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Alaska Hotels

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2: Searching for hotels in Alaska, a state of the USA. To help you with your search, we have separated Alaska into 29 areas - from Alassio to Wrangell. To find your hotel, just click on one of the blue links below.

 

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No other region in North America possesses the mythical aura of ALASKA; even the name – a derivation of Alayeska, an Athabascan word meaning "great land of the west" – fires the imagination. Few who see this land of gargantuan ice fields, sweeping tundra, glacially excavated valleys, lush rainforests, deep fjords and occasionally smoking volcanoes leave unimpressed. Wildlife may be under threat elsewhere, but here it is abundant, with grizzly bears standing twelve feet tall, moose stopping traffic in downtown Anchorage, wolves prowling through national parks, bald eagles circling over the forests and fifty-pound-plus salmon leaping upstream.

The sheer size of Alaska is hard to comprehend: America's northernmost, westernmost and, because the Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180th meridian, its easternmost state would, if superimposed onto the "Lower 48" (the rest of the continental United States) stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This vast expanse covers more than double the area of Texas, and its coastline is longer than the rest of the US combined. All but three of the nation's highest peaks are found within its boundaries and one glacier alone is twice the size of Wales. To put it in practical terms, Alaska is so vast that its 907 telephone area code prefix must be used when calling long distance within the state.

A mere 570,000 people live in this huge state – over forty percent of them in Anchorage – of whom only one-fifth were born here. As a rule of thumb, the more winters you have endured, the more Alaskan you are, and recent arrivals are known by the mildly abusive nickname of cheechako. Often referred to as the "Last Frontier", Alaska in many ways mirrors the American West of the nineteenth century: an endless, undeveloped space in which to stake one's claim and set up a life without interference. Or at least that's how Alaskans would like it to be. Throughout this century tens of thousands have been lured by the promise of wealth, first by gold and then by fishing, logging and, most recently, oil. However, Alaska's 86,000 Native peoples, who don't have the option of returning to the Lower 48 if things don't work out, have been left behind in the state's economic boom.

Traveling around Alaska still demands a spirit of adventure. To make the most of the state you need to have an enthusiasm for striking out on your own, and to be prepared to rough it. If you plan to camp, you'll need the best possible gear. Binoculars are an absolute must, as, rather more mundanely, is bug spray; the mosquito is referred to as the "Alaska state bird" and only a repellent with 100 percent DEET keeps it away. On top of that, of course, there's the climate, though Alaska is far from the popular misconception of being one big icebox. While winter temperatures of -40F in Fairbanks are commonplace and northern towns like Barrow see no sunlight for nearly three months each year, its most touristed areas, the southeast and the Kenai Peninsula, enjoy a maritime climate (45–65F in summer) similar to that of the rest of the Pacific Northwest, meaning much more rain (in some towns 180-plus inches per year) than snow. Remarkably, the summer temperature in the Interior often reaches 80F.

Experiencing Alaska on a low budget is possible, but requires a lot of planning. The peak period of mid-June to August sees crazy room prices; May and particularly September, when tariffs are relaxed and the weather only slightly chillier, are just as good times to go, and in April or October you'll have the place to yourself, albeit with a smaller range of places to stay and eat. Except for around forty summertime hostels, mostly in the major towns or popular regions, there's little budget accommodation; ground transportation, despite the long distances, is less expensive, with backpacker shuttles ferrying budget travelers between major centers; but eating and drinking are at least twenty percent more expensive than in the Lower 48. Winter, when hotels drop their prices by as much as half, is becoming an increasingly popular time to visit, particularly for the dazzling aurora borealis. Click here to go to Alaska State web site

 

 

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