Planning to the cold and icy state of Alaska? Here is a simple guide on what to expect when you move to its beautiful state.
Alaska is located on northwest extremity of the North American continent. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean and Beaufort Sea to its north, the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea to its west, Yukon territory and British Columbia province of Canada to its east and the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to its south. On January 3, 1959, it was admitted to the union of the country wherein it was the 49th state to join the U.S. Its capital city is Juneau which is located in the panhandle region, southeast of the state. Alaska’s name was derived from the word Aleut alaxsxa or alaxsxix̂ which means “mainland” or “great land. True to its name, the state is indeed great due to its vast land and amazing landscapes. This includes 38,800 square km of inlets and fjords and about 54,400 km of concave tidal coastline. Whether your moving in with kids or moving with seniors, the state has a lot to offer for its new locals.
Pros and Cons
Each state has is own advantages and disadvantages in its area that makes some people scared of moving. To be able to decide quickly and effectively if the state is a good one to start a new journey for you or your family, it essential to know what kind of pros and cons it has. Here are a few for the state of Alaska:
- Plenty of outdoor activities: Due to its geographical location, If you begin to live in Alaska, the great outdoors is always within reach where you can do a lot of fun stuff. You can always go kayaking, hiking camping any many more.
- Various snow sports: The cold weather is common to Alaska especially during winter. This is also the reason why it has many snow sports you can enjoy and learn such as Skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, and many more.
- Slow pace lifestyle: If you’re used to the chaotic or busy city life of previous home, then you will surely notice how slow or simple it is living in this state. The people here have a relaxed attitude and tend to manage their time by doing it calmly.
- Small-town charm: The people here gives off a small-town charm which also leads their culture as well. Though some cities have large population, most locals are friendly and hospitable.
- Fun summers: One of the states that has best summers is Alaska. Some of its cities even experience 24 hours of daylight during this season. This means more time to enjoy summer activities like swimming, canoeing, hiking and many more.
- Plenty of job opportunities: A big factor for some to decide on a location to move if it has many job opportunities. Alaska has many jobs open which is a great advantage especially for new locals.
- Business-friendly environment: If you’re planning to start a business in the state then you’ll find that it is very easy to open and start one. The process to start a new business here is online which makes it easier and fast to get the requirements you need.
- Earthquake prone: Alaska experiences about 5,000 earthquakes very year. This can be very scary especially if you’re area rarely experiences one.
- Cold temperature: Alaska is known for being a cold state so if you’re not a big fan of cold weathers then you’re not going to love it here. Summers have cold temperatures while winters can be extreme and snowy so if you’re moving in winter here is not going to be easy.
- High cost of living: The cost of living in the state is pretty high which can be a great disadvantage for people who earn just an average income. You’ll find that goods such as milk, food can cost a lot higher than usual.
- High cost of fuel: The fuel prices are also high in Alaska when compared to other states. It has the third-highest state average for fuel prices.
- State location: Alaska is located pretty far from other states wherein you’ll have to endure long travel hours or frequent flights. This can be difficult especially if there is an emergency that requires you to travel to another state.
- Frequent snow: Snows are fun and all but can be bother some especially when it happens most of the time. Get your shovels ready as snow removal will be your frequent chore.
- Higher heating cost: Due to the cold temperature in the state, you’ll frequently use heating in your home to regulate the temperature. This is essential to be able to endure the weather especially during winter season.
Let’s make moving fun by knowing some interesting and fun facts about the state of Alaska that you might not know.
- 17 of the 20 highest peaks in America is located in Alaska.
- The state has around 3,000 rivers and 3 million lakes in its area. It is home to the Yukon River which is the third longest river in the U.S.
- The flag of Alaska was designed by Benny Benson at age 13 in 1926.
- The state has the lowest population in density in the country. It is made up of 52% men which is high compared to other states.
- The aurora borealis (northern lights) can often be seen in the city of Fairbanks for 243 days a year.
