good odds if you ask me… However, the best time to spot them is late August and September.

facts about Alaska

15. A great fact to know about Alaska, it has more than 100 volcanoes

Another interesting fact about Alaska is that the state is home to around 130 volcanoes; 90 of which have been active within the last 10,000 years. Many of these are expected to erupt again but currently, there are around 50 that have been active within the past few centuries.

The United States has had plenty of volcanic eruptions in the past 200 years, and over three-quarters of these volcanoes are found here in Alaska! Some of the most visible volcanoes in the state include the Cook Inlet volcanoes, Mount Spurr, Mount Wrangell, and Redoubt Volcano.

16. The Glaciers are always changing

If there’s one thing that Alaska is famous for it’s the iconic glaciers. There are estimated to be around 27,000 glaciers in Alaska, and one-quarter of these are situated within protected national parks covering an impressive 4.6 million acres. However, due to climate change, these glaciers are always changing, and unfortunately, Alaska is losing ice more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.

Currently, the most popular glaciers in the state include Exit Glacier, Knik Glacier, Matanuska Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier, and Prince William Sound. These can be viewed by cruise, hiking, flightseeing, or ATVs so you’ve got plenty of options!

17. Alaska is the state with more earthquakes in the United States

If you’re doing a quiz and come across this information, you can thank me later – yep, Alaska has more earthquakes than any other state in the United States! Alaska is located along the famous ‘Ring of Fire’ where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet; the Pacific plate and the North American plate. There’s a subduction zone here causing this state to be so seismically-active.

Alaska’s most famous earthquake occurred in the Prince William Sound Region on March 27th, 1964. It was a 9.2 magnitude earthquake that caused a tsunami, and to this day it’s still the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the United States.

18. Alaska has the largest National Park in the United States

Alaska is home to eight national parks and seven of these make it onto America’s ‘Top 10’ largest national parks. Undisputed at the top of the list is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park covers an impressive 13.2 million acres! This makes it larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the entire country of Switzerland combined.

Next up, you’ve got Gates of the Arctic which covers an area of 8.5 million acres, and then Denali National Park which covers 6.1 million acres! The other Alaskan national parks that make it onto the ‘Top 10’ list include Katmai, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and Kobuk Valley.

how to visit Denali National Park

19. The large population of bears

The wildlife in Alaska is on top of the Alaska bucket list, and the reason so many visit it every year. This state is famous for its wildlife and is known for the ‘Alaska big 5’. One of the animals people travel across the world to see is bears as Alaska has such a huge population of them! In fact, there is 1 bear for every 21 people in Alaska which is insane…

Alaska is home to both black and brown bears, but to clear things up Grizzly bears are a type of brown bear. The main difference is that grizzly bears are slightly smaller and they normally live in the mountains, while brown bears tend to live along the coast.

20. The best time to see bears in Alaska is from June to September

If you’re a keen wildlife lover then I’d recommend heading to Alaska in June-September. This is the best time to spot bears and there are plenty of awesome places you can see them! You’ve got the best chance if you head to Denali National Park, Katmai National Park, Lake Clark National Park, and Kodiak Island.

The locals recommend playing music or talking loudly while hiking, while the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recommends carrying bear spray when visiting Alaska in case you run into a bear. I’ll leave you with this statistic: between 2008-2018, there have been 6 fatal bear attacks in Alaska, so don’t worry!

Fun facts about Alaska

21. The best time for whale watching is from May to September

Although bears are often the highlight of many Alaska trips, this state is a fantastic place for whale watching too! The peak season for whale watching here is May-September and you’ll find plenty of tour operators running boat trips during this time.

Alaska is home to a HUGE variety of whale species including beluga whales, humpback whales, gray whales, and killer whales. You might even get to spot fin or minke whales during your trip. Some of the best places for whale watching in Alaska include Homer, Kodiak Island, Prince William Sound, Resurrection Bay, and Turnagain Arm.

Fun facts about Alaska

Facts About Alaska Conclusion

With this, we concluded this amazing list of 21 Facts About Alaska that you would love to learn, especially if you are planning your perfect Alaska itinerary.

This list can keep on and on…since Alaska is huge, vast and so intriguing. But if there is anything I am missing here, please leave a message below as I would love to learn new facts about Alaska.

Hope this article has inspired you to visit Alaska and to continue to explore the planet to the most amazing dream destinations!

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fun facts about Alaska

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