Moving to Alaska

Nicknamed “The Last Frontier,” Alaska is a remote state of magnificent natural beauty, sparse population, and considerable size (dwarfing even California and Texas). Some people might think it’s just freezing, hardy living up here, but in cities like Anchorage and Juneau, life feels just as comfortable and convenient as any major city in the lower 48. If you’ve been searching for a place that holds the magic and wonder of unspoiled wildlife and wide-open, active living (with a slower pace of life), Alaska takes first place.

Considering a move to Alaska? Whether this is your first or tenth time moving, an AK relocation involves a good amount of preparation. To help, Great Guys Long Distance Movers has put together this informative Alaska moving guide. It includes the following sections:

  1. Things to Consider Before Moving to AK
  2. Top Places to Live in The Great Land
  3. Handy Interstate Moving Checklist
  4. Great Guys Moving Services
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Living in Alaska: What to Know Before Moving to Alaska

Considering a move to The Last Frontier? If so, be sure to check out the following facts on the largest state (663,267 square miles) and third-lowest populated state (just 736,000 residents) in America.

Pros and Cons of Living in Alaska

Pros: 

  • Epic landscapes: Alaska easily earns its other nickname, The Great Land. From majestic mountains to glassy lakes, everywhere you turn, there’s always a stunning view in sight.
  • No sales or income tax: You heard that right. There’s no state sales tax or personal income tax! This tax perk definitely helps to offset the incredibly high cost of living in the state.
  • Diversity: Beating out places like Queens in NYC, Anchorage and other areas of Alaska offer rich, diverse cultural and ethnic diversity, from Alaskan Natives to Pacific Islanders.
  • A slower pace of life: People moving away from the frenzy of a fast-paced area will appreciate the lack of rushing around here. Also, this is the perfect place to take up winter sports of all kinds.
  • Permanent Fund Dividend: As official Alaskans, residents that have lived here for a full year can claim the PFD, an annual dividend funded via the state’s mineral royalties.
  • Summer Sunshine: Enjoy sunshine? It might not exactly be California up here, but one distinct benefit is the abundance of summer sunlight – it shines for about 19.5 hours per day!
  • Close-knit communities: Because of how spread out people are here (along with the isolation inherent with living in Alaska), folks form strong bonds and keep an eye out for each other.

Cons:

  • High living costs: Due to Alaska’s separation from the rest of the country, groceries and other supplies skyrocket in price with the added cost of shipping. Prepare yourself for the sticker shock.
  • Frigid winters: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but until you’ve experienced a winter in Alaska, you might be shocked by how cold it can get here (the record low is −80°F).
  • Endless nights: Though areas like Anchorage get over 19 hours of sunlight during the summer, darkness (with as little as five hours of sunshine) takes over during the long winter.
  • Increasing crime: This is in major part due to the opioid epidemic. Alaska has one of the highest violent crime rates in the United States, with a particularly high homicide rate.
  • Challenging travel: With only four interstate highways, getting around the state can be quite the feat. Many areas, such as Juneau, are only accessible by boat or plane.
  • Fearsome creatures: The breathtaking nature of The Last Frontier comes with some daily encounters with powerful predators. Bears and moose are everywhere.
  • Wacky laws: Every state has them, and Alaska is no exception. For example, it’s illegal to push a moose out of a moving airplane. Also, you’re not allowed to groom a dog in Juneau.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: 1.19%. The effective real-estate tax rate is the 33rd lowest in America.
  • Sales Tax: Alaska has a base state sales tax rate of 0%. Combined with local taxes, the sales tax rate is between 0–7.5%.
  • Income Tax: 0%. The state does not currently collect statewide income tax.

Housing Market

To Rent or Buy? This decision depends on the location. Supply and demand also play a major role. With Alaska being the largest state, villages and towns of similar size greatly vary when it comes to housing costs. Monthly rent can range from under $500 to over $1,600, but the average is still cheaper than the rest of the country.

Buying a home in Alaska, in general, is slightly more expensive than the national average. On the bright side, the state boasts four cities that offer reasonable housing prices coupled with healthy incomes: Anchorage, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Badger (CDP). Do keep in mind, however, that the overall cost of living in Alaska is high. 

