Unforgettable Things to Do in Alaska in December


December in Alaska is a magical time of year, with snowy landscapes and unique winter activities to enjoy. From witnessing the spectacular Aurora Borealis to embarking on thrilling wildlife adventures, there are unforgettable experiences waiting for you. Explore the winter wonderland on a snowmobile, indulge in winter sports and activities, and immerse yourself in Native Alaskan culture. Plus, celebrate the festive season with holiday events and markets. Here are the key takeaways from this article:

Key Takeaways

  • Experience the mesmerizing Northern Lights and capture stunning photos
  • Embark on a winter wildlife adventure and encounter majestic animals
  • Explore the winter wonderland on a snowmobile and discover hidden ice caves
  • Indulge in winter sports and activities like ice fishing and snowshoeing
  • Immerse yourself in Native Alaskan culture and learn about indigenous traditions

Experience the Magic of the Northern Lights

Witness the Spectacular Aurora Borealis

Alaska in December offers a truly magical experience with the spectacular Aurora Borealis. The dancing lights in the night sky are a sight to behold and will leave you in awe. To make the most of this natural phenomenon, consider taking a guided Northern Lights tour. Knowledgeable guides will take you to the best viewing spots and provide fascinating insights about the Northern Lights. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture stunning photos of the mesmerizing display. The Northern Lights are a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you won’t want to miss!

Take a Guided Northern Lights Tour

Embarking on a guided Northern Lights tour is an unforgettable experience in Alaska. As you venture into the dark, starry night, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the spectacular Aurora Borealis. The dancing lights in the sky will leave you in awe and create memories that will last a lifetime. The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the Northern Lights, providing you with interesting insights and stories about this natural phenomenon. They will take you to the best viewing spots, increasing your chances of catching a glimpse of the mesmerizing lights.

Capture Stunning Photos of the Dancing Lights

One of the most unforgettable experiences in Alaska in December is witnessing the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The dancing lights in the night sky create a mesmerizing display of colors and patterns. It’s a magical sight that will leave you in awe. To capture stunning photos of the Northern Lights, here are some tips:

  • Find a location away from city lights for better visibility.
  • Use a tripod to keep your camera steady and avoid blurry photos.
  • Experiment with different camera settings to capture the vibrant colors.
  • Be patient and wait for the perfect moment to capture the dancing lights.

Remember, seeing the Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon, and its appearance is not guaranteed. However, December is one of the best months to witness this breathtaking spectacle in Alaska.

Embark on a Winter Wildlife Adventure

Go Dog Sledding through Snowy Landscapes

Dog sledding in Alaska offers a thrilling adventure through the snowy landscapes. Experience the rush of gliding across the snow-covered trails, guided by a team of energetic and well-trained sled dogs. It is a unique experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the winter wilderness. As you mush through the pristine white surroundings, you’ll feel the crisp air on your face and hear the sound of the sled gliding effortlessly on the snow. Feel the excitement as the dogs pull you through the picturesque landscapes, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Spot Majestic Whales on a Whale Watching Tour

Embark on a thrilling whale watching tour in Alaska and get the chance to spot majestic whales up close. The waters surrounding Alaska are home to a variety of whale species, including humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales. Immerse yourself in the beauty of these gentle giants as they gracefully swim through the icy waters. The experienced guides on the tour will provide fascinating insights about the behavior and habitat of the whales, making it a truly educational experience. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Observe Playful Seals and Sea Lions

When visiting Alaska in December, one of the most memorable experiences is observing the playful seals and sea lions in their natural habitat. These fascinating marine mammals can be found along the coastal areas of Alaska, where they gather in large numbers. Watching them interact and play in the water is truly a sight to behold.

To make the most of your seal and sea lion observation, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a reputable tour operator: Joining a guided tour led by knowledgeable experts ensures a safe and informative experience.
  • Bring binoculars: Binoculars allow you to get a closer look at the seals and sea lions without disturbing them.
  • Respect their space: It’s important to maintain a respectful distance from the animals and avoid any actions that may disturb or harm them.

Remember: Observing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment is a privilege, so be sure to appreciate and cherish the experience.

Encounter Majestic Reindeer in their Natural Habitat

Alaska is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and one of the most enchanting creatures you can encounter in December is the majestic reindeer. These magnificent animals roam freely in their natural habitat, creating a truly magical experience for visitors.

