Not every honeymoon involves basking on a beach. On an Alaska honeymoon, the dramatic grandeur of the state’s snowy mountains, dense forests, and pristine shorelines is a superb backdrop in which active, nature-loving couples can enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
Alaska can be blissfully romantic, from spotting whales together to soaring over glaciers in a floatplane or sharing a kayak to paddle through tranquil fjords and between rocky islands. The pure air, the wildlife sightings, and the thrills of whitewater rafting or zip-lining are a wonderful way to build shared adventures.
Here are 11 Alaska honeymoon ideas that will create an unforgettable start to married life.
Dog Sled Over a Glacier
Celebrate your newlywed status in dashing style with a thrilling helicopter flight and dog sledding experience across the vast icy expanse of the Denver Glacier, one of the best glaciers in Alaska.
Take off from Skagway and soar over towering peaks, pristine ice fields and dense forest, your captain making a skillful landing on the blue-white glacier. Here, you’ll be met by a team of professional mushers and their powerful sled dogs, raring to go on a race across the snow-covered landscape.
You can sit back and take in the scenery or have a go at mushing yourself, balancing on the rails behind the sled, leaning into the bends and steering your team of enthusiastic canines. Whichever you opt for, the shared thrill of dog sledding in Alaska will be a lasting memory.
Admire the Grandeur of Denali
One of the best things to do in Alaska is to embrace the savage beauty of Denali National Park, an awe-inspiring six million acres of forest and tundra overlooked by the vast, mist-shrouded Denali itself, 20,310 feet of granite and ice.
The wildlife is rich here, and you could see wolves, caribou, moose, grizzly bears, and Dall sheep, whether you choose to hike, kayak, drift along on a raft, or join an ATV adventure.
Share the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting on the Nenana River, which tumbles over several sets of rollercoaster rapids in between more serene sections where you can drift along and gaze at the scenery. Picking the tougher course, through more challenging rapids that foam through a sheer-sided canyon, is a great test of the teamwork that lies ahead in married life.
Alternatively, stay dry and take a flightseeing tour over Denali in a light aircraft, soaring over the mountain’s ice fields and rock faces. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
See Rescued Raptors in Sitka
For a heart-warming experience, one of the best things to do in Sitka is to visit the Alaska Raptor Center. Every year, some 200 bald eagles, owls and falcons are rescued from various mishaps in the wild—getting tangled in overhead wires is a common one—and are rehabilitated and released again.
There’s a special Flight Training Center where the birds learn to fly after injury. You can also observe some birds of prey, which would not survive in the wild but now have a permanent home here, at close range.
After the visit, follow a hiking trail back to town through sun-dappled forest and past splashing streams. If you’re here during salmon spawning season, which is usually July, you’ll see thousands of silver fish forcing their way upstream, sometimes into the jaws of waiting bears.
Follow the instructions of the park rangers if some of the trails are closed; while spotting a bear from a distance is a thrill, nobody wants a close encounter on their Alaskan honeymoon.
Kayak Up to a Glacier
Juneau, Alaska’s state capital, is completely hemmed in by mountains, forests and water. It’s also remarkably close to a magnificent phenomenon, the mighty Mendenhall Glacier. Thirteen miles long, its meltwater feeds a milky-green lake surrounded by rock-strewn beaches on which bears often forage.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of 40 arms of the enormous Juneau Icefield, but what’s unusual about it is the fact that you can get close to its towering, blue-white face in a kayak—one of the best Alaska honeymoon ideas you could have.
As you set out across the lake—one of the best places to kayak in Alaska—you’ll soon come across chunks of ice floating in the water. Every now and then, bigger blocks calve off the glacier’s face, crashing into the water with a thunderous roar.
When you’re not gazing at the glacier, keep an eye out for wildlife. Beavers and otters may be seen here, as well as basking seals.
There’s yet more drama when you pull up your kayak onto the stony beach at the foot of Nugget Falls, where 300 feet of misty water plummet out of the Nugget Glacier. Stop and listen to the roar of the falls for a minute, feeling the spray on your face and marveling at the power of nature that Alaska is known for.
Hike the Chilkoot Trail
Active, outdoorsy couples will love the challenge of hiking part of the legendary Chilkoot Trail. At one point, it was one of only two routes from nearby Skagway across treacherous Alaskan mountains to the headwaters of the Yukon River and the riches of the goldfields.
The trail starts at the ghost village of Dyea, once teeming with prospectors and their animals. Today, it’s a peaceful place, the old wooden buildings overrun by wildflowers and shrubs. You’ll encounter fellow hikers here rather than hopefuls.
While the entire trail is 33 miles long, you can hike as much of it as you like and then turn around and return to Dyea. You’ll find yourselves stopping constantly to catch your breath and take in sweeping vistas over the spruce and cedar forest to the steely blue ocean beyond.
With the wind rustling in trees and birdsong in the air, the hike is wonderfully romantic.
