No state has more trackless wilderness than Alaska, perhaps accounting for the fact that the state also claims the most pilots per capita. Explore the backcountry that rings the gateway city of Anchorage by hopping a De Havilland Beaver or Cessna 206 from the Lake Hood Seaplane Base at Ted Stevens airport (dot.alaska.gov/anc), the world’s busiest for float planes (i.e., low-flying, two-to-ten-seater aircrafts in which pontoons sub for landing gear). From there, set your own route with Rust’s Flying Service’s “Pilot for a Day” program (from $4,000 for six hours and up to four passengers; flyrusts.com), launching this May. Suggested itineraries include glacier-and-volcano viewing near Mount McKinley or picnicking and whale watching on Prince William Sound. Alternatively, hop a 70-minute Era flight (flyera.com) from Anchorage to Kodiak Island, where you’ll check into the four-cabin, all-inclusive Kodiak Brown Bear Center (from $3,499 per person for three nights; kodiakbearcenter.com). Guides at the plush resort lead twice-daily outings by skiff to see indigenous Kodiak, as well as foxes and bald eagles, amid the pristine 1.9-million-acre Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge. Evenings are best spent sweating in the resort’s wood-stoked banya or listening to loons from beside a crackling fire pit.
The thrill-o-meter: Nobly electrifying.