Aboard the deck of the Rainisong, a 65-foot U.S. Coast Guard–certified charter boat, the licensed boat captains and experienced crew of Seward Fishing Club steer guests into salmon-rich waters during morning or afternoon fishing trips. Shipmates cast professional bait and tackle into the sea with enough time to nab a silver salmon or entertain schools of fish with synchronized worm kick lines. In between reeling, guests can amble across the walk-around decks to stare at the scenic surroundings, or venture below the cabin to relax in the wooden interior, equipped with seating, 16 bunks, and two bathrooms.
Not every hotel keeps an on-site helicopter, but Knik River Lodge has a chopper on deck for flight-seeing tours that show off the surrounding Alaska wilderness. Located about one hour northwest of Anchorage, the inn manages to be both isolated in woods teeming with mountain goats and moose yet convenient to the big city. Likewise, its 15 cabins let guests rough it without sacrificing luxuries such as down duvets on king-size beds, free WiFi, and private decks overlooking the surrounding mountains.
Housed in a yurt, the hotel?s on-site restaurant draws inspiration from African safaris. Candle lanterns provide the ambient lighting, and the menu emphasizes its muscovy duck and beef wellington. As the restaurant gets its produce, meats, and seafood from local sources, the menu also changes based on seasonable ingredients, but the selection of local beers and wines remains a steady staple.
In addition to the helicopter tours, other activities available through Knik River Lodge include bear-viewing and wildlife photography outings. Join an Iditarod musher and his dog team in glacier dog sledding, a distinct Alaskan pastime. Participants dash over snow-covered mountain slopes with plenty of opportunities for taking photos and pointing confused Tour de France bikers in the right direction.
In the more than 50 years that Tom Corr has spent fishing, he's reeled in his fair share of milestones. In the Kenai Peninsula alone, where Corr has hunted trout since the early 1980s, he’s caught rainbows of up to 15 pounds, silvers of up to 20 pounds, and kings of up to 85 pounds—much heavier than even the local toddlers trying to eat the worms straight from the fishing line.
Today, Tom continues to lead drift-boat fishing adventures up and down Alaska’s rivers as the owner of Salmon Chaser Charters. To carry out regular trips throughout the peninsula's myriad fishing troves, Corr surrounded himself with other exuberant guides, each bringing his own experience and wisdom to luring, catching, and arm-wrestling huge fish into submission. During outings, the guides venture into the scenic waters of the Kasilof River and Kenai River—an area famous for its bustling fish population from August to October.
Talkteena Air Taxi flightseeing has been lauded by the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic channel, and the BBC, among other notable media outlets. It has been taking off for trips since 1947, when the company helped pioneer flights, landings, and rescues in the Alaska Range. Today, pilots averaging 12 years of experience comprise a flightseeing team that shepherds groups of glacier gazers along four aerial routes. For each tour, passengers load into a De Havilland or Cessna plane from the outfit's fleet and strap on headsets so they can listen to the captain's commentary. The McKinley Base Camp trip leads onlookers on a winding trail along the south, east, and west faces of Mt. McKinley, and the Summit excursion ventures to higher altitudes and gives a scalp massage to the summits of Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker, and Mt. Hunter.
Southern hospitality dictates that guests be taken into the home, fed, and kept cozy for the night. But up north, the Alaska Travel Adventures team warmly welcomes visitors by urging them to veer far from their front door. They help guests explore the landscape by designing whitewater-rafting adventures, kayaking tours, nature-trail walks, or panning for gold and sharing bits of history. For lunch, riverside campfires grill fillets of wild salmon and inspire stories from the Klondike gold rush. To complete the day, Alaska Travel Adventures keeps a fleet of newer-model RVs for guests to sleep in so they don't have to set up tents or convince a bear to share its cave.
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Alaska Snow Safaris organizes snowmobile tours of the Alaskan backcountry scheduled daily from November through May. Tours include one-day adventures on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race or multiday excursions along the Susitna River and past breathtaking views of Mount McKinley.