Your Alaska Honeymoon
Never far from the coast, you’ll experience a variety of sweeping landscapes during this trip of a lifetime. Surrounded by wilderness, you’ll marvel at the abundant mountain views in the national parks and the majesty of wildlife in their natural habitats, including the rare opportunity to witness whales breaching in the wild. Plan to see incredible sights, like the Northern Lights and Denali, the highest peak in North America, on your Alaska honeymoon.
Geography and History of Alaska
Alaska is in the Pacific Northwest area of North America, west of Canada, and very much north of Washington state. The 49th state consists of a large landmass, most of which is north of the 60th parallel. It has a ton of wilderness, thousands of miles of coastline, plus several islands. Alaska’s landmass size makes it the largest of all 50 states. In fact, it is larger than Texas, Montana and California, combined.
The Gulf of Alaska is south of the state, the Bering Sea to the west and the Beaufort Sea to the north, within parts of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Its capital city is Juneau, which is the second most populated city in Alaska next to Anchorage. It shares a maritime border with Russia.
Brief History of Alaska
In the 1860s, the Alaska Purchase turned over ownership of the area from Russia to the US.
Arguably, the state’s population boom came with the Gold Rush at the turn of the 20th century. (Though it was not the first time Alaska was colonized.) It gained its statehood in January 1959 and shortly after that experienced an oil rush in the 1980s. Needless to say, Alaska has many valuable natural resources.
Alaska does not have counties like other US states. It has somewhat more detailed boroughs, but in even simpler terms for honeymooners and visitors to know, it has six distinct areas that make up modern-day Alaska: Interior, Southwest, North Slope, Aleutian Islands, Southwest, South Central and Southeast.
The areas that are less inhabited and mostly wild are the Interior and Southwest. The Interior is Alaska’s largest geographical area, where Denali National Park is. Its most populated city is Fairbanks. The Southwest contains the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, one of the largest in the world; however, the area is mostly uninhabited. The North Slope is known for its crude oil and small villages.
The Aleutian Islands is an archipelago made up of 300 small volcanic islands. It stretches west into the Pacific Ocean towards Russia. Its economy is mainly based on fishing and the presence of the US Military.
The two areas most known for tourism are the Southeast and South Central. Southeast is where the famed “Inside Passage” is, where many cruise lines chart their course to explore Alaska. Tens of thousands of guests explore this area each year. It’s excellent for an Alaska honeymoon. South Central is the most populated area of Alaska and where Anchorage is located.
Language in Alaska
Alaska is part of the United States, and people speak English. There is a sizable population of Native Americans in the state. So you may encounter people speaking an indigenous language, depending on the places you visit or experiences you sign up for.
Time Zone in Alaska
All of Alaska is in the GMT -8 time zone, an hour behind Los Angeles. This means if it’s noon in Los Angeles, it’s 11 am in Juneau, and 3 pm in New York.
Alaska is in the United States and uses the US dollar for currency. Credit cards are widely accepted there from hotels to tourism companies, restaurants and shops.
Alaska abides by federal laws when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. There are a minimal amount of gay bars and clubs in Alaska. As one would guess, they exist in major cities, namely Anchorage and Juneau. Anchorage Pride Parade has been taking place since the 1970s.
Expect acceptance of LGBTQ+ community members to be more prevalent in urban areas than in small villages.
Weather and Peak Season for Your Alaska Honeymoon
There are several climate zones across Alaska, which can be expected for an area this size. Since you’ll likely be visiting the state’s southern regions during your honeymoon, we’ll focus on the weather and the best time to visit the area.
The most popular months to visit are during late spring to early fall. This is May through October. This is also when there are more hours of daylight than during the winter months. May and June see the most hours of sunshine during the year, with about 18 hours to enjoy.
Summer brings about moderately warm temperatures (around 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit). But if you’re renting a car in summer, you need to be cautious of slippery roads. The higher temperatures also bring on melting snow. It’s best to pack your honeymoon bags prepared to wear layers.
Getting There and Entry Requirements
All you need to get to your Alaska honeymoon is a valid photo ID, like a driver’s license, for airports. You won’t need a passport or visa if you’re a US citizen. You also don’t need any special vaccinations other than those routinely recommended in the United States, overall.
Flights to Anchorage, Alaska
You’ll likely fly to the area for your Alaska honeymoon.
However, suppose you’re cruising from Canada or Washington state. In that case, you’ll likely fly somewhere like Vancouver, Seattle or Los Angeles to begin your journey towards Alaska.
For purposes of this article, we’re going to price sample flights to Anchorage from three major U.S. cities during a peak tourist month. (Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport code is ANC.)