  • As you venture into the wilderness, keep your eyes peeled for these graceful creatures. They can often be spotted grazing in open meadows or traversing through snowy landscapes.
  • If you’re lucky, you might even witness a reindeer herd, with their impressive antlers and gentle demeanor.
  • Tip: To increase your chances of encountering reindeer, consider joining a guided wildlife tour led by knowledgeable local experts.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a unique wildlife encounter, encountering majestic reindeer in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience in Alaska.

Explore the Winter Wonderland on a Snowmobile

Ride through Pristine Snowy Trails

Alaska in December offers the perfect opportunity to ride through pristine snowy trails and immerse yourself in the breathtaking winter scenery. As you navigate the trails on a snowmobile, you’ll be surrounded by towering snow-covered trees and glistening white landscapes. The crisp air and peaceful atmosphere create a sense of tranquility that is truly unforgettable.

If you’re new to snowmobiling, don’t worry! There are guided tours available that cater to all skill levels. Experienced guides will lead you through the trails, ensuring your safety while providing interesting insights about the area’s natural wonders.

Here are some reasons why snowmobiling in Alaska is a must-do activity:

  • It allows you to explore remote areas that are inaccessible by other means of transportation.
  • You can witness the untouched beauty of Alaska’s winter wilderness up close.
  • The adrenaline rush of speeding through the snow-covered trails is an exhilarating experience.

So, gear up and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as you ride through the pristine snowy trails of Alaska in December!

Discover Hidden Ice Caves and Frozen Waterfalls

Exploring the hidden ice caves and frozen waterfalls in Alaska is a truly magical experience. As you venture into these icy wonders, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking beauty and tranquility. The caves, formed by centuries of frozen water, create a mesmerizing display of shimmering ice formations. Walking through these caves feels like stepping into a fairytale.

To make the most of your ice cave adventure, here are some tips:

  • Dress warmly: The caves can be quite chilly, so make sure to bundle up in layers and wear insulated boots.
  • Bring a headlamp: The caves can be dark, and a headlamp will help you navigate safely.
  • Hire a guide: Exploring ice caves can be dangerous without proper knowledge and equipment. Hiring a guide ensures your safety and enhances your experience.

Remember, always prioritize safety and respect the fragile nature of the ice caves.

As you explore the frozen waterfalls, you’ll be captivated by their sheer beauty. The cascading water freezes in mid-air, creating stunning ice formations. Listening to the gentle sound of the frozen waterfalls is a serene experience.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a nature lover, discovering hidden ice caves and frozen waterfalls in Alaska is an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the wonders of nature.

Experience the Thrill of Snowmobiling in the Arctic

Snowmobiling in the Arctic is an exhilarating experience that allows you to explore the breathtaking winter landscape of Alaska. Zoom through pristine snowy trails as you feel the rush of adrenaline. Discover hidden ice caves and frozen waterfalls along the way, adding a touch of adventure to your journey. The Arctic offers a unique opportunity to experience the thrill of snowmobiling in a truly remote and untouched environment.

If you’re a thrill-seeker looking for an unforgettable winter adventure, snowmobiling in the Arctic is a must-do activity. With its vast snowy terrain and stunning natural beauty, Alaska provides the perfect backdrop for an adrenaline-fueled ride. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, there are options available for all skill levels. Bundle up in warm winter gear, hop on a snowmobile, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable Arctic expedition.

Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable snowmobiling experience:

  • Always wear a helmet and protective gear.
  • Follow the designated trails and respect the environment.
  • Check the weather conditions before heading out.
  • Travel with a group or a knowledgeable guide.

So, gear up and get ready to experience the thrill of snowmobiling in the Arctic. It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

Indulge in Winter Sports and Activities

Try Ice Fishing on Frozen Lakes

Ice fishing is a popular winter activity in Alaska, and trying it on frozen lakes is an unforgettable experience. Imagine sitting on a frozen lake, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, waiting for a fish to bite. It’s a peaceful and serene setting that allows you to connect with nature and enjoy the tranquility of the winter landscape.

If you’re new to ice fishing, don’t worry! There are plenty of guided tours available that can teach you the basics and provide all the necessary equipment. Learn how to drill a hole in the ice, set up your fishing gear, and patiently wait for a catch. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new skill and bond with friends or family.

Here are some tips for a successful ice fishing trip:

  • Dress warmly and in layers to stay comfortable in the cold temperatures.
  • Bring snacks and hot beverages to keep yourself energized and warm.
  • Be patient and enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings while waiting for a bite.

