While most of us are staying home this summer due to Covid-19, lots of people are feeling the pangs of wanderlust- especially people who would otherwise be taking their annual summer vacation. It’s especially disappointing for those who were looking forward to a bucket list experience in Alaska. The visitor season is short there, especially if you’re traveling by cruise ship. Sailings only take place from May to September. Unfortunately, this year the Alaska season just didn’t happen.
Alaska is one of the best places on Earth to enjoy the outdoors. It is full of majestic wild animals, gorgeous mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, streams, and lots of places to truly discover earth’s beauty. If you’re missing out this year, or even if you’ve just been considering making that trip sometime in the future, there are some excellent virtual travel experiences for those of you who are dying to roam the wilderness. You can stay at home and feel just like you’re truly immersing yourself in the great outdoors and taking a vacation.
Here are a few options to get you started:
Live Bear Cam
Watch salmon leaping up the falls, while brown bears compete with each other for the best fishing spots. The largest and most successful bears can catch and eat more than 120 pounds per day! Bears are most abundant in late June, July, and early August during the sockeye salmon migration. If you watch the webcam for a period of time, you may also see bald eagles, lots of gulls, and maybe even an occasional wolf trying to partake in the salmon buffet.
On YouTube, the Alaska Sea Life Center is posting live streams, behind-the-scenes videos, and other video content of marine animals. You can get up close and personal with ice seals, sea birds, fish, and more. The Alaska Sea Life Center also regularly posts video content on its Facebook page.
If you’re interested in Alaskan culture, Alaska Native elders and leaders are leading twice-weekly live storytelling hours on Alaska Native Heritage Center's Facebook page. Not only is this a good way to experience the culture, it’s also a great source of entertainment.
The Anchorage Museum is giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at their collections, including live streams with artists and musicians from the museum’s "Listen Up: Northern Soundscapes" exhibit. You can also find good resources on the museum’s Facebook page.
Finally, you can access several “virtual vacations” on Travel Alaska’s website at www.travelalaska.com. There are live streams, webcam footage, and 360-degree photo panoramas. For instance, you can enjoy a live stream of Pacific walrus on Round Island, or arctic snowy owls in Utqiagvik, or watch the majestic brown bears.
It is good to know that all the wonders of Alaska will still be there when we can finally start traveling again!