Alaska Day: Why Alaska is So Great!

Alaska Day: Why Alaska is So Great!

Today is Alaska Day and the day that I like to reflect on how awesome this state of Alaska really is each year. You’ve heard me brag about it all before, but here is my current list of why I love Alaska so much:

  1. Moose – This past week, I’ve seen 6 moose around town. There was a mama and baby in the neighborhood, a giant bull moose in the church parking lot, and then a mom with twin babies walking around my friend’s house last night when I was there. Though it’s scary to run into moose while walking or biking, I never get sick of seeing them. It’s unreal and amazing. They’re gigantic and awesome.
  2. Northern Lights – I know. You’re sick of me bragging about it, but I haven’t seen them yet this season and now that it’s dark again, I’m ready. They are completely unreal, beautiful, and creepy. I don’t even know how to describe them.Aurora Borealis
  3. Dipnetting – Have I mentioned it’s my favorite? Not to mention my weekly salmon dinner. Mmmmm.
  4. The PFD – This year, we only got $5,500 which is significantly smaller than 2016’s $10,360 but having that annual windfall has been helpful for us financially.
  5. (Lack of) Taxes – I can’t bring up the PFD without pairing it with our fabulous tax situation. Alaska has no state income tax (the PFD is considered a reverse income tax) and no state sales tax. Some cities has sales tax, but Anchorage does not. Alaska is currently in a recession thanks to the oil drop and the state needs more income, so we may get income taxes eventually, but for now, our tax burden is low.
  6. Mr. T’s Flexibility and Benefits – Mr. T’s Alaska job gives a lot of vacation and some fabulous health benefits. We’ve ALWAYS been grateful for these things, but in the current healthcare climate, we are very grateful for these benefits.
  7. Winter Wonderland – While we may have to deal with the cold and the snow, the winter is beautiful. Yesterday, as I drove my kids to school, Denali was lit up by the sun and the rest of the sky was full of alpenglow. It was beautiful. This happens a lot around here where the scenery is breathtaking. Hoar frost is also my favorite.
  8. Alaska Airlines’ Club 49 – We live in a weird place where we have to fly everywhere – even in-state! Alaska Airlines has stepped up. They give benefits to Alaskans. For us, it means lots of free luggage for our Trader Joe’s imports.
  9. Culture – I love how much Alaska Native culture is honored and acknowledged up here. Alaska Native cultural activities are a part of school and kids compete in the Native Olympics. The non-native culture here is also great. A friend’s brother said that Alaskans are 30% camping all the time and that’s a great description. People are generally friendly, super chill, and the only “in” clothes are Carhartts, Xtratuffs, and down skirts. As a non-shopper, I love this. My kids also get to ice skate and sled at recess. How cool is that?
  10. Outdoor Activities – We primarily love the bike trails around Anchorage and use them extensively all summer (and Mr. T in the winter with his studded bike tires), but there are so many amazing walks/hikes/outdoor opportunities just minutes from our door. Within 3 hours, you can get to the ocean, the mountains, glaciers, wildlife, fjords, forests, lakes, etc.

I’ll end on a nice, even list of 10 but I could gush all day. On Alaska Day, we reflect on how great Alaska has been to us. We’re grateful for this whole adventure!


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  1. Alaska does sound great. Might be why I’ve always wanted to visit that state! The culture aspect would be awesome to me as well.

    • MaggieBanks

      It really feels totally different up here. And the local commercials are hilarious. Like straight out of the 90s public access channels. There was even a local $6-dollar footlong Subway commercial that would play alongside the national $5 one and it was hilarious ot see them side-by-side (obviously the $5 wasn’t valid here, but they played it anyway).

  2. fetchingfinancialfreedom

    I definitely need to visit sometime!

    Northern lights were already on our list, but I wouldn’t have even thought of some of the others (especially that dipnetting is a thing).

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s so hard to time the northern lights – one of the benefits of just living here. 🙂 But yes – dipnetting is AMAZING.

  3. I’ve always wanted to visit Alaska, I’ve heard such good things and all the pictures I’ve seen have been beautiful. I think that might be because many of the things you mention feel similar to home for me (Alberta). We get the winters, the northern lights, and the comparably cheap taxes. And while the mountains might be a bit of a drive, I still try to make it out there a couple of times of years.
    To be honest, it’s taken me awhile to fully embrace winter. As a kid, I loved it (why don’t kids ever feel the cold!), but as a grown up it’s not my favourite. Our city has pushed to have more winter festivals and activities so I had more of an effort last year and you know what, there’s a lot to love about it.

    • MaggieBanks

      Oh yes. I think we would be very happy in Canada as well. And winter isn’t totally my favorite, but I don’t mind it. It’s nice to cozy up for awhile and just enjoy all the beauty. And I do love ice skating on the local lakes.

  4. I can’t wait to visit Alaska again! We only did it from a cruise ship and although it was nice, it wasn’t “real” Alaska at all! SO much to see and do! Thanks for sharing. I saw Donna’s video on FB of the moose walking down a main street. Incredible!

    • MaggieBanks

      I always say we are the only state where people visit without ever interacting with locals because they spend all their time on a cruise ship or in a bus. A cruise does help you see a lot of inaccessible Alaska, but there’s a lot worth seeing off the boat as well!

  5. I would love to see the northern lights close up. I’ve only seen tiny glimpses of them growing up in michigan, and I even went to iceland a couple years ago because they were supposed to be so prominent. no luck.

  6. How did I miss that there was an Alaska day??

    I’m glad Vicki mentioned that the cruise version was only the tip of the iceberg. I used to think that cruising to Alaska would be the best but now I’m feeling like we should be more adventurous and go overland for a good visit. I’m torn on the right seasons to go, though. Recommendations?

    • MaggieBanks

      Hilariously, we have 2 state holidays: Alaska Day and Seward’s Day and NEITHER of them celebrate statehood. 🙂

      And about cruises – it’s actually one of the most affordable ways to visit a lot of those places in Alaska, but you do miss out on a lot ONLY doing that. As for weather, June and July are the best times to go – but also the most expensive. But if you want to see glaciers, July is the way to go because the snow has finally melted off of them. (July is also FISHING SEASON!). And obviously if you come up, you’ll have to come over for a salmon dinner!

  7. I lived just south of Fairbanks for several years. It was my favorite place to live, by far. Worked on the Alaska Railroad and spent a good bit of time in Denali National Park. There is no other place that compares (though Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada come close). And you are totally right about the Northern Lights. The most beautiful natural phenomenon, ever.

  8. dividendsdiversify

    Alaska sounds cool. We love the outdoors as well and it must be simply beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for the post. Tom

  9. Kim from Philadelphia

    I can attest first hand to the magnificence of your state! It’s one if the most special places I’ve visited. Loved, loved talking with local folk! Truly cool and laid back, in a not-trying-so-hard-to-be-cool sort of way.
    Only downside was that we didn’t have time to meet the Banks family ☹️

    My husband and I have a retirement plan that involves traveling to different parts of the country/world and live in an area for 2 months every year. Alaska most definately made our list!

  10. Jaime Grimes

    Most amazing thing I’ve seen here so far is just a baby version of the northern lights! I can’t wait for the full event!!

  11. You’re making me jealous, Maggie. One day my groovy feet will tread on Alaska’s magnificent turf.

    • MaggieBanks

      And when you do, you will let us know you’re coming and come over for salmon! 🙂

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