Here is what one roundtrip ticket to Anchorage may cost during the third week of July:
LAX to ANC: $375 for a nonstop 5 hour, 30-minute flight
NYC to ANC: $500 for a nonstop 7 hour and 40-minute flight
IAH (Houston) to ANC: $500 for a nonstop 7-hour flight
If you fly, you’ll likely pick one or two cities to explore and enjoy during your Alaska honeymoon. For example, if you fly into Anchorage, you may also consider a short flight to Juneau.
Cruises to Alaska
Most major cruise lines have itineraries to Alaska, including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival, Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Smaller excursion cruises also explore Alaska, including Maple Leaf Adventures, Uncruise and Scenic, which is a part of Emerald Cruises.
The average length of a cruise to this destination is 7 days, but longer itineraries are available.
Prices vary greatly depending on the cruise line you choose. Still, you can at least expect to pay to get to the port of embarkation, plus the cruise, starting at $700 and reaching beyond $9,000 per person.
As of April 2021, Alaska was a leading state in vaccination rates, low fatalities and minimal hospitalizations.
There are no requirements for travelers visiting Alaska in terms of COVID-19 tests or vaccinations. In fact, all visitors to Alaska are eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine at participating airports.
Things to Do during your Alaska Honeymoon
Alaska is a fantastic place to enjoy nature. We recommend driving to Denali National Park to enjoy the mountains or hitting the coast to kayak together. Whatever adventure you choose, your Alaska honeymoon will be unforgettable.
Here are some great things to do in Alaska in various parts of the state. We’ve noted if there is a particular month you should visit to enjoy the experience:
Go whale watching, which is best during the peak tourist season in Alaska. The peak season is summer, typically May through September. Where you whale watch and precisely when (within the summer months) may dictate the types of whales you may see.
See the phenomenon of salmon spawning, particularly most active in July and August.
Get the chance to see the Northern Lights with an organized tour. The arctic region is a beautiful place for an opportunity to experience what’s also known as the “Aurora Borealis.” The best chance to see them is in the fall and winter months when there are more hours of darkness.
Enjoy Throughout the Year
Take a hike in Alaska’s first national park, Kachemak Bay State Park.
Board the Alaska Railroad for a train ride. Couples may use it for a day trip or a memorable way to travel between cities to reach a hotel they’ll be staying in overnight.
Rent a car and drive Seward Highway, south of Anchorage, to Kenai Fjords National Park. Stop at various places of interest along the journey to admire the wildlife, including sheep and moose, if you’re lucky. You can also take a birding hike or simply stop for some honeymoon pictures as majestic mountains tower over the landscape.
Rent a bike to ride the 11 miles between Tony Knowles Coastal Trail to Kinkaid Park.
See views from above on a seaplane or helicopter excursion during your Alaska honeymoon.
Go dog sledding in Fairbanks, the gateway to the Arctic. This popular winter sport is one of the traditional methods of Alaskan transportation.
Experience the indigenous cultures of Alaska. For instance, in Hoonah, Alaska (home to the popular cruise port, Icy Strait Point), you can sign up to attend cultural experiences. You can meet members of the Huna Tlingit tribe, attend tribal dances and hear cultural legends. You’ll also be able to see more totem poles in Alaska than perhaps you’ve seen anywhere else. They are especially prevalent in downtown Ketchikan.
Seeing glaciers is a must on your Alaska honeymoon and a humbling experience. If you are on a cruise, then you’re nearly guaranteed to see them from the top deck or through the ship’s windows. You can also sign up for a kayak tour to reach glaciers or board a ferry to see them up close. For example, it’s popular to kayak to glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park.
Where to Stay: Great Resorts in Alaska
Couples who cruise to their Alaska honeymoon are unlikely to need accommodations outside of the sailing unless they arrive early or leave the area later on. But you’ll definitely need accommodations if you’re doing more of a land adventure for your honeymoon trip.
We’ve listed three popular, romantic, and cozy hotel options you may visit during your Alaska trip:
Girdwood: One of the cute towns just an hour from Anchorage is Girdwood. Alyeska Resort is a popular chateau-style hotel with a ski resort, spa, world-class dining and shops, and restaurants.
Juneau: Pearson’s Pond Luxury Inn and Adventure Spa is a romantic honeymoon destination. You have the option to arrange an en suite massage, snuggle up in front of a fireplace in each suite, and also automatically have access to bicycle rentals. It’s only 10 minutes north of the Juneau airport.
Seward: If you’ve dreamed of a honeymoon destination where you can stay in a cabin in the woods, this is your dream come true. Creekside Cabins are log cabin rentals on Resurrection Bay, with Exit Glacier and Kenai Fjords National Park just 8 miles from these magical accommodations.
Honeymoon Registry with Honeyfund
Your dream Alaska honeymoon can come to fruition with the help of a honeymoon registry on Honeyfund. Encouraging family and friends to gift you experiences for an incredible vacation within the country—yet worlds away—will provide endless memories for your and your new spouse. Getting started is easy with one of our starter registries, which you can tailor to your Alaska honeymoon wishes.