Complete Guide to Exploring Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park [2023]

Want to explore Easter Island’s famous Rapa Nui National Park and get captivated by its mysterious allure?

In order to do so, there is a fair amount of information you need to be aware of to make sure that you don’t make a costly mistake or fail to enjoy some of the best sites it has to offer.

Below, I will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Rapa Nui National Park!

Get your Rapa Nui National Park pass

If you want to explore all of the different sites on Easter island’s Rapa Nui National Park you’re going to first need to purchase a Rapa Nui National Park pass which will cost you about 74,500 CLP or about $90 USD. Kids between the ages of seven and 12 get a 50% discount.

If you’re from the US, this price probably seems pretty expensive considering that it is more expensive than the annual national park pass you can get that provides you access to all parks across the country!

The Rapa Nui National Park pass will be good for 10 days from your date of entry.

You can purchase your national park pass online here. (Note: I struggled to purchase the park pass with my mobile device so you may want to try this on a desktop.)

When you purchase your ticket you will need to carefully select your arrival date so that you don’t trigger the pass sooner than necessary. And make sure that you have your passport number handy because you will have to input it.

You can also purchase a park pass in person at the national park building located in the middle of town next to Feria Artesanal.

The drawback is that there could be a long line when you get there (as was the case with us) and they still don’t provide you with a physical map so I would just purchase it online.

Rapa Nui National Park is not a single region of the island like you would expect a US national park to be. Instead, it is made up of different areas and consists of many checkpoints (like the one pictured below) where you will be asked to show your pass for entry.

That’s usually the case, at least.

Not all of the checkpoints required us to show a pass for each person.

You can print out your national park pass or you can keep it digital on your mobile device and show it. (I would recommend you do both.)

If you go with the digital option, take a screenshot of your park pass and then create a special album on your phone for your park passes. This will make it easy to pull it up since you most likely will not have service.

Related: Guide for getting through Santiago de Chile Airport (SCL) to Rapa Nui/Easter Island

Sites you can only visit once

There are a number of different sites for you to explore but it’s really important to know that you can only visit two of them one time during your stay. These are, as you would probably expect, two of the most popular sites:

  • Rano Raraku (the quarry where they made most of the Moai)
  • ORongo (the historic Village were participants of the Birdman competition lived)

I believe that if you purchase a second park pass, you can get entry into these a second time.

Also, I’m not sure exactly how they enforce this single-entry rule because at the checkpoints they simply were taking a photo of the QR codes of our pass, so it sounds like this is sort of an honor system thing since the scanning is not real time.

Rano Raraku easter island
Rano Raraku.

Bring your passport

Some of the checkpoints will require you to show your passport while others will not. Also, some of the checkpoints that do require passports don’t always ask for them.

It’s a bit of a nuisance to carry around your passport and constantly retrieve it because it is just asking for you to accidentally misplace it but if you want to visit all of the sites you will need to carry it with you.

Rano Raraku easter island

Get familiar with the different open hours

Most of the Rapa Nui National Park sites are open from about 9AM to 5:30 PM. For lots of people, 9AM is actually pretty late for national park open times which limits the time you can spend exploring with cool temps during hotter months.

However, sometimes the hours can vary.

For example, at the popular sunrise spot Ahu Tongariki, they might open the gate at 6 AM depending on whenever the person stationed at the checkpoint wakes up. (Sometimes it’s just a matter of someone knocking on the window of the checkpoint to wake them from their slumber.)

Some places also might have earlier open hours around 7AM.

And finally, it’s not always clear that access is not allowed even during off hours.

We wanted to do a hike to Tere vaka so we arrived at one of the checkpoints, Ahu A kivi, during the early hours before the checkpoint was open and proceeded to make our way to the trailhead.

Multiple guides told us that this would be okay but it did still feel like we were trespassing and like we might have to deal with some type of confrontation. So the boundaries are not always so clear.

Ahu Tongariki milky way

Secure a (quality) guide/local

After Easter Island closed down for over two years during the pandemic, they re-opened with a new policy that requires you to be accompanied with a guide or local host for virtually all sites.

This, in my opinion is one of the biggest drawbacks of visiting Easter island. It’s understandable that they want to prevent damage to sites and yes some tourists are idiots but this makes visiting everything a lot more challenging.

The reason is that you cannot visit all of the sites that require a guide in one day so if you want to see everything (and not be rushed) you will have to tether yourself to a guide for at least two to three days.

That means that you have to pay for a guide which starts to add up in cost pretty quickly. If you wanted a private guide for two people for a full day, you’re looking at about $200 USD.

Also, if you are like us and enjoy traveling on your own this means that you will be forced to have someone join in with you for a substantial part of your trip. Something that sort of dampens the fun for more independent-oriented explorers.

You can search for accredited guides here and filter by things like language and nationality.

My advice would be to do some research or speak with your hotel reps to find a quality guide.

There is a lot of mystery on this island and you will undoubtedly find yourself wondering all sorts of questions as you explore these places.

Since you are required to have a guide, you might as well make sure that they are proficient in the language that you speak and that they really know what they are talking about.

Because this guide requirement is relatively new, there are lots of new guides that may not be so experienced and that can lead to an underwhelming experience. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you are more knowledgeable than your guide!

This guide was awesome!

Figure out your itinerary

Related to the point above, you really want to spend some time figuring out your itinerary to make sure that you can see everything while you have a guide.

Easter Island can be a difficult place to communicate with people before you arrive.

In the weeks leading up to our visit, I had many different email threads that were never completed due to the other person not responding. So you might find it difficult to put together an itinerary that works with a potential guide.

One thing you can do when you arrive is go to the Tourism Information Office (SERNATUR) and pick up one of the maps or print out a map from the national park site.

Then, visually confirm with your guide all of the sites that you will be seeing so that you can start checking them off and making sure that you don’t forget about any of the key sites.

One thing: some of the guides will take you to sites that do not require a guide. While there are not many of those, you may want to avoid doing that because you can always check those out on your own, especially if you rent a car.

For example, you need a guide to see the Moai near the beach of Anakkena but you don’t need a guide to visit the beach itself. So I would recommend you to NOT spend time at the beach with your guide if you are trying to be efficient.

Time with your guide is precious so don’t “waste it” on sites where they are not required unless you know you will have ample time with them!

And finally, some guides will drive your rental car for you. Other times they will have a vehicle to take you around in. Make sure you always have clarification on that.

Be aware of the rules

You need to keep a safe distance from the ceremonial platforms (ahu), statues (moai), and petroglyphs (rock carvings).

Typically, you will see signs or rock borders that indicate as far as you can go. Sometimes these blend in with the terrain so you need to be very mindful anytime you approach the ahu. Err on the side of caution.

Avoid standing or sitting on these borders because this has led to confrontations in the past.

Also, do not touch the moai or any other archaeological sculptures, no matter how tempting it may be. They will consider that to be “damaging” the object which can get you in criminal trouble.

And remember that you are not allowed to take things like sand, stones, obsidians, or any other similar goods from the island.

Final word

Easter Island’s Rapa Nui National Park is an incredible place to explore. The overwhelming sense of mystery is a huge draw and you will likely leave with more questions than answers after your visit.

But it’s also a place that requires a good amount of planning if you want to see it all in a cost efficient way.

Visiting Pando Aspen Forest Ultimate Guide

Pando has fascinated me for years. It is still a largely unknown site but it is steadily growing in popularity. So when we decided to head out on a road trip through Utah, I knew we had to stop and check out the site.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Pando including some interesting facts and what you should know before you visit.

What is Pando?

Pando is a quaking aspen clone found in Fishlake National Forest that is thought to be the largest organism in the world measured by weight. In fact, it’s estimated that the total weight could be around 13,000,000 pounds.

All of the quaking aspens are connected by an underground system of roots and each aspen tree is essentially one sprout or branch of this mega organism. This means that every tree that you see has identical genetic markers.

The clone spreads over 106 acres and is made up of over 47,000 individual trees. After one tree dies, it is replaced by another tree that sprouts up from the root system.

Related: 18 Arizona National Parks & Monuments to Explore

Pando color change aspen trees

How old is Pando?

It’s disputed as to how old Pando is.

Most scientists seem to be in agreement that the organism is very old, likely thousands of years old but some take it even further.

For example, some have given an age estimation up to 1 million years and others have settled around a more modest figure of 80,000 years.

Many scientists think that the age is likely capped at around 16,000 years because Pando would have had to survive ice ages to be older which may have been unlikely.

As for the individual sprouts, some of the trees may be up to 130 years old. (These aspens typically do not live beyond 100 to 130 years.) The sprouts are on average older because mule deer have been feasting on the younger sprouts.

It’s not uncommon for quaking aspens to grow in colonies full of clones. And it is reported that some clone colonies have been found that cover and even wider area. But what makes Pando special is the density and the number of total sprouts that together comprise such a large organism.

Related: 40 Places to See in The Western United States 

Pando color change aspen trees

Pando under threat?

The word Pando is a latin word that means “I spread.”

But that spreading could be slowing down due to a variety of factors.

Ever since the 1980s, there has been a decline in young stems that has been largely attributed to mule deer. Grazing cattle and elk may also provide threats to Pando.

This is why there have been measures put into place to preserve the grove which is why you will find some of the area fenced off.

These fencing measures have proven to be effective and have allowed the mean regeneration per 10,000 m² to increase in areas that are fenced off.

Best way to visit Pando

Pando is extremely easy to visit.

As you can tell from the map below, the Pando Aspen Grove straddles Highway 25 and so you can choose to visit either side of the Aspen Grove. The western portion seems to have a much thicker density but that is also the side that is more fenced off.

Meanwhile, the east side is easily accessible via a dirt road which I will talk about below.

How to get to Pando

If you are using Google maps, you should be able to simply enter in Pando into the GPS and you should see a resort for “Pando,” “Pando aspen forest,” or perhaps for “the trembling giant.”

If you are coming from the south on Highway 25 you’ll see a sign for the Pando Aspen Clone as you approach Pando. (This sign was not always there and I believe was added recently to make it easier to find where to visit the aspen grove. )

Shortly after that sign there will be a turn off on the right that is a dirt road (FR 1483) that takes you through the grove.

This is where I would recommend you to turn off because it is the most convenient way to access Pando. Along the road there will be a few spots where you can park and then you can simply wander through the forest. (If you’d like you can continue down FR1483 through the Aspen Grove and it will eventually take you to the edge of Fish Lake.)

Pando color change aspen trees

The best time to visit Pando

I think most people would agree that the best time to visit Pando would be in the fall. The entire area is a beautiful site if you can time it right with the fall color change.

Pando is at an elevation of 8,848 feet or 2,700 m, which means that the color change will usually happen on the earlier side of fall. When we visited in late September it looked like many of the trees were peaking or maybe just slightly past peak. So don’t wait too long to visit.

Pando color change aspen trees

Since these are aspen clones, they should all color change right around the same exact time. When we visited, it looked like the majority of the leaves were in sync.

