Choosing a Destination

Alaska is huge! As such, its hard to know where in Alaska your trip should take you. At the broad level, Alaska is split into five regions. Each region is unique in its landscapes, activities, wildlife, transportation options, history, climate, and culture. Take a look at our five regions to help you determine what area might best suit your interests.

Inside Passage

The Inside Passage, also known as Southeast Alaska, is the smallest of the five regions. The narrow inside passage is a dramatic coastal region spanning 500 miles from Ketchikan to Yakutat. It’s known for its lush green forests, towering mountains, majestic fjords, and abundant marine and wildlife. The Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the United States and the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, and it covers the vast majority of the Inside Passage. Many of the communities in Southeast Alaska are only accessible by air or water, including Alaska’s capital Juneau. Today, the Inside Passage is the most popular route for large and small cruise ships in Alaska from May through September. For those that want to travel at their own pace, the Inside Passage is also accessible by Alaska Marine Highway System on the state ferry.

Highlights of the Inside Passage:

  • Riding the Alaska ferry
  • Anan Bear Observatory
  • The White Pass and Yukon Route Train
  • Glacier Bay National Park
  • Misty Fjords
  • LeConte Glacier
  • Tracy Arm
  • Abundant whale watching
  • Ample salmon fishing, hiking, and kayaking opportunities


Southcentral is home to more than half of Alaska’s residents and houses the largest city in the state, Anchorage. The terrain of Southcentral is vast and drastic including scenic coastline, craggy mountain ranges, lakes, forests, and tundra while still being easily accessible by a network of highways, and the Alaska Railroad. Southcentral is made up of five distinct areas the Mat-Su Valley, Copper River Valley, Anchorage area, Prince William Sound and Kenai Peninsula. Southcentral is home to the largest national park in the US, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

Highlights of Southcentral:

  • Scenic rides on the Alaska Railroad
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Wrangell St Ellias National Park and Preserve
  • Glacier and Iceberg viewing tours
  • Mining history in Kennicott and McCarthy
  • Matanuska Glacier
  • Premier salmon fishing
  • Alyeska Resort
  • Extensive trail systems, rafting, kayaking, and wildlife viewing


Southwest Alaska is made up of five distinct areas the Kodiak Island Archipelago, The Alaska Peninsula, Bristol Bay, The Aleutian Chain, and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The landscapes in Southwest Alaska are as diverse as the experiences that await visitors to this fascinating region. From World War II history in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor, to the lush landscape of Kodiak Island, the world-famous brown bears of Katmai National Park and Preserve, rich salmon runs in Bristol Bay, and large concentrations of birds in the Pribilof Islands and Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Southwest Alaska can be difficult to navigate, but oh so rewarding.

Highlights of Southwest:

  • Katmai National Park and Preserve
  • Bear Viewing
  • Hiking, sportfishing & kayaking
  • Birding
  • Museums and World War II history
  • Izembek National Wildlife Refuge


The Interior is home to North America’s tallest peak, Denali. The Interior is where you can truly experience the midnight sun in the summer, and the famous aurora borealis in the winter. Home to abundant wildlife and rich history, the Interior has something to offer to visitors year round.

Highlights of Interior:

  • Denali National Park
  • Chena Hot Springs
  • Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge
  • Canoeing, kayaking, and rafting
  • Crossing the Arctic Circle
  • Trans-Alaskan Pipeline viewpoint
  • World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks – mid February


Located primarily above the Arctic Circle, the Arctic region is one of the best spots to view the northern lights and see abundant wildlife including huge herds of migrating caribou and flocks of migratory birds, wolves, musk ox, Arctic foxes, and even polar bears. The Arctic is vast, pristine, and remote, offering true backcountry experiences to those who are prepared. Large areas in the Arctic are protected as national parks and wildlife refuges, including Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Highlights of Arctic:

  • 64 days without a sunset from May 20 to July 22 in Deadhorse
  • Caribou, grizzly, arctic fox, muskox, and 200+ species of birds
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Extreme remote wilderness in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)
  • Expansive Brooks Range
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
  • Great Caribou migration in Kobuk Valley National Park
  • Noatak National Preserve containing North America’s largest undisturbed watershed