You probably don’t immediately think of surf and sand when you think of Alaska, but believe it or not, this state has approximately 5,580 miles of coastline meaning it’s filled with some glorious beaches. Alaska does get some warm summers, but even during the winter, these sandy locations are perfect for having bonfires with friends or just watching the sun go down. The best part is that most of these beaches are totally secluded. Only in Alaska can you enjoy the sounds of crashing waves without any distractions. Pick a good Alaska vacation rental because you’ll probably be back next year!
1. Christiansen Lake
For the best swimming in Talkeetna, head to Christiansen Lake. The water is deep, clean, and reaches temperatures in the low to mid 60’s during the summer. The public dock is only a few miles outside of town and it’s a local hang out, so you won’t feel like you’ve fallen into a tourist trap.
2. Kasilof Beach Road
Whether you’re interested in a peaceful walk through a secluded estuary or want a front row seat for the annual salmon dip netting extravaganza where hordes of locals collect salmon with giant nets attached to a ten-foot pole, Kasilof Beach Road is the place for you. The river-mouth is lined by the beach, dunes, an estuary, and a broad salt marsh. The woods to the north and south also provide a chance to spot bald eagles and moose, so bring your camera!
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3. Black Sand Beach
You cannot beat the absolutely stunning views of Black Sand Beach. You’ll see water cascading down hanging glaciers, sea life playing among icebergs, and the stunning contrast of glacial blue ice against the black sand beach. If that’s not enough for you, Black Sand Beach is a popular place for sea kayakers to camp in Prince William Sound. After only a five minute paddle from Black Sand Beach, you can explore the massive rocks that the Coxe Glacier exposed after retreating 1/4 mile. If you don’t have a kayak to explore with, at low tide, you can walk the coastline past the length of the beach.
4. Eagle Beach
This beach is named after the majestic bald eagle that frequently visits this area. Eagle beach is nestled against the Tongass National Forest just under 30 miles outside of Juneau, and people come for miles just to catch a glimpse of these birds taking flight around them. They perch in the trees and rocks, hunting for washed up salmon and other food. The beach also has soft white sand making it the perfect place for a picnic or to go beachcombing.
5. The Homer Spit
This long, narrow piece of land just 4.5 miles out into Kachemak Bay. Go fishing, beachcombing, shopping, or boating surrounded by glacier-studded mountains and crystal-clear water. You can also head out on the water with a guided sea kayaking trip or take a ferry across the bay to the quaint boardwalk-lined town of Halibut Cove. The Homer Spit also offers some of the best eagle viewings in Alaska, with up to several hundred during certain times of the year. You might even be able to see eagles from the balcony of your vacation rental!
6. Yakutat Beach
At Yakutat Beach, you can walk for miles on untouched sand. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting treasures like windy driftwood or beach glass. The area is also great for picnicking, surfing, and camping. There are three different campsites located about 1/4 mile apart along the beach.
7. Schooner Beach
Beyond Yakutat Beach, Schooner Beach is a surfer’s dream. There are miles and miles of empty waves. If you’d rather stay on land, this is a great place for beachcombing too. Schooner Beach is named after a three mast schooner called the Satsuma Maru that crashed on to the shore, so you might be able to find some interesting, unique treasures. Don’t forget to look up because behind Yakutat, you can see the 18,008-foot summit of Mt. St. Elias, the second tallest mountain in the United States.
8. Kincaid Beach
Kincaid Beach is just outside of Downtown Anchorage on the edge of Kincaid Park. The sand is fine and smooth and is flanked on one side by tall bluffs and on the other side by gorgeous views of the Cook Inlet, Kenai Peninsula, and nearby Fire Island. The water is usually too cold for swimming, but picnics, bonfires, and even mud fights are a good alternative. If you’re in the mood for a long beach stroll, you can walk for a mile or two on the sandy shoreline to the south, even at high tide. If you’re lucky, you might find some Japanese glass fishing floats, a cherished find for amateur and seasoned beachcombers alike.
9. Chena Lake Recreation Area
Two parks make up the Chena Lake Recreation Area, The Lake Park, and The River Park. Both were created by the construction of a 7.1-mile long earth fill dam in 1967. At The Lake Park, you’ll find two designated swimming areas, both with beautiful sandy beaches, two fishing docks, a boat launch, playground, three volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit, and more. The River Park has many of the same amenities along with a 4.5-kilometer self-guided nature trail.
10. Nome Beach
Gold fever once brought thousands of people here with the hopes of discovering nuggets in the nearby creeks. Today, it’s hard to imagine this place was once covered in tents, stretching for 30 miles up and down the coast, but the area still has a piece of golden wonder. Nome Beach is located between the Bering Sea and Front Street, with a seawall extending about a third of a mile to protect the city from storms. In the summer, Nome-ites come here to explore the beach for driftwood and sea glass, build bonfires, and watch the amazing sunset over the Bering Sea. The gold that originally brought the world to Nome is still here, in smaller quantities, so you can also bust out your gold pan and dredge for some sparklers!
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