Spot Magnificent Marine Mammals
Seeing majestic whales and sleek dolphins in the wild can be an emotional event. Many people find themselves experiencing a visceral reaction when they see their first humpback breaching, or spot a pod of powerful, black-and-white orca at close range. Who better to share this spine-tingling excitement with than your beloved?
You stand a great chance of spotting whales, orca, porpoises and dolphins all along Alaska’s wild, forested Inside Passage, but Juneau is one of the best places for a sighting. Head out into Stephens Passage, a stretch known for marine mammal activity, on a small safari boat, low in the water so you can appreciate the size and power of these extraordinary creatures.
Local guides will explain Alaska’s fragile ecosystem and the feeding and breeding habits of whales and dolphins—and with luck, you’ll be rewarded with a close encounter that will stay with you forever.
Whizz Down a Zipline
There’s nothing like the bonding experience of the sheer rush from soaring 300 feet above the treetops in a harness, suspended from a wire. Welcome to the ZipRider Cable Car Adventure, one of the highlights of Icy Strait Point and, at 5,330 feet, the longest zipline in North America.
This once-in-a-lifetime Alaskan adventure starts off peacefully enough. You’ll be driven through Hoonah, a village that’s home to the indigenous Tlingit, who own and operate Icy Strait Point. All profits from tourism go back into the community.
On the drive up the mountain, keep a lookout for brown bears. Icy Strait Point is on Chichagof Island, which has the highest density of bears in Alaska.
Soon, you’ll be flying too fast to think about wildlife, soaring over the bottle-green forest canopy at up to 60 miles per hour. There are six parallel lines running down the mountain, so ask to ride next to your partner and have a race.
Photos are snapped on the way down, so make sure you know exactly when to strike a pose mid-air for the ultimate Alaska honeymoon memento.
Gaze at a Mighty Glacier
Being confronted by the raw power of nature is a chance to reflect on your place in the world, and the wild, ravishing beauty of your surroundings. There’s no better place for such contemplative moments than in the face of Hubbard Glacier, a river of ice that, at 76 miles in length, is the world’s longest tidewater glacier.
The face of this vast wall of ice, striated in shades of anything from gray to deep sapphire, is an astonishing seven miles wide and as high as a 30-story building. In other words, awe-inspiring.
You’ll approach Hubbard Glacier via the narrow Disenchantment Bay. This is a particularly active glacier, which makes a visit all the more thrilling.
Chunks of ice the size of houses calve off with a rumbling, cracking roar and a small tsunami as the ice hits the water, ripples spreading as far as the eye can see. As one of the most beautiful places in Alaska, the whole experience is mesmerizing and you won’t want to leave.
Sail Dreamy Fjords
A cruise through the Kenai Fjords National Park has to be one of the dreamiest and most rewarding Alaskan honeymoon experiences. Much of the landscape here is only accessible by water, where rock faces plummet into the glassy fjords and pristine forest lines rocky beaches.
One of the best things to do in Seward is to take a boat trip and sail Resurrection Bay, with skilled captains steering you close to the glacier faces in Aialik Bay, Northwestern Lagoon, McCarty fjord and North Arm to spot chunks of ice calving off into the deep water.
Bring your binoculars as the wildlife-spotting here is legendary. You can see some of the most popular animals in Alaska here, such as humpback whales and pods of black-and-white orca cruising the water and colonies of sea lions lying on the rocks.
Look upwards for agile mountain goats scaling the cliff faces, and keep an eye out for bald eagles perched imperiously on high rocks, scanning the water for food.
Take a kayak tour for an even more away-from-it-all experience in one of the best national parks in Alaska. The best operators take you by boat to the most isolated spots of this already remote place, where you’re completely immersed in nature at its most beautiful.
Hike the Tongass National Forest
Hikes in Alaska don’t have to be physically testing; a leisurely stroll along the sun-dappled trails of the dense Tongass National Forest near Ketchikan can be just as romantic as a challenging trek.
There’s a good chance of spotting bears foraging or snoozing in the trees, or moose standing like statues under the green canopy of hemlock, spruce and cedar. You may even be lucky enough to spot a wolf; these shy creatures make their home in the 500 square miles of the Tongass, the world’s largest temperate rainforest.
Look out for flashes of silver as salmon force their way up rushing streams, and through gaps in the trees, spot bald eagles wheeling overhead. Breathe in the pure air and let your mind and body revel in the peace.
Ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway
One of the best things to do in Skagway is to step back in time for a journey in a vintage railcar along the narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route Railway.
You’ll be following in the footsteps of thousands of prospectors who flocked here during the Gold Rush, although they enjoyed considerably less comfort, struggling through mud, rock, and ice.
You can see parts of the White Pass from the train as it rattles along the contours of sheer-sided valleys and over trestle bridges for 20 miles, crossing the border into Canada. Along the way, look out for the romantic and appropriately named Bridal Veil Falls. You’ll soon see why this is regarded as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world.
Inspired to embark on the romantic adventure of a lifetime? Make a luxury cruise the setting for your Alaska honeymoon. Browse our cruises to Alaska and plan an unforgettable dream vacation.