Alaska is not just a land of snow and ice. The largest state in the United States has much to offer which draws hordes of tourists from all around the world. There are many fun facts about Alaska from its long and interesting history that spans many different cultures.
Why do so many people from all around North America flock to Alaska every year? Certainly, the state’s stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage play a role. Curious minds can find a wealth of interesting facts about Alaska.
Here are some fascinating Alaska facts that will likely pique your interest.
Quick Facts And Statistics About Alaska
[As of 2022]
- Capital: Juneau
- Population: 731,011 (48th Populous State in the U.S)
- Land Area: 663,268 sq mi / 1,717,856 km² (Largest in U.S)
- Nickname: The Last Frontier
- Abbreviation: AK
- Statehood: January 3, 1959 (49th U.S State)
- State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan
- State Flower: Alpine Forget-Me-Not
Historical Facts Of Alaska
Alaska exceeds the combined sizes of the states of Texas, California, and Montana.
Alaska is, by a wide margin, the largest state in the United States, a fact that is widely known but sometimes forgotten. With its massive land area comes plenty of opportunities to explore all that Alaska is known for.
It is still difficult to fathom the real size of Alaska.
To put this in perspective, Texas (the largest state in the contiguous United States) could be placed twice in Alaska. Alaska’s size surpasses that of Texas, California, and Montana. Moreover, if it were a sovereign nation, it would rank among the world’s twenty largest.
During World War II, Alaska was attacked by the Japanese
Attu and Kiska, two of the Aleutian Islands, were taken over by the Japanese on June 6-7, 1942. They held the islands for months, forcing the few inhabitants to work as slaves.
At long last, American troops arrived to reclaim the islands, but they were ill-equipped for the Alaskan temperature due to their training in desert combat.
After that, a struggle lasted 15 days and cost the lives of 549 Americans. A total of over 2,650 Japanese soldiers were slain, and the United States ultimately won.
A young artist created the flag of the state.
Benny Benson, then aged 13, was responsible for designing the state flag. Alaska held a contest in 1927 for students across the territory to design a new state flag, and they settled on Benson’s depiction of the Big Dipper and the North Star. After Alaska was admitted to the Union as a state in 1959, the design was not changed.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States was in Alaska.
The temperature on January 23, 1971, dropped to a record low of -80 degrees Fahrenheit. The village of Prospect Creek, where this occurred, is located some 31 miles from the larger city of Coldfoot, whose population is roughly just 150.
For North America, Alaska was the epicenter of the strongest earthquake ever recorded.
On March 27, 1964, at 5:36 p.m., a massive earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 9.2 struck Prince William Sound. There were more than 10,000 aftershocks in the days following the quake, which lasted for more than four minutes.
The subsequent tsunamis killed about 130 people in Alaska, Oregon, and California. There was a lot of destruction in Anchorage, and in some areas southeast of the city, the terrain dropped as much as eight feet.
Compared to other states, Alaska has the most volcanoes
Despite the widespread belief that Hawaii is the only place in the Pacific with active volcanoes, Alaska actually has more than 130 of them, 50 of which have been erupting continuously since roughly 1760.
About 75% of all volcanic eruptions in the United States have occurred at these active volcanoes over the past 200 years. Volcanic ash has caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to aviation and oil production in the past.
Alaska Facts For Tourists
Alaska has an extremely extensive coastline.
Its coastline is longer than that of the other 49 states put together. Contrary to the image of a cold state, there are many beautiful beaches in Alaska. The state also provides great opportunities for ocean activities such as whale watching.
Alaska is home to America’s largest national forest.
The Tongass is America’s largest national forest. It is around three times larger than the Chugach, also in Alaska. Nature lovers will find paradise here.
The mountains are quite high.
Alaska is home to 17 of the top 20 highest mountains in the United States. Denali, at 20,320 feet above sea level, is the highest peak in North America. The Denali National Reserve is easily one of the most famous landmarks in Alaska.
Some nights can last for two months.
The longest night in Barrow, Alaska, lasts for 67 days. They make up for it in the summer, when they enjoy 82 days of continuous sunlight.
Alaska is home to the largest outhouse race in the world
Dog mushing is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alaska and racing. Potentially, skiing. Or even aquatic competitions.
