What's inside: a HUGE collection of kids activities in Alaska for the best summer ever! We've also included a fun free printable for you to download!
Summer is the time of year that many families travel and Alaska is one of the top summer destinations in the country.
These ideas are for travelers to Alaska and people living in Alaska alike!
Below are some of the activities we have planned for our first summer in Alaska! Many of these apply to anyone, anywhere. But some of the activities are specifically to Alaska. Now the only problem is just finding the time!
Our 10 Must Do Kids Activities this Summer
Eagle River Nature Center - Located about 30 miles north of Anchorage, this is a perfect short drive for kids. It is also the perfect place to enjoy wildlife, science, and the outdoors! Activities include wandering the trails and free classes such as nature printing (and other free artisan crafts) and little explorers class for preschoolers (also free...except for $5 parking), and many others. Whether you are visiting Alaska this summer or have lived here for years, definitely check out the Eagle River Nature Center.
Study the amazing rocks of Alaska - Alaska is a great place to observe rocks and if your kids are anything like ours this is sure to be a hit! Even when we venture out to some of the best scenery Alaska has to offer, they are usually staring at the ground searching for rocks. While it is illegal to take home rocks from a national park, you can still enjoy the diverse variety of rocks available in the Great Frontier. Some of the best places to hunt for rocks are Glacier Bay National Park (near Juneau) and Denali National park (near Fairbanks). And who knows? Maybe you'll strike gold...after all, Alaska's state mineral is gold.
Thunderbird Falls - What's a summer in Alaska without an amazing, epic waterfall in the middle of a forest? Best of all, this is just a short 30 minute drive from Anchorage and a short trail hike at 1 mile! There are a lot of uphills, which may be difficult for younger children, but if you're an adventurous family, this is perfect for you. Parking fees are based on the honor envelope system at just $5.
Make paper plate animals - There will inevitably be some rainy days during the Alaskan summer. Keep your little ones entertained with this fun craft. Make it "Alaskan style" by making a bear, moose, reindeer, polar bear, or a muskox. The supplies are limited and the possibilities are endless, so even if you are just visiting for vacation this craft is doable and it gives you a special souvenir that will ride easy in luggage.
Walk a dog - I know that seems really simple, but it really is a great way to get out and enjoy nice weather. A favorite trail to walk dogs in Anchorage is in Far North Bicentennial Park (the North Gasline Trail) If you aren't fortunate enough to have a dog, or are vacationing and find yourself with nothing to do (highly unlikely, I know) then you can always go "dog watching" at Arctic Benson Dog Park.
Play Simon Says - Classic, Simple, Fun. When you're in a pinch...like on an airplane or on a long car ride, this works. It always makes for giggles and creativity. If you have an older child, let them be Simon.
Blow bubbles - Another summer classic. Blowing bubbles is like a summer staple. When you have young children, you can't have summer without bubbles. It's a must.
Hike Arctic Valley - Arctic Valley isn't just for skiing, it's great for hiking in the summer. Not quite as intense as Flat Top, but still rewarding with amazing views. If you go toward the end of summer, it is a great place to pick berries.
Have a picnic - Yeah, in the summertime you can pretty much pick anywhere to picnic and you will have amazing views. Any of the above locations would be great choices. Also Kincaid Park or anywhere along the Turnagain Arm. If you're feeling super adventurous hike to Flat Top and have a picnic (may be too difficult with younger children). You could even have a picnic for dinner and still have sunlight to hike back!
More Alaska Kids Activities
- Thumb wrestle
- Neighborhood nature walk/discovery (because nature is everywhere in Alaska)
- Wonderland Park in Wasilla
- Do a puzzle
- Build a blanket fort
- Go birdwatching
- Visit a farm and pick your own fruits and veggies (Pyrahs Pioneer Peak Farm in Palmer)
- Play a memory game
- Have a tea party
- DIY Water Wall
- Pick Berries (Rendezvous Peak Trail and Chugach State Park are great locations)
- Get Snow Cones (seriously, the best!)
- Tell ghost stories (a favorite with our girls)
- Visit Glacier Bay National Park (which can only be visited by boat or plane)
- Watch a movie at home (make it special with treats and a pallet or a projector)
- Double Dutch Jump Rope (if you don't know how, learn!)
- Have a pillow fight
- Start a nature journal (perfect for Alaska)
- Take a road trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks
- Play a board game
- Visit Jazzy Gourmet Popcorn in Eagle River and get some yummy popcorn treats
- Plant flowers (they'll definitely get enough sunlight in the summer!)
