15 Best Alaska Road Trips: Weekend Getaways & Day Trips

Are you looking for a weekend getaway with outstanding natural beauty and opportunities for endless adventure? Alaska may just be the place for you. Whether you’re on a road trip and looking for somewhere to stop over, a weekend getaway, or a day trip, Alaska offers a multitude of tours, cultural and historical experiences, and outdoor activities.

But, if you haven’t been to Alaska before, it can be difficult to know where you should visit or which areas are worth visiting and stopping off at.

To make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a list of the best destinations recommended for stopping on your Alaskan road trip.



Visit the beautiful port city of Steward in southern Alaska. Steward stands as the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park offering stunning views of glaciers and peaks. Boasting rich sea life, Steward is home to whales and porpoises.

If you are a fan of hiking, walking, glaciers, fishing, and whale watching, Steward is the place for you. This location offers a sensational Alaskan road trip itinerary you won’t want to miss. From exploring the peals of the Chugach Mountains to paddling out onto Resurrection Bay, Steward has a multitude of activities to offer for a jam-packed weekend getaway.

Steward offers a variety of accommodation options, making travel easy and convenient.

Things on offer:

    • Experience beautiful scenery
    • A multitude of activities to keep you busy
  • Wide range of accommodation options

Denali National Park 

Denali National Park is a great location to spend a weekend getaway. Located on a preserve, home to 6 million acres of the Alaskan wilderness, Denali National Park offers epic views. This is a great destination to visit for anyone who enjoys cycling, hiking, and mountain climbing. This pristine parkland offers a varied terrain of tundra, forest, and glaciers, Denali National park is home to magnificent Alaskan wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, caribou, and moose.

Look forward to hiking along the alpine tundra, going off the road down Denali’s backcountry, rafting down the Nenana River, or just simply watching the wildlife around you.

If you fancy a road trip to Denali National Park in September, you may catch a glimpse of the Northern lights.

Things on offer:

    • Hiking trails offering views of legendary landmarks
    • Witnessing magnificent wildlife
    • Experience local cuisine
    • Camp out under the stars


The resort town of Girdwood, originally known as Glacier City is located in southern Alaska. Girdwood is a popular road trip destination for skiers during the winter months and hikers during the summer. Surrounded by spectacular views, this quaint town offers endless opportunities for a fun-filled weekend getaway.

Girdwood offers activities of panning for gold, hiking, skiing, and cycling. Activities are offered all year round and there is something for everyone.

This destination is particularly popular with artists who visit all year round to capture the idyllic scenery.

Things on offer:

    • Visit glaciers or experience glacier dog sledding
    • Take a scenic bike ride
  • Attend a seasonal festival for the weekend
  • Enjoy local restaurants and breweries

Kodiak Island

Kodiak Island resides on the south coast of Alaska. This historical island offers a wealth of activities. Abundant with wildlife and outdoor opportunities, Kodiak Island is a fantastic road trip destination.

Home of Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak Island is home to numerous species of wildlife. Kodiak island is also home to wildlife living abundantly amongst the cliffs, meadows, forests, and lakes. This is a great place to spend the weekend bear watching, fishing, or whale watching.

Kodiak Island is a great destination for an active weekend. It offers activities of mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. There are also numerous opportunities to attend fishing and arts festivals.

Things on offer:

    • Abundant wildlife
    • Beautiful scenery
    • Host of outdoor activities
  • Festivals and events

Glacier Bay National Park 

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve are located in southeast Alaska. This destination is great for anyone who is an outdoor enthusiast with a variety of outdoor activities from hunting and camping to kayaking and rafting. It’s home to the unexplored wilderness that has never been reached making this the ultimate road trip destination for exploration.

Explore natural wonders such as wolf creek, a hiking trail where you’ll find an exposed forest that used to be buried under a glacier.

This getaway destination is a hiking haven offering a multitude of trails. These trails are designed for intermediate hikers with more experience as most of them are unmarked. However, there are also shorter trails for inexperienced hikers. Glacier Bay National Park offers something for everyone.