By the way, nearby Fish Lake is also an extremely scenic spot to check out. I would highly recommend to do the scenic drive that loops around the lake on Highway 25.

There was a decent amount of color change surrounding the lake area and it was a pretty beautiful site to check out and get some photographs. If you catch it on a still day you will be able to capture some awesome reflections from the hillsides.

There are some trails that wrap around the lake which would be great for going for a leisurely stroll.

Final word

Pando is such an easy destination to visit and its status as arguably the largest organism in the world makes it a worthy place to check out.

9 Hocus Pocus Filming Sites to Visit in Salem That Will Put A Spell On You [2022]

Salem, Massachusetts was the primary filming location for one of the most popular Halloween movies from the 1990s: Hocus Pocus.

It’s been nearly three decades but Hocus Pocus fans can still run amok at a lot of the original filming spots located throughout the charming and fascinating city of Salem.

In this article, I will give you the most efficient way to visit these filming sites and also give you some tips into how to line up your photos with movie screen stills!

Map of Hocus Pocus Filming Sites

The best routes for exploring Hocus Pocus locations in Salem

The easiest way to see all of the Hocus Pocus filming locations in Salem is to lump them into three separate groups and then decide how you want to explore each group (walking, driving, etc.).

Group 1:

  • Ropes Mansion and Garden (318 Essex St)
  • Old Town Hall (161 Essex St)
  • Phillips Elementary School (next to 56 Washington Square)
  • Salem Common (next to 82 Washington Square)

Group 2:

  • Max and Dani’s House (4 Ocean Ave)
  • Pioneer Village (98 West Ave)

Group 3:

  • Old Burial Hill Cemetery
  • Crocker Park
  • 85 Washington St
Map of Hocus Pocus movie filming locations.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Exploring Group 1 via walking could be done in as short as 15 to 20 minutes from point to point, so it’s a great way to hit some cool Hocus Pocus spots in a very short amount of time.

If you want to add on the sites from Group 2, the time needed for the full walking tour from the Ropes Mansion (318 Essex St) to Pioneer Village (98 West Ave) would be about one hour (one-way).

The Old Burial Hill Cemetery is not located in Salem and is a handful of miles away so if you plan on walking that will take you an additional couple of hours. Using a rental car or calling an Uber would be a better way to go for a lot of people.

We broke our Hocus Pocus tour into two days.

The first day we explored Group 1 sites and then took a short break before heading down to check out the Group 2 locations.

The next day, we chose to drive out to Old Burial Hill Cemetery at sunrise to avoid the crazy October traffic in Salem. After that visit we then took off to Danvers to check out some of the real witch trial memorial sites.

Tip: If you want to start from the very beginning, you can use my pre-set directions here.

I would also recommend to focus on Hocus Pocus locations separately from the Salem witch trial sites.

While it might be more efficient to check out both sites at the same time, visiting the Hocus Pocus filming sites is more about having fun while visiting the historic sites and memorials for the Salem witch trials is more about reflection and remembrance.

I think it is a better experience to explore them separately but that is just me.

Related: The Harry Potter London Tour Review at Warner Brothers Studio

Old Burial Hill Cemetery Hocus Pocus movie.
Old Burial Hill Cemetery at sunrise.

Ropes Mansion and Garden

  • Google Map address: 318 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The Ropes Mansion is very easy to find and it is right next to the The Witch House at Salem.

To get your movie shot, simply stand in front of the Ropes Mansion and take your photo from the street or sidewalk. To align your photo with a screenshot from the film, make sure you are getting all four posts from the gate.

Movie scenes

  • 23:49

The Ropes Mansion is Allison’s house where they had the fancy Halloween party with Colonial ball costumes. It’s also the site of the infamous and cringe-worthy “yabbos” scene.

When we visited in October, we didn’t find any jack-o’-lanterns or haystacks outside but a day or two before Halloween they might decorate the house in Hocus Pocus fashion.

The actual filming of the party in the interior of the house took place in California at the Crank House, which interestingly enough was also used as the Omega Beta Zeta house from Scream 2 according to

Did you know? Dozens of black cats were used for Binx with each cat having special abilities that could be tapped into for the specific scene (e.g., jumping, staying still, etc.)

Allison's house Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Built in 1727 and extensively remodeled in 1894, The Ropes Mansion is one of the most iconic buildings in Salem and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion is now the property of the Peabody Essex Museum. You can walk onto the property and even head to the back where there is a pretty elaborate garden. If you want to explore the interior you can also book a tour. Just be warned, the mansion is apparently haunted!

Ropes Mansion and Garden Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Old Town Hall

  • Google Map address: 161 Essex Street
  • Website

Photo/visit notes:

The Old Town Hall, a National Historic Site, is located right in the middle of town and is about an 8 minute walk from the Ropes Mansion. The side of the building used in the movie did not have stairs and it looks a little different on each side so in case you are in doubt about the correct side, take photos from both angles.

Movie scenes

  • 54:22

This is the building where Max’s parents attended their Halloween party and Bette Midler did her famous rendition of “Put a Spell on You.” The actual filming of the interior took place in California at the The MacArthur’s Elks Hall according to

Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

You can go inside Old Town Hall today and it hosts several events.

The most notable of these events is the interactive play Cry Innocent (about to hit 30 years running…). This tells the story of Bridget Bishop’s trial and allows audience members to participate as members of the Puritan jury. Tickets are about $25. Read more about the play here.

Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.
Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

If you want to enjoy a nice buttery lobster roll, you can eat at the Lobster Shanty. Some tables set up for outdoor dining have a great view of Old Town Hall.

Related: Goldbelly Lobster Rolls (McLoons) Review (Order from anywhere in the US!)

Looking at Town Hall Hocus Pocus movie from Lobster Shanty in Salem MA.

Did you know? In South America, Hocus Pocus went under the title “Abracadabra.”

Phillips Elementary School

  • Google Map address: 56 Washington Square (next door)
  • Website: None

Photo/visit notes

The Phillips Elementary School is located on the perimeter of the Salem common. You could put in the address 86 Essex St but that will take you to the back of the building.

So I would just head to the Salem Common and then walk along S Washington Square. The old elementary school will be right next to 56 Washington Square. You can’t miss it.

Movie scenes

  • 1:01:28

Phillips Elementary School was used as “Jacob Bailey High School” and featured in the early scene where the students are leaving school. Somewhat accurately referred to as a “prison, for children” by the witches, it is also the place later on where Max and Allison trick the witches and melt them down into a green trail of smoke.

Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie.
  • 1:03:11
Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

The elementary school reportedly shut down in 1992 which was just one year before Hocus Pocus was made. From everything I can tell, this building looks like it might serve residential purposes now.

Related: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Review

Max's High School Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Salem Common

  • Google Map address: 82 Washington Square
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The Phillips Elementary school and Salem Common film site are located in virtually the same spot so you should be able to knock out two birds with one stone.

Movie scenes

  • 14:13

The scene in the Salem Common looks like it was shot from outside the fenced area near 82 Washington Square.

You can try to line up your shot with the screen still from the movie by using the basketball court as a frame of reference.

However, this one is tough because it’s possible they framed the shot with a nice zoom lens and I’m pretty sure the color change trees were fake, which kind of throws off your alignment.

Salem Common Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Established in 1667, the Common was initially a partial swamp where livestock roamed freely. Over time, it also became grounds for early militia drilling and may have even been the birthplace of the National Guard.

Eventually, efforts were made to beautify the area and the wrought iron fence around the Common was put up in 1850. Today, this is one of the popular places in Salem for strolling around and for local events.

You’ll likely encounter some food carts here serving up all sorts of different items like crepes, hot chocolate, and fried foods. The prices here were very expensive and the quality in my experience was not very great so keep that in mind.

Salem Common Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Max and Dani’s House

  • Google Map address: 4 Ocean Ave
  • Website: None

Photo/visit notes

From Salem Common this would be about a 1.5 mile one-way walk so it will take you about 30 minutes to get there.

It’s a nice walk down Lafayette Street and a great opportunity to check out a lot of the local architecture. If you’re visiting in October, you’ll see a lot of houses going all out for Halloween. This is Salem, after all!

Max and Dani’s House is also located extremely close to Pioneer Village so you can knock those two out at the same time.

Movie scenes

  • 17:25

You’ll see their house several times in the movie including when they open the spell book and a bright beam of orange light is shot from the crow’s nest atop the house.

Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie.
  • 1:09:53
Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Max and Dani’s House is a private residence so you absolutely want to keep your distance and show respect. I’ve heard that the owner is really cool but your best bet is to stay in the street to take a couple of photos.

You might also want to take photographs in the opposite direction since this house has a pretty amazing view of the water, which was not depicted in the movie (but included in the deleted scenes).

Max and Dani's house Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Pioneer Village 

  • Google Map address: 98 West Ave, Salem, MA 01970
  • Website

Photo/visit notes

The village is tucked away behind a baseball park and could be very easy to miss. It is only about a 7 minute walk from Max and Dani’s House. Check out the open hours and dates below if you want to visit.

Movie scenes

  • 2:16

The opening scenes of the film (before Thackery Binx made his feline transition) were filmed at Pioneer Village. Because it was closed when we visited, we were not able to explore this place closely. But even if it is closed when you arrive, you can still peak over the fence and check out a couple of the structures that were used in the movie.

Pioneer Village Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

Pioneer Village, built in the 1930s, is America’s first living history museum and still offers tours. As of October 2021, they were only open on weekends from 12 to 4pm with a $5 admission ticket. So be prepared for odd and limited hours.

Pioneer Village Hocus Pocus movie Salem MA.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery

  • Google Map address: Marblehead, MA 01945
  • Website

Photo/visit notes:

From Salem Common this would be about a 4.5 mile one-way walk, taking you about 1.5 hours. For that reason, you may want to drive or take an Uber.

There are a few areas to park along the street nearby and if you go early in the morning (we went around sunrise) you should be able to easily find a spot somewhere close.

When you get there, you will see Fountain Park on one side and then some steps taking you to the cemetery on the other side. It’s a short uphill walk and to find the specific spot that was used in the film.

Movie scenes

  • 15:45

This scene is where Max ends up shoeless after he has a run-in with the two bullies: Jay and Ernie (aka Ice). This spot is cool because you can get in the exact same location that was filmed in the movie by finding the specific tombstones.

Shortly after you enter the graveyard you will look to your left and you’ll be looking for two tombstones that are angled towards each other (pictured below in the bottom left). The name on the tombstone you are looking for is: Mary Doak.

I think that the tombstone pictured below on the right is either a fake or was removed for some reason because I did not see it in person.

There are also a couple of other tombstones you can find that were used in individual scenes, like when Max was riding his bike into the cemetery.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie.

More on the site…

In case you couldn’t tell this is a real graveyard (and in fact it is one of the oldest in New England dating back to 1638). It’s said that about 600 Revolutionary soldiers were buried here so be sure to be respectful.

Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie Marblehead MA.

If you want to add an extra location to your stop check out nearby Crocker Park. There is where a quick scene was shot where Max is overlooking the city right after dealing with the bullies and you can check out that overlook.

