16 Famous Landmarks in Alaska You Must See

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Tall green trees in the foreground of a snow-covered mountain range
Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America

663,268 square miles in area, Alaska is by far the biggest state in America. It has some of the most breathtaking natural sites and dazzling wilderness.

What is Alaska known for?

Alaska is known for its incredible national parks. They include Denali National Park, the highest mountain in North America, and Glacier Bay National Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In addition to the beautiful views nature provides in Alaska, the state is home to many historical landmarks, like Totem Bight State Historical Park and Castle Hill in Sitka.

To learn more about these and other famous landmarks in Alaska, continue reading below.

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16 Famous Landmarks of Alaska

Alaska Landmarks Map

Using the map of Alaska landmarks, you can explore all of the points of interest.

Kayak Island, Gulf of Alaska

Kayak Island is one of the famous historical landmarks in Alaska. It is located in the Gulf of Alaska. The history of the name reaches back almost 200 years when a lieutenant of the Russian Army thought the island's outline resembled a canoe.

Kayak Island is known for being the place where the first man from Europe, Georg Steller, set foot in Alaska. Furthermore, the landmark is also the spot of Alaska's first confirmed tornado.

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Bering Expedition Landing Site, Kayak Island

The Bering Expedition Landing Site is located on the island of Kayak, in the Gulf of Alaska. It is believed that the first scientific analysis of Northwestern North America took place right here.

Vitus Bering arrived at the Landing Site together with the European naturalist, George Steller. At first, they saw no natives, yet, they noticed definite signs of recent human activity.

It is also at this historic site that Steller made the first effort to communicate with the natives of Alaska. Steller's journal is among the first contributions to the Western World's information on the history of Alaska.

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Various boats around Kodiak Island, one of the most famous landmarks in Alaska
Kodiak Island is one of the most famous landmarks in Alaska

Kodiak Island, Gulf of Alaska

Kodiak Island is the second-largest island in the United States. The beautiful Cyprus-sized island is full of forests and mountains on the east and north side. The island is home to several deep bays that provide shelter for boats as well.

Alaska's greatest fishing port, the city of Kodiak, is also located on the island. More than half of the island is taken up by the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge that looks after many species of animals, birds, and fish. Furthermore, the biggest U.S. Coast Guard base is also located on the island of Kodiak.

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An 8-inch artillery on the coastline with a view of the mountain and river
Fort Abercrombie State Park is famous for its scenery and historic fortifications

Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park, Kodiak Island

Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park is a historic landmark on Kodiak Island. It is significant for its 182 acres full of World War II scenery.

The historic park was created in 1969 and contains forts, accompanied by forests, meadows, and bluffs.

It is also possible to camp and hike in the park. The area has many campgrounds, picnic spots, and hiking trails.

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A sea lion swimming in a rocky pool
Sea lions are endangered species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward

Alaska SeaLife Center is the only permanent marine animal rehabilitation facility in Alaska. Opened in 1998, the center is dedicated to education, marine research, and wildlife response.

It is one of the only non-profit institutions in the world that holds a fully supported research facility and a public aquarium in the same house.

The SeaLife Center focuses on the species that have found their home in Alaska. That includes fish, sea birds, invertebrates, and marine mammals.

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Gigantic ice towers above a rocky cliff against a clear blue sky
The jagged spikes of ice can be as tall as hundreds of feet

Kenai Fjords National Park, Seward

Perhaps the most charming point of interest in Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is a real gem that lies south of the city of Anchorage. The star of the park, Harding Icefield, is located on the Kenai Peninsula. It is one of the largest ice fields in the States.

The national park hosts nearly 40 glaciers and numerous fjords. The nearly 700,000-acre park is home to many mammals, including brown and black bears, sea otters, killer whales, and harbor seals. The park is accessible by boat, plane, and foot.

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A lake with trees on both sides behind mounted whales bones
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a popular cultural center in Anchorage

Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage

The Alaska Native Heritage Center, open since 1999, is a cultural and educational center that showcases Alaska's native culture and traditions. The institution introduces the 11 main culture groups of the area.

The park itself is surrounded by 26 acres of forest, in which lies a theatre, life-size village sites, and a gathering spot for demonstrations. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is also home to Lake Tiulana.

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A path between plants with a totem pole on the right and ocean on the left
You can find one of the largest collection of totem poles at Totem Bight

Totem Bight State Historical Park, Ketchican

Totem Bight State Historical Park shows Native American culture from a present time angle, as opposed to something that stopped in time. The park is built on an old fishing ground and presents a recreation of a Native Alaskan village from the 1800s.

In the 20th century, the Native people moved to places where jobs were available, leaving their totem poles and villages behind. The U.S Forest Services began rebuilding the structures in 1938.

