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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.

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Alaska

Our verdict:

Often considered America's last frontier, Alaska has barely changed since the beginning of time. The 49th American state is an unbeatable showcase of wildlife and wilderness. It has eight national parks, 16 of the USA's tallest mountains, half the world's glaciers and the second biggest rainforest after Amazonia. Its natural wonders are simply amazing.

Recommended tour operator: Discover the World

Discover the World says

As you might expect from one of the UK’s leading specialists in adventure and wildlife holidays, Alaska is a popular holiday choice for those seeking abundant wildlife, wild beauty and colourful culture. More than seven times the size of the UK, it is home to thousands of glaciers, lush rainforests and jaw dropping scenery.

  • Wildlife encounters
  • Jaw-dropping scenery
  • Self-drive options

We offer a wide range of holidays with self-drive itineraries and other ideas for independent travellers as well as small-ship cruises, wildlife trips, walking and trekking holidays, whale-watching, rail travel and escorted group tours.

Alaska lends itself perfectly to a holiday afloat, not least cruising through the Inside Passage. Our small ship cruises gain you access to magical places that the bigger vessels can’t reach. Operating between April and September, the one-week Inside Passage, Fjords and Glaciers cruise is a more affordable option whilst this Inside Passage Glacier Bay cruise (July and August only) is accompanied by a National Park Ranger with a focus on wildlife, wilderness and local culture.

Alaska works well for self-drive holidays with easy-to-navigate roads and charming places to stay each evening. Alaska’s Natural Wonders is a circular road trip out of Anchorage, taking in Denali, Kenai Fjords and Wrangell-St Elias National Parks and historic Kennicott over 14 nights. A flight over Denali and a cruise in the Kenai Fjords National Park are also included.

Best of Denali and Kenai Fjords is a great self-drive choice for those wanting to experience the contrasting marine wildlife and glaciers of Kenai Peninsula with the rugged interior mountain landscapes – it also includes an unforgettable helicopter flight and dog-sledding adventure on a remote glacier.

For wildlife enthusiasts, this small group escorted tour (no more than eight people) is perfect. We take you to the best places, way off the beaten track, for the chance to see grizzly bears in their natural environment as well as sea lions, otters, puffins, bald eagles and whales.

Our Ultimate Alaska Wildlife Safari does exactly what it says on the tin. This show-stopping tour includes encounters with calving glaciers, Alaskan brown bears fishing for salmon, wolves, whales, moose and caribou and combines travel by private yacht, rail and floatplane.

Discover more about our holidays in Alaska before speaking to one of our experts who can tailor-make the ideal trip for you.

Note: All the travel companies featured on this site are personally recommended by our editors. Companies pay us a flat annual fee; we don’t get any additional payments if you click on their sites or make a booking. Those fees pay for the upkeep of our site, so we can keep it current and reliable. See more about how we work.