Article Overview: Best Places to Live in Alaska
Alaska, known for its breathtaking landscapes and rugged wilderness, is home to more than a several charming towns that offer a high quality of life. From picturesque coastal communities to backcountry paradises to a vibrant urban center, the last frontier boasts a diverse range of epic places to call home. We’ve run the numbers and personally visited the cities and towns. Now we’re ready to help you explore some of the best places to live in Alaska.
Why Trust Us Regarding the Best Places to Live in Alaska
AlaskaExplored is THE DESTINATION for all things Alaska. Whether you are researching the best places to live in Alaska or you’re just curious about the last frontier in general, we have you covered. You’ll find expert tips, detailed guides, stunning photographs, and more here.
Together AlaskaExplored has more than twenty years of experience traveling, working, and exploring the beautifully rugged 49th state. Working in television has taken us all around the world, and no place more than Alaska. During our time here, we’ve documented countless stories from every corner and crevasse of the state. We’ve helped showcase the grandeur of this wild place for National Geographic, Discovery, Disney, and Animal Planet. Now, we want to share our knowledge and real-life experiences with you!
AlaskaExplored combines years of firsthand experience with extensive research to deliver YOU with the best knowledge to help plan your next great Alaskan adventure.
My Experience with the Best Places to Live in Alaska
Over the course of the last decade I’ve worked almost exclusively in Alaska filming tv shows for different networks. The first show I ever shot in Alaska was a 5 month stint based out of Wasilla and Anchorage. Since then I’ve worked and lived all over the great state of Alaska.
I’ve worked and lived up and down the Kenai Peninsula, in Homer and over to Kodiak Island. I’ve camped in cabins and tents in the back country of Wrangell St. Elias, the north slope, and all the way down and throughout Southeast Alaska. How’s the song go? “I’ve been everywhere man.“
Every city or town in Alaska has its pro’s and cons, and I cold probably make a longer list of the worst places to live in Alaska. But thats not what you’re here for. So trust me, I’ve experienced a lot of different places while living in the last frontier; and combined with the facts and stats, I confidently share my list of the best places to live in Alaska.
Best Places to Live in Alaska
Table of Contents: Best Places to Live in Alaska
Table of contents
- Why Trust Us Regarding the Best Places to Live in Alaska
- My Experience with the Best Places to Live in Alaska
- Juneau: Where Nature Meets Cultur e
- Sitka: A Coastal Gem with Rich Histor y
- Anchorage: Urban Sophistication in the Wilderness
- Homer: A Coastal Haven on the Kenai Peninsula
- Reasons Homer is the best place to live in Alaska:
- McCarthy: Remote Wilderness Living in a National Park
- Best Places to Live in Alaska Conclusion
- Best Places to Live in Alaska Recap
- Map of the Best Places to Live in Alaska
Juneau: Where Nature Meets Culture
The entire region of Southeast Alaska is my favorite part of the state. I live in Oregon and it’s not much different, just bigger and bolder! Juneau is nestled amidst towering mountains and glaciers, surrounded by pristine wilderness, and on the coast. While its Alaska’s capital city, its not just a town of politicians, even they wear Xtratuffs and Grundens.
Juneau is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and folks that don’t want to be totally off the grid. Residents enjoy unparalleled access to hiking trails, fishing spots, and wildlife viewing opportunities. It has a vibrant arts scene, historic downtown district, and abundant cultural attractions. Juneau offers the perfect balance of nature and urban amenities.
Reasons Juneau is the best place to live in Alaska:
- Housing Prices: The cost of living in Alaska is going to be more expensive than the lower 48, theres no way around that. So let’s just swallow that pill and move on. A typical home in Juneau costs around $450,000, which is 35% more expensive than the national average of $338,100 and 36% more expensive than the average Alaska home. So housing costs might not be at the top of the list for why Juneau is one of the best places to live in Alaska, but it’s got its pro’s too.
- Nature: Surrounded by the Mendenhall Glacier, Tongass National Forest and the stunning Inside Passage, Juneau offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, from hiking and kayaking to whale watching and glacier tours.
