Barbara Eckstein,

For those of us who haven’t been to Alaska, it can be a bit of mystery. But it is an incredibly beautiful place and can be a very spot to visit. Here are some fun facts to know about the biggest and most north state in the U.S..

Most people realize that Alaska is the furthest North state in the U.S., but it also the most western and easter since it is so long across. Alaska is a very mountainous area, and in fact it contains 17 out of the 20 tallest mountains in the U.S. Mt. McKinley has the highest peak in the country, with a peak of 20,320. Alaska is a huge place, but only 20 percent of it is actually accessible by roads. There are only 12 numbered highways in all of its 586,412 square miles.

You have heard that strange things happen with the light in Australia and it’s true. During the winter there is a period of time when the sun never comes out, and during the summer there is a time when it never sets. There are 67 days of total darkness each year, and 84 days of continuous sunlight. And we think daylight savings throws us off, imagine adjusting your schedule to that! If you are traveling there during the summer you might want to bring a sleeping mask in case you have trouble falling asleep.

There is a North Pole town in Alaska that is set up like the North Pole, despite being 1,700 miles of the actual North Pole. The town has a giant fiberglass Santa, a gift shop, and a Santa Claus house. There are candycane street lamps and the police cars are green and white. Only 2,200 people call the town home. Each year the town receives hundreds of thousands letters from people writing to Santa. Yes, there is an actual address where you can mail letters to Santa. (Just don’t expect a reply!)

Alaska has most of the glaciers in the world, with the biggest one being about the same size as Rhode Island. Alaska is the next biggest state up from Texas, and is nearly double its size. And yet despite its size there are only around 700,000 people that live in the whole state.

There are quite a lot of earthquakes in Alaska, thanks to the proximity of so many fault lines. Generally they are nothing to be concerned about, although the state did set the record once for longest earthquake at four minutes long. They occur pretty frequently but most people just get used to them. Keep in mind that in such a cool climate the air is also very dry, so you might want to pack or comes across some extra lotion to keep your skin comfortable on your trip.

Another interesting fact about Alaska is that it does not collect income tax or sales tax, unlike most of the other states in the country. However, visitors might find that things are a bit more expensive there, since so much is imported.

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