The Yukon is sometimes called the last frontier due to rugged landscapes, vast stretches of unsettled terrain and the fact that it is teeming with life, it's easy to plan a family trip to Alaska. From natural marvels to cabins and lodges in lieu of hotels, the set-apart state promises a family trip that you won't soon forget.
A good place to start when planning a family trip to Alaska, especially if your kids are outdoorsy, is the Inside Passage. You can take your time exploring its beauty if you book a tour on a state-run ferry, known by locals as "blue canoes." These ferries float along a 3,500-mile stretch of the shore from the Aleutian Islands all the way down to Washington State. One of the best routes for kids is from Juneau to Skagway.
No trip to Alaska would be complete without visiting the state's capital, the only U.S. capital that you can't get to driving. That's why you should take advantage of the tram that goes to the top of Mount Roberts (where you can hike and see the Native Alaskan cultural center) as well as the ferries that start their journey there. They follow 100 nautical miles of awe-inspiring scenery, a roughly 6 1/2-hour trek.
Of course, when it comes to where to go in Alaska, the city of Anchorage should also be on the list. This is where the Alaska Zoo and the Alaska Sealife Center both reside. At the zoo, parents recommend taking advantage of a close-up encounter with its resident pack of wolves, overseen by a competent and knowledgeable staff. Or you can admire the yaks and other northern animals from a distance. The zoo's woodsy trails are open all year long, although its lawn only hosts outdoor concerts on Friday evenings during the summer. Whereas at the Sealife Center, you and your kids can see how a real marine mammal rescue and rehab facility runs, this is the only one in the state. That's in addition to exhibits that cover everything from the local fishing industry to viewing areas of sea lions and touch tanks with smaller sea critters. These are definitely two places that should be on your Alaska trip itinerary.
If you're looking for something outside of city limits, why not go after the best view of one of the best Alaska tourist attractions, the Aurora Borealis that Alaska has to offer? Your kids will marvel over the natural wonder, but only if you get far enough outside of Anchorage to really enjoy it. Set up shop at Chena Hot Springs Resort, which offers Alaska family vacation packages. The resort is 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks, and when you plan a family trip to Alaska, you should consider it as one of the top places to stay in Alaska. Its recreational bundles include opportunities for you and your kids to see the Aurora Borealis up close and personal.
But even if you'd rather stay closer to the bustling streets of Anchorage, the Aurora Borealis is within reach thanks to Salmon Berry Tours. This tour group does quick trips to the small town of Talkeetna, about two hours outside of Anchorage, where you snowshoe to the river for a million dollar view.
You can't go wrong when you plan a family trip to Alaska. For the best ideas of where to go, where to eat and where to stay, check out the trip plans and reviews on MiniTime.