Every year the Alaska State Division of Tourism sponsors the Alaska Media Road Show for journalists from around the country to promote Alaska travel and tourism. Not that writers need too much convincing; Alaska is, after all, a state of superlatives. For a family travel writer who spends so much of every summer on the road, in the air, or on the water, the chance to sit down and chat one-to-one about new products and services is gold.
What’s new for 2016? Turns out, plenty. And what follows are some of the trends and products being offered by some of Alaska’s finest tour operators, local businesses, and major players. Family travel is, finally, capturing the attention of the industry, and why not? Those vacations won’t take themselves, parents!
Here’s the skinny from AKontheGO, Alaska’s only family travel resource. —–> BOOM.
Multigen travel will be hottter than ever. Traveling with multiple generations (or “multigen”) in one group can be a bit challenging, but also one of the most rewarding adventures a family can have together. Why Alaska? The combination of active experiences blended with opportunities to sit back and enjoy the scenery make the 49th state an excellent destination for family reunions and groups consisting of multiple grandparents and grandchildren.
Look for companies like
- John Hall’s Alaska and their Grand Slam or Denali Explorer tours to ramp up opportunities for intimate tours with all the hassle handled and plenty of activity for the younger visitors.
- The Waterfall Resort near Ketchikan, now offering a Family Special for 2016, with discounts for families staying and fishing together. Enjoy cozy cabins, hiking, and photography in between dropping a line into the water.
Cruising is getting real. No, really real, with opportunities for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the Alaska way of life.
- Princess Cruises has launched the “North to Alaska” and “Discovery at Sea” programs that aim to provide passengers with experiences that go beyond the typical overview tour. Interested in the marine life habitating our water? Try the Shark Week program. Want the kids to become better acquainted with our rich history? A Klondike Festival is just the event for you, complete with gold panning. The cruise line is also continuing its “Real Alaskans” program, bringing aboard local authors, chefs, and artisans.
National parks are partying on. 2016 is going to be a big year for Alaska’s national parks. With a 100th anniversary coming up in August, next year will be full of special events, opportunities, and new exhibits. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Landmark in Skagway is rolling out a new museum about famous (and slightly obnoxious) Soapy Smith; Glacier Bay National Park is officially opening the new Huna Tribal House at Bartlett Cove; and (this is big), Lake Clark National Park will open its first public use cabin, ever. Paddle, fish, hike, or simply embrace this special place, former home of Dick Proenneke of “One Man’s Wilderness,” and be amazed. Called “Woodward Cabin,” this is sure to be a popular destination for remote-loving families. Including us.
Outdoor family time is prime time. Finally, soft adventure is including kids younger than 10. Liquid Adventures in Seward has rolled out a new line of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) day trips for nearly every age and ability, and overnight kayaking trips that spend time exploring quiet bays of this geologically and glacially-rich part of Kenai Fjords National Park. Alaska Wildland Adventures has a package tailored for families called the Ultimate Alaska Adventure, with a dedicated trip leader who gets to know kids and their preferred outside activities. Try horseback riding, floating, kayaking, hiking, and even a floatplane trip. It’s the package worth investing in for a once-in-a-lifetime family trip.
Not sure which style of trendy Alaska travel is for you? Ask us. We’re happy to help. Find AKontheGO on Facebook and Twitter, or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to subscribe to our blog post updates so you don’t miss a minute of Alaska family travel information. Sign up at the bottom of this page.