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30 Free Summer Activities in Alaska

Posted by on April 10, 2015

Who doesn’t like free? A trip to Alaska from another country or the Lower 48 can get expensive fast. So I’ve put together a list of 30 Free Summer Activities in Alaska!

30 Free Summer Activities in Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

Tourist season is traditionally May 15 to September 15. A lot of things that are closed for the winter in Alaska are open for only this summer season. This list is of things to do in the summer. Here before tourist season or looking for more to do? Check out my list of 50 Cheap Things to Do in Alaska All Year!


1.  Tony Knowles Coastal Trail – This paved bike path takes you 11 miles from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park along the inlet coast. Enjoy wildlife and beautiful views!

2.  Campbell Creek Science Center – Located in the middle of Anchorage, Campbell Creek offers miles and miles of trails over creeks, through forests and meadows with lots of chances for wildlife viewing!

3.  Ship Creek Salmon Run – Come see Alaskan salmon fight the tides, fishermen, and fast running water in the heart of Anchorage May through mid-September.

4.  Alaska Trooper Museum – With National Geographic’s Alaska State Troopers TV show gaining popularity all over, a stop at the Trooper Museum in downtown Anchorage is a must!

5.  Music in the Park – Every Wednesday and Friday at noon in the summer, Music in the Park right next to the Anchorage Visitor Center downtown is a must! Always fun for the family. (And who doesn’t love a free concert?!)

Free Things to Do in Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

6.  Potter Marsh Bird Sanctuary – Potter Marsh is always a favorite stop of mine. The sanctuary may be manmade, but the wild Alaskan birds, moose, salmon, beavers, muskrat, and occasional bear certainly aren’t!

7.  Winner Creek Trail – Located in Girdwood, Winner Creek is a beautiful hike through the northern most rain forest. The hand tram over the river is a blast!

8.  Eklutna Village – The historic Eklutna village, located about 30 minutes north of Anchorage is a wonderful spot to explore a traditional Dena’ina Athabascan village. It is free, but donations are appreciated.



9.    Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area – A must for any trip to Juneau! The glacier caves are breathtaking!

10.  Downtown Historic Juneau Walking Tour – Get your map from the visitor centers and enjoy a walk through Alaska’s capital city.


11.  Santa Claus House in North Pole – How could you go to Alaska and not the North Pole? Take your picture outside the house in front of the fun murals!

12.  Pioneer Park – Visit Alaska’s only historic theme park in the heart of Fairbanks.

Free Things to Do in Fairbanks - IdlewildAlaska

13.  Creamer’s Field – Check out all the beautiful birds, hiking trails, and history!

14.  Trans-Alaska Pipeline – See the pipeline at the visitor center or as you drive the highways of Alaska.


15.  Totem Poles – There are totem poles all over Ketchikan, which is said to be home to the largest totem pole collection in the world.

16.  Historic Walking Tour – Get your copy of the tour map at the visitor center or several local stores. It’s a beautiful city!


17.  Seafarer’s Memorial – The Memorial, located on the Spit, is a beautiful spot to enjoy the view and pay your respects to those lost at sea.

Free Things to Do in Homer Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

18.  Walk the boat harbor – Like many small towns along the coast of Alaska, the harbor is a major part of the town. Walk the docks to see the cool boats and clever names.

19.  Take a walk along Bishop’s Beach – Enjoy the mountain and ocean view, watch for whales and other wildlife at Bishop’s Beach.

20.  The Homer Spit – Drive out to the end of the road of Alaska out on the Homer Spit, a narrow strip of land that juts out into Kachemak Bay.


21.  Historic Downtown – Get your map of the historic buildings from the Klondike Gold Rush.

22.  Klondike Gold Rush – Learn all about Alaska’s gold rush at the Klondike Gold Rush National Park. Free tours!

Matanuska Valley

23.  Matanuska Glacier – The Matanuska Glacier is the largest glacier accessible by car in Alaska. This three hour drive north from Anchorage is breathtaking the whole way!

The Matanuska Glacier - IdlewildAlaska

24.  Talkeetna Riverfront Park – Take a walk along the convergence of three major rivers with breathtaking views of Denali!

25.  Summit Lake – Hatcher Pass is one of my favorite areas of the Valley. Drive right up to Summit Lake at the top of the pass and enjoy amazing views!

26.  Palmer Visitor Center and Museum – Located in the heart of downtown Palmer, this log cabin center is chock full of Alaska, with beautiful gardens outside!

27.  Dorothy Page Museum – Located in downtown Wasilla, this little museum is free on Fridays!

28.  Palmer Friday Fling – Every Friday in the summer, enjoy a farmer’s market, local musicians, and great food in downtown Palmer.


(Looking for an amazing place to stay? Check out the Johnson House Cabin!)


29.  Waterfront Park – Stretching along the beach, the Park boasts camping, a playground, the historical start of the Iditarod Trail, and spectacular views!

Seward Harbor - IdlewildAlaska

30.  Mt. Marathon – Every Fourth of July, 800 people race from downtown Seward and head up this 3022 ft. mountain and back down. Take the hike at your own pace any other day and enjoy the wildlife and views Seward has to offer.

Alaska has so much to offer all year around. There’s no way I could list them all! It would take a lifetime to really enjoy everything in Alaska.

Traveling in Alaska with kids? Make sure you get your copy of Alaska on the Go by Erin Kirkland!


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4 Responses to 30 Free Summer Activities in Alaska

  1. Mary Anne from Alaska on My Mind

    Love this article!! Picked up a few ideas (or reminders) for me and my husband to add to our summer excursion list.

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