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Ranked in the world’s top 5 cities for quality of life, on a clear day you’ll see as far as distant Mount Baker. Find nirvana amongst the ferns and lofty cedars in Stanley Park, taste oysters in Granville Island market, and explore historic Gastown.
You’ll sail beyond the Inside Passage into the more protected Alaska Inside Passage, a complex labyrinth of fjords and bays where whales and sea lions find refuge during the summer months.
Ketchikan sits at the southern end of Alaska’s Inside Passage – a gateway to the wild landscapes and seascapes of Misty Fjords National Monument. The canned salmon capital of the world, it’s a hub for fishing and outdoor sports. It’s also home to three tribes of Northwest Coast Indians, making it a great place to get a taste for the local culture. You’ll see it in the colourful, hand-carved totems that line the city’s streets and parks, and in the unique stilted homes that cling to Deer Mountain’s slopes. If you want to get up close and personal with nature, venture into the Tongass National Forest, the largest in the United States. Or head to Ketchikan Creek Waterfall for amazing views of downtown Ketchikan and a glimpse at the yearly salmon runs.
Sitka truly offers the best of Alaska. Its small-town appeal stems from a unique blend of Russian, Tlingit and American history. Its snow-capped peaks and volcanic Mount Edgecumbe pose amongst the state’s most postcard-worthy scenes. And its rare wildlife astounds, from Saint Lazaria Island’s orange-beaked puffins to Alaska Maritime Refuge’s 40 million seabirds. This is off-the-beaten-track Alaska, where you can kayak Sitka Sound alongside swimming sea otters or fly-fish for the world’s biggest halibut. Whether it’s hiking along Baranof Island trails or listening to tribal stories passed down for generations, in Sitka the midnight sun never sets on adventure.
You can’t get to Juneau easily without a sprint by air or by sea. But once you arrive you’ll find majestic views and rich culture in every corner. With its snowcapped mountains, misty rainforests, massive glaciers and bounty of wildlife, Alaska’s remote state capital is the perfect place to dive into nature. Framed by Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts, the city’s picturesque central area offers centuries-old bars, boutique shops and historical landmarks. For a taste of the local culture, visit the historic district and the Alaska State Museum. And for outdoor thrills, you can take your pick of activities ranging from whale watching in Auke Bay Harbour to tundra trekking over Mendenhall Glacier, and even try your hand at gold panning in Last Chance Basin.
The tiny town of Skagway still looks like it did during the Klondike Gold Rush over 100 years ago – and today it remains an outpost for thrilling Alaskan adventure. An old-time tram ride along bustling Broadway Street reveals well-preserved buildings, including the state’s oldest hotel. You can see engraved walrus tusks at the Corrington Museum, or get lost in riveting historical reenactments around town. If outdoor adventure is more your thing, there are plenty of ways to ramp up the adrenaline, from sledding with Alaskan Huskies on Laughton Glacier to rafting on Lynn Canal, the longest fjord in North America.
Experience the daunting power of the largest tidewater glacier in North America. While most glaciers tend to thin and retreat, Hubbard Glacier continues to thicken and actively advance toward the Gulf of Alaska, earning the nickname “Galloping Glacier”. Sailing into Disenchantment Bay near the glacier’s 400-foot-tall face, you’ll get panoramic views of its gigantic expanse— Hubbard is a monstrous 76 miles long and 1,200 feet deep.
Seward is a port city in southern Alaska, set on an inlet on the Kenai Peninsula. It’s a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, where glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield into coastal fjords. Surrounded by peaks, the fjords are a whale and porpoise habitat. The city’s Alaska SeaLife Center has seals and puffins, and fishing boats fill Seward Harbor. To the west, a trail leads to the summit of Mount Marathon.
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