  • Median Home Value: $326,000
  • Median Rental Expense: $931 (1BR), $1,191 (2BR)

Cheapest Places to Live in Alaska:

  1. King Cove
  2. Barrow
  3. Valdez
  4. Sand Point
  5. Hooper Bay
  6. Seward
  7. Chevak
  8. Wrangell
  9. North Pole
  10. Soldotna 

Cost of Living

According to the Cost of Living in Alaska by BestPlaces, Alaska has a cost of living index of 135.9. This index is higher than the national average of 100. Utility bills, for example, are some of the highest in the nation. Also, food generally gets increasingly expensive as you venture into rural areas.

Utilizing the Family Budget Calculator, we can compare the average monthly costs in three Alaska cities. We’ll use a family of four (2 adults + 2 children) for these examples.

Juneau City and Borough:

  1. Housing = $1,426
  2. Food = $608
  3. Childcare = $1,678
  4. Transportation = $1,226
  5. Healthcare = $2,365
  6. Other necessities = $820
  7. Taxes = $1,340
  8. Grand total = $9,465 per month or $113,575 per year

Anchorage Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $1,337
  2. Food = $644
  3. Childcare = $1,906
  4. Transportation = $1,214
  5. Healthcare = $2,312
  6. Other necessities = $799
  7. Taxes = $1,375
  8. Grand total = $9,587 per month or $115,042 per year

Fairbanks Metro Area:

  1. Housing = $1,368
  2. Food = $699
  3. Childcare = $1,929
  4. Transportation = $1,223
  5. Healthcare = $2,420
  6. Other necessities = $834
  7. Taxes = $1,479
  8. Grand total = $9,952 per month or $119,419 per year

Weather & Natural Disasters

Due to its sheer size, Alaska’s climate can vary greatly depending on three main factors: elevation, latitude, and continentality (or the influence of ocean proximity vs. being inland). The state of Alaska can be split into five regions: Southeast, South, West, Interior, and North. 

Southeastern Alaska has an oceanic climate, which makes it the wettest and warmest region. Southern Alaska (including Anchorage) has a subarctic climate with mild weather and short summers. Western Alaska has a subarctic climate in the southwest (high precipitation) and continental climate in the north (little precipitation). Interior Alaska has a continental subarctic climate with extreme hot and cold temps. Finally, Northern Alaska has an arctic climate with extremely cold winters and short, cool summers.

Climate Statistics:

  1. Average rainfall: 31 inches
  2. Average snowfall: 74 inches
  3. Sunshine: 121 sunny days
  4. Summer high: 64°F (July)
  5. Winter low: 3°F (January)

If you move to Alaska, be prepared for the following risks. Check out the Hazards in Alaska guide by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to learn more about the state’s top natural disaster threats.

Natural Disaster – Threats & Risks:

  1. Earthquakes
  2. Tsunamis
  3. Floods
  4. Avalanches
  5. Volcanic Activity
  6. Wildfires
  7. Landslides
  8. Drought

Economy & Job Market

According to Economy Rankings by US News & World Report, Alaska is currently ranked #46 in the United States. This score derives from three subcategories: business environment (#33), employment (#47), and growth (#48). Its GDP is approximately $51.48 billion, and the median income is $34,222.

Top Industries:

  1. Oil & Gas
  2. Construction
  3. Healthcare
  4. Tourism
  5. Government
  6. Fishing
  7. Logistics & Moving
  8. Forestry
  9. Mining
  10. Research & Development

Top Employers:

  1. Fort Wainwright Federal Credit Union (Wainwright)
  2. Bristol Bay Native (Anchorage)
  3. Chugach Alaska (Anchorage)
  4. Afognak Native (Kodiak)
  5. Anchorage School District (Anchorage)
  6. State of Alaska (Juneau)
  7. YKHC Hospital (Bethel)
  8. Ukpeagvik / Upiat Corporation (Anchorage)
  9. NANA Dev (Anchorage)
  10. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (Soldotna)
  11. Lynden (Anchorage)
  12. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Anchorage)
  13. General Communication Inc. (Anchorage)
  14. Nana Management Services LLC (Anchorage)
  15. Ahtna (Glennallen)
  16. Southcentral Foundation (Anchorage)
  17. Alaska USA (Anchorage)
  18. Silver Bay Seafoods (Sitka)
  19. Calista (Anchorage)
  20. Rural Alaska Community Action Program (Anchorage)

Looking for work in Alaska? Here are some handy resources:

  1. Alaska.gov page: Alaska Job Center Network
  2. Job search: Indeed, LinkedIn, CollegeRecruiter, CareerBuilder
  3. Resume help: Monster, TopResume, ResumeRobin

Traffic and Transportation

As the least connected state in terms of roads, Alaska is a big place that requires an extensive range of transportation options. Due to the lack of roads, many parts of the state require travel by boat or plane. Luckily, Alaskans are very resourceful individuals. Residents and visitors alike tend to utilize a combination of the following modes of transportation to get around the state.

Forms of Transportation:

  1. Kayaks and Boats (saltwater, river, and inflatable varieties)
  2. Ferry Systems (including the Alaska Marine Highway)
  3. Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) & All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV)
  4. Roadways (made up of 15,718 miles of public roads)
  5. Air Taxis & Charters (float planes and bush aircraft)
  6. Snowmachines (snowmobiles, sleds, etc.)
  7. Scheduled Airline / Commuter Services
  8. Cruise (via Inside Passage ports)
  9. Taxis, Limousines, and Shuttles
  10. RV & Motorhome Rentals
  11. Horses & Pack Animals
  12. Motorcoach & Bus
  13. Alaska Bus Lines
  14. Alaska Railroad
  15. Water Taxis
  16. Car Rentals
  17. Helicopters
  18. TRAM

Comprised of four highways that cover approximately 1,082 miles (with the longest being Interstate A1), Alaska’s interstate highway system is owned and maintained by the state of Alaska.

Primary Interstate Highways:

  • Interstate A1: This 408-mile stretch of interstate highway travels from Anchorage (western terminus) to the Canadian border in Port Alcan (also known as Alcan Border).  
  • Interstate A2: Going from the census-designated place of Tok (southeastern terminus) to Fairbanks (northwestern terminus), this diagonal interstate highway is 202 miles in length. 
  • Interstate A3: At just over 148 miles long, A3 stretches from the home rule city of Soldotna (southern terminus) to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage (north terminus).
  • Interstate A4: This 323-mile long interstate highway goes from the consensus-designated place of Gateway (southern terminus, near Palmer) to Fairbanks (northern terminus). 

According to Best and Worst States to Drive In by WalletHub, Alaska comes in at #49 in the country. This ranking is based on four subcategories: cost of ownership & maintenance (#43), traffic & infrastructure (#19), safety (#23), and access to vehicles & maintenance (#50).

Things to Do

Looking for fun in Alaska? As the largest state in America, it is brimming with natural beauty. The state offers transformative experiences that you can only find in The Great Land.

Tourist Destinations:

The Last Frontier is home to some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the world.

  • White Pass & Yukon Route Railway: Connecting Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon and Skagway in Alaska, this narrow-gauge railroad offers passengers an unforgettable ride from the past.
  • Tracy Arm Fjord: This is a popular destination for boat tours and cruise ships. The fjord is full of glaciers and icebergs with cascading waterfalls surrounded by awe-inspiring wildlife.
  • Kenai Fjords National Park: Found at the boundary of the Kenai Peninsula, approximately 40 glaciers make up the Harding Icefield, which is the crowning jewel of Kenai Fjords.
  • Alaska Highway: This scenic highway, also called the Alaska-Canada Highway or Alcan Highway, travels through northwest Canada’s Yukon Territory to Delta Junction (close to Fairbanks). 
  • Inside Passage: Located in Southeast Alaska, the area is home to incredible mountains, glaciers, wildlife, and ocean views. The Haida, Tlingit, and Tsimshian peoples also inhabit this area.

Food & Drink:

Alaska has some incredibly delicious food and beverages! Here are the top picks:

  • Top All-You-Can-Eat: Gold Creek Salmon Bake (Juneau)
  • Top Bar: Salty Dawg Saloon (Homer)
  • Top Beach Bar: Talon Lodge & Spa (Sitka)
  • Top Craft Brewery: Alaskan Brewing Company (Juneau)
  • Top Farmers Market: Homer Farmers Market (Homer)
  • Top Burger: Tommy’s Burger Stop (Anchorage)
  • Top Chocolate Shop: Sweet Chalet (Anchorage)
  • Top Coffee Shop: South Restaurant + Coffeehouse (Anchorage)
  • Top Donuts: Dino’s Donuts (Anchorage)
  • Top Food Truck: Yeti Dogs (Anchorage)

State Parks:

Want to explore Alaska’s stunning outdoors? Check out these popular state parks:

  • Kachemak Bay State Park: This vast, mostly unexplored park in Homer offers 10 miles of coastline, which is perfect for kayaking, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and more. 
  • Sitka National Historic Park / Totem Park: From Haida and Tlingit totem poles to its coastal walking trail and the Russian Bishop’s house, this Sitka park is a top destination.
  • Chugach State Park: The 495,000-acre park in Girdwood is one of the Top 4 largest state parks in the country, and boasts the most climbed mountain in the state, Flattop Mountain. 
  • Denali National Park: Offering approximately six million acres of wilderness, it is home to Denali, North America’s tallest mountain. You’ll find this breathtaking park at mile marker 237 along Highway 3.
  • Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park: You’ll find many historic structures to explore here. This Kodiak Island gem is ideal for hiking, camping, paddling, and viewing wildlife.