Things on offer:

    • Awesome hiking trails
  • Stunning glacial views
  • Wide range of accommodation available


Homer is a small city on Kachemak Bay, located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Homer offers a range of galleries, shops, seafood restaurants, and beaches. Homer is a great place to go on a city break or to stop by on a road trip.

Known as the Halibut fishing capital of the world, Homer is a fantastic place to visit if you enjoy good food and beautiful scenery.

If you’re a fishing fanatic, Homer offers opportunities to go on fishing trips with local fishermen. They also hold local markets, live music shows, and a variety of themed festivals. If you’re someone who enjoys being kept busy, Homer is a place for you.

Things on offer:

    • Local markets, live music shows, and festivals
    • A range of galleries and seafood restaurants
    • Beautiful scenery

Chena Hot Springs Resort

If you’re looking for a relaxing spa-like experience, then Chena Hot Springs Resort is a place for you. Chen Hot Springs is a natural hot spring in an outdoor rock lake.

Chena Hot Springs offers a natural jacuzzi experience as well as stunning views of the Northern Lights if you visit at the right time. This destination is a great place to visit for the day, but if you fancy staying longer, the resort offers a range of accommodation options from camping to staking in a lodge, yurt, or cabin for a real woodland experience.

Chena Hot Springs is open all year round offering an authentic luxury Alaskan experience.

    • Natural thermal pools
    • Northern lights experience
  • Chena River State Recreation Area


Ketchikan is an eclectic Alaskan town located on the southeastern coast. Ketchikan offers idyllic scenery of a network of waterways winding through the wilderness. Nearby is a glacier-carved landscape with waterfalls, streams, and snow-capped mountains.

This city offers a rich Alaskan Native culture, giving visitors an authentic experience of Native Alaska. The city is known for the beautiful totem poles that stood throughout. There are opportunities to visit exhibits and displays as well as historical landmarks.

This is a great location for a relaxing and cultural getaway. This destination is also rich in wildlife as it is home to salmon, black bears, wolves, and eagles. This is a great place to visit if you enjoy spending time in a natural landscape.

Whether you’re stopping by for the day or staying for the weekend, there is a variety of accommodation available.

Things on offer:

    • Historical and cultural experience
    • Rich in wildlife
    • A beautiful, idyllic town


Nome is a city in Alaska located on the southern Steward Peninsula coast. Nome is known for being the most famous gold rush town in Alaska. This destination offers a wealth of history and Inupiat culture. It’s a great place to visit if you have an interest in the history of the gold rush with endless potential to explore abandoned dredges, steam engines, old mines, and old railroad tracks.

Nome is an interesting location to visit. It can’t be reached by car as it is not a part of Alaska’s road system but it can be reached by boat. This is a great place to visit for the day as part of a road trip.

This destination offers endless potential to explore the vast wilderness of mountains, coastal plains. Whether you prefer hiking or mountain biking, there are plenty of chances to witness the abundance of wildlife, from the ox to wolves, foxes, and beavers, etc.

Things on offer:

    • Cultural experience
    • Historical landmarks
  • Wilderness experience

Resurrection Bay Camping

Resurrection Bay is located off the Kenai Peninsula. This destination sits along the Kenai Fjords National Park. Resurrection Bay offers idyllic scenery of glaciers and uninterrupted wilderness. This area is one of the few that remains ice-free all year round.

Resurrection Bay is a popular destination to visit for people who enjoy whale watching. They offer several cruises for viewing whales and other marine wildlife. This is a great destination if you’re looking to stop over for the day or weekend.

There is also a range of outdoor activities for a more active getaway, including activities such as fishing and kayaking.

Things on offer:

    • Whale watching
  • Outdoor activities


Anchorage is considered the largest city in Alaska. This city is home to a range of cultural sites and hosts a range of heritage sites and displays of traditional crafts. This is a great destination if you’re looking for a cultural experience. The city offers traditional dance displays and replicas of indigenous dwellings.