- Amenities: Residents enjoy a wide range of amenities including, restaurants, breweries, fresh seafood, botanical gardens, cultural attractions like the Alaska State Museum. Juneau is one of the best places to live in Alaska in part because of their vibrant community events that go on throughout the year.
- Airport Accessibility: Juneau International Airport provides convenient access to domestic and international destinations, making travel easy for residents.
Check out this super unique Juneau attraction: Alaska Upside Down Trees: Touring Juneau’s Mystical Glacier Gardens
Sitka: A Coastal Gem with Rich History
I’ve only been to Sitka in the dead of winter, and I still loved it! And if this crusty hardened trailer who’s generally over the cold says that, you know its a cool town. Sitka is located on Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska, and it is renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery, rich Tlingit culture, and historic landmarks.
With a mild maritime climate (by Alaskan standards) and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Sitka offers a serene and idyllic setting for residents. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore miles of epic coastline, hike its lush forests, or fish the abundant waters. The town’s historic downtown district is lined with charming shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants.
Reasons Sitka is the best place to live in Alaska:
- Housing Cost: The average home price in Sitka is around $440,000, which is around 30% more expensive than the average Alaskan home. Living in these coastal Alaskan towns comes with a price tag but if you have the funds, they really are the best places to live in Alaska.
- Nature: Sitka’s coastal location provides access to abundant wildlife, including whales, sea otters, bald eagles and so much more. You can’t go five minutes without seeing some badass wildlife.
- Culture: With a strong Native Alaskan heritage and a thriving arts community, Sitka offers a rich cultural experience that includes traditional Tlingit offerings, a handful of museums, and great restaurants. Some of the best food I’ve eaten in Alaska has been in Sitka, they’ve really got a nice little culinary scene going on.
- Amenities: All your normal grocery stores, liquor stores, and hardware stores. They also have some more fun stuff like a good farmers markets and annual events like the Sitka Music Festival.
- Airport Accessibility: Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport offers connections to major cities in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, providing fairly convenient travel options. However, if you need super quick access to an international airport, Sitka might not be one of the best places in Alaska for you to live.
Anchorage: Urban Sophistication in the Wilderness
Anchorage may not be an obvious choice for one of the best places to live in Alaska. It’s actually kind of a controversial topic amongst Alaska’s more rural residents. “Too many cars, noises, and people“, buuuut even they find themselves coming to Alaska’s biggest little city for its abundant resources. If you want “big city” AND the great outdoors, Anchorage is the best place in Alaska for you to live.
Alaska’s largest city, offers a unique blend of urban amenities and access to the great outdoors. Surrounded by the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet, Anchorage boasts stunning scenery and abundant recreational opportunities. Residents enjoy a vibrant arts and culture scene, with theaters, art galleries, and even music venues. The city’s diverse culinary scene, shopping centers, and recreational facilities make it a hub of activity year-round.
Reasons Anchorage is the best place to live in Alaska:
- Cost of Living: While housing costs can be higher than smaller towns in Alaska, Anchorage offers a range of housing options to suit different budgets. A typical home costs around $350,000, which is just slightly more expensive than the average Alaska home.
- Nature: Anchorage serves as a gateway to outdoor adventures, including hiking, skiing, fishing, and wildlife viewing in every direction. It’s not uncommon to see moose wandering the streets of Anchorage, but for a more natural nature experience, just pick a direction and go. You won’t have to drive far to see some amazing stuff.
- Amenities: If you want it all, this tiny big town is the best place in Alaska for you to live. Residents enjoy extensive shopping options, restaurants, biking trails, and cultural attractions like the Alaska Native Heritage Center. Anchorage also has a vibrant nightlife scene.
- Airport Accessibility: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is THE major transportation hub in Alaska. If you’re a busy traveler and need access to a reliable airport, Anchorage is the town to live in.
It’s an easy airport to navigate too. Check out our guide on parking there: Anchorage Airport Parking (FULL GUIDE)
Homer: A Coastal Haven on the Kenai Peninsula
I lived in Homer, Alaska for almost 2 full years while working on a popular Discovery channel show. This doesn’t make me bias on naming it one of the best places to live in Alaska, just informed!