Museums & Galleries: 

The state is home to some awesome museums and galleries. Here’s our top 5 selection:

  • Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum: Collection of antique cars and fashion.
  • BearHead Photography Gallery: Nat Geo photographer Barrett Hedge’s gallery.
  • Aurora Dora Photography: This is an amazing photography exhibit of the Aurora Borealis.
  • Gold Daughters Alaska: Here, you can take guided gold panning tours and gold panning lessons.
  • Alaska State Museum: This Juneau museum offers a deep dive into Alaska’s history and culture.

Cool & Unusual:

Looking for something off the beaten path in Alaska? Take a look at: 

  • Mendenhall Ice Caves: Known as the “Glacier Behind the Town,” this partially hollow glacier is home to breathtaking blue ice caves (formed in part by glacial melting). 
  • Aurora Ice Museum: Visitors are mesmerized by the incredible ice carvings and scenes, including jousting knights and a gleaming igloo. Aurora Ice Museum is the world’s biggest year-round ice museum.
  • Denali: At 20,237 feet, it is the highest peak not only in Alaska and America but in all of North America. Many climbers and mountaineers are attracted to the marvelous pinnacle. 
  • Dr. Seuss House, aka The Goose Creek Tower: In search of some great whimsy? Located in the tiny town of Talkeetna, this stacked cabin has a captivating Seussian vibe. 
  • The Upside-Down Forest of Gardens: Situated in Juneau, this hanging garden (created by Cindy and Steve Bowhay) is full of upside-down trees that are called Flower Towers.

Schools and Universities

Ranked #23 among states with the best schools by USA Today, Alaska has the #2 highest public-school funding in the US ($20,640 per pupil). It also has the #5 highest incomes at or above the national average (59.6%). As for higher education, America’s biggest state only has a handful of accredited universities (however, there are many vocational and technical institutions). Here are the top picks.

Top AK Colleges:

  1. University of Alaska – Southeast (Juneau) 
  2. University of Alaska – Fairbanks (Fairbanks)
  3. University of Alaska – Anchorage (Anchorage)
  4. Alaska Pacific University (Anchorage)
  5. Alaska Bible College (Palmer)

Top AK Public School Districts:

  1. Skagway School District (Skagway)
  2. Lake & Peninsula Borough School District (King Salmon)
  3. Haines Borough School District (Haines)
  4. Valdez City School District (Valdez)
  5. Chatham School District (Angoon)
  6. Aleutians East Borough School District (Sand Point)
  7. Anchorage School District (Anchorage)
  8. Unalaska City School District (Unalaska)
  9. Wrangell Public School District (Wrangell)
  10. Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (Palmer)

How to Become an Alaska Resident

To receive certain benefits (including discounts on fishing & hunting licenses, in-state tuition, and the Permanent Fund Dividend or PFD), you must become an official resident of Alaska. The state considers several points, particularly when it comes to the PFD, to determine residency status:

  1. Move to Alaska (establish physical presence)
  2. Show intent to establish permanent residency, including:
    • Becoming employed in Alaska (confirm by relevant records)
    • Obtaining an identity card or an Alaska driver’s license
    • Titling & registering a vehicle here
    • Registering to vote in the state
    • Signing a contract to move household goods to Alaska
    • Owning residential property (prove with purchase agreement or rental receipt)
  3. Cut ties with your previous state
  4. Use Alaskan residence as a permanent address
  5. Don’t register to vote or register a vehicle in another state
  6. Follow the rules for allowable absences in Alaska (up to 180 days for any reason)
  7. Save copies of documents that help prove residency
  8. Reside in the state of Alaska for at least one year

Moving to Alaska DMV

Acquiring a new driver’s license:

After moving to the state, new residents have 30 days to get an Alaska driver’s license.

