Winding Path, Alaska© Peter BonstromWinding Path, Alaska
© Peter Bonstrom
With over half a million square miles to explore, you can always find something breathtaking to do in Alaska, whether it be wildlife viewing, sea kayaking or hiking along a glacier. While some states offer sightseeing, Alaska gives you "flightseeing"—surveying the landscape from a low-flying plane. Imagine flying over a fjord as humpback whales leap into the air beneath you.

You might be flying to an amazing fishing hole. Alaska offers some of the world's most spectacular fly-fishing, saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing and even ice fishing. With scores of species in some one million lakes and thousands of rivers, the state is an angler's dream come true.

If sitting in a boat isn't your style, you can also hike. The largest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley, is in Denali National Park. There you can walk, mountain bike or, if you're really keen, take a month and head for the very summit. And, naturally, there are "flightseeing" options for McKinley, too.

When Alaska joined the Union, some people snorted that it was "America's Icebox." In Alaska, however, they've learned to make the most of winter. Why not try your hand at mushing some sled dogs? And if skiing or golf is your scene, one of Alaska's premier year-round destinations is the Alyeska Resort, just 40 miles south of Anchorage.

Fall colors in Denali National Park, Alaska© Vera BogaertsFall colors in Denali National Park, Alaska
© Vera Bogaerts
Alaska isn't just for the athletic traveller, however. The state offers unique opportunities to immerse yourself in Native American culture: totem carving, Native dancing, the blanket toss, traditional music, crafts and festivals. There are even traces of the state's heritage as a Russian outpost. In 1784, Grigory Shelikhov established the first permanent colony at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island. Ten years later, he built a Russian Orthodox mission whose onion domes will remind you of Moscow.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF