Alaska national parks

Sea kayakers in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park.

Back to the Ice Age: Sea Kayaking Glacier Bay

By Michael Lanza

The water of Johns Hopkins Inlet lies flat, perfectly reflecting the first patches of blue sky we’ve seen since arriving in Glacier Bay yesterday morning. I rest my paddle across the kayak and listen. A barely audible moan of wind floats down from high in the mountains, then fades away. A bald eagle screeches, briefly piercing the quiet; but as soon as the sound passes, the silence that returns seems as deep as the sea we’re floating on.

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A young girl hiking in Sequoia National Park.

The 10 Best National Park Adventures With Kids

By Michael Lanza

America’s national parks preserve over 52 million acres of uniquely beautiful and significant places in nature, and the payoff for that foresight is a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable experiences awaiting us—many of them entirely feasible, safe, and really fun for families with kids of all ages. Here are 10 of the very best national park outdoor adventures to do with kids.

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Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Photo Gallery: Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park

By Michael Lanza

When John Muir visited Alaska’s Glacier Bay in 1879, he wrote that, at night, “the surge from discharging icebergs churned the water into silver fire.” On a five-day, guided sea-kayaking trip in the upper West Arm of Glacier Bay, probing deep within a national park the size of Connecticut, my family explored a wilderness that remains one of the few places left on Earth that resemble what the planet looked like right after the last Ice Age. We saw sea otters, seals, sea lions, mountain goats, bald eagles, puffins, and countless other birds, and a brown bear wandering the beach (as well as bear scat that convinced us to choose another campsite). We listened to the concussive explosions of enormous chunks of ice calving from giant glaciers into the sea. I consider it one of my top 10 adventures ever, and our campsite for two nights on Johns Hopkins Inlet is one of my 25 favorite backcountry campsites.

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Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska.

Video: Sea Kayaking Alaska’s Glacier Bay

By Michael Lanza

Sea kayaking and wilderness-beach camping on a five-day trip in Johns Hopkins Inlet, in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, my family saw sea otters, seals, uncountable numbers of sea lions, bald eagles, puffins, and countless other birds, mountain goats—and a brown bear (from a healthy distance). We listened to the concussive explosions of enormous chunks of ice calving from giant glaciers into the sea. For a fleeting handful of days, we had a glimpse of what the Earth was like during the last Ice Age.

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