14 Fun Facts About Alaska!

From rainforest to polar tundra, from grasslands to glaciers and the largest mountains in North America, Alaska will never cease to impress a hardy visitor. And through gold rushes, world war, and an exploding oil industry, Alaska contains a storied history. Here are 14 fascinating facts about everything from climate to wartime occupation in Alaska.

1. Seven different climate zones

Alaska is one of the few places on earth that can boast to contain all seven major climate zone types. High alpine in the state’s massive granite mountain ranges, tundra on the North Slopes, Fairbanks and interior Alaska, rainforest covering the southern coastline.

2. Largest glacier in the Western Hemisphere

The Bagley Ice Field, a massive sheet of ice found in south-central Alaska measuring 127 miles long, six miles wide, and 3,000 feet thick is the largest non-polar ice field to be found in the Western Hemisphere. 

3. Tallest mountain

Denali, at 20,310 feet, is the only peak above 6,000 meters in North America. The next highest mountain is Mount Logan in the Yukon Territory of Canada at 19,551 feet. And 17 of the highest mountains on the continent are found in Alaska, including Mount Hunter, Mount Foraker, and Mount Hayes. 

4. Salmon fishing

This state has the largest gap dependent upon fish, which is second only to oil revenue. In fact, the majority of America’s crab, salmon, halibut and herring come from Alaska, and yet fishing, as a resource, is still labeled as “underutilized” according to Wikipedia. 

5. The northernmost city in America

Barrow stretches as far into the arctic sea as is imaginable, boasting frigid temperatures in the winter (the average low is -14 degrees Fahrenheit), with summer temps that rarely rise higher than 40 degrees.  

6. Seward’s Folly

On Oct. 18, 1867, for two cents per acre (or $7,200,000 total), in a move known as “Seward’s Folly,” U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward purchased the land that we now know as Alaska. He was thought to be a loon for spending so much on a state with so little development, but Alaska turned out to be the best investment he could have made, with countless mineral resources available, and an immeasurably beautiful landscape. 

7. Oil production

You might know that Alaska is famous for a few things, and probably chief among them is the oil industry. In fact, they have historically accounted for 25 percent of the oil production in the United States, though that has fallen off in recent years with the development of fracking and shale drilling in the Dakotas. The reserves here are thought to be the largest in North America, though much of it is protected by Forest Service land. 

8. Arctic Circle

They don’t call it the Land of the Midnight Sun for no reason. Since nearly one-third of Alaska lies within the Arctic Circle, much of the state does not see nighttime at all for 80 days of the year, and then, starting November 18-19, many will not see the sun again until late January. 

9. Alaska Highway

The largest highway in Alaska, aptly named “The Alaska Highway,” was originally built as a military supply road during World War II. Much of the infrastructure in this state is due to military development, and much of the rest began as Spartan development for the budding oil industry.

10. Alaska vs. Texas

Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas, making it the biggest state by a long shot. It is more than 1,400 miles from north to south, and measures a staggering 2,700 miles wide, which means if you impose an image of Alaska over the entire Continental United States, Alaska would stretch from the east coast to the West. 

11. Longest coastline

The longest continuous coastline in the United states also happens to be in Alaska, where we have over 6,600 miles of it. That’s a lot of area for fishing, and a huge chore for the biologists and policy makers who have made it their mission to keep it healthy. 

12. Largest national forest

The Tongass National Forest, stretching from just south of Anchorage all the way to the southern tip Alaska and British Columbia, is the largest protected forest area in the United States at over 17 million acres. This forest is mostly temperate rainforest, and is an extremely valuable ecosystem resource. 

13. Lowest population density

If you want to get away from it all without leaving the United States, Alaska is the place to do it. A large percentage of our population lives on homestead ranches or in small, widespread villages. To give you an idea, the entire state population of Alaska is smaller than the Seattle metro area. 

14. Both the easternmost and westernmost state

Everyone knows that Alaska is the westernmost state in the United States, but did you know that it’s also the easternmost state? Alaska’s Aleutian islands extend so far into the Pacific Ocean that they breach the eastern hemisphere, making Alaska the only state that occupies both hemispheres at the same time. 

Alaska Search
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
103 Monastery Street, Sitka, AK
The Russian Bishop's House is one of the few surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. Imperial Russia was the dominant... Read More
420 M Street, Anchorage, AK
In Elderberry Park, located on the west end of downtown Anchorage, you will find one of the first privately built wood-frame residences completed a... Read More
3779 Bartlett Street, Homer, AK
Mission : The Pratt Museum is dedicated to the process of education by exploring the natural environment and human experience relative to the Kach... Read More
625 C Street, Anchorage, AK
About the Museum: MISSION The Anchorage Museum connects people, expands perspectives, and encourages global dialogue about the North and its dist... Read More
201 North Bragaw, Anchorage, AK
The Museum Energitically Pursues its mission to study and exhibit natural history materials relating to alaska's natural history and to promote and... Read More
4601 Campbell Airstrip Road, Anchorage, AK
Vision:The Alaska Botanical Garden will be one of Alaska's leading organizations that fosters botanical and horticultural information.Mission:The A... Read More
8800 Heritage Center Drive, Anchorage, AK
Vision: Thriving Alaska Native people and cultures respected and valued. Mission: Sharing, perpetuating and preserving the unique Alaska Nativ... Read More
535 Second Avenue, Fairbanks, AK
Our Mission:Provide high-quality Shakespearean and classic theatre productions, actively contribute to the Fairbanks Arts Community, deepen appreci... Read More
215 Mission Road, Kodiak, AK
Mission :-  The Alutiiq Museum’s mission is to preserve the prehistoric and historic cultural traditions of the Alutiiq people and promo... Read More
907 Yukon Drive, Fairbanks, AK
About the Museum:The University of Alaska Museum of the North is a thriving visitor attraction, a vital component of the University of Alaska Fairb... Read More
217 Egan Drive, Valdez, AK
About Us Valdez's first museum was established in 1901 by prospector, Joseph Bourke, who put together a small exhibit of curios that was displayed... Read More
914 Third Street, Douglas, AK
About Us : Perseverance Theatre (PT) is dedicated to "tapping the potential of Alaska through the passionate creation and presentation of theatre."... Read More
251 West Swanson Avenue, Wasilla, AK
History Valley Performing Arts was organized in 1976 by a group of dedicated volunteers who were committed to providing quality live theatre produ... Read More
3800 West Museum Drive, Wasilla, AK
Mission: MATI's Mission is the collection, conservation, restoration, exhibition, and interpretation of artifacts relating to Alaska’s tran... Read More
114 West 4th Street, Juneau, AK
Mission Statement The mission of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum is to foster among its diverse audiences an awareness of Juneau's cultural heritag... Read More
Show More
Select a Alaska town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Haines County
Ketchikan Gateway County
Sitka County
Yakutat County