When it comes to accommodations, there are many different types of options in Alaska. I grew up here traveling around the state, and one of my favorite things to do is stay at a local house with local flavor. I love that you can stay in an authentic log cabin with a wood stove or have oceanfront views watching whales and sea otters play.
Why Book a Home or Apartment?
Whether I book with VRBO or choose to stay at a hotel, it all really boils down to where I’m going and what type of experience I want to have. If I’m going somewhere for just a night, typically in a city, I usually want something with convenience and breakfast included. For the most part, cities have a lot of hotels and offer competitive rates, so that’s why often I’ll look for a hotel or hostel when booking city accommodations.
What is VRBO? – Owned by Homeaway, VRBO is very similar to Airbnb and typically more common in Alaska. With VRBO, only entire homes and apartments are listed (versus a single room), so you can be rest assured that the place is all yours.
In Alaska, there aren’t as many hotel options so I pretty much always recommend a home rental (unless you’re staying in Anchorage, in which I’d recommend the downtown Hotel Captain Cook).
There are some definite perks to booking a VRBO. Unlike a hotel, there’s a much higher level of personalization and you are getting a more authentic experience. If traveling with your family or a group, it’s also usually much more cost-effective to stay in a 3-bedroom house versus booking 3 hotel rooms.
And in Alaska, VRBO prices are often the same or less than a hotel (if there’s a hotel around). If you’re new to booking through VRBO, I would recommend checking out reviews to see what people love about the property.
There are a lot of stays in Alaska that come with views, a hot tub, or something unique that you would have a hard time finding elsewhere.
Booking Tip: I typically look for places with keyless entry (which is becoming more of the norm now) such as a keypad or lockbox.
Here are some unique home stays when planning your trip to Alaska.
Beachfront Home on Resurrection Bay (Seward)
This beachfront house has a large covered upper deck, making it perfect for those sunny Alaskan summer nights. Located about 2 miles outside of Seward main, Lowell Point is close enough to town to have plenty to do, but gives you that feeling of being in Alaska’s nature.
Just a few steps away is the stunning Resurrection Bay, where you’ll see seals, sea otters, and whales every day. Tonsina Point hiking trail is also within walking distance and is part of the largest temperate rainforest in North America (yes, a rainforest in Alaska!).
Guests particularly love the large upper deck and updated style inside.
Day Trip Idea in Seward: Walk on a Glacier with an Expert Guide
Frontier Haven Home with Views! (Homer)
Located in Homer, this beautifully designed home overlooks Kachemak Bay and the Kenai Mountains. After a day of adventure, you can relax in the outdoor hot tub or enjoy an evening grilling under a covered deck.
This house has 4 bedrooms and sleeps 10, making it perfect for a large gathering or an oasis for a small grouup.
From here you can also take a bush plane to Katmai or Lake Clark National Park to view one of the best places in the world for brown bears. While it’s not cheap, flying to Katmai is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I highly recommend it if you can swing it. This tour runs a day trip and is rated 5 stars for the expert pilot and guide, and the experience as well.
Talkeetna Riverside Cabins
This pet-friendly cabin has 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and can sleep up to 4 people. It sits right on the Susitna River and is just over a 15 minute walk to town.
Talkeetna is a good stopping point between Anchorage and Denali National Park. It’s also a popular spot for flight tours to Denali.
The town is where the Talkeetna, Chulitna, and Susitna rivers converge and form the Big Susitna (Big Su). It’s also an old Gold Mining town and was the site for the start of the Alaska Railroad in 1916. Because of this, the main street is lined with cute historic buildings which are now restaurants and shops with local items.
Mountainside Private Retreat (Girdwood)
This 4100sq ft private retreat sits on 26 acres and can sleep up to 8, making it a great spot for larger groups. Located at the base of Alyeska, it’s the perfect spot for a winter ski trip or hiking in the summer.
This home has in-floor heating and a steam shower. There’s also an outdoor hot tub which is perfect for summer or winter nights. The popular Virgin Creek Falls hike is within walking distance of the home.
Girdwood is located about an hour south of Anchorage, between Anchorage and Seward. It’s a cozy mountain town with a local brewery (Girdwood Brewery). There’s a small downtown with local restaurants and shops.
Alyeska is the largest destination ski resort in Alaska with the longest double black run in North America. It’s a winter haven for snow lovers and also loaded with summer activities. For a beautiful hike, check out Winner Creek
Salted Roots A-Frame Cabin (Seward)
I’m slightly obsessed with these stunning A-frame cabins. Located in Seward, these beautiful glass-front cabins were just built in 2020 and are already selling out for the upcoming summer. These cabins are located on the beachfront at Lowell Point, which is a beautiful wooded area just past the town of Seward. On one side you have Resurrection Bay, and on the other, you have a mountain backdrop.
From here you can hike the temperate rainforest via Tonsina Creek Trail, whale watch from the beach, kayak or take a boat out on the bay, and see the sea otters and seals swim around. This is just a glimpse of the fun you can have here, it’s really a nature lovers playground (like much of Alaska).
Dream Views & Chef’s Kitchen w/Hot Tub (Girdwood)
It’s hard not to mention Girdwood when it comes to listing the coolest home stays in Alaska. This home is over 3,000sq ft and comfortably sleeps ten people. This is the perfect place to have a get-together. There’s a 10-foot dining table, a large outdoor hot tub, and a gravel fire pit with stunning views. The deck is perfect for hanging out in the summer’s midnight sun, or watching the stunning Northern lights in January.
The Aurora Yurt (Fairbanks)
What better way to get an Alaskan experience than in a yurt?! The home is 1000sq ft and has stunning views of the Northern Lights in the winter. In the summer months you can enjoy the outdoor grill and firepit. Nearby is Mountain Moose, an Alpine getaway, just outside of Fairbanks.
The Carlo House (Denali Park)
The Carlos House is located just 15 minutes from the Denali National Park entrance. There are also two smaller cabins that can be rented as well if you’re looking for something smaller. They’re all owned by the Creekside Cabins & Cafe, which is one of my favorite breakfast spots in Alaska. It’s also only a 5-minute walk away – just be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife!
This would be a great stay for those looking for a more authentic Alaska experience. Experience the Northern Lights in the winter or go on a cross-country ski adventure. In the warmer months, this makes a great spot to start your Denali adventures and enjoy the midnight sun.
Book Your Next Trip!
I am a born and raised Alaskan with a passion for travel. I’ve visited over 20 countries and lived in Europe for over 6 years. I have tried many different companies over the years and these are the ones I highly recommend.
- To Book A Hotel (or apartment): Booking.com
- To Book a Home: VRBO.com
- To Book A Tour: Viator or GetYourGuide (Viator tends to have more tour options for Alaska)
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