Though I am a lifelong Alaskan (living in Anchorage), my wife is from the Lower 48, so I can foresee some of the issues that might arise.
First, you've visited Alaska in the summer (and presumable enjoyed your experience). Would you be able to handle the darkness of fall and winter? Some can and some can't. Are you OK if you rarely have an outside temperature of 70 degrees (in southcentral and southeastern Alaska)? Are you OK with not having four distinct seasons? Our fall can be extremely short-lived. We're usually snow-free from mid-May to mid-October (mid-September farther north). There's a month on either side of that when there might be snow or there might not.
As for employment, I would advise making inquiries well in advance of making your decision to move. The market can be a tough one to break into because emplyers don't want to hire someone who may well want to leave the state in a year. When considering wages, remember that there are no state income or sales taxes and I'm sure you've heard about the permanent fund dividend, which is given to residents who have lived in Alaska for at least a full calendar year. Some muncipalities or boroughs have sales taxes and some have property taxes and some have both. In some of the smaller communities there might be limited opportunity to switch employers (and stay in the same community); in the larger areas (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau) your employment mobility won't be as limited.
How would you feel about being an expensive plane flight away from the Lower 48? Some might appreciate this buffer from relatives who stop by unannounced, while others might long for more family contact. Are you OK with your children growing up far from their grandparents? From a personal perspective, I never got to really know my grandparents (who lived in the Lower 48 ), but my family had wonderfully close, familial relationships with other families whom we adopted as our own.
While the Anchorage School District used to be among the top districts in the nation, that is no longer the case. I don't think that our schools are at the bottom of the heap, though. For college, the majority of Alaskan college students attend college out of state. There are four Alaskan universities - one in College (outside Fairbanks), one in Juneau, and two in Anchorage - as well as some community colleges throughout the state.
I disagree with Tonka's advice about crab fishing. The heydays of crab fishing are over and the majority of their legal issues are handled in Washington (where most of the fleet is based). Kodiak, Sitka, and Juneau really aren't near significant crab fisheries. Unalaska, Saint Paul, and Akutan are in the prime area for crab fishing and of those communities none has a courthouse (although Unalaska might be slated to get one soon).
The pace of life in Alaska is somewhat slower than in the northeast or DC area. In the Bush it is even slower. To some this relaxed pace is great; to others it can be frustrating to not be able to schedule things by the clock.
The cost of living for certain items can be high in our urban areas, but you're in Maryland where the cost of living in the DC beltway area can be just as high. Our rural areas are somewhat costlier (except, perhaps, for real estate).
But you originally asked what it's like. I wouldn't live anyplace else. I went to college in New York and the best education I received was that Alaska was someplace special. I often work a full day at my job, leave work at 5, and can be hiking by 5:30 or 6, climb to the top of a mountain (with over 3000 feet of elevation gain) with our long daylight in the spring and summer, and drive home for a late dinner, go to bed, and get up the next morning and do it all over again. Where else can you do that? And sometimes I spot whales as I'm driving to the trailhead! I consider myself very fortunate to live here. Last year I climbed a peak that had never been previously climbed and I started the approach by walking out the front door of my friend's house and hiking into the mountains. That's not easily done in the Lower 48. I hunt and fish and pick berries to put food on the table. Wildlife frequent my back yard. (I love it, but not having grown up in bear country, my wife had a hard time understanding why we couldn't put the garbage out the night before it was to be collected.)
Alaska was a terrific place in which to grow up. I'm not a parent, but despite the changes since my childhood in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, I think Alaska would still be a wonderful place to raise children. There are plenty of outdoor recreational activities for them to experience life and to grow.
I guess a summation would be that Alaska is what you make of it - it can be a miserable, cold, dark place that is distant from your loved ones or it can be a wonderful place if you let it. It's all dependent upon you.