5 Myths About Traveling Alaska (And Why They’re Wrong)

When I first announced my plans to venture into the wild, icy expanse of Alaska, I was bombarded with a mix of awe and the kind of concern that makes you second-guess your life choices.

“You’ll freeze out there!” or “Aren’t there, like, bears everywhere?” and my personal favorite, “But it’s dark for six months, right?”

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

Yes, Alaska can seem extreme if your closest encounter with nature is your manicured, bug-free backyard. However, if you’re an adventure seeker, I’m here to cut through the fog of these chilling myths with some warm truths.

Here, then, are five ridiculous myths about traveling to Alaska—and why they’re just plain wrong:

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

1. “It’s Always Freezing in Alaska!”

Let’s get this straight—Alaska isn’t the perpetually frozen wasteland some folks imagine.

While it’s true that Alaskan winters can be brutal, with temperatures that plunge into the negatives, the seasonal variations are significant.

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

Summer in Alaska is a revelation with long, sunlit days where temperatures can soar to the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit). Cities like Fairbanks even see summer thermometers reading into the 80s.

So, if you’re packing for an Alaskan adventure, throw in some T-shirts alongside your parka. You’ll need them for the surprisingly warm hikes through Denali National Park.

2. “There’s Nothing Fun to Do. It’s Just Snow and Mountains, Right?”

If you think Alaska is just snow-capped peaks and icy tundra, you’re missing out on a vibrant tapestry of landscapes.

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

From the rainforests of the Southeast to the volcanic islands of the Aleutian chain, Alaska is a diverse geological wonder.

The state’s coastline—longer than all other U.S. states combined—offers stunning cliff-side views and countless opportunities for kayaking and whale-watching.

Alaska is a playground for the active and adventurous at heart. There’s no shortage of exhilarating activities and fun-filled experiences for every type of adventurer.

From the adrenaline-pumping to the serene, Alaska offers a range of activities that ensure your days are filled with exploration and excitement.

Whether you’re looking for high-energy adventures or relaxing ways to connect with nature, Alaska provides an unforgettable backdrop for both.

Winter in Alaska is not just about enduring the cold; it’s about embracing it with activities like ice fishing on a frozen lake, or joining a dog sledding tour, where you can mush your own team across snowy trails—an authentic Alaskan experience!

During the warmer months, the fun doesn’t stop. The long days allow more time for ATV / UTV riding and tours, fishing expeditions, kayaking along remote coastlines, or hiking through vast, untouched national parks.

Alaska’s rivers and seas are rich with salmon and halibut, making it a fisherman’s paradise. And let’s not forget about the opportunities for bear viewing, which can be a thrilling and unforgettable part of your Alaskan adventure.

Plus, Alaska’s small towns are bursting with culture and history—from the Russian-influenced architecture of Sitka to the indigenous heritage sites scattered across the state. Each provides a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of cultures that call Alaska home.

3. “Aren’t There Bears and Wolves Everywhere?”

While Alaska is indeed home to a large population of wildlife, including grizzly bears and wolves, the notion that they’re lurking behind every bush is a tad overblown.

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

Encounters with these wild animals are rare. Most wildlife in Alaska, like the majestic moose or the elusive lynx, are more frightened of you than you are of them.

That being said, it’s crucial to take wildlife seriously. Learn about bear safety, store your food properly, and, sure, keep your camera ready for that once-in-a-lifetime snap, but don’t let the fear of wildlife encounters deter you. It’s all part of the Alaskan adventure!

4. “You’ll Be Swallowed by Darkness for Six Months”

The whole “Alaska is dark half the year” tale is a bit of an exaggeration.

Yes, during the winter months, some parts of Alaska experience very short days, or in places like Barrow, the sun doesn’t rise at all for a couple of months.

But the flip side? The gloriously extended days of summer sunshine known as the Midnight Sun. In places like Fairbanks, the sun barely sets from late April to late August.

If you travel in the summer, you’ll have more daylight than you know what to do with—perfect for cramming in all those hiking, fishing, and camping activities.

5. “It’s Incredibly Remote and Inaccessible”

Alaska does boast some of the most untouched wilderness in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible.

Myths About Traveling to Alaska

Anchorage is a modern city with all the conveniences you could need, and from there, roads, railroads, and local flights can get you close to even the most remote natural wonders.

Plus, tour companies abound, offering everything from bear watching to ice climbing.

So, while you can indeed find yourself in the midst of pristine nature, you’re never too far from a hot meal or a cozy bed.

Closing Thoughts: Myths About Traveling to Alaska

Alaska, with its grandeur and raw beauty, is a paradise for adventurers. It challenges the body and revitalizes the spirit.

So pack your bags (wisely!), dispel those icy myths, and prepare for an Alaskan adventure that defies expectation and transforms the soul.

Whether you’re kayaking beside glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park or watching the aurora borealis dance in the Arctic night, Alaska offers experiences that are as vast and varied as the land itself. ca