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Alaska on the Go Book Review ~ Sage Advice for Visiting the 49th State with Kids

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You may dream of exploring Alaska with your kids, but it’s such a vast state, you might not know where to even start! Written with a down-to-earth voice and filled with handy information, the guidebook, Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children, makes planning an Alaskan family vacation doable and fun.

Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children

Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Alaska on the Go

Author Erin Kirkland paints a beautiful picture of Alaska’s rugged wilderness that will have you longing for a trip to this northern state. Expect a blend of Alaskan history and cultural lessons along with sound family travel advice and nature exploration safety tips. I love Erin’s humorous, tell-it-like-it-is voice mixed with solid facts.

Not only does Erin share with readers the best places to explore, dine and sleep in Alaska, but also she provides important details you might not have even considered about exploring this wild state. She shares the pros and cons of traveling to Alaska during all four seasons and gives a chart of how many hours of daylight you can expect for every month of the year in four Alaskan cities.

Erin covers the pluses and minuses of various transportation options for getting to and around Alaska (by boat, car or plane), and even tells you what to pack for your Alaskan family vacation. She keeps it real in Alaska on the Go. In Chapter 2 (“How to Get Here”), Erin gives us the ups, downs and upside downs of road tripping in the 49th state. She says, “Oh, to be on a freewheeling road trip with the kids happily singing in the backseat, playing automobile bingo, sharing chocolate-chip cookies, and writing journal entries at roadside rest stops. Riiiight.”

Erin's son, Owen, is quoted throughout "Alaska on the Go"

Erin’s son, Owen, is quoted throughout the guide (Photo courtesy of Erin Kirkland)

Pro Tips and KidSpeak

Sprinkled throughout Alaska on the Go, you’ll find “Pro Tips” from Alaskan residents and visitors on topics from cruising and campsites to national parks and local finds. For example, Captain Johnny (grandfather to a bunch), says, “You gotta let kids explore things their own way. Dropping a crab pot, pulling it up again, and then parking on a beach to cook the crabs teaches kids a whole lot more than going to a restaurant.”

Kids get in on the action too, with “KidSpeak” quotes in eye-catching bubbles. Alisa (age 15) says, “One of my favorite places to kayak is North Beach, outside of Seward. There is a lot of stuff to do there, like playing in the water, exploring the fort, and day hikes.”

Meanwhile Owen (age 7) gives humorous insight to fishing in Alaska: “The best part about a fishing trip is bonking all the halibut.”

Erin Kirkland, author of "Alaska on the Go"

Erin Kirkland, author of “Alaska on the Go” (Photo courtesy of Erin Kirkland)

About the Author

In the book’s Introduction, Erin tells us, “Our family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, three days after Christmas 2005. The day was so cold I could see frost on the mustache of a ground crew member who patiently waited near the aircraft’s door while I struggled to stuff my squirming youngest child into fleece overalls, snowsuit, boots, hat and mittens to walk 50 feet into the terminal…” She goes on to say, “In the eight years since, our entire family learned to love the 49th state, to embrace even its frigid winters and sometimes-rainy summers. We camp, hike, fish, and gaze daily upon a landscape that fits perfectly, as if Alaska was made specifically for us.”

Erin's son and husband exploring Alaska by water

Erin’s son and husband exploring Alaska by water (Photo courtesy of Erin Kirkland)

Why Alaska with Kids

Alaska might have been made just for your family too, especially if breathtaking scenery and wildlife spotting thrill you. In Chapter 5 (about “Alaska’s Wildlife”), Erin says, “Alaska is just one big wildlife playground,” and goes on to list the plethora of animals you may find during your visit. Then, she says, “There is nothing quite so thrilling as the opportunity to spot a moose munching on tender grasses right outside the hotel room or being the first to catch a glimpse of an eagle sitting high atop a tree. It’s an adventure, indeed, to be immersed in such wildness, especially with your children in tow.”

This book has me longing for another trip to Alaska. My family fell in love with the state last year during our Celebrity Alaskan cruise. Although we had a blast summer dog-sledding, hiking, and bear-spotting in Alaska’s Inside Passage, this book showed me just how much more there is to explore. I can’t wait to go back for another Alaskan adventure!

Get your copy of Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children now!

Do you dream of traveling to Alaska with kids? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below! 

A Note from The Travel Mama: I received a complimentary copy of Alaska on the Go for the purpose of this review. I did not receive any other compensation related to this post.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

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