Steps to getting a new license:

  1. Establish Alaska residency
  2. Visit Alaska DMV office
  3. Provide proof of legal name, DOB, current residential address, social security number
  4. Surrender valid out-of-state driver’s license
  5. Pass the written knowledge test
  6. Pass the vision test
  7. Pass the alcohol & drug awareness test (21 years of age and older)
  8. Pass the road test (if from another country other than the US or Canada)
  9. Pay applicable fees

On January 2, 2019, Alaska Real IDs became available. To fly on commercial airlines or visit/work on a military base or federal property, all Alaska residents must obtain an Alaska Real ID. The deadline for residents to update their existing licenses is October 1, 2020.

Vehicle registration:

New Alaska residents must apply for registration within ten days. First, visit an Alaska DMV office or DMV partner certified by the state of Alaska. Next, submit current out-of-state registration, title (if there’s no lien), application for title & registration, and applicable fees. Snowmachines (aka snowmobiles), boats, and ATVs do not need titling; however, these types of powered vehicles require registration in Alaska.

To qualify to vote, you must be:

  1. A citizen of the United States
  2. An Alaska resident for at least 30 days
  3. 18 years or older on election day
  4. Registered before election 
  5. Not registered to vote in another jurisdiction

In Alaska, there are three registration options: 1) online registration, 2) paper registration (mail, fax or email to Regional Elections Office), and 3) in-person registration. Alaska permits no-excuse absentee voting and early voting. You are required to present a non-photo ID to receive a ballot on election day.

Note: Felons have their voting rights in Alaska restored upon completion of sentence.

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Best Places to Live in Alaska

Here are some of the top town and cities to call home in The Last Frontier State:

Far North / Interior Alaska

College

Population: 14,700
Median Home Value: $233,000

We begin our journey in Interior Alaska’s town of College. As the #1 place to live in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, College is a census-designated place (CDP) within the Fairbanks metro area. Here, 60% of residents own their homes, and public schools are highly ranked.

As one of top (if not the top) suburbs of Fairbanks, College is a small yet youthful community with a median age of approximately 30 years. There are plenty of job opportunities, and commuting to Fairbanks is a breeze (around 10 minutes or so). As for downsides, relative to other parts of the state, the small suburb doesn’t provide nearly as great immediate access to outdoor living.

Top public schools serving the College area include West Valley High School, Watershed Charter School, Pearl Creek Elementary School, Lathrop High School, and Woodriver Elementary School. If you’re looking for private education, consider Golden Heart Christian School.

Are you looking for arguably one of the Top 3 places to live in the state? How about living close to Fairbanks? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, College should be at the top of your list.

Fairbanks

Population: 32,000
Median Home Value: $253,200

Next, we take a tour of Fairbanks. As the seat of Fairbanks North Star Borough, the home rule city is the largest in Interior Alaska. Some 63% of residents rent their homes, and the public schools are above average.

Known as The Golden Heart City, Fairbanks is a major tourist hub (particularly for cruise ships) and is only 120 miles away from the Arctic Circle. It is home to the state’s oldest university, the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, which contributes a cultural, college-town vibe. Coupled with several great amenities (including several parks and an assortment of winter sports), Fairbanks is a great place to live!

As for drawbacks, there is certainly room for improvement when it comes to crime rates. At the top of the list, however, is the intense weather. It’s the coldest city in America.

Top public schools include West Valley High School, Watershed Charter School, Lathrop High School, Barnette Magnet School, and Hutchison High School. For those seeking private education, the top private schools are Catholic Schools of Fairbanks, Open Arms Lutheran Child Development Center, Fairbanks Montessori School, Far North Christian School, and Spruce Tree Montessori School. 

Are you searching for a great combo of educational opportunities, outdoor fun, and a well-planned community? This goldilocks city – not too big, not too small – is an awesome place to call home.

Nome

Population: 3,800
Median Home Value: $210,100

Last but not least, we end our tour of Far North / Interior Alaska in the small town of Nome, Alaska. Situated on Norton Sound of the Bering Sea (along the Seward Peninsula coast), Nome was once the most populous city in Alaska. Here, 51% of residents are renters, and the public schools rate as average.

About 540 miles northwest of Anchorage, Nome is the self-proclaimed largest gold pan in the world. The area is also rich in Native people’s history and culture, and 50% of residents are Alaska Natives. On the downside, Nome is an isolated place. It’s not connected to Alaska’s road system, but fortunately, it is home to OME Airport. Anchorage is only a 1.5-hour flight away. Top public schools serving the Nome area include Anvil City Academy, Nome-Beltz Junior / Senior High School, Nome Elementary School, Extensions Correspondence, and Cruikshank School. 

If you’re in search of a tiny city steeped in Native culture, community, and seasonal living, away from the congestion and noise of urban life, Nome could be the getaway place you’ve been looking for.

