Top 5 Lake Vacations to Take in Alaska

If you want to take a vacation that will leave you with unforgettable memories and nourish your soul with pristine and gorgeous nature, then Alaska should be the first place on your list. And some of the biggest outdoor attractions in Alaska are its stunning lakes. Alaska is home to over 3 million lakes. Three thousand of those have names, while others are considered to be wild bodies. The panoramas that the lakes of Alaska offer make this the perfect place, not just for nature lovers but also for photographers. If you travel here, you’re sure to get a chance to take some gorgeous pictures of nature. However, with this huge selection of gorgeous lakes for you to visit, it can be hard to decide where to go exactly. We hope this list of the top lake vacations to take in Alaska will help you narrow down your options.

Remember that besides these stunning lakes, Alaska has much more to offer. From dense mountains and forests to many national parks with endemic wildlife species. So, if you want to include some of these in your trip, you should factor them in when planning. If you plan to choose one of the lakes from this list, you should check whether you can experience and see the other things you’re interested in if you go there.

The best way to enjoy your trip to Alaska

If you can’t be satisfied by traveling to just one lake, a popular travel option is to go on a cruise that takes you through the bodies of water in Alaska. This is one of the best ways to see as much nature and as many lakes as possible. Most cruises also make stops in residential cities and villages, so you’ll also be able to experience the culture and lifestyle of Alaska.

This is also a great option if you’re planning to move here. The nature you’ll see, and the lakes you’ll visit will make the trip feel like a vacation. While the stops in the residential parts of Alaska will be great for scouting where exactly you could move. All that’s left after that means to find help with a crew of interstate movers and to let pros make it easy to start your new life in Alaska. And what better way than to enjoy one of the following beautiful lakes.

#1 Eklutna Lake

Eklutna Lake is a gorgeous location in the Anchorage municipality, and it’s pretty close to the village of Eklutna. It offers dreamy and picturesque sceneries while allowing various fun outdoor activities. The most popular options are kayaking and canoeing. However, if you’re a fan of camping and hiking, you’ll also enjoy this place. One of the most unique and interesting activities that many people do at this lake is marriage. That’s right; it’s possible to tie the knot at the shore of this lake. So many people choose to do it because of the gorgeous scenery.

While this is one of the best lake vacations to take in Alaska, you should refrain from doing it alone. The weather can change quickly, and it’s much safer to go on a guided tour. And if you go for the getting married option, consult a local professional to help you decide on a date with the minimal chance of weather complications.

#2 Lake Clark

Lake Clark is Alaska’s sixth-largest lake. It is located in the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. It is one of Alaska’s most beautiful locations and incredibly popular with photographers. However, one issue with this place is that it’s not for the casual vacationer. It’s impossible to get to Lake Clark by car since no roads lead there. Anyone who wants to visit would have to book a boat or plane transfer phone off and advance. However, don’t let this discourage you. You can still enjoy the fun of a road trip until you get there. Just make sure to utilize everything you can to make the road trip safer since the roads in Alaska can be treacherous.

After you get there, you will see how worth it all of that effort was. Lake Clark has so much to offer. From beautiful landscapes and wildlife encounters to activities like kayaking, boating, and fishing

#3 Tustumena Lake

This lake is located in south-central Alaska and is the fifth-largest lake in the state. Similar to Lake Clark, it is relatively isolated, meaning that there is no road access. The most popular way to get here is by boat. However, the positive side of the fact that it’s a bit harder to get to is that the nature of the place is almost untouched. That, combined with the fact that the water of this lake comes from a nearby glacier, means that you can expect it to be truly crystal clear. Another reason this is one of the best lake vacations to take in Alaska is that it is the perfect place for any photographer.

#4 Katmai Crater Lake

This is a unique lake on this list. Just like the name says, this lake is situated in the crater of a volcano. It truly is a fantastic sight. However, it can only be viewed by a guided flight-seeing tour, usually from a helicopter.

This volcanic mountaintop filled with water was found in 1916 after one of the volcanoes near Katmai Mountain erupted. This caused Katmai Mountain to fall and the Katmai Crater Lake to form. The lake was discovered during a survey of the area after the volcanic activity had subsided.