- The state has 100,000 glaciers that ranges from large valley glaciers to small cirque ones.
- Alaska is home to two of the nation’s largest forest which are named as Tongass and Chugach.
Funny State Laws
Laws are meant to be followed no matter how weird they seem to be. Alaska also has a few funny laws in each of its cities. Here are some below:
- In Anchorage, it is illegal to tie a dog on the roof of a car whether it’s moving or stationary.
- It is strictly prohibited by the law to whisper on someone’s ear when moose hunting.
- Waking up a sleeping bear just to take its picture is illegal in the state.
- It is illegal to let feed alcoholic beverages to a moose.
- Eating live eels in public is considered illegal in the state.
- If you’re planning to hunt for a moose, it is illegal to search and look for them on while on an airplane.
- If you own a flamingo in Juneau, you are not allowed to enter your pet whatever kind it is in a barber shop.
Weather and Climate
The climate of Alaska in known to be variable and experiences four seasons. It has various climate zones that comprises of an arctic type in the north, oceanic in the southeast, subpolar in the southwest, subarctic continental in the in southcentral and interior regions. Summer in the extreme north part of the state are short and cool while winters are long and icy. Meanwhile, the central and eastern part of the state experiences are extreme wherein it rises around 90°F (32.2°C). Winters are also extremely cold especially during January with an average temperature of -3°F (-19.4°C).
Alaska in known for its breathtaking and amazing nature. From its majestic mountains to its dazzling waters and glaciers, you’ll surely be overwhelmed with its natural beauty. Travelers and locals would come to explore and enjoy its stunning natural attractions. Below are some of its most famous nature spots:
- Glacier Bay
- Lake Iliamna
- Finger Mountain
- Shisaldin Volcano
Alaska, as far as it seems to be to other states, is not spared when it comes to natural disasters. In fact, the state experienced the largest earthquake to hit the country in 1964 wherein a 9.2 magnitude struck hit Alaska. Below are some of the common natural disasters the state experiences:
- Earthquakes: These are very commonly encountered in the state. To prevent further fatalities when this occurs, the USGS monitors for earthquakes to accurately report all significant earthquakes as soon as possible.
- Floods: Floods can cause severe damages in properties and also can endanger the lives of people affected in the area. A nationwide stream gage network is operated by the USGS to reduce flood by monitoring water flow and levels.
- Volcanic eruptions: The state has many active volcanoes in its area that can erupt anytime without warning. This is the reason why the USGS, along with other government agencies monitors these hazardous volcanoes.
- Tsunamis: The state is also vulnerable to tsunamis due to being an earthquake prone state. Like all others, it also being monitored to prepare locals when its occurs.
Moving Prices from Major Cities
Moving as we all know cost money. In order to save some money and be able to move cheaply as much as possible, it is essential to get moving estimates from your chosen moving company. This will allow you to be aware how much it cost from your city to your chosen area and be able to budget your money after. Below are some examples of moving prices. You can also check out our page for a free moving quote.
- New York, New York to Alaska: $5670
- Chicago, Illinois to Alaska: $4814
- Baltimore, Ohio to Alaska: $5670
- Houston, Texas to Alaska: $3893
- San Jose, California to Alaska: $5454
- Charlotte, North Carolina to Alaska: $5160
Housing / Real Estate
The home value in Alaska has median price of about $285,487. Home values in the state has lowered to -6.5% over the past year. Housing is pretty expensive in the state which is why many people opt for renting. The rental price average in the city cost around $1,135 per month. Meanwhile, the median property value in the state is around $276,100. It has a homeownership rate of 65.6%.