Southwest / Southcentral / Southeast Alaska

Anchorage

Population: 292,000
Median Home Value: $355,900

As the largest city in Alaska, Anchorage offers a wide diversity of culture, amenities, cuisine, interests, and activities. In this metropolitan, 60% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are highly rated.

From its gorgeous scenery to endless activities – skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, hiking, hunting, camping, four wheeling, farmers markets, festivals, the list goes on – Anchorage is the place to be in Alaska during any season. It’s also home to two universities, several arts & cultural centers, retail stores, and celebrated restaurants. And if you’re a seafood lover, it doesn’t get any fresher than it does here! 

As for drawbacks, homelessness and crime rates are quite high. Also, daylight can last as long as 22 hours per day in the summer – the most of any US state. Of course, if you like daylight, you’ll love living in Anchorage during the summertime.

Top public schools include West High School, Bayshore Elementary School, South Anchorage High School, Northern Lights ABC K–8 School, and Girdwood School, while top private schools include Holy Rosary Academy, Lumen Christi Catholic High School, Grace Christian School, and Anchorage Christian Schools. Anchorage is home to three institutions of higher learning, including the University of Alaska – Anchorage, Alaska Pacific University, and Alaska Career College.

If you are pining for an American city offering the perfect mix of urban amenities and breathtaking natural attractions, look no further than Anchorage, Alaska.

Cordova

Population: 3,200
Median Home Value: $319,500

Approximately 145 miles southeast of Anchorage, we find ourselves in the small town of Cordova. Nestled close to the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Area, Cordova is a lovely outdoor paradise. 72% of residents are homeowners, and the public schools are above average.

Known for its salmon fishing, Cordova is a quaint, family-friendly fishing town surrounded by absolutely awe-inspiring natural splendor. There is an unmistakably strong sense of community and pride in being stewards of the sea, with over 75% of the local businesses supported by commercial fishing. On the downside, the cost of living is particularly expensive here. Also, the tiny town does not connect to other places by roads, so taking a ferry or flight is required to travel outside of the area.

Top public schools serving the Cordova area include Cordova Junior / Senior High School and Mt. Eccles Elementary School.

If you love salmon and natural wonder, Cordova offers not just a fine place to call home (especially for families), but also a way of life centered around fishing and enjoying the great outdoors.

Juneau

Population: 32,400
Median Home Value: $397,800

As the capital of Alaska, Juneau is the second-most populous city in the state (as well as the second-largest city in America by land area at over 2,700 square miles). In Juneau, 65% of residents own their homes, and the public schools are highly ranked.

As arguably one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world, Juneau is a unique and charming city with the optimal blend of wilderness and modern living. You’ll find the majority of job opportunities are in government, fishing, and tourism. The city is also home to the University of Alaska – Southeast, as well as the state’s only professional theatre (the aptly named Perseverance Theatre).  As for drawbacks, living in Juneau is not cheap. Relative to other popular cities, however, it is relatively inexpensive (especially compared to pricey places like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco).

Top public schools are Juneau-Douglas High School, Juneau Community Charter School, Thunder Mountain High School, Auke Bay Elementary School, and Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School. Top private schools include Faith Community School and Juneau Montessori School. 

With a small-town feel, Juneau offers an abundance of outdoor activities, educational opportunities, modern amenities, engaging culture, and a spirit perfect for adventurers and entrepreneurs alike.

Sitka

Population: 8,800
Median Home Value: $403,800

Nestled at the foot of majestic mountains carved by giant glaciers, we find ourselves in the small city of Sitka. As the #1 largest city in the US by land area, it is a sight to behold. Fifty-seven percent of Sitka residents are homeowners, and the public schools rate as above average.

Found in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, the world’s biggest temperate rain forest, Sitka is a place of rugged natural splendor. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Pacific, it earns its title from the gorgeous shoreline and towering spruce trees. It is also steeped in Native Tlingit and Russian culture & history. On the downside, it is located on Baranof Island and is only accessible by sea or air. Its remoteness also brings higher living expenses (along with the highest median home value on this list).

Top public schools serving the Sitka area include Blatchley Middle School, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Mt. Edgecumbe High School, Sitka High School, and Baranof Elementary School. 

Looking for a new home that effortlessly represents the idea of “Uncrowded Alaska?” Sitka provides world-class outdoor activities (fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, etc.), stunning views, rich history, and a close-knit community isolated from the complications of congested cities and modern living.

