The grand landscape of Alaska exudes romance, especially since it features high mountains, lush forests, rugged coastlines, and the glimmering multicolored lights of the aurora borealis. The state’s larger-than-life vistas provide ideal backdrops for an unforgettable trip. Near many Alaska vacation rentals, there are seemingly endless opportunities for thrilling excursions, intimate strolls, first-class dining, and all-night dancing. Here are the best romantic weekend getaway locations in Alaska.

1. Anchorage

Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city by population, lies at the northern end of Cook Inlet in the south-central portion of the state with the awe-inspiring Chugach Mountain Range as a backdrop. Residents often spot animals such as bears, moose, mountain goats, and foxes within the city limits. Take a relaxing guided tour of the city with Anchorage Trolley Tours, or venture out to within 300 feet of an awesome glacier with Portage Glacier Cruises. Become steeped in the fascinating history and culture of the region at the Anchorage Museum and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Take a hand-in-hand walk amidst the flamboyant wildflowers, herbs, and exotic plants in the Alaska Botanical Garden. Have an absorbing shopping experience at Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall or 4th Avenue Market Place. When you get hungry, enjoy an intimate meal of grilled salmon at the Bridge Seafood Restaurant.

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2. Fairbanks

Fairbanks, the second-largest city in Alaska, is in the interior of the state, where extended summer days, prolonged sunrises and sunsets, and the brilliant night colors of the aurora borealis become more pronounced. Thrill to the spectacular scenery along the Denali Highway with Denali Jeep Tours. Discover Alaskan artwork, history, and Native American culture at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. Soak in 105 degree outdoor natural hot springs, regardless of the air temperature, at Chena Hot Springs Resort. Shop for local artwork at The Craft Shop and for precious gems and gold at Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry. Have a fine romantic dining experience with a steak or seafood dinner on the bank of the Chena River at The Pump House Restaurant and Saloon.

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3. Juneau

Juneau, Alaska’s capital city, is in the southeast corner of the state in a breathtakingly beautiful location accessible only by plane or boat. It’s the perfect place to add an adventurous excursion to your romantic getaway plans. Ascend to the top of a mountain overlooking the city on the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway, thrill to an aerial view of the landscape with Coastal Helicopters, or view massive sea mammals with Juneau Whale Watch. The Alaskan State Museum in Juneau is a massive structure whose exhibits focus on Native American cultures, state history, and the ecologies and natural history of the region. For a historical walk and an overview of the area’s cuisine, hook up with Juneau Food Tours. After dinner, head to the Narrows Bar for an excellent handcrafted cocktail.

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4. Sitka

The beautiful city of Sitka lies on the western side of Baranof Island facing the Pacific Ocean in southeastern Alaska. The city’s Russian background and culture is evident in historic landmarks, such as St. Michael’s Cathedral, the Russian Bishop’s House, and Castle Hill. Enjoy a leisurely hand-in-hand stroll to visit these iconic sites, and combine this with an exploration of the gift shops and art galleries in the downtown area. Wander through Sitka State Historic Park, and admire the amazing collection of Native American totem poles. Visit the Alaska Raptor Center, where birds of prey are rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Purchase romantic flowers and gourmet chocolates at Sitka Flowers and the Chocolate Moose. Enjoy some craft beer and fresh-caught local seafood at the Bayview Pub.

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5. Ketchikan

Ketchikan, a popular stop for ships traveling the Inside Passage, is Alaska’s southernmost city. A romantic walk through this fascinating city reveals two harbors, multiple docks, houses and businesses built out over the water on stilts, and other buildings perched high on steep slopes and accessible by wooden stairways. Ketchikan has the largest collection of Native American totem poles in the world at the Totem Heritage Center, Totem Row Park, and other locations. Shop for the perfect expression of your love at Alaskan Heritage Gems and Gifts. Find out why Ketchikan is dubbed the Salmon Capital of the World through a mouthwatering dinner at Alaska Fish House.

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6. Kenai

The lovely town of Kenai lies on the western side of the Kenai Peninsula about 30 minutes by air or three hours by road from Anchorage. The Kenai River is famous as one of the best salmon fishing locations in the world. Enjoy the peacefulness of angling on the river while you marvel at the breathtaking vista of the Alaska Mountain Range in the background. Watch for offshore whales on the bluff at the river’s mouth. Take a walking tour of Old Town, and visit Fort Kenay, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other historic sites.

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7. Kodiak

The town of Kodiak is on the northeastern edge of Kodiak Island. Nicknamed the Emerald Isle, the island is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife, especially the huge, awesome Kodiak bears. During your weekend romantic getaway, book an exciting wildlife viewing trip by seaplane with Sea Hawk Air. Explore the rich history of the island at Baranov Museum and the Maritime Museum, which features open displays along the harbor sidewalks. For a special romantic excursion, take a wildlife tour along with a gourmet meal aboard a private yacht with Galley Gourmet.

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8. Homer

The town of Homer, which lies on the southern side of Kenai Peninsula between interior bluffs and Kachemak Bay, features a spectacular surrounding landscape of towering mountains, stark glaciers, and deep blue ocean waters. Homer’s downtown area, with its eclectic shops, museums, and art galleries, is perfect for a hand-in-hand romantic stroll. Homer Spit, which juts out over 4 miles into the bay and houses the Homer Boat Harbor, is a great place for viewing wildlife, such as whales and bald eagles. Enjoy a brew and an excellent steak at AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse and Tavern.

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