#5 Goose Lake

This lake will offer a different experience from the ones we’ve discussed up till now. Firstly, it is located in the central part of Anchorage, near the university district. Since it’s so close to the city, traveling here will give off more of a summer beach vacation vibe. You’ll be able to spend the day swimming in the lake and relaxing on the beach. And then, in the evening, you’ll be able to enjoy the nearby restaurants and shopping centers. While it is generally all about swimming, it also offers opportunities for fishing and hiking.

One issue with this is that it does get pretty crowded. However, it is an excellent stop for any road trip through Alaska. You can take it easy and rest for the evening in one of the fantastic hotels here. Or explore the city for a bit, go for a swim in the lake, and then pack up and move on.

Final thoughts

Alaska is a stunning part of the US that many commonly overlook. If you want to spend your vacation taking in gorgeous scenery and breathing in the fresh air of pristine, untouched nature, then you should keep these lake vacations to take in Alaska in mind. They will leave you with unforgettable memories, awe, and a photo album full of gorgeous panoramic scenes. And don’t forget to enjoy other aspects of Alaska while you’re here. For example, Alaska is also one of the world’s best stargazing destinations. You can also hike, enjoy watersports in the lakes and go camping. And even if you just plan on going on a general trip to Alaska, make sure to include at least one of these gorgeous lakes in your plan. You won’t regret it.

Where to Travel For The Best Stargazing In The World

In most urban areas, only around 500 stars are visible on a given night, but in the prized locations highlighted below, up to 15,000 are easily seen. That’s pretty incredible. It you’re planning a trip and want some nighttime eye candy, here are six of the best places in the world to go outside and look up. Here’s where to travel for the best stargazing in the world.

Photo by Juan on Pexels.com

Mauna Kea, Hawaii

The Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island has perhaps the most ideal stargazing conditions in the world. At an elevation above 13,000 feet, it is the highest point in Hawaii. Its high elevation and location in the middle of the Pacific create excellent conditions, but the surrounding cloud layer makes it even more perfect for studying the sky. A tropical inversion cloud layer 2,000 feet thick sits below the summit, preventing pollutants and moist air from the ocean from rising up. The view itself is so spectacular that one of the world’s most advanced astronomical observatories is located at the top. The visitor’s center at 9,000 feet offers lectures, question and answer sessions, and telescope viewing.

Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania might seem like an odd place for first-class stargazing, but Cherry Springs State Park is one of the best viewing points in the world. The 82 acre park is set within the 262,000 acre Susquehannock State Forest, protecting it from light pollution. A tremendous number of stars are visible at this Gold-Certified International Dark Sky Park. In fact, the sky is so dark that the Northern Lights were seen here four times back in 2014, a very unusual event this far below the Arctic Circle. The park offers Night Sky Tours on Friday and Saturday nights that use lasers to identify and explain constellations and planets. Visitors can also use telescopes on site.

Atacama Desert, Chile

The Atacama Desert in Chile is already a stunning natural wonder with its red dunes, huge rock formations, and even a desert flowering in wet years. It’s also the driest non-polar desert in the world due to its high elevation, which makes it an exceptionally perfect place for stargazing. The newly constructed ALMA Observatory takes advantage of these conditions and the lack of light pollution in the desert. At times, the Milky Way can shine so brightly here that it casts a shadow on the desert floor.

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

In 2007, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah became the first ever International Dark Sky Park, a designation since reserved for the best stargazing locations in the world. The beauty of the stars visible in the desert is supplemented by the striking natural setting. Owachomo bridge, perhaps the oldest bridge in the park, was created when a river changed course and carved a hole into solid rock.

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on Pexels.com

Denali National Park, Alaska

The Northern Lights are caused by a coronal mass ejection, which is a gust of solar wind and magnetic fields that interact with the earth’s atmosphere. The result are stunning dancing waves of green, red, blue, and violet that are occasionally visible in northern climates. Denali National Park in Alaska is one of the best places for viewing the phenomenon. The park encompasses four million acres of federally protected land, and the cold and clear Alaskan nights made conditions ideal. The magnificent park also offers bears, wolves, caribou, and moose as well as some of the most stunning mountain views in the world. This is definitely where to travel for the best stargazing in the world.

Tromsø, Norway

Brave stargazers might seek to venture inside the Arctic Circle itself for viewing the northern lights. There’s no better place to experience the enchanted north than Tromsø. Not only does it offer fantastic views of the aurora borealis (the sun is invisible from November to January), it’s a lovely city in its own right. In the 19th century it was called the Paris of the North, and visitors can enjoy reindeer spotting, sledding with huskies, and visiting the famous Arctic Cathedral in this Norse and Sami medieval city. And if you are thinking of travelling to Norway, you don’t want to miss the Fjords!