Perched on the stunning shores of Kachemak Bay, Homer is a picturesque coastal town known for its breathtaking scenery, vibrant arts community, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and of course the infamous spit(pictured above). Surrounded by towering mountains in every direction, pristine beaches, and some of the nicest people in Alaska; Homer is hands down one of the best places to live in Alaska.
Reasons Homer is the best place to live in Alaska:
- Coastal Beauty: Homer’s coastal location provides residents with unparalleled views of Kachemak Bay, the Kenai Mountains, and the surrounding wilderness, all with a relatively mild climate(for Alaska). Residents enjoy stunning sunsets, beach hiking, endless salmon runs, and epic halibut fishing.
- Housing Prices: A typical homer home costs around $360,000, which is 5.9% more expensive than the national average and nearly 7% more expensive than the average Alaskan home.
- Arts and Culture: Homer has a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, muesums, and cultural events showcasing local artists and artisans. The town is home to the Homer Spit, a bustling waterfront area lined with shops, restaurants, and my favorite bar in all of Alaska; the Salty Dawg Saloon.
- Amenities and Services: Despite its small-town charm, Homer offers alot more than the typical amenities and services such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, and schools. The town also has a vibrant culinary scene, Alaska’s only winery, a great farmers market, and several breweries.
If you need to stretch your legs check out our article: EPIC Hiking in Homer, Alaska: FULL GUIDE & Trail Suggestions
McCarthy: Remote Wilderness Living in a National Park
Now this one comes with a big caviote. McCarthy Alaska is one of the best places to live in Alaska if you want to live off the grid in a remote wilderness area. Alot of folks are looking for a place to get away from it all, McCarthy is a great place to do that. I lived there for a year while working on show for National Geographic, and the views alone make it one of the best places to live in Alaska. And while its super sleepy with a population thats next to nothing most of the year, it comes to life during the summer season.
Nestled deep within the heart of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, McCarthy offers a unique and remote living experience amidst some of Alaska’s most pristine wilderness. Situated at the base of the towering Wrangell Mountains and along the banks of the scenic Kennicott River, McCarthy is a small, off-grid community that attracts adventurous spirits seeking solitude and immersion in nature.
Reasons McCarthy is the best place to live in Alaska:
- Remote Wilderness Setting: McCarthy’s remote location offers unparalleled access to the rugged beauty of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the United States. Residents can explore vast expanses of wilderness, hike remote trails, collect their own firewood, and witness breathtaking scenery without the crowds.
- Off-Grid Living: McCarthy embraces an off-grid lifestyle, with limited access to modern amenities such as electricity and running water. Residents often rely on alternative energy sources like solar power and generators, adding to the community’s self-sufficiency and resilience. When I was there we had to get our drinking water from a spring.
- Outdoor Recreation: If the great outdoors is why you want to move to the last frontier, McCarthy is the best place in Alaska for folks like you. Adventure enthusiasts will find endless opportunities in McCarthy, including hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, fishing, and wildlife viewing.
Best Places to Live in Alaska Conclusion
Whether you’re drawn to the bustling city life of Anchorage, the coastal charm of Sitka, the wilderness adventures of McCarthy, or the artsy fartsy vibe of beautiful Homer, Alaska offers a diverse array of communities to suit every lifestyle. And while the housing isn’t the most affordable, the outdoor recreation, proximity to stunning nature and natural resources more than make up for it. So, whether you’re dreaming of mountain views, coastal breezes, or wide-open spaces, theres more than one best place to live in Alaska.
Best Places to Live in Alaska Recap
Just to recap, here’s a list of the best places to live in Alaska.
Map of the Best Places to Live in Alaska
Here’s a map of the best places to live in Alaska.
Best Places to Live in Alaska FAQ’s
Alaska has a diverse climate that varies by region. Coastal areas experience milder temperatures due to maritime influences, while interior and northern regions have colder winters and warmer summers. Coastal areas also tend to have higher precipitation levels compared to interior regions.
When choosing a place to live in Alaska, consider factors such as cost of living, employment opportunities, access to healthcare and education, outdoor recreational activities, climate and weather patterns, community amenities, and proximity to family and friends.
Affordable housing options vary by location in Alaska. While some areas may have higher housing costs, there are also communities with more affordable housing options, especially in rural and smaller towns.