Alaska and Hawaii are two very unique destinations on many people’s bucket lists. We hope you get the chance to visit both eventually, but for today we want to help you decide between the two.
Alaska is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on Earth. From stunning mountain ranges and mesmerizing ice glaciers to vast plains and incredibly unique wildlife. The sheer size of Alaska is incredible, covering over 650,000 square miles and twice the size of Texas, it’s easy to see why Alaska feels like a planet of its own. You can see a huge contrast between Summer and Winter in Alaska, during the Summer months parts of Alaska receive close to 24 hours of sunlight, whereas in the Winter they only receive a few hours of sun.
Hawaii is situated around 2500 miles off the West Coast of California in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The state is made up of 137 volcanic islands, each of the islands are brimming with their own individual beauty. Hawaii’s constant tropical climate guarantees warm temperatures no matter what time of year you choose to visit. The area was formed millions of years ago from volcanic activity, today Hawaii is still home to two of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Alaska vs Hawaii: The Cost
The prices of food and other necessities in Alaska are higher than in the lower 48 states. This is due to the difficulty of transportation to and from the isolated state. On top of this, the harsh conditions of Alaska make it extremely difficult to farm the land, resulting in most products needing to be imported from outside the state. Flights and accommodation can also be fairly high in Alaska, having said that, the prices are definitely worth the incredible adventure that awaits in Alaska.
The costs in Hawaii are more varied than they are in Alaska. You are able to opt for cheaper accommodation and meals or splash out on exquisite beach resorts and gourmet dishes. The prices can also depend on which area of Hawaii you choose to visit, the smaller and more isolated islands have increased prices due to their difficulty of importing goods.
Overall, you will find both destinations fairly expensive.
Alaska vs Hawaii: The Food
Alaska’s food is a whole adventure in itself, they have some beautiful and unique foods to try. Reindeer Sausage is a staple culinary delight in Alaska, loved by all locals, especially on a cooked breakfast. Alaska is also home to the best Salmon in the world, with a huge abundance of wild Salmon in the waters, you can try a number of different salmon dishes that are utterly delightful. Overall, the meals will be more hearty in Alaska.
Hawaii has a vibrant and exotic choice of dishes, from juicy fruits and sweet desserts to exotic stews and tantalizing meats. Even the presentation of food in Hawaii is magnificent, a classic Hawaiian plate consists of rice and elegant meats wrapped in native Ti Leaves. You can find any type of food in Hawaii, but make sure you try some Hawaiian food like Kalua pork, shaved ice, and some seafood.
Alaska vs Hawaii: Main Attractions
You’d find it extremely difficult to beat the beautiful landscapes of Alaska, anywhere in the world. Denali National Park is most certainly one of the state’s main attractions, the park is home to the largest mountain in North America and dishes up 360 degrees of mesmerizing views for as far as the eye can see. Another of Alaska’s main attractions is the mighty Tracy Arm Fjord, the fjord is lined with exquisitely stunning glaciers and is a popular spot for boat tours and cruises.
For things to do, Alaska is home to a number of activities you won’t find anywhere else in the world. One of the best experiences is dog sledding, glide through the vast snowy wilderness with breathtaking views. Dog sledding has been a tradition of Alaskans for many years, once you try out this extremely fun activity it’s easy to see why the locals love it. Wildlife tours in Alaska are also some of the best in the world, head out in search of reindeer and wild bears with an experienced wilderness guide.
There are plenty of attractions dotted around the islands of Hawaii, each with their own unique flare. One of the best and most well-known attractions is the stunning Waikiki Beach, boasting golden soft sand and crystal clear waters. This area is also heaving with a number of fantastic resorts, as well as a multitude of great restaurants and bars. Pearl Harbor is another great attraction to visit in Hawaii, with a number of floating warships that you are able to board and explore. The visitor center offers up tons of history and information about the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Hawaii is an extremely diverse area of the planet, located on top of magnificent, ancient volcanoes. Taking a volcano tour is one of the top activities in Hawaii, hike around this unbelievable phenomenon and explore the black sand beaches formed by the volcanic magma and rock. Another must-do activity in Hawaii is diving with the extraordinary Manta Rays. These beautiful creatures can have an unbelievable wingspan of up to 18 feet!
Alaska Vs Hawaii: Accommodations
Alaska has an abundance of amazing lodges and cabins, all with a number of different specialties. You can choose to stay in a bear viewing lodge, giving you an up-close and personal view of the wild bears. On the other hand, you could choose to stay in a remote wilderness lodge, only accessible by plane or boat. These lodges allow you to do plenty of activities out in the wilderness and really soak up the beautiful, untouched nature. Overall, you can expect more rustic accommodations with very few luxury lodges.
Hawaii has a large variety of accommodation, covering all aspects of the spectrum. You can choose to stay in a standard three-star hotel within the city of Honolulu or indulge in a magnificent oceanfront resort. There are a number of lavish resorts scattered all over the islands of Hawaii, some are extremely private, with access to resort exclusive beaches.
So which should you go to?
Alaska is definitely the ideal place if you’re an adventure seeker and love getting up close and personal with the wilderness and nature. There’s also a huge abundance of native and unique wildlife. Be prepared for higher prices though, Alaska may not be great for the budget-friendly traveler or families. If you love exploring and filling every single day with amazing adventures, I highly recommend a trip to Alaska.
Hawaii has plenty of options, no matter what kind of traveller you are and what kind of budget you’re on. The area is also very family friendly with a huge range of resorts and activities to choose from. Hawaii is also ideal for sun worshippers, its tropical climate keeps temperatures high all year round. If you love beaches, sun and exotic foods I would highly recommend a trip to Hawaii.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central American, South America and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.