Visiting the United States? There are 50 states to see. If you like nature, Alaska’s a must-visit!

Nicknamed “The Last Frontier,” Alaska is closer to Russia (3.9 km) than to the 48 contiguous states (800 km). It’s also a place of majestic beauty, with 17 national parks, featuring rugged mountains, pristine lakes and half the world’s glaciers.

Alaska is home to bald eagles (the national symbol of the United States), bears and caribou, among other abundant wildlife. The largest state of the Union, it’s also the least densely populated. Don’t worry — there are now other ways to cross the ice besides by dog sled, even though “mushing” is still Alaska’s state sport.

Read more about Alaska and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.

(State Dept.)

Room to roam

At Katmai National Park, hunting is banned and salmon are plenty, contributing to one of the densest bear populations in North America.

Mush!

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual race across the tundra from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The fastest time on record is just over eight and a half days!

(Bureau of Land Management)

Wildlife on display

Alaska offers ample opportunities to view wildlife. Moose and caribou can be observed at national parks, and a boat tour of the state’s coastal waterways is ideal for spotting otters, whales and porpoises.

(© AP Images)

A sports lover’s paradise

Outdoors activities are popular year-round. An Alaskan summer’s long daylight hours allow extra time for hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, canoeing and fishing. And Alaska’s winter months are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and more.

(Keith Parker/Creative Commons)

Touching the sky

Denali National Park, the most Instagrammed location in the state of Alaska, boasts the tallest peak in North America.

Did you know?

Alaska is the only place in the U.S. you’re likely to catch the aurora borealis. This view is from Eielson Air Force Base, overlooking Bear Lake.

(Flickr/Jim Trodel)