Alaska: The 49th State

(As part of my quest to visit every state, I will be spending some time throughout the year highlighting each of our 50 states.)


Today is Admission Day for Alaska.  On January 3rd, 1959, Alaska (purchased from Russia in 1867) became the 49th state.

Although Alaska is the largest state in geographical area, it is one of the least populated, ranking 47th of 50.  Due in large part to its connection with the oil industry, it is one of the wealthiest states. 

Alaska is a rugged state, with lots of outdoor adventure opportunities:  fishing, hunting, hiking, snowshoeing, dog sledding, etc.  During the summer, the coastal cities in Alaska are popular ports of call for many cruise lines, and cruising the Inside Passage is an opportunity to see nature in all its glory.  Other popular sites:  train rides through the interior, Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau (in photo), and Mt. McKinley National Park.

I first visited Alaska in 1967.  It was a trip to Fairbanks to visit with extended family, and to take advantage of A-67, the centennial celebration.  I don’t remember a lot about that trip — except the continual daylight.  At home we were always told to come in before it got dark.  That didn’t work in Fairbanks.

Since that time, I have visited Alaska many, many times.  Cities I’ve visited:  Anchorage (the state’s largest city), Juneau (the capital and my favorite Alaska city), Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Sitka, Bethel, Gustavus, Barrow, Nome, Petersburg, Kotzebue, Cordova, North Pole, Prudhoe Bay, and probably a few others that I’ve forgotten.

Anyone else out there been to Alaska?  What’s your favorite place?

Photo credit:  Henry Hartley


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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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