Alaska is one of the best places for road trips. It is a massive state with countless beautiful destinations you can get to in your car. However, because Alaska is so large, many of these spots require a plan and a long weekend to enjoy. All is not lost though if you live in Anchorage. Here are the 5 best day trips from Anchorage.
The town of Whitter is a pretty cool place to head for on a day trip. It’s only about two hours outside of Anchorage, but due to the crazy long tunnel you have to drive through to get there, it feels far away. Once you navigate the timetable of the one-way traffic tunnel, you can spend the day exploring the quaint little fishing town of Whitter. My favorite places are the beach and the local trails that lead up to views of Portage Glacier. Just make sure you keep an eye on the time because the tunnel closes every night and you will have to sleep in your car until it opens in the morning.
If you are looking for a nearby day trip with plenty to see, Girdwood is it. The 45min trip South from Anchorage not only gives you ocean scenery on one side, it gives you rocky mountain cliffs on the other that are usually spotted with waterfalls and mountain sheep. If the drive itself isn’t beautiful enough, the town of Girdwood has plenty more to give. From lush forest trail hikes to summer mountain biking trails, to a wire tram that takes you above the clouds to killer views, this day trip has something for everyone.
Hope is one of those towns people tend to forget about, but that’s their loss. It is a beautiful, if not tiny, town on the opposite side of the inlet as Girdwood and Anchorage. It takes about 2 or 3 hours to get there, but it’s worth the drive. What Hope lacks in buildings it makes up for in nature. You can head to the right and walk by the ocean, or go left and start down historic trails like Resurrection Pass. And word is, that every weekend Hope is hosting live music, and people are pouring into the cute little town.
4. Byron Glacier
While Portage Valley is swamped with tourists in the summer, many of them never leave the visitor’s center. Their loss is your gain because just a few yards away from the busy center is the trailhead for Byron Glacier. This quick easy hike brings you right up and under the icy blue glacier. It is Instagram worthy for sure, and the drive and hike can easily be done as one of the many day trips from Anchorage.
I love Talkeetna in summer and I think it’s worth the drive time if you are looking for a good day trip. I recommend this trip to anyone who is wanting to get a look at Denali Mountain. After you get a picture of the tallest peak in North America, head downtown to enjoy everything else Talkeetna has to offer. Also, this town may have the closest thing Alaska has to a sandy beach. Sure it’s on a river, but the sand is soft and warm on a hot sunny day.
What do you think of these day trips from Anchorage? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image source: weheartit.com
Hi, I am Nancy Strahan. I recently graduated with my BA in English Literature and am working to gain experience in the writing/content creation business. I was born and raised in Alaska and I love it here. I am pretty much an outdoor and adrenaline junkie, so if it is crazy or in nature, I'm there. So, naturally all things camping, backpacking, and adventure related are my favorite topics to write about.