Getting up close and personal with nature is easy in Alaska—possibly the wildest frontier in the U.S.—where bear, moose, beluga whales and sea lions are just a few of the species you’re likely to see. Curious teens and parents alike will wonder at one-of-a-kind plants, mountains, glaciers and waterfalls during a family vacation in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

Engage in a history lesson at the site of Alaska’s richest gold mine, where early miners found gold in the 1890s, and amateur prospectors still hope to strike it big. Walk a stretch of the famous Iditarod dog sled race trail—sans snow—that meanders through a tall spruce and hemlock forest teeming with wildlife. Marvel at the Winner Creek Gorge as you ride the hand tram.

Exploring a glacier is the ultimate Alaskan family vacation experience. You’ll stroll right up to the massive wall of ice—a captivating location for taking photos. Then continue along a footpath for even more impressive views of the glacier, waterfall and ice fields. Explore more glaciers while kayaking in Thumb Cove—home to sea otters and sea lions—and relaxing on a boat ride through Kenai Fjords National Park.

Sea otter

Walk through a spruce forest dotted with lush wildflowers to the perfect spot to look out over the Russian River Falls. Watch for spawning red salmon making their way to Russian Lake. Be on the lookout for puffins, cormorants, kittiwakes and possibly the rare fork-tailed storm petrel on a boat ride to Kachemak Bay State Park. At low tide, we’ll go tide-pooling to spot starfish, crabs, urchins and other sea organisms temporarily marooned in the small, coastal pools.

Forest with wildflowers

Accommodations on this family vacation range from a chateau-style hotel with glacier and ocean views to a lodge hotel with rustic pine furnishings. One of the most memorable places you will stay is the Alyeska Resort for its modern aesthetic with rich native influences, gorgeous location nestled in a lush valley surrounded by mountains and the amenities—a fitness center, spa and a variety of dining options.

The entire trip brings you and yours, on your ultimate family vacation, closer to nature in ways that you’ve likely never experienced before. To wrap up your trip, you can choose a very special option for the return to Anchorage. An exciting 90-minute flight in a Beaver float plane will offer you a new perspective on the Alaskan wilderness while you look for bears and other wildlife. You and your family will cherish the memories made on this amazing trip.