Alaska is a state of the United States of America. It is located in the extreme northwest portion of North America. It is by far the largest U.S. state in area, but one of the least populated. Alaska is one of the two U.S. states not bordered by another state, Hawaii being the other. It is the only non-contiguous state in North America; about 500 miles of Canadian territory separate Alaska from Washington. Alaska is thus an exclave of the United States that is part of the continental U.S. but is not part of the contiguous U.S.
Alaska is also the only mainland state whose capital city is accessible only via ship or air. No roads connect Juneau to the rest of the state.
It is bordered by Yukon Territory and British Columbia, Canada to the east, the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Sea, Bering Strait, and Chukchi Sea to the west, and the Beaufort Sea and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Alaska is the largest state in the United States in terms of land area (it is larger in area than all but 18 of the world's nations) at 570,380 square miles, over twice as large as Texas, the next largest state. Alaska also has more coastline than all of the contiguous U.S. combined.
South Central Alaska is the southern coastal region and contains most of the state's population. Anchorage and many growing towns, such as Palmer, and Wasilla, lie within this area. The Alaska Panhandle, also known as Southeast Alaska, is home to many of Alaska's larger towns including the state capital Juneau, tidewater glaciers and extensive forests. Tourism, fishing, forestry and state government anchor the economy. The Alaska Interior is home to Fairbanks. The geography is marked by large braided rivers, such as the Yukon River and the Kuskokwim River, as well as Arctic tundra lands and shorelines. The Alaskan Bush is the remote, less crowded part of the state, encompassing 380 native villages and small towns such as Nome, Bethel, Kotzebue and, most famously, Barrow, the northernmost town in the United States.
With its numerous islands, Alaska has nearly 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. It is home to 3.5 million lakes of 20 acres or larger. Marshlands and wetland permafrost cover 188,320 square miles. Frozen water, in the form of glacier ice, covers some 16,000 square miles of land and 1,200 square miles of tidal zone.
The climate of Alaska, as would be expected given its location, is cold compared to the climate of the other 49 states; however, there is a great variety in the climate between the various regions, which one would also expect from a state as large as Alaska. Snow, of course, occurs everywhere in Alaska, although the amount varies considerably.