As the reconstruction continued, the site got the name Totem Bight and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

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A car and buildings at the foot of snow-capped mountains
A few buildings were restored to preserve the history of the gold rush era here

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Skagway

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is one of the great historical landmarks in Alaska. It celebrates the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s when thousands of people brought in EuroAmerican culture to the area.

The park comprises 4 units, 3 of them - the Historic District, the Chilkoot hiking trail, and the White Pass unit - being in Alaska. The park is located in Skagway in the Northern part of Alaska's Inside Passage.

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Water flowing over rocks between flowers and plants with a view of the mountains
Wrangell–St. Elias National Park is a world heritage site

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Central Alaska

Wrangell–St. Elias National Park is America's biggest national park. The park maintains the diverse nature of the area and protects the animals.

The huge park is home to Mount St. Elias, the second-highest mountain in both North America and Canada. It reaches from the hilltops down to the ocean.

Although many of the volcanos in the park are not active anymore, Mount Wrangell remains active. The biggest piedmont glacier, Malaspina Glacier, is also located in this beautiful national park.

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Denali park entrance sign in front of trees and a view of the mountain
The park is named after Denali, North America's tallest mountain

Denali National Park and Preserve, Denali Borough

Denali National Park is one of the most famous landmarks in Alaska, located just 3 hours south of Fairbanks North Star Borough. It consists of over 6 million acres of untamed land and is taken care of by the U.S National Park Service.

In the center of the park sits Denali, North America's highest mountain. Here, during the wintertime, it is possible to ski, snowmobile, and even dog sled.

During the summertime, it is possible to travel beyond the Savage River. The perfect way to see the park, though, is certainly by hiking.

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Tree-laden coastline and snow-capped mountain at the back of pristine blue ocean
Sitka is the largest city in Alaska and the United States

Saint Lazaria Wilderness, Sitka

Saint Lazaria Wilderness is an island home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds. It lies just 20 miles west of Sitka and is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge.

Saint Lazaria was first created to be a refuge for birds and only later became what it is now - a wilderness. Several different species of birds use the island as a nesting spot.

As many as 7,000 seabirds per acre can be found sitting on their nests in the nesting areas. To protect the birds, entering and walking on the island is not allowed.

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Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, Sitka

Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall is the original unit of a Native Alaskan organization, the Alaska Native Brotherhood. The place was added to the list of National Historic Landmarks in 1987.

This historic landmark is one of the most famous buildings in Alaska. It was founded in 1912 to fight against the bans set on Native people in movie theaters and restaurants.

The Brotherhood helped battle racial discrimination in Alaska, which thankfully resulted in Native people eventually gaining the right to full U.S citizenship.

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Castle Hill, Sitka

Castle Hill, located in downtown Sitka, is an important park in the history of Alaska. The area was originally inhabited by the Tlingit natives but was occupied by the Russians in the 19th century.

The significance of the park lies in the fact that it is the place where Alaska was handed over to the United States in 1867. The 49-star American flag was raised here after Alaska became a separate state in 1959.

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Picturesque ice formation in the foreground of snow-covered mountains
Margerie Glacier spans 21 miles long

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Yakutat

Just 15 minutes by air from Haines, Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is one of the most popular wilderness parks in North America.

Glacier Bay National Park provides a diverse experience for all visitors. A rainforest, fjords, and mountains, accompanied by tidewater glaciers, make up a rare wild scene.

Glacier Bay is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The protected area has over 50 named glaciers and many high mountains, including Mount Fairwater - the highest peak in Southeastern Alaska.

Out of all the glaciers, Margerie Glacier is the most impressive one. Twenty-one miles in length, Margerie can only be seen from a ship or plane - since the park has no roads.

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Blue ice formation floating over the lake, surrounded by mountains
Mendenhall Glacier is the most popular attraction in Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier is the only glacier that is accessible by road in Southeast Alaska. It lies in Mendenhall Valley, about 12 miles from the city of Juneau.

The great structure of Mendenhall falls from the big Juneau Icefield, dropping 4,500 feet over 13 miles. It has been retreating for nearly 400 years due to the warming climate in Southeast Alaska caused by climate change.

The extraordinary view of the Mendenhall Glacier can be seen from the viewpoint of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.

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In Conclusion

Alaska is a huge and diverse area that is rich in nature and history. When visiting this exciting state, make sure to have enough time to see everything Alaska has to offer.

Inside Alaska's Inside Passage are the towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway, all hosting many must-see landmarks. Mendenhall Glacier, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and Totem Bight State Historical Park are just some of them.

Alaska is a state that represents natural beauty. For this reason, it deserves a place at the top of your travel bucket list!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Kirke Männik

kirkemannik WRITER As a full-time traveler, I've visited 47 countries and 4 continents. I'm collecting adventures wherever I go, exploring the world through cultures and the people I meet.