So, why not give ice fishing a try on your visit to Alaska? It’s a unique and exciting winter activity that will create lasting memories.

Go Cross-Country Skiing in Scenic Trails

Cross-country skiing in Alaska is a magical experience. The scenic trails offer breathtaking views of the winter wonderland. Glide through the snow-covered landscapes and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of nature. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, there are trails suitable for all skill levels. Feel the crispness of the air as you ski through the untouched snow, surrounded by towering trees and majestic mountains. It’s a great way to stay active and enjoy the beauty of Alaska in December.

Enjoy Snowshoeing in the Backcountry

Snowshoeing in the backcountry is a wonderful way to explore the winter wonderland of Alaska. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and venture into the untouched snow-covered landscapes. Feel the crunch of the snow beneath your feet as you make your way through the serene forests and picturesque trails.

Here are some tips for a memorable snowshoeing experience:

  • Dress in layers to stay warm and comfortable.
  • Bring a backpack with essentials like water, snacks, and a map.
  • Don’t forget to wear waterproof boots to keep your feet dry.

Remember to respect the environment and follow any guidelines or restrictions in place. Snowshoeing allows you to immerse yourself in nature and appreciate the beauty of Alaska’s winter scenery. So, grab your snowshoes and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Take a Dip in Natural Hot Springs

After a day of exploring the winter wonderland of Alaska, why not relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs? Immerse yourself in the warm, mineral-rich waters and let the soothing heat melt away any tension in your muscles. The hot springs in Alaska offer a unique and tranquil experience, surrounded by breathtaking snowy landscapes.

  • The hot springs are known for their therapeutic properties, with the mineral-rich water believed to have healing effects on the body.
  • The temperature of the hot springs can vary, so it’s important to check the current conditions before taking a dip.
  • Some hot springs are located in remote areas, providing a peaceful and secluded atmosphere.

Tip: Remember to bring a towel and a change of clothes, as well as any necessary toiletries. It’s also a good idea to check if the hot springs require reservations or have specific operating hours.

Immerse Yourself in Native Alaskan Culture

Visit Traditional Native Villages

Visiting traditional Native villages in Alaska is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the indigenous people. These villages offer a glimpse into the traditional way of life, where you can learn about their customs, traditions, and art. Experience the warmth and hospitality of the locals as they share their stories and traditions with you. Take part in traditional activities such as storytelling, drumming, and dancing. It’s a chance to connect with the land and its people in a meaningful way.

Learn about Indigenous Art and Crafts

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Alaska by learning about Indigenous art and crafts. The Native Alaskan communities have a long and vibrant history of creating beautiful and intricate artwork that reflects their deep connection to the land and their traditions. Indigenous art is a powerful expression of their identity and serves as a way to preserve their heritage for future generations.

When exploring the art and crafts of the Native Alaskans, you will discover a wide range of mediums and techniques. From intricate beadwork and basket weaving to woodcarving and ivory carving, each piece tells a unique story and showcases the incredible talent and skill of the artists.

Fishing plays a significant role in the lives of many Indigenous communities in Alaska. It is not only a means of sustenance but also a cultural practice that has been passed down through generations. The art of fishing is deeply intertwined with the Native Alaskan way of life, and it is often depicted in their artwork as a symbol of abundance and connection to nature.

To truly appreciate the art and crafts of the Indigenous people of Alaska, consider visiting traditional Native villages and cultural centers. Here, you can learn directly from the artists themselves and gain a deeper understanding of the stories and traditions behind their creations.

In addition to admiring the artwork, you can also support the Indigenous artists by purchasing their pieces. By doing so, you contribute to the preservation of their culture and help sustain their communities. Whether it’s a beautifully crafted piece of jewelry or a traditional mask, each purchase is a meaningful way to support the Indigenous art and crafts of Alaska.

Experience Traditional Native Dance and Music

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Alaska by experiencing traditional Native dance and music. This vibrant and captivating art form has been passed down through generations and offers a unique glimpse into the traditions and beliefs of the indigenous people. Feel the rhythm as dancers adorned in colorful regalia perform intricate movements that tell stories of their ancestors. Listen to the haunting melodies of traditional Native music, played on instruments like drums, flutes, and rattles. It’s a truly mesmerizing experience that will leave you with a deep appreciation for the cultural diversity of Alaska.

Celebrate the Festive Season in Alaska

Attend Festive Holiday Events and Parades

December is a magical time to be in Alaska, with festive holiday events and parades happening throughout the state. From charming small towns to bustling cities, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. Join the locals and visitors alike as they come together to celebrate the season with joy and excitement.

