Alaska is a great big place! In fact, to put it into perspective, I read that you could fit the entire state of Rhode Island inside of Alaska 425 times!!!! While it is very big in terms of land, it is one of the most sparsely populated places in the United States! When we were trying to decide where we wanted to spend our time in Alaska, we took several things into consideration, but the most important things for us were job opportunities and accessibility.
We really wanted to make sure that our destination was accessible by roads. Highways and roads are things that we take for granted in the lower 48. It is so easy to get from one point to another across the entire U.S. Alaska is not as cut and dry. There are not as many access roads, so everything takes longer and requires planning! We wanted to be able to drive to our new “summer home”, as well as travel and explore parts of Alaska while we were there!
We also needed to ensure that there would be jobs for us wherever we ended up. We knew that we needed to be in a city where there is a cruise port because that is where the seasonal jobs are in Alaska. The cruise season runs from the beginning of May to the end of September. During this time frame, over 1 million people travel to Alaska via cruise ship!
Once we took the accessibility and employment into consideration, we narrowed our search down to Skagway and Anchorage because we could drive to either without having to rely on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system. While most people might have gone for Anchorage because it offers the comforts of a larger city, we were enamored by Skagway’s rugged charm and decided to call it home. After all, the year round population is only 400 residents, but the population gets to 3000 in the summer months. This port town was an integral part of the Gold Rush! Just to give you a glimpse into the small town: there are no chain restaurants, and the closest stoplight, McDonalds, and Walmart are all over 100 miles away in Whitehorse, Canada. To learn more about our summer destination, check out these Skagway Fun Facts !