  • 17:19
Old Burial Hill Cemetery in Hocus Pocus movie.

You can also head to a nearby intersection at 85 Washington St, Marblehead, MA 01945. This is where another very short clip of Max riding his bike back home after getting bullied was shot.

  • 15:22
Max riding bike Hocus Pocus movie.

Los Angeles, CA Locations

As mentioned above, some of the shots from the movie were also filmed in Los Angeles.

If you remember the scene where the Sanderson sisters find themselves in the home of their “master” aka Satan (and his not so happy wife), that house is located at 6536 Friends Ave, Whittier, CA 90601.

Another house was used was 6546 Friends Ave, located just two houses down from the house above. This house was only seen briefly in a scene where kids were trick-or-treating.

Interestingly, the shot where they are celebrating after melting the witches was actually shot at the Warner Bros. Ranch. It’s the same park and fountain used in the intro of Friends.

Also, in case you were wondering the graveyard where the Sanderson sisters turned to stone/died and their house where they brewed their potions were filmed on Stage 2 on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, CA.

Information found via

Hocus Pocus 2 filming location

Hocus Pocus 2 how now been released!

Filming began in the fall of 2021 and at least one filming site was open to the public at Chase Park in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

A large portion of the park was partitioned off but they still left a trail on the fringes that you could follow and get a good view of the set.

The set at Chase Park consisted of a small colonial village, which we were able to capture below.

Hocus Pocus 2 movie filming Lincoln RI.
The new Hocus Pocus 2 movie set getting built!

Final word

Salem Massachusetts already has a ton of interesting and fascinating places to see. But if you are a fan of Hocus Pocus, you’ve got the added pleasure of checking out these cool sites. If you follow this guide you should be able to efficiently visit all of these filming places and know exactly what to look for.

Alaska vs Hawaii: Which Is Better for For Travelers?

Alaska and Hawaii.

The two non-mainland states are some of the most sought-after states for serious travelers.

And for good reason.

They are both extremely beautiful places to explore with lots to offer in the bucket list department.

But which one would be better for someone who has never been to either one?

Below, I’ll give you some helpful considerations for you to think about.

I’ll focus on the highlights of both states and by the end of the article you will hopefully have a better idea of which state you should visit.


Hawaii gets a good amount of passenger traffic at various airports including Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Kahului Airport (OGG), Kona International Airport (KOA), and Lihue Airport (LIH).

Most people will probably fly into Honolulu or Maui but you can also find nonstop flights to the other Hawaiian Island airports from different places in the mainland US.

Airfare to Hawaii can actually be extremely affordable especially with the introduction of Southwest Airlines.

This is especially true for inter-island hopping which can be done without hurting your wallet at all.

Seriously, you can fly between Hawaiian islands for like $40.

Related: Flying Southwest Inter-island in Hawaii? Here’s What to Expect

As for getting there in style.

Lots of the airlines offer lie-flat seats to Hawaii and Hawaiian Airlines has a pretty solid first class product with lie flat seats.

Alaska receives much less air traffic than Hawaii.

Its busiest airport in Anchorage (ANC) gets way fewer passengers than HNL.

And its second busiest airport in Juneau (JNU) gets a lot less traffic than each of the top four airports in Hawaii.

So if you want to get around Alaska to somewhere other than Anchorage, there is a high chance you’ll have to make a connection.

And you might even have to connect just to get to Anchorage.

I’ve seen some pretty cheap flights from the mainland to Anchorage so I know you can find good deals to Alaska as well.

Sometimes the prices can be very comparable to getting to Hawaii.

However, hopping around to different destinations in Alaska is pricier than hopping around in Hawaii based on my personal experience (Alaska is huge).

You can find lie-flat seats to Alaska from some destinations in the South and East Coast but because there are fewer flights it’s not as easy.

Overall, it’s easier to find a direct/non-stop flight to Hawaii from any given destination and you’ll have more options for premium lie-flat class cabins.

Related: Alaska Premium Class vs Main Cabin vs First Class


A big difference between Alaska and Hawaii is the hotel selection.

In Hawaii, you’ll find many more hotels and full-service resorts geared towards travelers (and families) looking for that tropical getaway or couples in need of a romantic retreat.

It’s also a hotspot for vacation clubs, timeshares, villas, and condominiums.

In Alaska, you’ve got a much smaller selection.

And the hotels won’t necessarily be cheaper.

For example, we recently visited Juneau, Alaska, and found a very limited hotel selection with one of the most expensive properties being the Four Points by Sheraton.

That property was going for $600 a night on some nights which could’ve gotten us a much nicer property in somewhere like Waikiki.

The lack of hotels in some Alaskan cities is not really a surprise given how they are often more geared towards tourists coming from cruise ships.

But just know if you’re hoping to find a bunch of luxury resorts in Alaska, they are going to be slim pickings compared to Hawaii.

Instead, while exploring Alaska you might be more drawn to cabins and lodges in secluded wilderness locations like Gustavus.

It’s very different experience from staying in a beach resort but a lot of people would probably take a secluded lodge in nature over a bustling resort.


Hawaii probably has the best weather out of any state in the US.

And it’s hard to argue with that when you look at the numbers.

The average daytime summer temperature at sea level is 85° F (29.4° C), while the average daytime winter temperature is 78° (25.6° C).

Those are very stable temperatures.

And then you have those lovely trade winds blowing through the islands just adding the cherry (or pineapple) on top.

I remember playing miniature golf on the terrace of the Holiday Inn in Honolulu one afternoon and feeling like the weather could not have been more perfect.

It can feel heavenly out there.

In Alaska, you get to (sort of) experience the four seasons and some areas have beautiful fall color change.

Alaska is obviously going to be much colder although some parts of it such as Southeast Alaska are a lot milder than you might think.

One thing these states do have in common weather-wise is rain. And lots of it.

Both states have rainforests which means some places get a ridiculous amount of water falling from the sky.

Most of the rain falls on the windward (northeastern) side of the Hawaiian islands and some of those areas can be extremely wet.

For example, some parts of the island of Kauai receive almost more rain than any other place on the planet.

Places in Southeast Alaska also receive a pretty ridiculous amount of rain during the fall and winter.

But experiencing the rain can feel very different.

When we experienced rain in Hawaii it was usually a shower that came in and went pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, the rain in Southeast Alaska was more of a nonstop drizzle that could last for days.

To state the obvious: For the average tourist, Hawaii is going to be much more attractive for the weather.

It’s more stable, predictable, and just feels easier to deal with (but you do have to be prepared for the occasional hurricane.)

But some people love the feel of a cold and drizzly environment and Alaska certainly can fit that bill.


The daylight hours in Hawaii, much like the weather, are going to be pretty stable year round.

You get about 2 1/2 hours more daylight during the summer than winter but in the winter you’re still looking at over 10 hours of daylight.

This is a major reason why Hawaii is so appealing in the winter.

Not only do you get better temperatures in many places but you still have plenty of daylight to enjoy yourself.

For travelers coming from places like the Midwest and Northeast during winter, it could be really hard to turn this down for Alaska where things may be even darker and colder.

Because Alaska is so far north, it’s daylight hours are more extreme than Hawaii.

This is great in the summer because you can have sunlight all through the evening and “at night.”

In some places, you can even experience the “midnight sun” where you won’t ever see street lights come on.

It’s pretty trippy.

But in the winter, you might be dealing with very few daylight hours.

For example, in Fairbanks during December, sunrises happen around 10:00 am and sunsets occur around 2:45 pm.

Some people find that depressing.

But it’s actually awesome if you’re interested in viewing the northern lights because it gives you plenty of time for them to come out.


When you think of states with stunning scenery, the two states that pop up on every list are: Oklahoma and Kansas.

Okay, I’m kidding.

Nothing against those states but Alaska and Hawaii are just on a different level.

Hawaii’s famous tropical scenery is the epitome of paradise for a lot of people.

It doesn’t get much better than warm beaches, breezy palm trees, lush green mountains, and many, many waterfalls.

You’ll see landscapes that look like they are straight out of Jurassic Park (because they are) and plants you’ve never laid eyes on before.

Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island features Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

And on the island of Kauai, you have the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, not to mention the Nāpali Coast.

That only begins to scratch the surface when it comes to impressive Hawaiian scenery, though.

Alaska is known for its many stunning fjords, thick conifer forests, white-capped mountains and who could forget about the mighty glaciers, icebergs, and otherworldly blue ice caves?

It also has its fair share of waterfalls.

Although when you think of volcanoes your brain may instantly go to Hawaii, Alaska actually has way more active volcanoes: 141 compared to Hawaii’s handfull.

And as just pointed out, Alaska has the northern lights which if you’ve ever encountered before, you know that nothing truly compares to them.


If you like to be adventurous when you travel, both of these states will deliver at a very high level.

In Hawaii, the beaches give you access to all sorts of fun water activities.

Obviously, surfing is huge in Hawaii and even if you don’t partake you can check out world-class surfing competitions or just sit on the beach and listen to the waves pounding.

Scuba diving and snorkeling (including cage diving) can be a lot of fun in Hawaii and it’s also a good place for things like fishing, parasailing, paddle boarding, and jet-skiing.

You do have to be careful at some beaches though because the rip currents can be treacherous.

Hawaii also has a lot of beautiful hikes.

You’ll find countless trails taking you to stunning waterfalls and mountain vistas with sweeping views of this tropical paradise.

Just be ready for some muddy and overgrown jungle terrain on some of these hikes — they can be quite the misadventure if you’re not careful.

If you just want to get out on the water there are tons of options for you like boat tours, whale watching tours, and romantic catamaran sunset trips.

And you won’t struggle to find any of the other standard adventure tours like ATVs, zip lining, helicopter tours, etc.

Alaska is also one of the best places in the world for adventurous travelers.

You can hike through mossy rainforests and bag some serious peaks — like the tallest mountain in North America, Denali, which isn’t exactly a day hike at 20,310′ feet.

Helicopters will take you up on glaciers where you can slip on some crampons and trek among deep crevasses or even go dog sledding across ice fields Balto style (or should I say Togo).

Or if you prefer to stay at sea level, boat tours will put you right in front of towering glacier faces to witness breathtaking calving events.

There are plenty of water activities to enjoy in Alaska like whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, and river rafting. Both fishing and hunting are also huge in Alaska.

If you’re adventurous side tends to take you to into the ocean or the thought of exploring a thick tropical jungle entices you like no other then you’ll find more options in Hawaii.

But if you’re drawn to more of a true wilderness experience among the backdrop of mountains Alaska will better suit your taste for adventure.

Tourist attractions

If you’re looking for a typical tourist experience both states can offer you that but Hawaii is going to deliver more in that regard (for better or for worse).

Honolulu, in particular Waikiki Beach, is a tourist mecca.

Hawaii also has Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial which is one of the most interesting (and busy) tourist destinations with a ton of fascinating World War II history.

Retracing film locations from blockbuster movies and shows like Lost is a lot of fun in Hawaii.