On the other hand, Anchorage, Alaska, hosts another annual race that is just as popular.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the University of Alaska Anchorage has hosted an outhouse race annually since 2006.
Teams, comprised of four pushers/pullers and one (helmeted) rider, must first construct their outhouses and have them examined by a committee to verify they are structurally sound before racing.
You’re in the right location if you’re looking for a hammer museum
The United States’ first museum dedicated entirely to hammers can be found in Haines, Alaska. The Hammer Museum houses an impressive collection of hammer-related artifacts, such as handle-making tools and mechanical meat tenderizers powered by springs.
Interesting Facts About Alaska
Gray Wolves Thrive in Alaska
The United States’ largest gray wolf pack can be found in Alaska. This is a positive fact because they are a state-protected species. And yet, they are a vital part of Alaska’s booming tourism business. To witness them, tourists travel from all corners of the globe.
These days in Alaska, you can spot anywhere from 8,000 to 13,000. Lucky for us, they haven’t been labeled as a threatened species. And no sign will change anytime soon.
Home To Kodiak Bears
Regarding brown bears, Kodiak Island in Alaska is home to the largest subspecies in North America and the world. Males can grow to 10 feet while standing and 5 feet while crouching. One of these babies can weigh up to a whopping 1,400 pounds! They share many similarities with the extinct California grizzly bear, including their nutrition and behavior.
Despite the widespread fear of bears, there have been only three confirmed fatalities at the hands of Kodiak bears. However, at least one person is mauled by a Kodiak bear once every two years. While these numbers may appear encouraging, the local administration is persistent in its efforts to decrease the frequency of interactions between Kodiak bears and humans.
The Final Frontier
The “North to the Future” slogan is Alaska’s official state motto. “The Last Frontier” is the state’s nickname.
Alaska has 3 million lakes
Minnesota may be known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but Alaska can claim three times as many lakes. Lake Iliamna is the largest of these, and it is also home to a wide variety of aquatic animals, making it the eighth-largest lake in the United States by area.
Fun Facts About Alaska
The only U.S. capital that can’t be reached by road in Juneau, Alaska
Juneau, Alaska’s capital, is one of the most isolated in the United States, as it can only be reached by air or water.
While Sitka was the first capital of Alaska, Juneau was designated as the new city in 1906 after gold was discovered in Douglas.
There’s a town dedicated to Christmas in Alaska.
The North Pole suburb of Fairbanks, Alaska, is located roughly 1700 miles south of the physical North Pole. The famed Santa Claus House store in town is open 365 days a year, and every year, hundreds of children write letters to Santa that get sent to this particular ZIP code. (A real Santa Claus was even voted into office.)
The People Mover is the name of Anchorage’s public bus system
Although it may be a bit obvious, the name given to Anchorage’s public bus system is nonetheless amazing.
According to the Anchorage Municipality, the People Mover is the state’s most extensively used public transportation system, which supports the validity of the name.
Not only do they transport passengers, but they do so in style with a fleet of modern, accessible, and comfortable buses.
Alaska was the setting for a classic horror movie.
John Carpenter’s legendary 1982 horror film, The Thing, which takes place in Antarctica, was shot in Juneau, Alaska.
Russia might be visible from Alaska, but only from a single vantage point.
The Bering Strait separating Alaska and Russia is about 55 miles wide at its narrowest point. Big Diomede, a Russian island, and Little Diomede, a U.S. island, are located there, separated by only 2.5 miles. Some Alaskans might, in principle, be able to view Russia from their homes.
Most of Alaska isn’t accessible by road.
The last on our list of fun facts about Alaska is about the Alaska roads. From time to time, Alaska appears to play up to its reputation. In all honesty, “The Last Frontier” is an apt moniker, as it refers to one of the last remaining areas of undeveloped land in the United States.
Indeed, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reports that 82% of Alaska’s settlements and FAA-recognized destinations are not reachable by road. So, you can forget about driving across most of Alaska.
LEARN MORE ABOUT U.S. STATES
Discovering More Interesting And Fun Facts About Alaska
These are just some of the fascinating facts about Alaska. As a travel destination, Alaska is hard to beat. It’s an excursion out of the ordinary worthy of the name “final frontier.” For those who love the outdoors, wildlife, and adventure, Alaska should be at the top of your list.
There is no better way to uncover more interesting facts about Alaska and some great Alaska trivia by visiting yourself.