ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Escaping the indoors for a month long celebration, June 1 marks the start of Great Outdoors Month, a nationwide initiative encouraging people across the country to get outside and play.
Channel 2 News set out to hear from locals and visitors about the best spots to check out whether you're short on time, new to the area or just need a chance to explore.
"The scenery and the mountains with the lake — just absolutely marvelous," Bill McPherson said about his decision to vacation in the 49th state this summer. "So happy we came down here."
Many locals will tell you it's hard to pinpoint one favorite Anchorage spot, but what is clear is that there's no shortage of sites to check out. We asked several KTUU viewers about their go-to hike, and one gem in the Chugach kept getting recommendations.
“Flat Top mountain," said Sherrie Kanrilak, who is visiting family in Anchorage. "It's pretty steep and stuff but I love it, it's awesome.”
Travel a little further south on Alaska's scenic Seward Highway and you'll find Beluga Point, where you can give it a go at another local favorite, the Girdwood hand tram.
Whether you call Alaska home or it's just a pit stop, many agree the wildlife is a big draw. Even in Anchorage, it's not unusual to see a moose in Earthquake Park or to find fish in Ship Creek.
While a KTUU news crew didn't spot any kings Friday afternoon, there's no shortage of salmon to watch at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery.
Not far from both, one fourth generation Alaskan recommends grabbing a bite to eat.
"We have some of the best food here in Alaska," Cyrus Aldman said. "Bridge Seafood, one of those awesome places while you're eating salmon, you can watch people trying to catch salmon."
Other restaurant recommendations from locals included Moose's Tooth Pizza and Lucky Wishbone.
There are also options for those in need of a break from the endless daylight hours. “The Heritage Center is one of our main highlights,” Jesse Holt, a summer tour guide said.
“A lot of people when they come up aren't always familiar with all the Indigenous people of Alaska, and they do a really good job of breaking everything down and showing them different regions of where people are coming from and all that,” Holt said.