You can find places away from the crowds in Hawaii, especially outside of Oahu.

But even in more low-key places like Kauai it’s not always so easy to fully get away from the buzzing helicopters, vehicle traffic, and throngs of beach crowds.

Alaska definitely can feel touristy in certain spots like Juneau which cater to an insane amount of cruise passengers.

But you can easily get out to remote places that don’t feel as touristy such a small, rustic towns and some of the wide open national parks like Denali National Park and Kenai Fjords National Park.

If you are looking for tourist attractions, Hawaii will offer you more of those but if you are looking to get away from the tourists, Alaska will offer you more spaces to do that.


Both Hawaii and Alaska can be pretty expensive, but in my experience the prices add up quicker in Alaska.

Certain types of expenses are more common in Hawaii like outrageous parking fees at your hotel, admission fees to nature spots, etc.

In Hawaii, my biggest complaint with pricing was that you don’t always get what you pay for.

For example, in one outing in Oahu we paid $7 for the little piece of cardboard pizza below.

And on one helicopter ride they stuffed six of us inside and made the people sitting on the inside seats (with extremely limited views) pay just as much as those with the 10X better views up front.

I sort of feel like we were getting herded through experiences with the hope that we wouldn’t notice the at times questionable value.

In Alaska, getting around via seaplanes can get expensive and so can the excursions. We also found some of the rental car prices to be very high as well.

I noticed the tourist up-charge in Alaska but it didn’t feel as egregious to me.

At least when we were paying a lot, I felt like we were still getting a lot in value (when it came to tours and outings – hotels were a different story).

Regardless of which state you visit, just be prepared to expand the travel budget more than you normally would when getting around the mainland.


Both states have very interesting indigenous cultures that still have a very visible presence today.

Hawaii represents the upper geographic limits of Polynesian culture with the earliest natives arriving between the 4th and 7th centuries CE. It’s a beautiful culture and it’s fascinating what their ancestors were able to do navigating the open seas.

In Alaska, various indigenous people have inhabited different parts of the state, since about 15,000 years ago when they followed herd animals across the Bering Land Bridge.

Today, they are divided into different groups each of which has its own fascinating customs and culture.

Both states offer unique ways to explore and learn about these cultures whether that be in museums, monuments, tribal houses, or even luaus.

So if you’re into learning about ancient cultures, I think both states offer great opportunities for that.


Hawaii’s wildlife mostly comes in the form of smaller animals and birds (hello, chickens).

The marine life in Hawaii is impressive with tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, manta rays, seals, and whales.

Something that’s cool is that a lot of the humpback whales that frequent Hawaii in the winter are the same ones that migrate to Alaska for the summer.

You could possibly spot the same whale in both places.

If you’re willing to get out on a boat, or even better, get in the water for a diving or snorkeling session, you likely won’t be disappointed.

There’s nothing like swimming alongside a sea turtle in Hawaii and you can even go diving without a wetsuit in the winter.

For the diver, you have to go with Hawaii.

When you’re talking about wildlife in Alaska, it’s just an entirely different ball game.

It’s the only state where you can find black bears, brown bears, polar bears, moose, caribou, wolves, mountain goats, etc. all in one region.

The amount of mammals capable of having you for dinner is truly astonishing in Alaska.

Spend some time on the water and you’ll come across sea otters, sea lions, humpback whales, killer whales, bald eagles, and the biggest starfish you’ve ever seen.

And you can’t forget about the salmon.

So if you’re looking for wildlife encounters, hunting, or trying to pursue wildlife photography, Alaska is going to offer you a lot more in the wildlife department.

Final word

Overall, you can’t go wrong with either one of these states for your first time visit.

Alaska is about experiencing true wilderness, wide open spaces, and surreal natural scenery. It’s for those open to something rugged, challenging, or even thrilling.

To me, a visit to Alaska feels like it naturally leads to more of a humbling and introspective experience where I contemplate my place in the universe and hopefully don’t get eaten by a bear.

Meanwhile, Hawaii caters more to tourists looking for a re-charging escape via the amazing weather and lots of gorgeous coastal scenery.

It feels more like a place to chill out, mingle, and enjoy the good vibes, which can be done at a busy resort or at some laid-back villas.

There’s definitely still a strong sense of adventure in Hawaii but it feels more tame compared to Alaska. Perhaps I need to see more volcanoes.

That’s my take on these two beautiful states if you have any thoughts to drop them in the comments below!

Juneau’s Salmon Hatchery Review: Worth It?

If you ever find yourself in Juneau, Alaska, you don’t want to leave without first having some type of salmon experience.

One of the best ways to get a memorable encounter with salmon is to head to the DIPAC’s Macaulay Salmon Hatchery.

Below, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to have a great visit and to decide if it’s worth it.

What is Juneau’s Salmon Hatchery?

Juneau’s Salmon Hatchery is officially known as the “DIPAC’s Macaulay Salmon Hatchery,” and is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in Juneau, Alaska.

It’s a place where you can get close to thousands of salmon in various stages of their life and learn about this bubbling hatchery that’s responsible for raising 130 million chum, king, and coho salmon every year.

The hatchery is open regularly during the summer months from May through September.

Hours are usually 10am to 5pm or 6pm depending on the day of the week but be sure to confirm before your visit.

You can visit during the winter but you’ll need to schedule an appointment first.

The site is pretty small and you don’t need much time to give it a proper visit. 45 minutes to an hour may be all you need.

Related Juneau Posts:

Where is the Salmon Hatchery?

The Salmon Hatchery is located at: 2697 Channel Dr, Juneau, AK 99801.

From the Cruise Terminal area, it should take about 10 minutes to get there by automobile/taxi.

This is only a couple of minutes away from the Salmon Bake, so you can always think about visiting the two together, especially since they complement each other so well.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

Juneau’s Salmon Hatchery experience

As soon as you stroll up, head to a viewing glass window where you can get an up close encounter with these salmon.

When I visited, this was my first time to ever get a good close glimpse at salmon and I thought it was a pretty fascinating view.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

After that, make your way towards the entrance on the elevated walkway where you might encounter a group congregating for a little intro into the hatchery.

If you stumble upon this in the middle of the presentation, you can just hang out and another one will begin shortly after that one ends.

Your guides will give you some context about the operations here and how they work to enhance the opportunity for the commercial, sport, and subsistence fishing.

Officially their mission is to:

sustain and enhance valuable salmon resources of the State of Alaska for the economic, social, and cultural benefit of all citizens, and to promote public understanding of Alaska’s salmon resources and salmon fisheries through research, education, and tourism.

There is debate about whether or not hatcheries are a net positive but I don’t know nearly enough about that to offer any kind of meaningful opinion.

I just know that people feel strongly on both sides of the debate.

Anyway, while you’re up on the walkway, you’ll have some great views including a good look at the salmon ladder.

This is a 450 foot long “ladder” that simulates a flowing creek for the salmon to swim up against. I’m guessing that it also helps trigger their spawning instincts, too.

It’s one of those unique things where you could go your entire life without ever knowing that it exists so it’s really cool to experience it at least once.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau salmon ladder

The water flows down into the channel and gets funneled through these narrow rectangular slots which is how some of the salmon work their way up.

When we visited in late July, the ladder was filled with adult salmon fighting against the current.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau salmon ladder

At the base of the ladder, salmon entered from the channel amid white water chaos.

Watching dozens upon dozens of these fish propel themselves over rocks really gave me a sense of the type of drive hardwired into these creatures.

The peak salmon run is quite a sight to behold.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau salmon ladder

At the end of the ladder, pools where the salmon work their way into were filled to the brim.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau salmon ladder

After checking out those, you can head inside and purchase your admission ticket.

I was interested in doing the full tour but they were not offering that during our visit so we had to just settle for the standard admission.

To kick off the paid portion of our visit, we decided to head to the other building where they house all of the “baby” salmon.

In here, you will see tens of thousands of salmon during the right time of year. Watching them move in these dark, ghostly clouds back-and-forth was a mesmerizing visual.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

These little fish will hang out here until they get a little bit bigger and then get moved to one of the saltwater net pens outside.

They get released from those pens in late spring to early summer and then head out to the open ocean where they will try to beat the odds for a few years.

Some even swim as far as Japan!

Eventually, they will make their way back to this exact spot which is what we were witnessing during our visit.

The salmon are then separated based on their species and the hatchery begins the egg collection and fertilization process, which will result in millions of fertilized eggs that get developed in the dark incubation rooms.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

After checking out these tiny salmon, we spent a few minutes out on the deck which is also a highlight of the experience, especially if you are interested in wildlife spotting.

We visited on a rainy day but you can still enjoy the site even when it’s rainy. A lot of the outdoor parts are at least partially covered and there’s plenty to see indoors.

From the deck, we could see several bald eagles.

If you’ve never been to Juneau before, especially to this particular area, you may be shocked to see how common bald eagles are.

You can find them on the shore, in the sky, and even on light posts.

I’d actually never seen a bald eagle before so I got more sightings than I ever imagined during our stay.

Look to the water and you might spot some harbor seals.

The seals were busy snatching up salmon that were coming back to the salmon ladder. I’m sure their bellies stay full this time of year given the endless seafood buffet that is open for business.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau seal

From there, we ventured inside the visitor center where there are a few worthwhile exhibits to check out including a beautiful stuffed brown bear.

The hatchery is home to a small aquarium which features a variety of tanks and exhibits.

It’s compact but some of the marine life is really cool.

One tank featured those monster-sized starfish that cling to the rocky Alaskan shores.

This was great because we saw plenty of them from afar on our boat tour of Glacier Bay a few days before.

One giant crab inside the tank was actually feasting upon one of the starfish that was not able to get away — a site that I’ve never seen before.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau aquarium
DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau aquarium

They’ve got some other interesting marine life that you want to check out.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau aquarium

And they also have a touch tank which is perfect for kids and curious adults as well.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau aquarium
DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau aquarium

There are some stairs towards the back that you can head down which will take you down and give you a closer look at some of the tanks.

I’d recommend heading down just so you can get a really close view of the salmon.

Until this visit, I never actually realized how big some of these fish got! They are both hideous and beautiful at the same time.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

It was at this pool where we watched them leaping out of the water, trying to find their way upstream even though presumably this was their last stop. Their inner drive just never lets up.

DIPAC's Macaulay Salmon Hatchery Juneau

Final word

Overall, I felt like this was a pretty fascinating destination.

It really helped that we visited during the peak salmon run because seeing so many of them fighting their way upstream was one of the most impressive displays of wildlife behavior I’ve seen.

It would’ve been extra interesting to get one of the behind-the-scenes tours but unfortunately for us those were not being offered.

Given the low price point of the attraction, I definitely say it’s worth a visit especially if you have an interest in the local wildlife.

Mexico Tourist Card (FMM) Ultimate Guide

If you’ve ever travelled to Mexico then you know that in order to get access into the country you will have to fill out and submit a “Mexico tourist card.”

The problem is not every airline will issue you one of these cards while you are on the plane and so in many cases you will have to wait until you arrive at the airport to fill it out.