During this time, you can experience the enchantment of the holiday season by attending various events and parades. Here are some highlights:

  • Christmas Parades: Watch as beautifully decorated floats, marching bands, and costumed characters fill the streets with cheer and merriment.
  • Holiday Concerts: Enjoy the melodious tunes of local choirs and orchestras as they perform classic holiday songs.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremonies: Witness the magical moment when the town’s Christmas tree is illuminated, marking the official start of the holiday season.

Tip: Make sure to check the local event calendars for specific dates and times of these festive celebrations.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, bundle up in your warmest winter gear, and join in the festivities as Alaska comes alive with holiday cheer!

Explore Christmas Markets and Craft Fairs

December in Alaska is the perfect time to immerse yourself in the festive spirit by exploring the Christmas markets and craft fairs. These events offer a unique opportunity to discover local artisans and their handmade creations. From beautifully crafted ornaments to cozy knitted accessories, you’ll find a wide range of one-of-a-kind gifts that are perfect for your loved ones or as souvenirs.

While browsing through the stalls, you can also indulge in delicious holiday treats such as warm apple cider, freshly baked cookies, and traditional Alaskan delicacies. The festive atmosphere is enhanced by live music performances and cheerful decorations that create a magical ambiance.

If you’re looking for a special keepsake, consider getting a personalized handmade ornament that captures the essence of Alaska. These unique pieces are not only beautiful but also serve as a reminder of your unforgettable trip to the Last Frontier.

So, make sure to add a visit to the Christmas markets and craft fairs to your itinerary and experience the joy of the holiday season in Alaska!

Enjoy Festive Lights and Decorations

As you explore Alaska in December, make sure to take some time to enjoy the festive lights and decorations that adorn the towns and cities. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you stroll through the beautifully lit streets and marvel at the creative displays. From twinkling lights to elaborate Christmas decorations, the festive atmosphere is sure to put you in a joyful mood. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, where you can experience the magic of the season surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the glacier.


In conclusion, December in Alaska offers a magical and unforgettable experience for visitors. From witnessing the spectacular Aurora Borealis to embarking on thrilling winter wildlife adventures, there is something for everyone. Exploring the winter wonderland on a snowmobile and indulging in winter sports and activities add to the excitement. Immerse yourself in the rich Native Alaskan culture and celebrate the festive season with joy. Alaska in December is truly a winter paradise that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska?

The best time to see the Northern Lights in Alaska is during the winter months, from September to April. December is a particularly good month as the nights are long and dark, providing optimal conditions for viewing the Aurora Borealis.

How can I increase my chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska?

To increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Alaska, it is recommended to stay in areas with minimal light pollution, such as remote wilderness lodges or national parks. Additionally, monitoring the local weather forecasts and aurora activity predictions can help you plan your viewing times.

Are there any guided tours for viewing the Northern Lights in Alaska?

Yes, there are several guided tours available for viewing the Northern Lights in Alaska. These tours are led by experienced guides who know the best viewing spots and can provide valuable insights about the Aurora Borealis.

What should I wear when viewing the Northern Lights in Alaska in December?

When viewing the Northern Lights in Alaska in December, it is important to dress warmly. Layered clothing, including a thermal base layer, fleece or down jacket, hat, gloves, and insulated boots, is recommended to stay comfortable in the cold temperatures.

Can I take photos of the Northern Lights in Alaska?

Yes, you can take photos of the Northern Lights in Alaska. It is recommended to bring a tripod to stabilize your camera and use a wide-angle lens to capture the expansive sky. Experimenting with different exposure settings and shooting in RAW format can help you capture the beauty of the dancing lights.

What wildlife can I expect to see in Alaska in December?

In Alaska in December, you can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including moose, caribou, wolves, bald eagles, and seals. If you’re lucky, you may also spot whales, such as humpback or orca whales, during a whale watching tour.

Are there any safety precautions for snowmobiling in Alaska?

Yes, there are safety precautions to consider when snowmobiling in Alaska. It is important to wear a helmet and protective gear, follow designated trails, and be aware of potential hazards, such as hidden obstacles or changing weather conditions. It is also recommended to take a snowmobile safety course before embarking on your adventure.

What winter sports and activities are popular in Alaska?

In Alaska, popular winter sports and activities include ice fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and soaking in natural hot springs. These activities allow you to embrace the winter wonderland and enjoy the unique landscapes of Alaska.

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