Price of Living
The cost of living in the state is pretty expensive due to its location that can be difficult to access and is far from the places where goods are manufactured. To be able to save some money it essential to know the estimate of the prices when living in Alaska. The Economic Policy Institute has a free Family Budget Calculator to help families have an idea of the cost of living in their chosen state. Below are some examples of the cost for a family with 2 adults and 2 children:
1. Anchorage metro area
2. Fairbanks metro area
3. Matanuska/Susitna Borough metro area
4. Juneau City
5. Bethel Census Area
Alaska has a population of 734,002 this year 2020. The state ranks 48th in the country according to total population. The locals consist of 47.7% females to 52.2% males with a median age of 33.6. In terms of religion, 62% of the locals have Christian based faith, 6% have a non-Christian faith, and the remaining have no association to any religion. According the ACS, the state’s racial composition includes:
- White: 64.84%
- Native American: 14.44%
- Asian: 6.30%
- Black or African American: 3.27%
- Two or more races: 8.46%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 1.20%
- Other race: 1.49%
Alaska also offer many top schools in its state. Though it has a low high-school graduation rate of 76.1%, it still makes up for having quality school for its locals. Some of these include:
Top High Schools:
- Homer High School
- Mat-Su Career & Tech Ed High School
- Petersburg High School
- Craig High School
- South Anchorage High School
Top Colleges and Universities
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- Alaska Pacific University
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- Ilisagvik College
- University of Alaska Southeast
Healthcare and Medical Institutions
Health care system is excellent in Alaska. Though it can be expensive, it makes up for its health care quality to its locals. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is the one responsible for providing Alaskans access to health care services in the state. Adults that are insured in the state is 17.7% which is high compared to the national average of 13.8%. The top medical institutions in the state include:
- Alaska Native Medical Center
- Alaska Psychiatric Institute
- Alaska Regional Hospital
- Bartlett Regional Hospital
- Bassett Army Community Hospital
Tourism / Attractions
Alaska has various attractions to offer to its locals and tourist. With nature on its side, it provides various fun explorations and stunning sceneries that will surely leave you in awe. From hiking trails to museums tours, Alaska has various tourist attractions for individuals and families to enjoy. Here are some of the famous attractions in the state:
- Denali National Park
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Inside Passage
- Alaska Native Heritage Center
- Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
The cities of Alaska are what makes it come to life. With each having its own celebrations, attraction and events, you’ll get to love it as you move and stay there. Here are some of the state’s top cities:
- Anchorage: The city of Anchorage is the state’s largest city. The city is known for its wildlife, trails and cultural sites. It is home to the famous Alaska Native Heritage Center.
- Juneau: Juneau is the capital city of Alaska. It is known for being a home to amazing wildlife which includes 280 species of birds, bears, various species of salmon, and whales.
- Fairbanks: Due to its location, the city of Fairbanks is known for the aurora borealis. It can be seen in the city very often as well as breathtaking sunrise and sunsets. It also has the 2nd largest population in the state.
- Ketchikan: The city of Ketchikan is home to the famed Inside Passage. It is known for incredibly rich Alaska Native culture as you’ll be able to see various Native American totem poles that is on display throughout town.
- Sitka: The city was once the state’s first capital city. It is accessible only by air and sea wherein you’ll be able to view its stunning scenery, go fishing and hiking, and be able to see wildlife.
- Homer: The city of Homer was once known as “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World”. Today it is known as “the end of the road” and “the cosmic hamlet by the sea”. It as various attractions such as museums, fishing spots and many more.
Alaska has a high unemployment rate of 7.2% wherein the national average is 7.9%. This may be because of a highly seasonal workforce. It also has a low job growth of -0.3% compare to the national average of 1.2%. below are the top hiring companies in Alaska:
- Bristol Bay Native
- Chugach Alaska
- Kenai Peninsula Borough School District
- Anchorage School District
- Afognak Native
Alaska’s economy is based on oil and gas industry, fishing, and tourism. The state’s budget is mostly supplied by revenues in the oil industry. With a $0.725 in Venture capital, it is ranked low compared to the national average of $6.77. Though saying this, it has a high economic growth which shows a lot of opportunity for business and companies. Below are the top industries in the state:
- Oil and Gas
- Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality
Things to do
Alaska has a vast outdoors that is filled with breathtaking scenery and views. This is the reason why the state is filled with various activities in its attraction such as hiking, fishing, camping and many more. Below are some of the top attractions in the state.