Some Mexican airports, especially the popular ones such as Cancun, can receive an overwhelming amount of tourists hopping off flights which means that you will be trying to beat the crowds while filling out your Mexico tourist card.

That can be quite a stressful experience but luckily you can avoid some of that stress by taking care of your immigration card ahead of time.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about filling out this form including how to do it and also give you some other tips.

What is a Mexico tourist card?

The Mexico tourist card aka Official Entry Immigration Form (FMM) is an immigration form that must be filled out prior to your entry in Mexico.

It’s a form that you will submit to immigration once you arrive at the airport and is required for every person including children.

It is recommended to fill out the form and register online in order to make it more convenient for yourself when you are making your way through immigration at the airport.

Update: this form is no longer needed for US tourist visits to Cancun.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Beach view from plane
Put out your entry into Mexico by filling out a Mexico tourist card.

Are you eligible for a Mexico tourist card?

The first question that you need to answer is are you actually eligible for a Mexico tourist card?

If the following situations apply to you then the answer is yes.

  • You are a foreign citizen traveling to Mexico
  • You have a valid passport
  • You will travel to Mexico in less than 30 days
  • You will not stay in Mexico more than 180 days
  • You are traveling to Mexico for pleasure, vacation, or recreational purposes
  • You are NOT going to Mexico to seek employment 

So if you are a standard American heading to Mexico for a nice week long vacation then you will fall into the category of being eligible for a Mexico tourist card.

I think the most important factor to consider is that you need to be traveling in less than 30 days in order to fill out the form and register.

Related: How to Easily Get to Tulum Mexico (for Cheap)

How to get a Mexico tourist card

You can now fill out your immigration form online via a very convenient and straightforward process.

Here is what you will need to fill out your form completely:

  • Contact information
  • Passport
  • Flight information
  • Address or name of the hotel you were staying at
  • Email address
  • Printer

Contact information

This will be basic information like your name and address.


For the form, you will need to provide your passport number along with dates such as the issue date and expiration date.

When filling out your passport details, Make sure that you have at least six months of valid time on your passport when visiting Mexico, regardless of how long you plan to stay in the country.

If your passport expires in under six months, you will have to fill out a manual form once you arrive at the airport. Also, according to some reports it’s possible that you may be denied entry into the country.

To be 100% on the safe side I would advise for your passport to have at least six months of eligibility left.

Flight information

You will need to provide your flight number and airline.

This can be found on your boarding pass or when you check your itinerary via the airline’s website or app.

Look for a number that has two letters in front of it and then numbers following after that.

For example, if you were flying on United Airlines flight 125 your flight number would look like “UA125.”

When you input your details, typically you will input the airline separate from the number.

So using that UA125 example above, You would input your details as follows.

  • Airline: United Airlines
  • Number: 125

Hotel information

Many people often arrive at the airport with no idea about the address of the hotel and some people don’t even know the name of the hotel.

By filling out this form ahead of time you can avoid any confusion at the airport.

While it is not necessarily required to input the full address of your hotel and you could simply include the name, since you are filling this out ahead of time you might as well input all of the relevant information regarding the address.

It’s also always a great idea to have the address of your hotel saved somewhere in your phone or on a piece of paper just in case you need to reference that while traveling.

Email address

Your tourist card will be emailed to you so make sure that you have a working email address.

Tip: Sometimes there will be issues with the email system so it is recommended that you download and print the tourist card as soon as you have that option.


Finally, you will need to print off your tourist card. Make sure that your printer is working well so that you can avoid any issues with legibility.

Man on beach

Filling out the tourist cards

You can find a link to register for the Mexico tourist card here.

The first part of the process is filling out some basic information which I will break down below.

The form that you will be filling out will look like this:

Form for Mexican tourist card.
This form only takes a few seconds to fill out.

Country of citizenship

This will be the country of your passport.

Port of entry

You will be able to select from a drop-down menu of different airports.

You should be able to find your airport on the menu if it is one of the major airports but if you are flying into a smaller city then you may have to just select “other.”

Here are the airports you will find:

  • Acapulco International Airport
  • Cancun International Airport
  • Cozumel International Airport
  • Guadalajara International Airport
  • Huatulco International Airport
  • Los Cabos International Airport
  • Manzanillo International Airport
  • Mazatlan International Airport
  • Merida International Airport
  • Mexico City International Airport
  • Puerto Vallarta International Airport
  • Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa Airport

Note that some airports may refuse to accept your online tourist card and might require you to submit a manual card. This might be more common at smaller airports.

Arrival and departure dates

You will need to select your arrival and departure dates which are the dates that you will actually be entering and leaving the country.

The dates should line up with your airline’s itinerary if you are flying.

Name or address of hotel

As stated above, supply your name or preferably the address of your hotel. You can likely just copy and paste the address from something like Google Maps.

Contact name

Simply input your name.

Total number of people traveling to Mexico

You will need to select the total number of individuals traveling to Mexico including yourself. This number should include all children and also infants.

Main contact email

Make sure you input a valid email address.

ZIP Code

Simply enter in your postal or ZIP Code.

Things to consider

After you submit your details, there will be a confirmation page that goes over some of the key points of consideration.

Here is a summary of these points:

  • Every individual must fill out an individual tourist card
  • The cards are free for all passengers traveling by air with a major commercial airline
  • You can only apply for a tourist card within 30 days of your arrival to Mexico
  • Your passport must be valid for 180 days to apply for a card online otherwise she will have to fill it out manually when you arrive
  • The information on your application must exactly match the information on your passport
  • The flight information that you will input is only for your arrival flight
  • Sometimes there are issues with the email systems so you should download and print your card when given the option
  • After you download the first card you finish you will have the option to begin a new application
  • You can print your tourist card in color or black-and-white
  • You will print out two pages and do not cut or alter the forms in any way
  • On rare occasions, an immigration officer may not accept a tourist card and may require you to fill out a manual form.

In addition to the points above, be sure to retain the portion of the card that the immigration officer returns to you.

In many cases, you will need to show this stub when you depart the country. If you lose this then you might be delayed at the airport when departing and you might even get fined.

Finally, you will have to fill out a customs form when you arrive regardless of if you have already filled out your tourist card.

Related: Cabo vs Cancun: Which is Better for You?

Registration form

After you input your preliminary details you can then proceed to the next stage of registration. You will need to input some of the same details you already did but this is the final step to register.

You will begin by selecting the type of travel you are doing which could be air or land.

After you select your type of travel (let’s say you selected air) you will then need to input more details.

Tip: if you will be making multiple land crossings into Mexico you should consider applying for SENTRI).

Once again, you will need to fill out the point of entry, which is the airport you are arriving to, your travel dates, airline name, and flight number.

You will then need to input your personal information which would include your name surname (which is your last name), gender, date of birth, nationality, and country of birth.

Then you will need to fill in the details regarding your identification document which in most cases will likely be your passport.

Select the type of document that you have and then enter in your document number which would be your passport number, country of issue which will be the US for a lot of readers, date of issue, and expiration date.

Keep in mind that the format for your dates is date, month, year.

Then we need to input your place of residence which would be the US and your current home address.

Next you will select the reason of your trip.

Then select the state and address that you will be staying at which would be the hotel.

Finally, provide your email address and submit the verification code.

Once you have finished processing your form, you can download and print it out and bring it along with you on your flight. It should also arrive in your email inbox.

Coronavirus update

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, you may encounter additional requirements when entering the country. For example, you may be required to complete a health questionnaire.

In addition to contact and trouble information, it will ask you questions such as “have you been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus?”

It will also inquire about potential symptoms such as temperatures, coughing, headaches, and difficulty breathing.

Global Entry

If you would like to expedite your entry back into the US when traveling from an international destination, you should highly consider getting Global Entry.

It will allow you to bypass the main immigration line which can often be very long and you can also get expedited entry through customs as well.

If you have the right credit card, you can get it for free and it will be good for five years.

Final word

Obtaining a Mexico tourist card is a great idea because it will make your travels much more convenient when arriving at the airport.

It is easy to fill out the form and register and so I would strongly recommend anybody traveling to Mexico to go ahead and complete the registration online.

You might also be interested in the following article:

Layover in Juneau (JNU)? Here’s What You Need to Know

Juneau, Alaska, is a perfect destination for a layover and recently we enjoyed a four hour layover there en route to Gustavus.

But if you’re planning on making the most of your time on a layover in Juneau there are a few key things to consider.

In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how to best go about your layover and also some ideas on some interesting things you can do.

Juneau International Airport (JNU)

Juneau International Airport (JNU) is a very small airport.

They don’t have any airport lounges and there are only a few gates.

There are a couple of restaurants inside the airport so if you don’t want to leave the airport that could be a good way to spend some time.

You could also wander through the airport checking out some of the exhibits although that will only keep you occupied for a short amount of time. Maybe 15 minutes or so.

So if you want to stay entertained on a long layover, chances are you will need to leave the airport.

Juneau International Airport (JNU)

Getting out of the airport

Juneau is a perfect place to venture outside of the airport on a layover.

For one, because the airport is so small it’s easy to get in and out.

The airport even has a TSA Pre-Check station so you can really fly through security especially if you’re on a layover because you probably do not have any bags to check.

If you have carry-on bags that you don’t want to bring with you you can check those with the Alaska Seaplanes but it is a little bit expensive.

They will charge you something like ~$30 per bag which can add up pretty quickly. If you’re interested in that option just head to their check-in desk.

Juneau International Airport (JNU)

The major hurdle with doing anything on a layover here is that it can be difficult to utilize Uber and Lyft.

That’s mostly because there are just a limited amount of drivers out there so it could take a long time to locate a driver and for them to get to you.

This won’t be a major problem if you have a long layover of five or six hours but if you are only there for three or four hours, waiting for the rideshare to pick you up from the airport and then pick you up from your destination could eat up a large chunk of your time.

Possibly around an hour of your time.

Also, consider that some places around the Juneau area don’t have great cell phone service so it can be difficult to connect to the app. Make sure you don’t get dropped off in a dead zone!

An alternative would be to schedule a taxi ride.

The taxis can take a while to get to where you are but if you schedule your taxi pick up ahead of time they should be waiting for you right outside of the airport.

If you are looking to book a taxi consider utilizing one of these services:

  • Juneau Taxi: 907-586-1111
  • DLUX Rides: 907-586-2121

Expect to pay around $25 to $30 for a taxi ride between the airport and downtown.

Places to check out on a layover

The Sandbar

The Sandbar & Grill is a small dive bar located pretty close to the airport (just over 1 mile) and it should only take you a few minutes to get there with an automobile.

This place has the best fish and chips in town and it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s got a cool local feel to it and you can pass time by playing pool, darts, or just having a drink.

You could walk there in a little under 30 minutes if you wanted.

Speaking of walking, there are a few establishment located right next-door to the airport like Donna’s Restaurant and Pucker Wilson’s Valley.