This destination is packed with culture and history. It is also a great place for anyone who enjoys being outdoors. It offers a wealth of activities from hiking and fishing. But if you are looking for more of a city break, it offers opportunities to visit museums, traditional restaurants, and opportunities to get stuck in with arts and crafts.

Anchorage is also one of the destinations where the northern lights are active. The best time of the year to visit to see the northern lights is from late September to the middle of April.

Things on offer:

    • Cultural and historical experience
  • Outdoor activities
  • Northern lights experience

Portage Lake 

Portage Lake is a glacial lake located in Chugach National Forest. It offers a long stretch glaciated valley, it’s an area of astounding beauty. If you enjoy visiting areas of natural beauty, Portage Lake is the perfect place to visit. There are opportunities to experience being immersed in the natural setting on boat tours along the lake. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with the setting.

Portage Lake is an ideal location to visit for the day on a road trip. If you’re lucky you may even witness sightings of resident sea mammals.

Portage Lake is also a popular spot for hikers as it offers easy access to nature trails that offer stunning views of glaciers and surrounding areas. This is a great place to visit for any keen hikers, making it an ideal choice for an active weekend getaway.

Things on offer:

    • Stunning glacial views
    • Wildlife experience
    • Variety of hiking spots


Whittier is a city located at the head of the Passage Canal of Alaska. Whittier is a fantastic destination getaway for any food lover. Whittier offers a variety of quaint seaport eateries. These mini hut eateries offer delicious and local cuisine.

Nestled in glacial surroundings, Whittier is a popular natural attraction with three of North America’s largest ice fields surrounding the area. Cruises and boat tours are on offer for anyone wanting to get a closer look. This destination provides an opportunity to experience extraordinary views. This is a great destination for a weekend getaway of natural sightseeing.

If you’re looking for a more active getaway, there is a range of outdoor activities to experience such as kayaking and fishing.

Things on offer:

    • Outdoor activities
    • Seafood eateries
  • Glacial views

Kenai Mountains, Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area

The Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area offers stunning views of a mountainous landscape with lakes, rivers. This destination stands as a location of significant cultural and historical value. Immerse yourself in the rich history of gold and retrace the steps of Alaska’s early people and travel along the coastline corridor.

This destination is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The destination tells stories of a rich heritage. This destination is a great place to visit if you have an interest in the history of the location. It offers the opportunity to take the journey of the native people who traveled along the shore, the stories of explorers, Russian traders, and gold seekers. This destination is a great spot for weekend getaway exploration.

Things on offer:

    • Area of outstanding natural beauty
    • Hiking trails

Chugach National Forest

Chugach National Forest is a 6,908,540 acre forest in southern Alaska. This destination offers endless opportunities for exploration. Covering areas from the Kenai Peninsula to the Copper River Delta, this is a fantastic destination for a weekend road trip.

Chugach National Forest is a great place to camp. WIth multiple campsites and log cabins available offering an opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural forest setting and to explore unlimited backcountry. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the natural surroundings with several hiking and biking trails available.

If you fancy a day trip, why not witness stunning views of glaciers, alpine valleys, and lakes from a train. This area of natural beauty also offers opportunities to spot natural wildlife as it is home to animals such as Dall sheep, black bears, moose, bald eagles.

Things on offer:

    • Glacial train trip
    • Wild camping experience
  • Outdoor activities

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best month to drive to Alaska?

The best time to travel in Alaska is between mid-June and mid-September. These months offer warmer weather and longer days allowing you to spend more time enjoying the day. This is a pleasant time of the year with temperatures mild and not too hot at around 60-60 degrees F.

Are the northern lights visible all year round?

No, the northern lights aren’t visible all year round so double check which time of the year is best to visit for your destination.

What should I pack/ wear to Alaska?

The weather in Alaska will vary depending on the time of year and the region you’re visiting. However, it’s always a good idea to take a reliable rucksack, comfortable layers you can add or take off, and a comfortable pair of shoes or hiking boots.