Unalaska

Population: 4,800
Median Home Value: $347,800

We end our journey through Alaska in a place with an interesting name: Unalaska. Also known as Dutch Harbor, is a storied port city and the most populated area of the Aleutian Islands. 77% of residents rent their homes, and public schools are highly rated.

Originally named Ounalashka by the native Aleut people, which translates to “near the peninsula,” Unalaska was given its current spelling by the United States Board of Geographical Names. Along with being known for its fishing industry, Unalaska is also home to a large population of bald eagles.

As a culturally diverse community – it’s about 40% White, 30% Asian, 15% Native Alaskan / Native American, and 15% Hispanic / Latino – Unalaska is a place of rich history that has been contributed by the Unangan / Aleut people, Russians, and Americans alike. It also ranks at the top of the list among the best places to live in Alaska in 2019 by HomeSnacks. As for drawbacks, the cost of living is high here (particularly when it comes to food and healthcare).

Top schools in Unalaska are Unalaska Junior / Senior High School and Eagle’s View Elementary School.

With the second-highest incomes in the state, combined with low crime, great schools, and amazing coastal island living, Unalaska is uncompromising in its attractive selling points.

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How to Move to Alaska

Relocating to or from Alaska presents several challenges. That’s why it’s so important to plan. Follow this convenient interstate moving checklist for a more pleasant relocation.

Start Ahead of Time:

  • First of all, don’t procrastinate. Give yourself at least 2–3 months to perform your Alaska move. 
  • Create a timeline and list of logistics. Also, grab an organizing folder for docs and receipts.
  • Got a few helping hands? Get everyone together. Discuss plans and delegate duties.
  • Make a schedule of tasks — place the list in a highly visible part of your home, like the fridge or hallway.
  • If doable, plan a trip to your new community or state. Make an adventure out of it!

Notify People:

  • Rent? To limit the possibility of a bad reference or deposit issues, notify the landlord ASAP.
  • Own? Contact a real estate professional for a successful sale or rental of your property.
  • Give employees and service providers at least one month’s notice before your move.
  • Finally, remember to tell your family and friends. Don’t be that person who forgets!

Hire AK Moving Company:

  • Start by comparing at least 3–5 reputable and qualified moving companies.
  • Make sure each candidate is fully licensed and insured for your type of move.
  • Book your required moving services ASAP to lock in the best rates and availability.
  • Great Guys makes it super easy to source interstate movers. Contact us today!

Book a Storage Service:

  • Have to travel, remodel, or stash excess items? It sounds like you need storage.
  • Many AK movers also offer short-term and long-term storage services.
  • Need help finding the right choice? Contact us today for your storage solution.

Declutter Your Household:

  • Downsizing can offer several benefits, including saving space and money.
  • Are you headed to Alaska? You may need to get rid of certain clothing, items, etc.
  • To let go of unneeded stuff and make room for new gear, purge your household.
  • To begin the process, start by taking inventory of your household belongings.
  • Keep in mind what you could do without, especially if you’re relocating to Alaska.
  • Next, one room at a time, begin to sort through all of your belongings.
  • Decide what you want to keep or discard. Sort into piles or label accordingly.
  • Once you’re ready, any disused items can be sold online, donated, or recycled.
  • Remember: properly dispose of hazardous materials (aerosol cans and the like).

Begin Packing Process:

  • Packing yourself? If so, give yourself at least 4–6 weeks to get it done.
  • Get your hands on quality boxes, tape, and other packing supplies.
  • When packing, start by placing heavier items in the moving box first.
  • Try to pair items of similar size and shape. Pack them together.
  • When it comes to the really heavy stuff, use smaller boxes for easy handling.
  • Once you’ve packed a box, fill spaces with packing peanuts or other material.
  • Last but not least, thoroughly tape and clearly label every box.
  • Need a hand packing? We make it simple to book professional packers.

Make Travel Arrangements:

  • Flying? Purchase tickets ASAP to ensure the best availability and rates.
  • Driving? Make sure to have the vehicle properly inspected and serviced.
  • If possible, plan to arrive at your new home ahead of the movers.
  • Reminder: New AK residents must get a driver’s license within 30 days.

Prepare Children, Pets, and Yourself:

  • Moving, particularly for the first time, can be super stressful for little ones.
  • Using either playtime or a story, explain what’s the upcoming change. 
  • Be sure to be patient, kind, and mindful during the moving process.
  • Maintaining a kid’s normal routines as much as possible goes a long way.
  • Schedule checkups: physician, dentist, eye doctor, pediatrician, and so on.
  • Transfer important records, like school transcripts and medical records.
  • Research new schools, job opportunities, doctors, lawyers, and more.
  • As for pets, schedule a vet visit. Check Alaska pet import and export laws.
  • If moving to Alaska, get warm winter coats, boots, gloves, beanies, etc.
  • To safeguard little ones, get a babysitter and pet care on moving day.

