Looking for some inexpensive things to do around Anchorage, Alaska? Here are some ideas that cost $15 or less…and many are free! Whether you want to take in the natural wonders of “The Last Frontier,” learn about the state’s history, or enjoy some awesome family-friendly activities, there are plenty of fun and engaging activities that will keep you busy on a budget.
Hike the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail extends 11 miles from downtown Anchorage to Kincaid Park. It is considered one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the country. Explore forests, look for Beluga whales and other wildlife, and enjoy a view of Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak. Whether you walk, run, skate, ski, or bike the trail, you’ll find something to marvel at in every season.
View rescued animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Military w/ID – $12
Adult – $15 Youth – (7-17 years) – $10
Children 6 years and under – Free
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, about 47 miles south of Anchorage, is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education and quality animal care. It provides refuge for orphaned and injured animals such as brown bears, black bears, moose, caribou, elk, and more. Visitors can walk or drive the 1.5-mile loop through the landscape to see the animals and view free animal programs that show in-depth interaction between the animal care staff and the resident animals.
Learn about the life of an Alaska State Trooper at FOAST Museum
The Fraternal Order of the Alaska State Troopers (FOAST) Law Enforcement Museum
is dedicated to the police officers who bring law and order to the rugged and unusual jurisdiction that is Alaska. The museum is home to Alaska’s only collection of historical law enforcement memorabilia from around the world. Some of the unique displays include authentic uniforms, early technology, and a restored 1952 Hudson Hornet.
Go on a geocaching treasure hunt
Geocaching is a fun, family-friendly activity that will make your inner sleuth happy. By using your GPS or smart phone you can search and find clues left by other people, and then add your own clues. Visit The Anchorage Log Cabin Information Center for a geocaching guide. The Center is also a great place to pick up maps and brochures for other things to do in the Anchorage area.
Take a walk on the wildlife side at Potter Marsh
If you love wildlife or are an avid birdwatcher, a trip to Potter Marsh is a must. Walk along a wooden boardwalk through a half-mile of marshlands and depending on the season, you may see moose, eagles and eagle’s nests, canvasback ducks, Canada geese, spawning salmon and much more.
Located at the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Potter Marsh is about 11 miles southeast of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Have a beach day at Kincaid Park
Fees for different activities
Just a short drive from central Anchorage is Kincaid Park. This 1,500-acre park is recreation central, featuring soccer fields, an archery range, sledding hill, disc golf course, hiking/cross country trails, a lake for fishing — even a sandy beach and sand dunes! Aside from the beautiful scenic views of water and forests, the park is also one of the best places spot moose.
Visit the animals at the Alaska Zoo
Military with ID – $10 – This is a discounted rate available to active duty, retired, veteran and dependents of U.S. Military
Adult (Alaska resident) – $13
Adult (non-resident) – $15
Youth (3 – 17 years) – $7
Children 2 and younger – Free
The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage is home to orphaned, injured and captive-born animals including snow leopards, polar bears, owls, Tibetan yak and many others. The zoo also hosts special events such as toddler programs, Summer Family Nights with live music, and more.
Watch fascinating documentaries about Alaska at the Alaska Experience Theatre
$14 – The 1964 Earthquake & Journey to Alaska combo deal
Explore Alaska from the climate-controlled comfort of a theatre in downtown Anchorage. The theatre is currently showing 1964 Earthquake, a 15-minute documentary about the magnitude 9.2 earthquake that hit Alaska, and Journey to Alaska/Northern Lights, a half-hour film about Alaska’s activities, scenery, flora and fauna, and the incredible Aurora borealis. The theatre is open in the spring and summer.
Celebrate the story of Alaska at The Anchorage Museum
Military with ID – $10
Adults – $15
Alaska resident – $12
Children 3-12 – $7
Children 2 and younger – Free
The Anchorage Museum is the largest museum in Alaska and celebrates the story, art, culture, history and science of Alaska and the North. The museum holds 26,000 objects from all Alaska Native cultures. It has an extensive art collection, a hands-on creative lab and science center for kids and families, a planetarium, and more.
Enjoy beautiful gardens and trails at the Alaska Botanical Garden
Military with ID – $10
Adult – $12
Children 5-17 – $8
Children 4 and under – free
Adult – $7
Child – $5
Children 4 and under – Free
The Alaska Botanical Garden in Anchorage showcases northern horticulture and native plants in an 110-acre spruce and birch woodland. Visitors can enjoy a formal Herb Garden an alpine Rock Garden, a Wildflower Trail, two perennial gardens, a family nature trail and other gardens and trails that present beautiful collections of plants, flowers, and shrubs that vary by the season. The gardens are open year round and are all outdoors, covered with snow in the winter.