- Denali National Park & Preserve: The stupendous park is 6 million acres in size. It takes its name from Mount McKinley’s native name “Denali” which means “The High One”. You’ll be able to see incredible wildlife and enjoy its beautiful landscapes.
- Glacier Bay National Park: Located in the west part of Juneau, the park has a vast range of outdoor activities that most tourist search for. Most people visit the area via cruise ship. The park offers kayaking trips, hiking, fishing, wild-life exploration and many more.
- Chugach National Forest: The area consists of 6,908,540-acres of land in in the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula. The breathtaking landscapes is filled with icy caves, parks, rivers, and lakes. Tourist can enjoy sight-seeing, cave exploration, camping, fishing, and hiking.
- Mendenhall Glacier: The enormous and majestic glacier along with other icebergs can be seen in The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Tourist can go to rafting and kayaking trips where they will be able to see not just glaciers but also amazing wildlife such as black bears, porcupines, beavers and many more.
- Alaska Native Heritage Center: Get a glance the lives and values of Alaska’s cultural groups in this historical tourist attraction. It has a Gathering Place wherein you’ll be able to see Alaska’s Native dance and storytelling. It also has exhibits of handmade arts and crafts from local vendors.
- Alaska Inside Passage: The passage includes about 1000 islandsin southern Alaska. The tourist site is a favorite of canoeists and kayakers wherein they can explore for days the passage for hours and days.
- Kenai Fjords National Park: A popular destination site of cruise ships, the national park offers guided tours that exposes the abundance of wildlife that includes seals, bears, humpback and orca whales and many more. It was established in 1980 and is located near Seward town.
- Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve: It the largest national park in Alaska which contains glaciers, streams, lakes and wildlife. Tourist can go exploring, fishing, camping and many more.
Commuting can be hard especially when you have just moved to a new city or state. To be able to get where you want fast while also not getting lost, it is essential to be familiar of what the public transportation in the area are. Below are some of the state’s public transport.
|Transportation|| Fares |
|People Mover|| Adult:
$2.00 Discounted Fare for Seniors/Youth: $1.00 |
|Bethel Public Transit System|| Adult: $3.00 Senior
|MACS Transit||Adult $1.50 Discount: $.75|
|Glacier Valley Transit||Depending on route|
|Soaring Eagle Transit||Starts at $65 for one-way routes|
|Inter-Island Ferry Authority|| Adult: $48.75 Senior
|The Bus||Adult: $2.00 Discounted Fare for Seniors/Youth: $1.00|
|Kodiak Area Transit System||Depending on Route|
Crime and Safety
Though Alaska may seem a quiet and calm state, it has a crime rate that is higher than the national average. Its crime rate is 8.9% which high compared to the national average which is 3.2%. The state’s violent crime rate is 829 which high above the national average of 394. Alaska’s Department of Public Safety and Statewide Services is the one responsible in providing safety and protection to the locals of the state. It has various services in order to maintain order and safety to the city and towns in the state.
Acquire a new driver’s License
Getting a new driver’s license is essential if you have just from a new state. This is because you’re old one would become invalid to use in your new area. To help you have a guide to acquiring one, we have some tips for you:
- You need to go to the nearest DMV in your location and apply for a new driver’s license.
- Collect and submit all the needed required documents such as your Social Security number, proof of residence, date of birth, U.S. Citizenship and proof of identity.
- You must take and pass the following test: Vision, written and driving test.
- Take a photo and pay the necessary fees.
- Wait for your driver’s License to be given to you.
