10 Surprising Alaska Facts

You Won’t Find in a Brochure

Do you love trivia? It’s one of our favorite games on a cruise and with these tidbits you’ll be ahead of the rest!

Alaska is one of the world’s greatest destinations. It’s incredibly diverse, full of untouched and breathtaking scenery, and has enough nature to explore for a lifetime. In fact, there’s so much more to Alaska than you might guess from the photos.

Of course you can experience the vast coastline and glaciers for yourself, but here are a few notable things you might not know that will be sure to earn you a coveted champion’s chair on any Alaskan trivia.

There's so much more to Alaska than you might guess from the photos.

1. Highest Mountain Peaks

Alaska is a dream come true for those who love mountains. This state has most of America’s highest peaks, and Denali (Mt. McKinley) is the highest mountain peak in all of North America. Whether in summer or winter, these mountains are guaranteed to be gorgeous!

2. From Russia with…

In 1867, the US purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire. Today, Alaska is about as Americanized as it gets, but there are pockets of Russian culture to be found! The town of Nikolaevsk is a wonderful example with its village layout and onion domed church. Even without much of a shared culture, Russia and Alaska do share a common winter freeze!

3. Stubbs the Cat Wins in a Landslide Vote!

Talkeetna is a district with less than a thousand residents, and its most important figurehead is a cat named Stubbs. In 1997, the town couldn’t find a suitable person to run the show, so they wrote in the local feline-favorite Stubbs. Stubbs passed away in 2013, but he is still the honorary mayor today!

4. The Greatest and Worst April Fool’s Joke

On April 1st, 1974, a local man flew tires onto the dormant volcano Edgecumbe and set them ablaze. The effect was so realistic that nearby towns fell into panic, and even the coast guards got involved. The planning and execution of the prank make it a classic, but for those who saw smoke rise that day, this April Fool’s joke may have crossed the line.

5. Sheer Size

Alaska is massive, and that’s still an understatement. It’s larger than California, Texas, and Montana combined. This makes Alaska an endless area of possibility and travel; however, nobody should feel bad for not seeing it all!

6. Mega-Tsunami

Alaska’s nature is wild and breathtaking, and once in a while very strange things happen. In 1958, a mega-tsunami hit Latuya Bay and reached a high peak of over 1,720 ft. For comparison, this is larger than the Empire State Building! Experts continue to monitor local waves and activity, and there are no signs of anything like this happening again soon. However, a tsunami of this magnitude is enough to bring newfound respect and awe for Alaskan nature!

7. A True Frontier

Alaska’s history is similar to the Wild West except with snow instead of tumbleweeds. Originally, Russian settlers arrived to trade fur and other necessities. Soon after the sale to the US, gold was discovered and caused a massive boom in industry and relocation.

Now, oil and fishing dominate the state which continues its long history of being a rich frontier for those brave enough to trek it. Even in 1986, one could simply build on a piece of land and then claim the land as theirs. While things are not so wild anymore, the spirit continues to live throughout the land!

8. National Dog Mushing

“Mush!” Huskies and Malamutes are a staple of Alaska, and so much so that dog mushing is the national sport! Many places in Alaska allow visitors to try it for themselves on a smaller course, but nothing compares to the sheer thrill of watching it live on an expert-level trail. These dogs mean business, and when they aren’t cuddling up for a cute picture, they’re training for the next national event!

9. A Youthful Flag

Alaska’s blue and gold-starred flag is a beauty to behold. It features stars forming the Big Dipper constellation along with a single North Star. The flag was designed and chosen in 1927, but most surprising is that it came from a 13 year old boy! Benny Benson was a young student and won the design-a-flag contest, and today it is cherished as one of the most beautiful state flags.

10. Rugged Coastlines

Alaska’s coastlines are rugged, grand, and breathtaking to explore. Plus, Alaska’s coastline is bigger than all of the other state’s coastlines combined! This makes Alaska an amazing place to visit on a luxury cruise, and millions of visitors each year continue to find new pockets of beauty in this wild and scenic state!