Conclusion

There you have it. Some of the best destinations in the world to gaze at the wonder of stars. Some are easy to get to and some not so easy to get to but it’s well worth it to get out there. It’s time to travel!

5 Places for Spectacular Northern Lights Viewing

The aurora borealis is the colorful phenomenon created when electrically charged particles within the earth’s magnetosphere collide with particles in the solar wind. The Northern Lights, as they’re also known, are best seen in late August through April from countries near the North and South poles. These neon ribbons of light are not always visible, and the colors present depend on altitude and which elements are in the air. The most common color is green, while red is more rare. Glows of yellow, pink, blue, and ultraviolet are also possible.

Weather, lunar cycle, and proximity to the sea make some cities and regions better than others for viewing. But if catching a spectacular display is on your bucket list, here are Hipmunk’s top destinations for seeing these natural wonders!

1. Fairbanks, Alaska

Located within the auroral oval — a ring-shaped region around the North Pole — Fairbanks lends itself to a steady frequency of Northern Light activity and clear climates. But travelers will have to travel a bit outside of the city limits to see nature’s fluorescent curtains. Stay at the Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge or theSpringhill Suites by Marriott Fairbanks, both short drives from the city’s other attractions should the lights not cooperate. (We’re fans of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the Alaska House Art Gallery, and the Fairbanks Community Museum.) Alaska Tours will pick up stargazers from their stated hotel and transfer them to the outskirts of the city. Dress warmly to experience the rippling auroras outdoors, or sip a complimentary warm beverage to stay cozy inside the vehicle. Make sure to monitor the University of Alaska’s aurora forecast to get a better idea of when there is auroral activity.

2. Whitehorse City, Canada

Canada’s Yukon Territory makes for great viewing of the undulating light curtains. Head to Whitehorse City and stay at the Skky Hotel, only 0.4 miles from the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport. View the aurora from a custom-built location by the Arctic Range northern lights tour company. Or, drive 18 miles north of downtown Whitehorse and view them from the Takhini Hot Springs for a memorable evening. The pools, which have been in operation for more than 100 years, are between 36 degrees and 42 degrees Celsius, offering a soothing experience. Check out the pool rental rates, which are based on number of guests.

3. Saariselka, Finland

The Northern Lights are best viewed away from city lights, making national reserves like Urho Kekkonen National Park a good option. Stay at the Holiday Club in the town of Saariselka for easy access to the park, as well as downhill and cross-country skiing. For those with a higher budget, have a distinctive experience at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort while hunting for the elusive lights. The resort, located a nine-minute drive south from Saariselka and also near Urho Kekkonen Park, offers its signature glass igloo for two or four people, a log cabin or a hybrid accommodation, which is a log cabin that also has a glass igloo. There are various other options, including staying with in the home of Mr. and Ms. Claus, which Kakslauttanen calls Santa’s Home. For extra fees, Kakslauttanen offers husky and reindeer safaris, sleigh rides and ice fishing, among other activities.

4. Karasjok, Norway

Northern Norway is an ideal location to catch both the Northern Lights and star constellations. The town often has clear skies due to its inland location, and little light pollution. Even if the capricious lights don’t show, visitors will be impressed by the clearly visible star constellations. Stay at the Scandic Karasjok, which has two restaurants and a sauna to get a complete Norwegian experience. The DenHvite Rein Motell offers cross-country and downhill skiing, as well as snowshoeing to stay active.

5. Abisko, Sweden

The typically clear climate of Abisko makes this small town an optimal place to catch the Aurora Borealis. Stay at the Abisko Guest house or the Abisko Mountain Lodge,both offering easy access to the Aurora Sky Station within Abisko National Park.Abisko.net offers three distinct northern light tours to choose from. Snowshoe to the top of a small hill overlooking lake Tornetrask, as well as wild animal trails. Rest near the fire while drinking warm drinks as onlookers stare at the sky. Or, learn how to best photograph nature’s dancing lights. Visitors have to provide their own SD memory cards, but Absiko.net provides the high-quality camera and lens, as well as detailed instructions from a professional.

 

This post was posted by The Hipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on January 8, 2016.