Alaska named by Lonely Planet among top 30 destinations for 2023


Alaska made the list. The annual “Best in Travel Destinations” includes Alaska in the top 30 places to go in 2023. Alaska was in one of the five categories listed by the publication, which called Alaska an “epic” travel experience.

“Bears larger than bison, national parks the size of nations, and glaciers bigger than other US states. The word ‘epic’ barely does Alaska justice.”

In 2022, Alaska saw about one million visitors by cruise ship, but had the capacity for more. The ships were about three-quarters full, having started from zero due to two years of Covid cancellations. The last cruise ship of the season, Norwegian Encore, returned to Seattle on Oct. 23. The next cruise ship is April 22, 2023.

Getting back to pre-pandemic levels, the cruise industry has the capacity to go beyond the 2019 level and get to 1.6 million visitors, industry sources told Must Read Alaska. Demand is high, sources said, and the market is strong. While earlier there was a high degree of uncertainty with Canada’s border being closed and with unknown variants of the Covid virus, but those uncertainties don’t seem to exist for 2023.

It’s the 18th year for the Lonely Planet’s Top 30 list, which starts with nominations from the company’s extensive community of staff, writers, bloggers, publishing partners, and others. The nominations are whittled down by its panel of travel experts to just 30 destinations.  Each is chosen for its topicality, unique experiences, ‘wow’ factor and its ongoing commitment to sustainability, community and diversity.

“Pure, raw, unforgiving and humongous in scale, Alaska is a place that arouses basic instincts and ignites what Jack London termed the ‘call of the wild.’ Yet, unlike London and his gutsy, gold-rush companions, visitors today will have a far easier time penetrating the region’s vast, feral wilderness. Indeed, one of the beauties of the 49th state is its accessibility. Few other places in the US allow you to scale an unclimbed mountain, walk where – quite possibly – no human foot has trodden before, or sally forth into a national park that gets fewer annual visitors than the International Space Station,” Lonely Planet said.

“For savvy repeat visitors, the real joys of Alaska are the ones you least expect: ginormous vegetables, epic bus rides, half-forgotten Russian cemeteries, friendly, hassle-free airports, and dive bars where no one’s rethought their hairstyle since 1984. Welcome to a state with as many offbeat attractions as off-the-beaten-track locations. Imagine a land where locals still go subsistence hunting, campers plan gold-panning expeditions in the wilderness and wi-fi is just a rumor. Pitch in with a quirky medley of contrarians, rat-race escapees, wanderers, dreamers, back-to-the-landers and Alaska Natives and discover what makes America’s biggest state tick,” the publication wrote.

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  1. I wish everyone would stay home. Go to Egypt or Europe. Most won’t experience real Alaska from the road or cruise ship. The parking lot at the midtown Walmart will be as wild as they will experience.

    • I don’t agree, Greg. The views from Alyeska looking down to the Cook Inlet stay with you for a lifetime. Watching a glacier calving from close up is so breath-taking it will never be forgotten. With so many small plane trips available, and so many hiking trails open, and the boat trips down the rivers, it is just endless. I have been to Egypt and Europe. They do not compare. Give me Alaska and a porch where I can just stare at the Auroras for hours and a view of the mountains across the lowlands and I am happy forever. Throw in the Fur Rondy and the Iditarod and nothing else compares. It should all be shared with those less fortunate than Alaskans. There is nowhere better to live.

      • I’m glad you’re enjoying life but like I said all that can be seen in glacier national Park Montana. To truly experience Alaska, you have to get away from the road and the cruise ships. A float plane will get you close only if he drops you off and picks you up a couple of weeks later. I never once saw a better Northern lights display then the one I saw in Columbia Missouri in 1989. I’ve lived as far as Gamble on St Lawrence Island and saw many. I think perhaps what you’re saying is Alaska is a state of mind. Probably there are many people who live in Anchorage and in their own mind they revel in the fact that they are just in Alaska itself. I guess the same thing could be said no matter where you are. Seeing polar bears, and walrus haul out, and living amongst native alaskans for an extended period of time is getting to know the real Alaska instead of just being a tourist.

