The largest US state occupies a huge peninsula in the extreme northwest of North America, with coastlines on the Arctic and North Pacific oceans and on the Chukchi and the Bering Seas . The state is separated from the contiguous 48 US states by Canada and by the Bering Strait from Russia.
Most of Alaska is surrounded by water . To the north is the Arctic Ocean, (the Beaufort Sea and the Chukchi Sea). To the south is the Gulf of Alaska and Pacific Ocean. To the west is the Bering Sea.
The purchase of Alaska in 1867 marked the end of Russian efforts to expand trade and settlements to the Pacific coast of North America , and became an important step in the United States rise as a great power in the Asia-Pacific region.
The narrowest distance between mainland Russia and mainland Alaska is approximately 55 miles. The stretch of water between these two islands is only about 2.5 miles wide and actually freezes over during the winter so you could technically walk from the US to Russia on this seasonal sea ice.
The Bering sea , near the chain of the Aleutian Islands, is one of the most intense patches of ocean on Earth. Strong winds, freezing temperatures, and icy water are normal conditions. The combination makes for some of the most ferocious waves on the planet, where the water can rise and fall 30 feet on a normal day.
Three species of sharks are found in Alaska waters, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Pacific sleeper sharks, which range as far north as the Chukchi Sea; salmon sharks, found in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea; and North Pacific spiny dogfish , also found in the Gulf of Alaska and
Russia controlled most of the area that is now Alaska from the late 1700s until 1867, when it was purchased by U.S. Secretary of State William Seward for $7.2 million, or about two cents an acre. During World War II, the Japanese occupied two Alaskan islands, Attu and Kiska, for 15 months.
On a clear day, you could climb a hill on Cape Prince of Wales and maybe make out mainland Siberia, just fifty miles away. But it’s much easier to get a view of Russia view by heading out into the Bering Strait to one of America’s weirdest destinations: Little Diomede Island.
But technically, the Gulf of Alaska is considered part of the Pacific Ocean and is not the place where 2 oceans meet. As to swimming there, not recommended. The waters are very cold.
Stretching 414 miles from near Livengood to Prudhoe Bay, this primarily unpaved highway takes you from interior Alaska right up to the oilfield production near the Arctic Ocean . Countless outdoor recreation opportunities, like hiking and gold panning, are possible along much of the road.
Alaska is unique among the US states as it is part of the North American continent, meaning it is attached via Canada, and so is part of the “Continental United States “. However, Alaska is not part of the “Contiguous United States “, because it is not attached directly to the lower 48 states.
While Anchorage is well known for its mountains and world-class access to the wilds of Chugach State Park, the city is also dotted with lakes and lined with ocean — which means it has the perfect beaches for afternoon picnics, a day on the water, or a morning stroll along the tideline.