I moved to Alaska from the Midwest about 7 years ago. Here are 10 things that surprised me.


On the left is Nicole in a pink sweater in front of the forest.View of Alaska mountains from the car on the right

I currently live on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.Nicole Smith

  • l was born and raised in Ohio, but moved to Alaska almost seven years ago.

  • Not everywhere is very cold all year round, but the midnight sun is definitely real.

  • Wild gamers such as bison, moose and reindeer are more common than beef.

I moved to Alaska from the Midwest about 7 years ago.

Nicole standing in front of the green forest

I used to live in Ohio.Nicole Smith

I was born and raised OhioAnd even though I traveled outside the Midwest for work and vacation, I never went farther than Texas.

So when I moved to Alaska, I didn’t expect long winters, rain boots as a fashion essential, or bison burgers and reindeer hot dogs.

Almost seven years later, I’m still here and now live on the Kenai Peninsula.

Not all of Alaska is extremely cold.

Harbor Seals on the Alaskan Coast

Harbor seals like to enjoy the sun.Nicole Smith

I wasn’t ready I need a sweater It’s August, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wear shorts.

Some parts of Alaska are really bone-chilling, like the Arctic Circle, where summer temperatures reach around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but I live in the southern part of the state and the climate is much milder. ..

We usually see summer temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s and winter temperatures as cold as 15 degrees below freezing.

Contrary to common belief, the state does not automatically pay you to live here.

Photographs of Alaskan government documents

You must apply for Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend each year.Nicole Smith

In Alaska Permanent fund dividend, Or PFD. It gives all residents the same amount of state oil royalties through annual dividends.

Unfortunately, moving here doesn’t mean you can get it automatically.

You need to complete quite a few steps to qualify. To qualify, you must complete an annual application and submit all support documents.

In addition, the dividend amount varies from year to year.

The midnight sun is real.

The sun setting behind the mountains of Alaska

Nighttime sunlight is often referred to as the midnight sun.Nicole Smith

One of the most frequently asked questions I ask is whether Alaska is really in the sun for 23 hours in the summer or is it dark all winter. Both answers are kind.

The sun is strongest from mid-May to mid-September because the sun does not set completely. Just below the horizon, you can see at most an hour or two of dusk.

In some parts of Alaska’s northernmost tip, the sun does not rise completely during autumn and winter, so when the sun hits the horizon, there is only a few hours of light.

Where I live, it’s been exposed to 5 to 6 hours of sunlight In winter Summer is about 20 hours and you often can’t sleep well.

Fishing is a popular business and hobby.

Alaska sign with a fishing boat

Homer, Alaska is known as the center of the halibut fishing industry in the world.Nicole Smith

Fishing is Alaska’s second largest industry, but it’s also a very popular pastime.

Homer, Alaska is known as the center of the halibut fishing industry in the world. In the summer, travelers descend from all over the United States to coastal settlements, competing for the largest catches and large prizes at the annual halibut derby.

We stock enough halibut and salmon each year to hold in the freezer for at least a year, but most of the time there is something extra. fish To send to friends and family in the Midwest.

Alaska is much larger than you can see on the map.

View of Alaska mountain from car

Alaska is more than twice as big as Texas.Nicole Smith

I think maps and globes significantly underestimate the size of Alaska.

From where I live Anchorage It’s about the same length as the one from Ohio to Kentucky. This is called a one-tank trip because you need a full tank of gas to get there.

Alaska is more than twice as big as Texas and fits easily 19 states There is a room left in it.

The growing season is incredibly short.

Arrangement of vegetables at farmers markets in Alaska

Many farmers use tall tunnels and greenhouses.Nicole Smith

Alaska has midnight sun during the summer, but the time for planting and harvesting is Midwest..

Most farmers in Alaska use high tunnels or greenhouses to combat lower temperatures and extend their growing season.

Coffee is popular and very easy to find.

Brown coffee stands off the road in Alaska

There are many coffee shops on the roadside.Nicole Smith

The moment I moved from Canada to Alaska, I realized a unique coffee drive-through that could be a rival. StarbucksFrom reused RVs mounted behind mobile stands and trucks to roadside stationery stores.

Drinking coffee is easy, but convenience store drive-throughs are rare in Alaska, especially in small cities.

I still miss the convenience of buying alcohol, snacks and milk because of the comfort of the driver’s seat.

Wild games are more popular here than beef.

A grocery store with an American buffalo

Something like reindeer meat can be found in the store.Nicole Smith

I was surprised to see the word “reindeer” on the menu, but reindeer sausages are important.

It’s not uncommon to go to restaurants and food trucks and find wild moose such as reindeer, caribou, moose and bison instead of menus. beef..

You can also find wild game in the grocery store.

The earthquake still makes me uneasy.

Alaska speed limit sign with tsunami warning sign

There are also signs of a tsunami in the coastal areas.Nicole Smith

Alaska overlooks 1,000 earthquakes It’s the moon, but we feel only a few of them.

But the quakes I noticed always make me a little anxious for a day or two, especially when we feel too common aftershocks.

One day, an earthquake will cause thunderstorms and tornadoes.

The scenery doesn’t get old.

View of Kakemac Bay with mountains in the background

I love the view of Kakemac Bay.Nicole Smith

I’ve lived in Alaska for nearly seven years and am always amazed at the beauty of the state. It’s really breathtaking.

Even the beaches on cloudy days are great, but when the sun hits the water, it turns into the clearest, most wonderful blue color.

It may not be adventurous enough to attract most people to Alaska, but it certainly does show its charm and magic. Take thousands of tourists to the state Every year.

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