Another popular spot by the airport is the Glacier Gardens Rainforest Adventure. We didn’t get the chance to visit but they get a lot of great reviews.

The Mendenhall Glacier

One bucket list worthy destination to check out would be the Mendenhall Glacier.

This is a beautiful valley glacier that is one of the most accessible glaciers you will probably ever come across. It should take about 15 minutes to get there via vehicle from the airport.

You want to schedule a taxi to get you back though because rideshare services are not allowed to pick up passengers there.

A good layover itinerary would be to check out the visitor center and do the 2 mile round-trip hike to Nugget Falls.

All you need is about an hour and a half to two hours max to see all of this which is why it is such a perfect layover destination.

The Salmon Bake

The Salmon Bake could be a good layover stop and it’s only about 10 minutes away from the airport.

It’s an outdoor salmon buffet located along Salmon Creek and offers a beautiful setting complete with a waterfall. You definitely “feel like you are in Alaska” when you visit, which I think is kind of the whole selling point.

I have mixed feelings about the quality of the food there but the overall experience is a unique one and could be fun to enjoy on a layover.

The only challenge is that they don’t open very early so if your layover is in the morning that could be an issue.

Downtown Juneau

It doesn’t take very long to get to Downtown Juneau from the airport (~12 minutes) so that’s definitely a doable spot to hit up. The main street is Franklin Street where you can find tons of shops, restaurants, and a lot of tourists coming off the cruise ships.

This is also where you will find a lot of attractions like the Mt Roberts Tramway which is a cableway that takes you up to the higher reaches of the rainforest and offers sweeping views of Juneau.

What’s great about the tramway is that it stays open pretty late so if you were on a late layover it’s a good choice. This is especially the case if visiting May through August considering how much daylight you have during the summertime.

If you have enough time you can check out the restaurant up there and even do some hiking.

While in Downtown Juneau you could hit up Tracy’s King Crab Shack for some delicious and huge king crab. The line here can get a little long but it does usually move pretty fast.

If you’re looking for a memorable dining destination, this spot will for sure offer you that.

There are also other food truck like destinations such as Pucker Wilson’s (burgers) and Deckhand Dave’s (fish tacos) where you can get in and out relatively quickly depending on the lines.

The Alaska State Museum is a cool museum that is not too big and you could easily get through in about an hour to an hour and a half. So it would also be a great layover attraction, especially if you want to do something indoors.

If you’re trying to do something adventurous like a whale watching tour or helicopter tour a lot of those take at least 4 to 5 hours.

So you would also need time to get there and back which means you would have to have a very long layover of close to 7 to 8 hours to make that doable.

Final word

Juneau, Alaska, is a great layover city because you can get out of the airport so quickly and there are a lot of interesting destinations that only take about 20 minutes or less to get to.

It will be best to do some planning though so you can figure out if you’re okay with paying to store your carry-on bags and so that you will have your transportation figured out since rideshare services are not very reliable here.

40 Places to See in The Western United States (Vacations, Landmarks) [2022]

This article will show you 40 (stunning) places to see in the Western United States.

These are pretty stunning destinations perfect for vacations, road trips, and for anybody interested in discovering these landmarks and points of interest.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

1. Moaning Cave –  Moaning Cavern Park (California)

Moaning Cave sounds like the title to an Indie film you’d probably want to avoid, but don’t be deceived. Discovered (modernly) during the Gold Rush, this cavern earned its name from the moaning sound that echoes throughout the cave. You can’t deny the intrigue of caverns, especially ones that emit moaning echoes. If you’re in the Gold Country area then try to stop by.

Moaning Cave California
Hidden Gem by Ellie Stone

2. Paint Mines – Paint Mines Interpretative Park (Colorado)

Most people think about the Rocky Mountains when they think of Colorado. Here’s a lesser known spot worth your time called “Paint Mines.” This park is a cluster of hoodoos and sand-capped spires of all colors.

There’s an array of wildlife here, too. Everything from horned toads, mule deers, falcons, and coyotes call this place home. Definitely look into visiting.

Paint Mines
Paint Mines by Jabon Eagar
Paint Mines
Paint Mines by Curtis (CCBImages)

3. Horsetail Fall in February – Yosemite National Park (California)

Ever seen a “fire fall?”

Better yet, have you ever even heard of a fire fall?

You’ll only be able to catch a glimpse of this elusive wonder at Yosemite National Park two weeks out of the year in February when the sun shines on the fall just right at sunset. But if you’ve ever wondered what a waterfall looks like when lit on fire, now you know.

horestail fall
Photo by Don Vilfer

4. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Everybody knows about the Grand Canyon. And everybody knows about Yellowstone. But not everyone knows that there’s a “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” and that it is one of the most stunning places in the country.

Grand Canyon Of Yellowstone
Grand Canyon Of the Yellowstone by Mike Jones
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone HDR
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone by Brandon Kopp

5. Kanarra Creek – Zion National Park (Utah)

Now that Antelope Canyon is growing in fame and rightfully so, I felt the need to showcase another stunning slot canyon, Kanarra Creek. Unlike Antelope Canyon, you’ll actually have to do some hiking through the Zion backcountry to get to this picturesque location.

Kanarra Creek Utah
Under Your Spell by Eddie Lluisma
Kanarra Creek Utah
Daydream by Eddie Lluisma

6. Hidden Lake – Glacier National Park (Montana)

Really, the entire national park of Glacier could be put on this list because so few people know about the many peaks, lakes, and (you guessed it) glaciers that make up this spectacular park. I figured Hidden Lake exemplified the unknown beauty of Glacier, in both its name and its scenery.

Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake by Tony Hochstetler

7. Rialto Beach – Olympic National Park (Washington)

Standing tall and shaped like the Pacific’s version of the “Burj Al Arab” (the sailboat skyscraper) in Dubai, this iconic beach is a photographer’s paradise. And as the caption below suggests, Rialto Beach may be the best “Kelped” secret of the Pacific Northwest coastline.

Rialto Beach
Best Kelped Secret by Ryan Manuel

8. Painted Hills – John Day Fossil Bed National Monument (Oregon)

Here’s a scene right out of a Dr. Seuss book except it’s real life. I’ve seen a similar sight in Asia but who knew we had this here in the United States? The painted hills are a part of a larger area of the John Day Fossil Bed where you can find fossils of horses, camels, and even rhinoceroses. And by “you” I mean skilled paleontologists, of course.

Painted Hills
Photo by Stuart Gordon
Painted Hills Sunset Colors
Painted Hills Sunset Colors by Ryan Manuel

9. The Subway – Zion National Park (Utah)

Going to or from the Subway, you’ll dive through emerald waters, rappel through multiple slot canyons, scramble over boulders the size of houses, and pass dinosaur tracks. Oh yeah, and you’ll catch a glimpse of this wonder.

The Subway Zion
Lured By The Light by Eddie Lluisma
Dino Prints
Dino Prints by Daniel Gillaspia

10. Black Canyon of the Gunnison – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison sounds like a place straight out of a fantasy novel and it looks like one, too. It’s one of the steepest mountain descents in the world and the photos here will leave you with no doubt of that fact.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Painted Wall by Daniel Cummins
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP
Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP by Patrick Huber

11. Zabriskie Point – Death Valley National Park (California)

Here’s yet another location you’ll have to see with your own eyes to believe it’s actually earth you’re looking at. See the tiny black things on the left that look like penguins? They’re actually humans — that’s how vast this unique landscape is.

Zabriskie Point
Collect Moments Not Things by Eddie Lluisma

12. White Pocket – Arizona

White Pocket’s not really white but actually full of brilliant, vibrant color… and dragons, too.

White Pocket - Arizona The Dragon
The Dragon by Naphat Chantaravisoot

13. Palouse Falls –  Palouse Falls State Park (Washington)

Not quite a hidden gem if you live in the Pacific Northwest, but Palouse Falls is a destination many outside of the photography and hiking world have not heard about. Not to mention most people can’t believe to find out this spot is in Washington state and not somewhere in the Southwest.

Palouse Falls
Palouse Falls by Naphat Chantaravisoot

14. Theodore Roosevelt National Park – North Dakota

For those who always ask what there is to do in North Dakota, well now you have an answer. Theodore Roosevelt National Park is full of badlands just waiting to be explored. The park is also known for its abundant wildlife, which include feral horses, golden eagles, and elk among many others.

Wild Horses at TRNP
Wild Horses at TRNP by John Hamilton

15. Hidden Lake – North Cascades National Park (Washington)

Another hidden lake makes the list. This one will take a few miles of hiking to get to capture the view but as you can see it would be worth it.

Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake by Ryan Mallady

16. Cathedral Lake – Yosemite National Park (California)

While this point may be known to frequent hikers to Yosemite, it’s still a destination constantly overlooked by many for other destinations inside Yosemite Valley that are easier to access. If you’re planning on making it here be sure you to apply for a permit early or take your chances with first come, first serve.

Cathedral Lake Yosemite
Cathedral Lake by Sean Goebel

17. Tent Rocks – Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (New Mexico)

I know what you’re thinking. These cones look like they were shaped by volcanic eruptions that likely occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Well, you’re right. Stop by Tent Rocks to witness the artistic side of mother nature if you’re ever in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area.

Related: 18 Best National Parks in New Mexico

Tent Rocks National Monument
Tent Rocks National Monument by Daniel Cummins

18. McWay Falls – Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park/Big Sur (California)

Can it get more beautiful than a waterfall (or “tidefall”) pouring into turquoise waters on a California beach at dusk? I don’t think it can. I really don’t think it can….

A stormy day @ Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park
A stormy day @ Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park by LeighAnne Langman (Flickr: swazileigh)

Okay, so maybe it can….

McWay Cove Under the Milky Way
McWay Cove Under the Milky Way by Bill Shupp

19. Goosenecks – Goosenecks State Park (Utah)

A quick stop allows you to see this triple entrenched meander located close to Mexican Hat and not far from Monument Valley. Just be aware that your GPS on your cell phone will sometimes do some funky things in this region of the country. Make sure you’re actually headed to Goosenecks State Park and not an abandoned gas station 50 miles out of the way (not that it ever happened to me).

Goosenecks State Park
Goosenecks by Daniel Gillaspia

20. Garden of the Gods – Colorado

Visit the Garden of the Gods National Landmark and you will be blown away by the stark contrast between the Garden’s bright orange and the surrounding terrain. There are tons of photo ops around this place and it is easily accessible by car. Don’t miss it if you’re in the Colorado Springs area; it’s a perfect road trip pit-stop.

Inversion at Garden of the Gods
Inversion at Garden of the Gods by Dave Soldano

21. Mono Lake – California

In 2010, scientists thought they’d discovered a new “alien” DNA here, and can anyone really blame them? Just look at the formations happening here. Now, I’m pretty sure that “discovery” has been debunked, but I’m still holding out hope for aliens.

Mono Lake Sunset [Explored 03/24/13]
Mono Lake Sunset by Eddie Lluisma
Mono Lake
Mono Lake by Eddie Lluisma

22. Bisti Badlands – New Mexico

Badlands never get old, especially when they look like giant petrified mushrooms. Here’s some badlands in New Mexico, not known to many.