Handle Utilities and Services:

  • Have current services (electric, internet, etc.) turned off the day after your move.
  • Schedule new ones to be activated by the time you arrive at your new home.
  • Make sure to also change your address at a local post office or on the USPS site.
  • It’s also a good idea to update any info for online services, subscription boxes, etc.

Book Professional Cleaners:

  • Rent? Invest in pro cleaning services to safeguard your deposit and reference.
  • Own? Having your old place deep cleaned can help boost the final sales price.
  • Consider other services: appliance repair, hardwood floor refinishing, etc.
  • Try to have a cleaning crew come in right after the movers have finished up.

Commemorate Your Move:

  • Celebrate your relocation with family, friends, and other close people.
  • This transition can be an emotional time. Be mindful, considerate, and present.
  • Plan a party, group outing, luncheons, or meetups. Whatever works best.
  • Activities can be spread out over a single night, few days, or even weeks. 

Moving Day is Approaching:

  • About a week out, confirm arrival time and other details with your movers.
  • Create an essentials box. Fill it with meds, toiletries, bedding, clothes, etc.
  • Keep personal documents (passport, birth cert, SSN card) close while moving.
  • Make sure to back up your device data. Consider could-based services.
  • Have a bunch of extra food? Donate or offer to friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Make sure to clean and sanitize all your appliances for mold-free transport.
  • If doable, stay in the night before moving day. Eat well and get plenty of sleep.
  • Moving day has arrived! Be physical present to answer movers’ questions.
  • Everything loaded? Awesome! Take one walkthrough of your old home.
  • Remember: the journey is just as important as the destination. Enjoy it!

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Quality Moving Services from Alaska Movers

When moving to or from Alaska, you need moving professionals you can count on. Great Guys Long Distance Movers makes it easy to hire quality Alaska moving services at reasonable rates.

Long Distance Moves

Moving to Alaska? Headed to the lower 48? Either way, there can be several unique challenges involved. Book one of our highly experienced and certified long-distance movers for a bump-free relocation.

Intrastate & Local Moves

When moving within the state, you could benefit from the right help. We work with local moving companies that know the state like the back of their hands, resulting in an efficient move.

International Moves

Planning a military move? Just landed your dream job in another country? Great Guys is here to help. We make it simple to source a fully licensed international relocation service you can trust.

Small Load Moves

Need to move into or out of a one-bedroom apartment, studio, or college dorm? You may think it’s too much to book a service. Not true! Our group of small-load movers is cheap, speedy, and reliable.

Furniture Shipments

Don’t want to risk damage or injury? Hire one of our furniture moving partners. Sit back and relax while your bulky, fragile, and pricey furniture is safely and securely shipped anywhere in the states.

Piano Transport

Need to relocate your piano or organ? Whether it’s to a new venue or home, we’ve got the right fit. Our piano moving specialists take great pride in their work, ensuring safe and damage-free transport.

Art Shipping & Transport

Movers should handle your collectibles, antiques, and fine art with special care. Our specialized art shippers provide topnotch services, from custom packaging to art display installation.

Storage

Relocating, renovating, or traveling? In any case, it sounds like you need clean and secure storage. Fortunately, our moving partners also offer storage solutions. Contact us today for more info!

Last Minute & Short Notice Moves

Facing a last-minute move? Whether it’s due to work, eviction, or simple procrastination, we understand how stressful the situation can be. Let us connect you with short-notice movers in your area ASAP.

Residential Moves

A household move is daunting. There’s a ton of logistics, and it can get even more difficult when moving to Alaska. Our residential movers can relief your stress with expert residential moving services.

Packing Services

Packing can be a pain. Add the pressure of work and life, and it’s hard to find the time or energy to pack your valued possessions properly. Our pro packers are ready to lend their helping hands.

Commercial and Office Moves

Congrats on your business move! Now, the fun part. It pays to book qualified commercial movers, especially in Alaska. Experience a successful relocation or expansion without any undue headaches.

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Want to ensure a smooth transition? We’re ready to assist you. Our group of top Alaska moving companies is fully vetted, licensed, and experienced. Request your free moving estimate today!

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Movers you can trust. Pricing you can afford.

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