Road Safety, Highways and Routes
If you’re new to a city and have just moved from a different state, you’ll surely be lost if you don’t know which highway or route to take. To avoid this, you must be familiar what these are. Below are some:
- Alaska Peninsula Highway
- Denali Park Road
- Hope Highway
- Minnesota Drive Expressway
- Kenai Spur Highway
The state is abundant of museums due to its rich culture and art. From native arts and crafts to unique collections, Alaska has its own fare share of beautiful and fascinating exhibits in its museums. Below are some of the state’s top museums:
- Anchorage Museum
- Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum
- University of Alaska Museum of the North
- Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum
- Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center
- Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
- Aurora Ice Museum
In the end, is moving to Alaska worth it?
Alaska may seem so far away but what lies in it will surely capture not only your attention but also your heart as well. The state is filled with natural beauty from stunning glaciers to its green forest. It also has plenty of outdoor activities that will never leave you bored. Though living in its cities may come with a high price, it surely is worth every penny it will cost. With great healthcare, and quiet and calm lifestyle, Alaska is surely something worth moving into with your family. Just make sure to bring your cold weather clothes with you when you decide to relocate.
How to Move to Alaska
Moving needs a lot of preparation which can sometimes be stressful when you don’t know what to do in the first place. Below is a guide to help you or you can also check our downloadable moving checklist.
- Plan Ahead: The first thing you need to always do is to plan beforehand. This will allow you to organize your priorities on what to do during your moving process.
- Downsize: Taking too many things with you? The solution for an easier move is to downsize. Bring with you what you think matters and leave the things you actually don’t use.
- Get Moving Quotes: Moving companies allows you to get free moving quotes to the service and destination you want. This will help you be aware of how much it will cost and lets you budget easier.
- Book Movers: Make sure to book movers to help you during your relocation. They will make moving fast and easy for you as well as keep your things secure when you move them to your new home.
- Visit Your New Area: Familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood by visiting it at least twice. This will help you get there easily and also have a vibe of how it feels when you finally stay there.
- Start Packing: Start packing your things in advance so to save yourself from being stressed out of the things you might forget to bring. Pack them in moving boxes to secure and organize it properly.
- Create Essential Box: An essential box is box that is filled with the things you need. Creating one will make it easier for you to get it quickly without rummaging through your boxes.
- Say Farewells: Don’t forget to say goodbye to your family and friends. Stay connected to each other by telling them where you’re going to be.
- Get Some Rest: Prevent stress by getting enough rest and sleep. Moving can really be tiring so make sure your body is healthy during the day of your move.
- Enjoy the Move: Finally, enjoy your move by meeting new people around your neighborhood. Explore the areas famous sites and have tons of fun.
Moving Services to help you relocate to Alaska
There are various services offered by moving companies. Whether you’re making a cross-country move or moving interstate, movers will help you to relocate everything fast and easy. Below are some services they offer:
- Furniture Transportation: Moving furniture is difficult especially if you’re doing it alone. Not only are they huge but also heavy so save yourself the despair and hire movers to help you with this kind of task.
- Residential Movers: If you’re moving just within the city, then residential movers are the ones you need to book. As it within the city, they will provide you with moving estimates that have lower prices due.
- Piano Transportation: Pianos are fragile instruments due to its part and keys inside. Movers are trained to handle pianos and will carefully relocate your piano in one piece.
- Art and Antiques Movers: If you are an art and antiques collector and worried about it being damaged during the move, then don’t fret as movers will move your fine art pieces with care to your new home.
- Hot Tub Movers: Moving a hot tub can be quite a challenge as you need to remove it and install it to your new home. Booking a mover will help you relocate your favorite hot tub and install it easily
- Pool Table Movers: Pool tables are huge and heavy. It also includes pieces which can get lost when dissembled. To lessen your worry, movers can help you move your pool table without any problems.
- Office Movers: Moving to a new office can be quite overwhelming as there are so much to do. Office movers will help you pack all your things and move them with ease to your new location.
- Long Distance Movers: Moving from a city to a new state? Long distance movers are trained with this kind of service. They have vehicles and equipment that will get the job done for you.
- Last Minute Movers: If you’re moving suddenly and need help with relocating your things, last-minute movers are the ones you need to book. They are available to help you move even it’s last-minute.