Bisti Badlands
Bisti Badlands by Naphat Chantaravisoot
Bisti Badlands
Bisti Badlands by Daniel Cummins

23. The Window – Big Bend National Park (Texas)

Big Bend is one of the least visited national parks due to its location just west of middle-of-nowhere, Texas. But what it lacks in visitors it makes up in breathtaking views like this one.

The Window is one of those places where you have to just put life on hold, get comfortable on a bench and watch the vast Texas sky transform into a real-life painting at sunset. It’s one of my favorite national parks in Texas.

The Window
The Window Sunset by Daniel Gillaspia

And after you get your sunset fix, head to nearby Marfa,Texas to see the sky get real freaky when the Marfa lights come out.

24. Green River Overlook – Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

A lot of people have seen images of the Canyonlands, but I still think Canyonlands National Park is overlooked so I included it. You’ll catch some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets you’ve ever seen at this park. And if you’re a movie buff, try heading to Blue John Canyon where you can see the site where the actual accident occurred in the movie, 127 hours.

Same but different
Same but different by Daniel Cummins

25. Blue Mesa/Painted Desert – Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)

Now it’s back to Dr. Seuss land with more absurdly colored desert land. And what makes this place even weirder is that the brown stuff you’ll assume is dirt is actually little bits of petrified trees that are reallllly old. It’s one of my favorite national parks sites in Arizona (read more about others here).

Petrified Forest National Park----Petrified Forest
Petrified Forest National Park by Wenhao
Painted Desert
Photo by katsrcool
Painted Desert View in Petrified Forest NP JN036947
Petrified Forest NP by Janice and Nolan Braud
Blue Mesa
Blue Mesa by Daniel Cummins

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

26. Valley of Fire – Valley of Fire State Park (Nevada)

Don’t think you’ll ever be able to make your way to Mars? Well, luckily you can catch a glimpse of Mars at this state park in Nevada where Hollywood has also gone looking for the Martian terrain. There are ton of formations to check out here but the Fire Wave (seen below) is one of my favorites.

This place is only about 60 miles out from Las Vegas, so if you don’t want to drive all the way to the Grand Canyon this is the place you want to stop. If you visit this place in the summer, be sure to bring extra water because it gets HOT. Dry heat or not, it’s still the Valley of Fire.

Fire Wave
Fire Wave by Eddie Lluisma
Atalatl Rock
Atalatl Rock by George Grossman
Pastel Slot
Pastel Slot by George Grossman

27. Antelope Canyon – Arizona

While Antelope Canyon is becoming more known it still deserves a place on this list, because I meet tons of people who still don’t know about this sacred place. Witnessing the light beams in this canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list. Check out my write-up on Antelope Canyon for more info.

Antelope Canyon light beam
Double Beam by Eddie Lluisma

28. Inspiration and Bryce Point – Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)

Well known to photographers, the average vacationer is probably more interested in seeing sites like the Grand Canyon when in the area but this sight is not to be missed, especially at sunrise.

Bryce Point
Bryce Point by Eddie Lluisma
Stuart L Gordon Photography: Bryce Canyon National Park &emdash; BryceCanyon_0005_06_07_08
Photo by Stuart Gordon

29. Smith Rock – Oregon (Smith Rock State Park)

Smith Rock, located in central Oregon, is a frequent rock-climbing destination for professional climbers and known as the birth place of “sport climbing.” The best of the best are consistently developing the latest routes and climbing techniques out here. Even if you’re not a climber it’s a beautiful setting to watch the sunrise as it illuminates this huge rock, resembling a castle towering over a surrounding moat.

Smith Rock
Photo by Stuart Gordon

30. Bodega Head – Bodega Bay (California)

When bringing up California beaches, the names usually mentioned first are those like Malibu and Big Sur. But here’s one you probably haven’t heard: Bodega Bay. At Bodega, massive cliffs suited for whale-watching overlook rocky beaches, and trails will lead you all around scenic terrain and even down to secluded beaches where you’ll be the only human being walking on the sand.

Say hello to the seals at Seal Rock and then visit the tide pools that are among the most diverse in the world and have attracted the likes of National Geographic. Just watch out for the birds when visiting the nearby town of Bodega.

Bodega Bay
Photo by Daniel Gillaspia
Bodega Bay
Bodega Cliffs by Daniel Gillaspia

31. Paradise Valley – Mt Rainer National Park (Washington)

Paradise valley. The name really says it all…

Edith Gone Wild!
Photo by Ryan Manuel

32. The Racetrack – Death Valley National Park (California)

Just how did these rocks get there? Aliens? The prankster of the century? God? Nobody really knows. The Race Track is a true natural wonder because if you visit it you will inevitably spend all day wondering who really moved these rocks?

The Racetrack Death Valley
The Playa by Eddie Lluisma
The Racetrack death valley
Breaking Dawn Pt. II by Eddie Lluisma

33. Horseshoe Bend – Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend is another spot growing with popularity but still often times confused with the Grand Canyon National Park. From a nearby parking lot, it’s a short hike to the overlook but be careful about getting too close to the edge — it’s a long 1,000 feet down to the Colorado River below.

Horseshoe Bend [Explored 01/17/13]
Horseshoe Bend by Eddie Lluisma

34. Badlands – Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

Badlands National Park is the place to see badlands. It’s also a perfect place to find unique wildlife, such as bighorn sheep, the swift fox, bison, and the most endangered mammal in North America: the elusive black-footed ferret. Try to catch the sunset or sunrise here and if you’re lucky you may even catch a sight of the Northern Lights.

Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park by Geof Wilson
Badlands National Park Sunrise HDR
Badlands National Park Sunrise HDR by Brandon Kopp

35. Fiery Furnace – Arches National Park (Utah)

So everyone goes to Arches National Park just to see the arches, right? Not exactly. Here’s one “non-arch” spot worth checking out. Enter the furnace at your own risk, however. Inside, there are no signs, trails, or cairns and due to the height of the sandstone walls your GPS is likely to fail as well.

Fiery Furnace – Arches National Park. Photo by Jerry and Pat Donaho. Image via Flickr.

36. Spider Rock – Canyon De Chelly National Monument (Arizona)

Recently used as a backdrop in last summer’s record-setting flop, The Lone Ranger, Canyon De Chelly is another destination worth a visit. The taller of the two spires is said to be home of the “Spider Grandmother” who according to folklore is responsible for all of creation. There’s more breathtaking views like the one below to checkout so make sure you see them all. Also, be sure to bring some cash with you to purchase some local art that makes for great souvenirs.

Canyon De Chelly
Canyon De Chelly by Daniel Gillaspia

37. Giant Sequoias – Sequoia National Park (California)

So trees are kind of boring to most people including myself, but giant sequoias are definitely an exception. Sometimes growing higher than 300 feet, many of these trees are over 2,000 years old and have up to three-feet thick of squishy bark.

Head to Sequoia National Park to see them as well as the largest tree in the world, The General Sherman Tree.

The Biggest Tree in the World
The Biggest Tree in the World by Daniel Gillaspia
Photo by Bradley Darnell

38. Rio Grande Gorge – New Mexico 

The Rio Grande gets a bad wrap sometimes but this view should change your mind. If you’re ever making the cross country road trip through southern New Mexico then check out the “Gorge Bridge” where you’ll be awestruck with views like this.

Rio Grande Gorge
Rio Grande Gorge by Tony Hochstetler

39. Hospital Reef Potholes – San Diego, California

Hospital Reef Potholes, near San Diego, is known for its potholes that kind of resemble the surface of the moon. Speaking of the moon, all you national park junkies may want to start gearing up because you may have one hell of a hike to get to one of the upcoming National Park sites, soon.

Potholes! by Eddie Lluisma

40. Mammoth Springs – Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

We end the list with another Yellowstone site that many wouldn’t be able to recognize and constantly overlook, leaving it ranked as low as the 23rd attraction for Yellowstone according to TripAdvisor. On your way to the hot springs and in nearby areas, you may run into some real wildlife.

I’m talking about grizzly bears, moose, bison, elk, that kind of stuff so watch out. But everyone seems to be blown away by these hot springs, which make a worthwhile destination in the summer or in the -20 degree winter.

Mammoth Hot Springs
Mammoth Hot Springs by George Grossman

Remember to tread lightly and do your best to preserve these wonderful locations by using common sense and having respect for the land, the locals, and other visitors when you visit.

Mount Roberts Tramway Review: Here’s What You Need to Know

Juneau, Alaska, is surrounded by beautiful mountains and one of the best ways to take in the city and the surrounding area is to gain some elevation.

Luckily, you don’t have to plan an all-day hike to get up there thanks to the Mount Roberts Tramway.

Below, I’ll give you a full breakdown of what to expect if you choose to experience the Mount Roberts Tramway.

What is the Mount Roberts Tramway?

The Mount Roberts Tramway is an aerial tram that zips you up 1,800 feet to some of the best views of Juneau, Douglas Island, and the Gastineau Channel.

It’s one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area.

Home to a restaurant and quality gift shop, the tram is also a gateway to some great hiking trails.

Tickets for adults are $45 and $30 for ages three through 12. (You can purchase them online or in person.)

The daily ticket is good for the entire day so you could literally spend your entire day just riding up and down this thing (please don’t do that).

The tram usually opens at 8 AM and closes at 9 PM.

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Mount Roberts Tramway

Where is the Mount Roberts Tramway?

You’ll find Mount Roberts Tramway right by the Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal Area.

The Tramway is a popular meeting destination for various tours so if you book any kind of tour requiring a shuttle bus pick up, there’s a good chance you’ll end up here.

That makes this site a really convenient attraction to add on to the beginning or end of your scheduled activity.

It’s also located right next to the famous Tracy’s King Crab Shack so if you are wanting to check that off your list, it doesn’t get any more convenient.

Related Juneau Posts:

Mount Roberts Tramway

Pre-visit tips

Since this is just a tram ride there’s not a whole lot you need to do to prepare for your visit but I would recommend you to consider two things.


Juneau can be a very cloudy and rainy place and when the low-lying clouds roll in, you might lose out on your view entirely from up on the Mount Roberts Tramway.

So you have to think about whether or not it will be worth it to go up there when it’s super cloudy.

It’s a tricky decision because the clouds can move out pretty quickly and views can open up even when it’s pretty cloudy.

Plus, those clouds can create some very dramatic views that would arguably be more stunning than a clear day.

Because the daily pass allows you multiple rides, you could always head back down and then try to come up later on in the day when the weather changes.

Mount Roberts Tramway fog


You also want to think about the type of activities you’d like to do up there.

Some of the hiking trails can take you a couple of miles up on the mountain which means you could be spending a couple of hours on a round-trip hike. So you want to bring water, snacks, and possibly bear spray.

They also have a nature center along with a restaurant so you might want to think about whether or not you’d like to eat up there.

