While Alaska may surprise most people as a retirement destination du jour, those of us in the know are aware that it’s a hidden gem. With a low cost of living and minimal state taxes, you’re going to live out your retirement dreams on a budget. Many retirees love this state for its pristine wilderness areas and abundant nature. You can hike, climb glaciers, fish, and kayak or simply sit back and enjoy viewing the scenery, with a grizzly bear or bald eagle thrown in. Test your knowledge of some of the more bizarre and obscure facts about Alaska!
The biggest state in the Union by far, Alaska is larger than the next four largest states combined. A single glacier in Alaska, the Yakutat, is larger than the entire state of Rhode Island!
The Tongass National Forest is the largest in the U.S., home to the largest Kodiak bears and polar bears in the world, weighing in at 1,400 pounds. The largest salmon ever caught in Alaska was a 100-pounder. Halibut from the ocean floor of the coast of Alaska can weigh up to 400 pounds. Giant cabbages are grown by farmers in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley weigh up to 100 pounds each.
Alaska also gets to boast the highest mountains, 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the U.S. can be found here. The largest mountain in North America is Mt. McKinley.
Talk about sparsely populated! Half of the entire state’s population lives in the Anchorage area. The rest are spread out around this vast state. If you don’t like talking to your neighbors, this place is for you!
Retirees love this fact: Alaska is the only state in the union that does not collect a sales tax or an income tax.
Alaska is only 50 miles from Russia. The United States government bought the territory of Alaska from Russia for a measly 5.9 cents per acre. It was bought by the authority of Secretary of State William H. Seward in 1867. It soon became known as Seward’s folly by those who believed Alaska had nothing to offer the rest of the country.
The capital city of Alaska is Juneau. Don’t try to drive there for a visit. You can only access Juneau by plane or by boat. Juneau is also notable for its setting in the continent’s northernmost rainforest.
Don’t think you won’t get any hot days in Alaska. The record high temperature set in 1915 was 100 degrees Fahrenheit at Fort Yukon. Take that Florida!
Alaska depends heavily on petroleum. About 80% of the state’s revenue is from oil, making Alaska one of the wealthiest states in the nation. The next largest industry is fishing for salmon, halibut, crab, and Pollock. Agriculture is not so big here. Everything produced in the state stays here for consumption rather than being exported.
Alaska is the only state to be bordered by three different seas: the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Bering Sea. Inland, the state has more than three million lakes. Totaled, that comes to over 33,000 miles of coastline.