Forge your way through 495,000-acre Chugach State Park and the 1.9-million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on a 500-mile pilgrimage through the Last Frontier.
Packing List: Rubber boots and rain jacket, fly rod, bug spray
Highlights: Acclimate to your moose-heavy surroundings in Anchorage with an 11-mile run or hike along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. Then head south in a high-clearance vehicle. (Most of the roads are good, but the best side trips will require something rugged.) An hour away you’ll find the Alyeska Resort and its 50-mile maze of mountain-biking trails (full-suspension bike rental with pads and helmet, $100).
In Seward, stay at the Exit Glacier Lodge, where the staff packs bag lunches for early-rising fishermen and stores their catch in a giant freezer (from $159). If you want to go for the big boys—halibut and king salmon—head out with Crackerjack Sport Fishing Charters ($350); if fishing isn’t your thing, go for an all-day ice-climbing lesson on four-mile-long Exit Glacier ($185).
On the way to Homer, pitch a tent along the Sterling Highway at one of 45 sites at Quartz Creek Campground. Bank-fish for rainbow and Dolly Varden trout, or drive four miles east to Cooper Landing and sight-fish in the Russian River for sockeye salmon. In Sterling, stop to test the Blind Cat moonshine at Highmark Distillery.
At the end of the road in Homer, hop a water taxi across Kachemak Bay to your own remote cabin—complete with woodstove and minimal kitchen—and set up camp for the next two nights. From there, launch a kayak to paddle among orcas, sea lions, and humpback whales ($395 per person for two nights).
Detour: Hop on a quick one-hour flight from Homer to Katmai National Park and Preserve for a guided tour and watch brown bears congregate on the tidal flaps to feast on running salmon ($675).