  2. Its too bad that the nasty nine assembly will continue to transform Anchorage into a PROGRESSIVE PLYWOOD city ~ an EYESORE to tourists ~ as they strategically place homeless’s own ” tent cities ” on the main drag of downtown, thru spenard , following C street, clogging traffic and making anyone near a normal hotel very NERVOUS and UNSAFE ! but, you know, science, diversity, equity and build back better !!! They do this to get their CUT $$$ of the woke agenda, ” Federal Funds coming ” and of course we need those blue votes, who cares if they are bankrupting the rest of us.

  3. The biggest lie, the “Lonely Planet” will cuase problems. is the statement”Imagine a land where locals still go subsistence hunting”. I can just see, people will head up here on their last bit of $$$ expecting to become a “local”? and run into problems misunderstanding this statement. Another rash of homeless coming up here. They don’t understand that subsistence hunting has it’s own restrictions to non-residents.

  4. What the tourists discover is the same thing that drew most of us up here. Most permanent residents don’t take opportunity to venture out of Anchorage enough. The only thing useful in Anchorage is the airport. Most people who work there try to live as far away as possible. Many people who live in Anchorage are not here for the reasons that the tourists visit our state. As they used to say, Anchorage is not Alaska, but you can get there from here. It would take more than a lifetime to see this great state. And I don’t really agree about accessibility, unless you are very wealthy and own a large helicopter. Our roads and rails , other than being paved, have progressed very little since statehood. And how many mountains can you drive up like the lower 48 ? Some of us are too old to climb. But I sure miss the days when I could. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could drive or catch a train to Nome? Sure you can fly there, but you can’t enjoy the scenery from 30,000 feet on the typical day. And there is beautiful country between Fairbanks and Nome. Since tourism seems to be the only industry that we can engage in here in this mineral rich state, maybe some of trillions of infrastructure funds should go to accessibility. There’s plenty of projects that have been in the books for years. Maybe it would be easier to improve a hundred year old trail if the goal was tourism instead of mining. Then we could have more employment opportunities other than working for some form of government. We could mine the tourists and the money would stay here, not like the cruise ship industry. People who visit this state have means, as proven by driving 40- foot custom motor homes up from as far as Florida. They usually spend more money in Canada because they have more accessibility.

    • I completely agree. I have experienced monster brown bears ripping into smoke houses. I saw a group of sea lions once that were more interested to my dog running on the beach then they were anything on the water. It was a truly national geographic moment. I’ve seen gray whales sheltering their calves from killer whales farther out in the bay at Perryville. I’ve also seen them thrashing around on the bottom of the sand trying to rub the barnacles off of them. All this in about 5 ft of water. I woke up to being surrounded by polar bear tracks on my way to school in the morning. I saw one hunt where a high school boy shot for polar bear at one time. It was always and I opened her for me too drive my four wheeler through the local dump to see what game had been harvested. In Gamble after a big storm you can see world war II relics that have been buried since that time that are now exposed from the waves of the storm. I’ve spoken with elders that tell me Japanese gunships used to cruise the shores of Gamble and point their machine guns and deck guns at them but they never fired. I saw native children playing chicken with 25 ft waves exploding as a crashed down on the beach. So many things to numerous to mention here but something tourists will never experience. If you want to experience Alaska, you have to truly live Alaska.

        • Not really, many places in the world just stink. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to pick and choose in my younger days, but I did finally choose Alaska forty years ago and have no regrets.

  5. The problem is this:
    Tourists come up to Alaska on a 7 or 10-day cruise and train excursion for a quick peek at our beautiful state. Then, they support the wacko greenies and environmental screwballs who wants Alaska to be left alone like a museum. Resident Alaskans who work for a living can’t afford that.

  6. Tourism is a parasitic industry.

    Most of the revenues go to large multi-national corporations, most of the tourism employees are seasonally hired from Outside and from foreign nations, very few actual Alaskan businesses profit from it.

    Tourism in it’s current form also inhibits resource development because it creates support for “environmentalist” causes that only the tourism industry profits from.

    Tourists stay home.

    The longer and stronger we support tourism as a “legitimate” industry, the more we encourage the USA to treat us as a Territory instead of a state.

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