- Have a water balloon fight (summer-staple)
- Eklutna Lake
- Tour a firehouse
- Landscape your backyard (not fun for everyone, but summer is a great time to get some projects done)
- Themed summer days - this is a really fun idea...come up with a theme for each week day during the summer (example: Move it Monday - exercise, go to a gym, be active, Tuesday Trip - go somewhere fun...park, zoo, etc.. Wet Wednesday - water park, pool, etc.. Thinker Thursday - library, museum, etc.. Family Friday - spend quality time together as a family). Use these or come up with your own!
- Make a mini coloring tote (perfect for road-trips!)
- Learn some magic tricks and put on a magic show
- Make and play with clay
- Learn to juggle
- Plan an Alaska hiking bucket list (Flattop, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Kincaid Park, Chugach State Park, Elderberry Park, etc..)
- Make your own Slip and Slide
- Bike some of the best trails in the world (Power Line Pass to Indian, Chugach State Park, Rabbit Lakes, Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, Crescent Lake in Coopers Landing)
- Sidewalk Chalk
- Make it a point to have some date nights with your significant other (it's important and babysitters are fun!)
- Have a picnic or bonfire at Kincaid Park
- Make homemade cards and send them to loved ones
- Home Depot kids workshop
- Play dress up (we have girls, it's inevitable)
- Go moose hunting (look for moose) at Powerline Pass (don't get too close!)
- Puddle Jumping (it rains quite a bit in the summer here, so take advantage...put on some rain boots and go to town!)
- Make your own ice cream
- Skip rocks (Point Woronzof is a great place!)
- Play in the mud, make mud pies, etc (again, if it's raining embrace the mud!)
- Bike the Historic Iditarod Trail path along the Seward waterfront
- Build a sand castle at Kincaid Beach
- Visit Homer (it's a must if you live in Alaska!)
- Start a garden (yes, you can have a garden in Alaska)
- Do some learning activities (math games, alphabet games, art projects, etc.)
- Go to one of over 80 playgrounds in and around Anchorage (some favorites: Wonderland Park in Wasilla, Lukas-Kiwanis Park in Palmer, Campbell Creek Park, and Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park)
- Build something with MagnaTiles (these are our girls favorite toys right now and they are so cool!)
- Make and play instruments (paper plate tambourines, maracas, kazoos, etc)
- Explore Lyn Ary Park
- Make Smores
- Hike and explore Mt. Baldy
- Catch ladybugs or any bugs
- Fold Origami
- Swim at Goose Lake
- Go to an outdoor concert in downtown Anchorage
- Make water sponge balls to throw (easier to play with and clean up than water balloons)
- Polar Bear Park
- Go fishing (Quartz Creek Campground - it's a drive, but beautiful, Campbell Creek, Bing's Landing Kenai River - also a drive)
- Water gun fight
- Byron Glacier at Girdwood
- Find a four-leaf clover
- Ride the downtown Anchorage trolley to the Ulu Factory (it's free and while you're there you can score some pretty awesome souvenirs and gifts)
- Bodenburg Butte hike
- Paint something
- Pretend play (endless possibilities and so important for little ones' development)
- Play I Spy (another great option for road trips)
- Go stargazing...wait, we're in Alaska in the summer. From about the end of May to the end of July it is almost impossible to see stars unless you are out at 3 a.m.
- Learn Pig Latin and try to speak it for a whole day
- Write a poem together
- Write a letter to a pen pal (it can even be someone local)
- Get a sandbox for the backyard and dig and bury things.
- Tie-Dye Shirts
- Make a campfire in your backyard firepit (smores' please!)
- Do some fun science experiments
- Play tag (a childhood favorite and great exercise!)
- Color in a new, fun, unique coloring book
- Visit Seward and take a wildlife tour with Kenai Fjords Tours
- Fly a kite
- Go on a scavenger hunt (nature or Alaskan themed would be cool)
- Have a yard sale (summer is a great time in Alaska for yard sales - the weather is perfect!)
- Explore Trapper Creek (cool place)
- Sign the little ones up for a yoga class (great for pent-up energy)
- Grill hotdogs or hamburgers and eat outside (either at home or at a park)
- Visit the Discovery Center for kids at the Anchorage Museum
- Tell secrets (better yet, play "telephone" and see how the secret changes with each person)
- Have a family photoshoot (shameless plug here) - but really, summer is a great time for a photoshoot...outdoor or in-home. The weather is perfect, everything is beautiful and green and what better way to document your family's vacation or summer than with a photo session?!
We also have a free, fun printable for you to download! Fill out the form below to snag yours!!