Alaska is home to some of the best national parks in the USA, offering unparalleled views of an Arctic landscape. Comfortably sitting beside the Canadian territories, Alaska is a destination fit for adventure tourists and nature enthusiasts. From whale watching to wildlife viewing, Alaska offers an array of sights and activities that make it an unforgettable destination. Though an Alaskan cruise in July sounds fun, exploring Alaska by car sounds more appealing to some. Besides, there's more to see in Alaska when traveling by car, especially in its small towns. So while checking out Anchorage, don't forget to stop by these teeny-tiny Alaskan towns!
Regarded as a prime destination for travelers “with limited time and a big bucket list,” Seward is guaranteed to take a tourist’s breath away. This small Alaskan town is the home to the Alutiiq and Sugpiaq peoples, who have inhabited the landscape blessed with coastal views and dramatic mountain ranges. Tourists can also visit the Alaska SeaLife Center, the only aquarium in Alaska open to the public! However, visitors would be remiss not to see the Kenai Fjords National Park, home to the Harding Icefields and crystal apparent glaciers. With a population of only 2,600, Seward is an ideal getaway for nature enthusiasts.
7 North Pole
Travelers who don’t believe in Santa Claus should head to Alaska’s North Pole to change their minds. Located only 15 minutes away from Fairbanks, this Alaskan town has a small population of 2,200. That doesn’t stop them from having a good time, though! The North Pole is famous for its Christmas-themed streets like Santa Claus Lane or Kris Kringle Drive. Visitors also love checking out the Santa Claus House, featuring a sculpture of jolly Saint Nick, and shops for candy, fudge, toffee, Christmas decor, and Alaska-made products. Travelers who can brave the Alaskan winters should visit the North Pole in December for their yearly Winter Festival!
This teeny-tiny town is only home to 200 people. However, it was Alaska’s first gold-rush town, a once-bustling town full of curious gold hunters and miners. Visit the Hope & Sunrise Historical Mining Museum to learn about Hope’s history with gold. Tourists can try their hand at searching for gold at Resurrection Creek, which is also a sight for populations of Alaskan pink salmon. Adrenaline seekers and couples who love thrilling destinations can get their fix from whitewater river rafting the Six Mile Creek or enjoying a peaceful hike around the Kenai Peninsula!
Travelers looking for a cozy vibe found only in pretty small towns need to visit Gustavus. Home to the Huna Tlingit community, Gustavus offers stunning views of Glacier Bay National Park, and a peek into the majestic Alaskan wildlife. Enjoy whale-watching or admire the glaciers surrounding the Icy Strait through a kayaking excursion. A small population of people calls Gustavus home, so it’s a stark contrast to the bustling tourist crowds encountered in large cities and popular vacation destinations.
The small town of Kake is rooted in solid ties to Tlingit traditions due to the community’s prominent heritage. The city may not be as big as Anchorage or Juneau, but Kake carries a charm that is fit for those seeking a peek into Alaska’s tranquil nature and unique wildlife. Kake is best explored by renting a car and examining the stunning views of Kupreanof Island. Visitors can also check out sites like Cathedral Falls Creek or Kake’s Totem. Tourists visiting Alaska in July or August can make plans to visit Kake during their Dog Salmon Festival, regarded as one of the town’s most festive celebrations!
3 Thorne Bay
Thorne Bay is not meant for travelers seeking bright lights and 24-hour parties. Instead, this town is perfect for nature enthusiasts and travelers seeking a quieter vacation. Historically known as a logging town, the town today offers several fun excursions and activities due to its proximity to Thorne Bay and the Thorne River. Enjoy a day of shrimping or freshwater fishing, or take a road trip and explore the Scenic Byways of Alaska. Don’t forget to stop by and take pictures under “The Claw,” which is Thorne Bay’s welcome sign to visitors and tourists.
About 55 miles from Fairbanks, visitors can travel to Nenana by driving the George Parks Highway. Despite its small size, Nenana had made a dent in Alaskan history and was made famous in 1923 when President Warren Harding visited the small town to signify the finished construction of the Alaska Railroad. Since then, Nenana has enjoyed its modest fame and attraction from curious tourists. This Alaskan town is a great place to stop by while exploring the Denali National Park & Preserve, a beautiful park with an unbeatable view of the Alaska Range (admired by 400,000 visitors every year). Tourists should also stop by the Nenana Visitor Center to learn more about the town. It also helps that the visitor center is situated inside a cozy log cabin!
Adak is not just any average teeny-tiny small town. This small town was once a naval air station built during World War II and later designed to house as many as 6,000 troops (including their families) during the Cold War. Today, this westernmost US town can be considered a “semi-ghost town,” sitting on Adak Island between Russia and the United States. Curious tourists keen on visiting Adak will find a small number of inhabitants in the town, but should avoid trespassing on private property, as the area is marked with warning signs for those visiting. At the same time, Adak also has some of the most unparalleled views of Alaskan wildlife and landscapes, making this tiny town worth visiting.NEXT: Rockies Vs. The Maritimes: Which Side of Canada To Visit?