Visiting the Mount Roberts Tramway

Inside the bottom lobby of the Mount Roberts Tramway you’ll find a bathroom and also a café in case you need a little bit of a jolt before heading up on the tram way.

That may or may not be a good idea for some people.

Mount Roberts Tramway cafe

We purchased our tickets at the time of our visit and there was virtually no line for tickets or for boarding. During peak afternoon hours on a beautiful day, though, I’m sure it gets busier.

Mount Roberts Tramway lobby

We loaded into the gondola and it was nice to see that an attendant is inside one of the cable cars at all times.

Nothing worse than getting stuck in one of these things without any idea of what’s going on while you dangle hundreds of feet in the air.

Your capsule is entirely enclosed although there are a couple of small windows in the front and back that open with a gap of only a few inches. You can sit or stand as they have some benches inside.

Mount Roberts Tramway car

Because of the low-lying clouds we only had views for a short amount of time so we were trying to take them in as much as we could.

Mount Roberts Tramway view Juneau
Mount Roberts Tramway view cruise ships
Mount Roberts Tramway view

The clouds drifting through the spruce trees were pretty mesmerizing.

Mount Roberts Tramway view

We soared through the clouds for a little bit until they completely engulfed us as we arrived at the top.

Mount Roberts Tramway view

It took us about seven minutes to get up to the top.

At no point did we ever not feel safe inside the gondola nor did it ever bounce around or act funny like these things can sometimes do.

So if you are a bit on the fence about doing this due to a fear of heights, I think you’ll probably be fine.

Once we got up to the top, it was pretty evident that we wouldn’t be spending much time at the overlooks but I’m sure they have some pretty nice views for you to admire on a clear day. Or at least that’s what they tell me.

Mount Roberts Tramway view

This view right here is about as good as it got for us. And believe me, it didn’t last too long.

Since we didn’t really have any views to check out, we decided to just explore some of the surroundings.

Initially, we wanted to do a hike but we had to switch around our plans for various reasons.

Plus with the record levels of recent rain, the trails were very muddy and I’m pretty sure we would not have had views on the hike anyway.

However, we did wander down the trail a little ways and it was a really cool experience because I’m always down to explore a foggy rain forest.

Mount Roberts Tramway hiking trail
Mount Roberts Tramway hiking trail

Plus, you never know what you’re going to come across like these carvings in the trees.

We made our way over to the nature center but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. With the views also closed for the moment, we didn’t really have whole lot to do up on the mountain except to wander.

The good news is that there are some indoor activities you can enjoy like the special film Seeing Daylight they put on at the 120-seat Chilkat Theatre.

It’s all about the native Tlingit culture and their indigenous ways of life and plays every 30 minutes or on demand if you are visiting during off hours.

Mount Roberts Tramway theater


Eventually, we decided we wanted to try out the restaurant “Timberline” to see what was all about.

Since we were visiting later on in the day and during a cloudy time, we basically had the restaurant to ourselves.

Mount Roberts Tramway restaurant

They serve some specialty drinks up there and we tried out the “glacier margarita.” Very strong and sweet with a pretty blue color.

Mount Roberts Tramway restaurant

For food we went with the popcorn shrimp and french fries.

The shrimp was super crispy on the outside and very soft and mushy on the inside which was just not my thing.

But the fries? Those were amazing.

I probably just should’ve just ordered a burger, though, because that is what they are known for.

Mount Roberts Tramway restaurant

The restaurant should have some pretty amazing views and they even have an outdoor deck where you can really soak up the views (or fog).

Mount Roberts Tramway restaurant view

Goldbelt Tram Gift Store

Later on we decided to take a visit to the Goldbelt Tram Gift Store.

It’s actually a really nice gift shop up there and they have a lot of 100% indigenous designed home and apparel products that looked really cool.

If you are into porcelain bowls, you’ll have a wide selection to choose from but they have a little bit of everything.

Mount Roberts Tramway gift shop
Mount Roberts Tramway gift shop
Mount Roberts Tramway gift shop


One of the main reasons you would want to ride the tram is to get access to the trails up here.

You’ll trek through a mossy rainforest and then make your way up on the ridge overlooking the Juneau area. You might even spot some deer or goats. Of course, you could also spot a bear.

The higher you go, the more difficult and overgrown the terrain may be. So just remember you can venture partially down these trails without getting in over your head.

You’ve got a few different options when it comes to hikes.

The hike that we wanted to do called the Mount Roberts Tramway to Gastineau Peak starts from near the upper Mount Roberts Tramway station. From there it’s a 3.9 mi round-trip hike with about 1,889 ft elevation gain.

Another more strenuous option is to begin at the Mount Roberts Trail trailhead down at sea level and then head your way all the way up at the top. You can then utilize the tram to get you down a little bit quicker. In that case, you only pay $15.

If you’re planning to make it up to one of the peaks, you may have to navigate through snow or ice so crampons might be necessary. This could be the case even in June or possibly July.

Also, there is an area at the upper station where you can clean the mud from your boots.

Mount Roberts Tramway hiiking trail

Final word

The tramway is a great way to get some good views of Juneau, Alaska.

However, with the way the weather is out here those views may not always be possible.

Thankfully, there are other things you can do here like hiking through a beautiful rainforest, shopping, enjoying a meal, or watching a film on the local culture.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack Review: Worth It When in Alaska?

Tracy’s King Crab Shack is definitely one of the dining hotspots in Juneau, Alaska.

And for good reason.

What trip to Alaska would be complete without a plentiful serving of Alaskan King Crab?

In this article, we will take a look at what it’s like to dine in at Tracy’s King Crab Shack. We’ll cover the menu, prices, and what you can expect with the overall experience.

What is Tracy’s King Crab Shack?

Tracy’s King Crab Shack is one of the premier dining venues in Juneau, Alaska. It’s famous for its huge red king crab legs straight out of the Bering Sea that you can order by the bucket.

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Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Where is Tracy’s King Crab Shack?

Tracy’s King Crab Shack has two locations in Juneau.

The main location is directly across from the Juneau Cruise Ship Terminal Area at 432 S Franklin St, Juneau, AK 99801. It’s in a big red building that is basically impossible to miss.

The other location, Tracy’s King Crab Shack 2, is about 10 minutes away and it’s found at 300 Whittier St, Juneau, AK 99801.

Tracy's King Crab Shack Juneau

Tracy’s King Crab Shack

Whenever you arrive at Tracy’s King Crab Shack, there’s a good chance that you might be turned off by the long line outside of the restaurant.

But don’t worry, from what I witnessed it moves relatively quickly.

(Btw – they don’t take reservations here.)

Tracy's King Crab Shack line Juneau

The way it is supposed to work is that you go through the line, make your order, and then find you an open seat.

If you’re visiting during a peak time like we did when virtually all of the seats are full, you might want to send one member of your party to go lock down some seats while someone else waits in line to place an order.

People are constantly going and coming so it’s not that hard to find a seat to open up.

Some benches are located outside and there’s also an outdoor area that is covered in case of rain.

Tracy's King Crab Shack covered outdoor seating

But we opted to eat inside where I felt like we could experience the true atmosphere of Tracy’s King Crab Shack.

Tracy's King Crab Shack

There’s quite a few different seafood options available at Tracy’s King Crab Shack: Dungeness crab, snow crab, crab cakes, crab bisque, etc.

But if you are like me you have your taste buds set on King Crab.

We decided to do it big with one of the three pound crab leg buckets which ran $220! A pretty penny.

It comes with coleslaw, three rolls, and melted butter. I felt like this was plenty for two people.

Take a look at the menu below but keep in mind prices are subject to change.

Tracy's King Crab Shack menu

When you put in your order they will take down your name and whatever state/country you would like to claim so that whenever they read out your name it will be easier to tell your order apart from others.

And if you place an order for one of the crab buckets you’ll trigger a special bell ringing and restaurant-wide shout, because it wouldn’t be a crab shack without some type of obnoxious gesture, am I right?

Most of the seating inside comes in the form of long benches which means you’ll likely be sitting close to other people when you finally find a seat.

This helps to create a pretty lively atmosphere inside the restaurant where passengers from various cruise ships interact. You never know who you might meet.

(If you’re looking for a quiet place to feast on crab legs, dining inside may not be the right move.)

There are tools that you can use to help you get some of the crab meat out and you might want to secure some of these while you wait for your grub to arrive.

Another customer actually offered these to us and while we waited for our food we set them down on the table only for some klepto crab lover to come and steal them! WTF?

We asked the staff if they had any others and they told us no which I thought was the only real negative of the experience.

I mean we are paying $220+ for a crab bucket and it doesn’t come with one of these handy tools? It really put us in a *pinch*.

Tracy's King Crab Shack tools

Anyway, when the crabs came out it was time to get to work.

Well, almost.

If you order one of the buckets you owe it to yourself to snap a few photos with the “best legs in town.”

Tracy's King Crab Shack crab bucket 3 pounds

Once we placed all the crab on the table, I was pretty amazed by the sheer size of the crab legs.

Tracy's King Crab Shack crab bucket 3 pounds

When you have not eaten a lot of crab — especially huge crab like this — you sort of forget how much work is involved but it is 100% worth it.

Everybody may have their own technique for getting the meat out but here’s my recommendation.

You can snap off the smaller portions of the legs at the joints and then carefully crack the leg piece in half. Bend the cracked leg back-and-forth until the shell separates. Then slide 1/2 of the cracked leg off and pull the meat out as seen in this video.

Other times you may need to just crack it down the middle.

Once you get your form down, the well-cooked crab with then slide out effortlessly.

Tracy's King Crab Shack crab bucket 3 pounds

I’d never held such huge, unbroken pieces of crab before so this was a first for me.

As far as the flavor goes, the crab lived up to the hype. Well-cooked, soft, and buttery. Pretty much all you could ask for.

The sides also delivered which included the fresh rolls and heavy, mayo-based coleslaw.

The only thing we didn’t care too much for was the crab bisque. Very creamy but faint flavoring for our liking.

We chatted it up with some people next to us who ordered the crabcakes and they had very positive things to say about them, so maybe give them a shot as well.

Once you start to make a pile of discarded crab, you can simply toss it in your bucket to keep your space nice and clean.

When you get done dealing with all those buttery crab legs chances are you’re gonna need to wash your hands thoroughly and they have a couple of “sink bucket” stations for doing that.

If you’re in the mood for a drink they do have a bar where you can pour up some local beers. Fill up a pitcher for $20.

Tracy's King Crab Shack beer
Tracy's King Crab Shack drink menu

There’s also a gift shop with some apparel, and a lot of souvenirs including special crab sauce.

One last thing to note is that you can actually order their products and have them shipped to you. This includes crab!

Final word

Because of how busy the place is and the prices, I could see a lot of people taking a pass on Tracy’s King Crab Shack.

Yes, a lot of times it is going to be full of hungry tourists coming off the cruise ships which are basically right in front of the restaurant.

However, it’s a fun place to splurge on some crab legs and the quality of the crab cannot be denied.

I wish they were not under supplied with the crab shell tools but other than that, I’d say it’s worth checking out.

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