Alaska’s Hidden Coastal Gems: 5 Towns to Fall in Love With
Alaska, the last frontier, is full of hidden treasures that go beyond snow-capped peaks and breathtaking glaciers. Let’s pack your warmest puffy coat and embark on a journey to the seaside, Alaskan style!
Our first stop is Ketchikan, tucked away on the southern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage, a mesmerizing network of waterways and over a thousand small islands carved by glaciers during the last ice age. Painted in all colors of the rainbow, wooden houses set on stilts adorn the town, their hues reflecting in the tranquil harbor. Ketchikan’s historic district, Creek Street, features a boardwalk constructed over Ketchikan Creek. Don’t forget to admire the totems, intricately carved wooden poles created by Native Americans, scattered around downtown. Despite the persistent rain or “liquid sunshine” as locals fondly call it, the town’s charm never fades. Instead, it makes the sumptuous local seafood, including smoked salmon, halibut, red snapper, and king crab, taste even more divine.
Next, we journey to Sitka, a jewel nestled in a temperate rainforest. Surrounded by rich forests and a myriad of wildlife, Sitka encourages you to embrace nature. Whether you’re hiking through emerald green woods or kayaking with sea otters, the spirit of the wild is always at your fingertips.
Moving along, we reach Seward, a city steeped in history, named after William H. Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia. Seward takes pride in being the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park, home to the colossal Harding Ice Field and tidewater glaciers. Here, you can witness seals, sea lions, and whales in their natural habitat. For those looking for a thrill, join the annual mountain run that challenges participants to reach the peak of Marathon Mountain. If you’re more about relaxation, enjoy the local art scene downtown or take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque boat harbor.
Our next destination is Skagway, located at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage. Step back in time in this preserved Gold Rush-era town, where wooden storefronts and period-style buildings are a testament to its rich history. Be part of the annual Buckwheat Ski Classic, an international cross-country ski race, or join the summer solstice and Independence Day celebrations featuring food, games, live music, parades, and beer gardens. The Klondike Road Relay in September offers a unique experience of running under the starry skies and, if you’re lucky, beneath the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
Our final stop is Gustavus, a small city with a big heart. Known as the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park, Gustavus is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and sees half the rainfall of Juneau, offering a moderate climate perfect for outdoor activities and wildlife sightings. This friendly town is a haven for writers, artists, gardeners, and lovers of quiet environments. Explore local art in the galleries, studios, and shops, or take part in whale watching, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife tours.
So, there you have it, a comprehensive tour of Alaska’s enchanting coastal towns. Each town, brimming with unique charm, guarantees to leave you with unforgettable memories. So, what are you waiting for? Alaska is calling!