Land, Air, and Sea: The 3 Best Ways to See and Experience Alaska

April 10, 2023

More Alaska Vacation Tips

Alpine Air Alaska, Girdwood, Alaska, Helicopter Tours, Sightseeing, Flightseeing

Alaska is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty with landscapes that include everything from snowcapped mountains and icy fjords to rushing rivers, wild beaches, and lush wildflower-dotted meadows. It’s also home to abundant wildlife with bears, caribou, moose, Dall sheep, whales, sea lions, puffins, and bald eagles — and that’s just the shortlist. 

With the breathtaking 49th state supporting such a vast wilderness and offering so many different ways to experience it on land, in the sea, and by air, you’re probably wondering, “What’s the best way to see Alaska?” 

Each of these methods — by land, by sea, and by air — provides a unique perspective to experience Alaska’s jaw-dropping beauty. 


What else could be the best way to see Alaska besides being close enough to touch? Exploring Alaska’s backcountry on foot will get you up close to hidden treasures that most visitors never see. 

With experienced guides from Ascending Path or Chugach Adventures, you can arrange for a hiking tour that will bring you to some of the most remote areas by helicopter, followed by an epic trek. Perhaps you’ll view magnificent waterfalls while surrounded by mile-high peaks and braided rivers, hiking over snowfields to discover an ancient blue-tinged glacier rising from a lake of floating icebergs in the Chugach National Forest. 

There are other ways to explore Alaska by land other than hiking, too. How about the thrill of sitting on a sled pulled through the glorious Alaskan landscapes by a powerful sled dog team? Even in the summer, you can take a helicopter up to a glacier for an unforgettable dog sledding tour across the snow. 

After stepping out onto the ice field, you’ll be welcomed by mushers and a team of playful, friendly Alaskan huskies for an adventure of a lifetime. From there, imagine soaring over the snow-covered peaks in Girdwood Valley to reach the heart of glacier country, where you’ll be surrounded by dramatic mountains and unspoiled wilderness. 


Another of the best ways to see Alaska is by sea, which is why this state is one of the world’s most popular destinations for a cruise. It’s possible to explore the state via its waterways from the Inside Passage to the Arctic north with a long list of itinerary options available. 

With Alaska as wide as the Lower 48 and bigger than Montana, California, and Texas combined, a cruise can allow you to see more in less time while getting a perspective of Alaska’s massive glaciers, which can often dwarf even the largest vessels. Most cruises include options for land tours so you can add excursions like a helicopter flight, dogsledding, or rafting for the ultimate experience.

Rafting or kayaking down a river through the Alaskan wilderness will put you right in the middle of incredible nature for up-close views of the unique topography and wildlife. You might enjoy a relaxing float among hanging glaciers and even watch spawning salmon at certain times of the year. Even a first-time traveler can enjoy this experience thanks to the state’s expert river guides. 


One of the most unforgettable ways to take in stunning Alaskan landscapes is by air. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of remote backcountry that can’t be seen any other way. There are more than 10,000 glaciers in the Chugach Mountains alone, and nearly all are extremely difficult to access unless you’re flying in a helicopter. 

A helicopter is a safe way to view the pristine wilderness, including those sparkling glaciers, without having to spend several days on foot getting there. And, with animals like bears and moose roaming the backcountry, flying above offers an incredible opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. Alaskan pilots have eagle eyes when it comes to spotting animals and unique geologic features. 

Plus, helicopters can land in more locations than small planes with no runway required. That means it’s easy to combine a scenic helicopter flight with all sorts of thrilling adventures, including a hike or a rafting trip through remote rivers that you’d never be able to access otherwise. It’s undoubtedly the best way to see Alaska and get the adventure you’ve been dreaming about. 

Discover the Best Way to Experience Alaska

With so many incredible ways to see Alaska, there’s no definitive answer as to which one is best. You may find that your dream-come-true experience involves a combination of land, air, and sea. 

Experiencing Alaska and all of its grandeur may best be enjoyed with the help of Alpine Air Alaska, with departures just a 50-minute drive from Anchorage in beautiful Girdwood. Located in a hidden gem of a mountain town, it’s worth spending time in Girdwood, which comes complete with a resort and spa. You’ll be able to take advantage of helicopter flightseeing tours as well as backcountry hiking, rafting, and hiking excursions that begin with a helicopter ride to a remote location. We’ll make sure you experience the best way to see Alaska!

There’s a reason Alpine Air Alaska is the longest-running helicopter tour service in the area. Not only do we pride ourselves when it comes to exceptional customer service with a family-feel approach, but we have an extensive safety record. Contact us to learn more or book your next adventure.