Alaska is double the size of Texas, an oft-repeated fact for those who visit the state. With all the wide-open space, it begs the question of just how much time it will take to get around. Those considering a move to The Last Frontier should keep in mind the following facts.
The Average Commute
Before tackling the many points of interest in Alaska, it's worth noting it has one of the lowest average commute distances in the country. Coming in at number 3 of 50, the average commute to work is under 19 minutes. While poor weather may tack on a few minutes, the relative freedom on the roads gives commuters an easy way to come and go. Many people work within their community too, making it more likely for workers to either walk or bike to work.
Anchorage is Alaska's most populous spot at over 295,000 people. It's the closest thing you'll find to a major city in the state, so much some locals don't even consider Anchorage to be a part of the state. Some people may do seasonal work in other cities while still maintaining their primary residence in Anchorage. Others may be happy to commute into the city for work so long as they don't have to live in a more crowded area. We'll concentrate on Anchorage as the primary point of interest (all times are measured if taking a car).
- Anchorage to Palmer: 43 miles (1 hour)
- Anchorage to Denali State Park: 132 miles (2.25 hours)
- Anchorage to Denali National Park: 265 miles (4.5 hours)
- Anchorage to Fairbanks: 360 miles (7.5 hours)
- Anchorage to Talkeetna: 115 miles (2.5 hours)
For those interested in Denali, its national park is the more famous of the two areas, but both areas are interconnected. While the state-funded land was developed with people in mind, the National Park was preserved for the wildlife. Those who work in either area can consider temporary housing during their tenure if living in Anchorage the rest of the year.
Those who work south of Anchorage should note the following distances:
- Anchorage to Homer: 221 miles (5.5 hours)
- Anchorage to Seward: 128 miles (2.75 hours)
- Anchorage to Whittier: 60 miles (1.5 hours)
- Anchorage to Girdwood: 40 miles (1 hour)
People can consider taking a train for many of the standard commutes, though it will take a little longer. In some cases, the discrepancy is hardly noticeable. It may take an hour to get somewhere by car and just 1.25 hours to get there by train. In other cases though, the difference is considerable. Anchorage to Fairbanks can take 7 hours in the car and up to 12 hours on the train. On the other hand, buses are pretty much on par with cars in terms of timing, making them a viable alternative for those who want to limit their driving.
Here are just a few more commuting distances of note:
- Denali National Park to Fairbanks: 120 miles (2.5 hours)
- Seward to Homer: 170 miles (4.5 hours)
- Denali National Park to Seward: 375 miles (7.5 hours)
- Fairbanks to Valdez: 365 miles (8 hours)
Getting around Alaska may take some time, but at least residents and visitors alike won't be disappointed with the scenery. The beauty and peace make the commute as special as the state.