Today we explore your Alaska Vacation – Inside Passage. The Last Frontier, the Great Land, North to the Future, Land of the Midnight Sun – The nicknames vary, but what remains unchanged is Alaska’s status as a premier, rugged, and fascinating travel destination. The largest, least densely populated, northernmost and westernmost U.S. state Alaska is practically its own country. With thousands of miles of scenic coastline, experiencing the 49th state on an Alaskan cruise is a. The massive glaciers, misty fjords, tranquil waterways, immense mountains, thriving rainforests, and rugged tundra landscapes are home to scores of wildlife… all viewable from the comfort of your cruise ship or via exciting onshore excursions. Due to its massive size and diverse landscapes, Alaska can be broken down into several regions.
The Inside Passage, also known as the Panhandle, stretches across the southeastern end of state and is the most accessible destination within Alaska. Its majestic forests, wealth of fjords and islands, and abundant wildlife add to the appeal of this region. Southern and Southwestern Alaska includes the city of Anchorage and the volcanic Aleutian Islands. Farther north, Arctic Alaska is home to impressive tundra landscapes, the aurora borealis, and the midnight sun.
An extraordinary collection of misty fjords, glaciers, rainforests, countless islands and mountains, the Inside Passage stretches from the coast of Canada’s British Columbia to Alaska’s southeastern panhandle. The landscape of this region was shaped millions of years ago by massive glaciers, and the irregular and jagged nature of these coasts seems tailor-made for exploring aboard a cruise ship. Ports of call here include Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, and Petersburg, offering plenty of creature comforts for visitors. But the abundant wildlife is the true star of the Inside Passage and one of the primary reasons to visit this beautiful region.
I would love to share with you some of the sights and port that you can experience on an Alaska Vacation – Inside Passage cruise!
Experience Alaska’s famous Inside Passage, also known as “The Panhandle” or “Southeast.” Many of Alaska’s top attractions and activities are located throughout the region, along with spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife, vibrant Native cultures, fascinating histories and exceptional hospitality.
The unspoiled waters, miles of rustic coastline and numerous species of land and marine wildlife along the British Columbia Coast make for picture-perfect scenery at every curve. This is a common route that cruise ships take while sailing to and from Alaska.
This busy marine passage in southeastern Alaska provides travelers with an abundance of fishing opportunities. Frederick Sound is the summer feeding ground for many humpback whales, making it one of the best places in the world to spot these majestic marine mammals. Orca, sea lions, porpoise and birds are also often seen in the area.
Glacier Bay provides travelers with the perfect day of cruising quietly through the best of Alaska. Visitors should have their camera ready to capture the moment giant pinnacles of ice crack off the face of the glaciers.
This historic town is set on a peninsula along the deep blue waters of the Lynn Canal. In town, visit the Chilkat Center to experience Tlingit Indian heritage preserved through art and dance and the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to spot Alaska’s most famous feathered resident.
Hyder, the “Friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska,” is a prime place to see bears in their natural habitat. At the Fish Creek Observation, watch as brown and black bears feed on salmon swimming upstream.
Icy Strait Point offers something for every traveler. Extreme adventurers can explore the beautiful wilderness by going mountain biking, ocean kayaking, alpine hiking or deep-sea fishing. Those seeking a more relaxed adventure can watch a Native dance performance, learn about the town’s historic cannery at the museum or shop for arts and crafts.
The Inside Passage is a coastal route for vessels that weaves through islands on the Pacific coast of Alaska. This route offers stunning sights such as green islands, majestic mountains and sparkling glaciers such as the famous Hubbard Glacier.
Juneau, Alaska’s remote capital, sits in the state’s panhandle, at the base of 3,819-ft. Mount Roberts. It’s a popular cruise-ship stop, reachable only by boat or seaplane. A tram carries visitors 1,800 feet up Mount Roberts to an alpine area with hiking trails, wildflowers and views of Gastineau Channel.
Ketchikan was originally founded as a Native American fishery before growing during the 1898 Gold Rush to the Klondike. Much of the town’s colorful past is still evident, both in the city center and especially in the nearby Native American villages, where visitors will be enchanted by colorfully carved totem poles and the fascinating legends that surround them.
Sail past mammoth cliffs that rise out of the water and be awed by the sheer scenic beauty. Those who visit Misty Fjords feel closer than ever before to the untouched serenity of the natural world as they are surrounded by blue glacial lakes, tall waterfalls, and snowcapped peaks. Keep a watchful eye out for bald eagles soaring overhead, black and brown bears foraging along the shore, Dall porpoises riding the bow wave of the ship and harbor seals sunning themselves along the rocky ledges.
Seward, a common port for many Alaskan cruise itineraries to embark and disembark, is not only one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities. Seward’s downtown district is filled with quaint shops and art galleries and some of the most exciting outdoor adventures imaginable are right around the corner.
Sitka has perhaps the richest history of any Alaskan town. Explore the blend of Russian and Native American cultures while enjoying the unspoiled landscape at the gateway to remote Southeast Alaska. Both the local residents and abundant wildlife add to Sitka’s authentic feel.
With its colorful history Skagway is one of the most interesting and bustling towns of the Inside Passage. Skagway was born during the Gold Rush of 1898 when more than 10,000 adventurers used the community as the starting point of their hunt for gold. Now, nature has reclaimed the land, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the rainforest, visit historic ruins, breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Nestled between 3,000-foot high sheer granite cliffs, the narrow, twisting slice of ocean called Tracy Arm Fjord weaves through the Tongass National Forest for roughly 35 miles. The shoreline is spotted with waterfalls created by melting snowcaps and trees sprouting at odd angles from rocky outcroppings. Travelers cruising through Tracy Arm should take time to admire the landscape and keep an eye out of animals.
Most of Canada’s imports from and exports to the Orient and Australia pass through Vancouver, Canada’s gateway to the Pacific. From the harbor entrance, spot the Lion’s Gate, made up of twin mountain peaks closely resembling crouching lions. Visitors enjoy discovering this cosmopolitan city, from the shops of Robson Street to historic Gastown.
Located on the southern tip on the island of Vancouver in British Columbia, the city of Victoria is probably best known for its mild climate and active outdoor lifestyle. In fact, the city has been named the “fittest city” in Canada more than once. Among the many attractions are world-famous gardens, its 150 years of British history, gourmet dining and fantastic shopping.
Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and the only place in Alaska to have been ruled by the Russians, British and Americans. Prehistoric rock carvings or petroglyphs, dating as early as 8,000 years ago, have been found here. All this and more makes Wrangell a great place to get lost in Alaskan history.
I hope that you enjoyed this little introduction into your next Alaska Vacation – Inside Passage.