Aside from being one of Alaska’s most romantic escapes, the town of Ketchikan is also a haven for creative, talented artists. Though artists can often be a little reclusive while squired away in the studio, all of them seem to emerge from the forest for Ketchikan’s Blueberry Arts Festival.
Officially, the city of Fairbanks is about 1,700 miles south of the geographic North Pole, where a frigid expanse of snow and ice stretches all the way out to the horizon. As it turns out—the actual North Pole isn’t exactly as cheery as we make it seem, and the real, festive, Christmas-time cheer is found instead at the other North Pole only 13 miles from Fairbanks.
There are two words that everyone should know before they go whale watching in Juneau:
“Bubble,” and “feeding.”
That’s the name of the explosive maneuver that humpbacks use when they’re feeding. Believe it or not, when gorging themselves on schools of krill in Alaska’s nutrient-rich waters, these 40-ton giants can gulp the volume of an entire African elephant. Even with all of that water, however, their throat is only the size of a grapefruit, and the majority of water seeps through their baleen like a massive, keratin-plated sieve.
Homer might be known for its world class halibut and filming site of “Deadliest Catch,” but there’s much more to this Alaskan port town than dreaming about tasty white fish. Take, for example, the fact that Homer has artist studios, wineries, hiking, and kitesurfing. Or the fact that simply getting to Homer involves one of Alaska’s best drives. Nearly all of the attention that’s placed on this town is for the fishing and “Homer Spit,” but visiting Homer, Alaska from Anchorage is one of the best single or multi-day trips that Alaska visitors can enjoy.
Even though Skagway is an Alaskan town that was built on the back of a gold rush, there was never actually any gold in this Southeast Alaska town. Rather, this coastal hamlet was a transit point en route to the Yukon goldfields, where prospectors would arrive and provision themselves for the arduous journey north. Along with the neighboring town of Dyea—which is now an abandoned ghost town—Skagway boomed in 1896 with the discovery of gold at Klondike. In fact, prior to the discovery of Yukon gold and the influx of 10,000 souls, Skagway was nothing but Indians and homesteaders all working to survive on the coast.
Rain is as common in Ketchikan as sunshine is in Hawaii. In this southern sliver of the Alaskan panhandle near the border with British Columbia, over 150 inches of precipitation falls over the course of the year. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly three times as much rain as the wettest cities in the Lower 48 states. While the majority of the moisture falls in winter as either rain or snow, Ketchikan has 220 days per year with some form of measurable rain. Given the numbers, it’s fair to say that there’s a decent chance it could rain during your stay in Ketchikan. The good news is that in summer, when most visitors cruise through Alaska, the rain is only a light drizzle that falls in sporadic sheets. Plus, it’s the misty coves and low-hanging clouds that give Ketchikan its coastal charm, but if it’s a day when the rain is really falling in heavy, thundering bursts, here are some rainy day activities in Ketchikan for staying nice and dry.
For such a small town in such a small corner of the rainy Alaskan panhandle, the town of Sitka has cultural history that belies its tiny size. It’s a place where the native Tlingit people have prospered for thousands of years, efficiently managing to live off the land and using the bounty of its resources. It’s a place that was occupied by colonizing Russians before it was sold to the Americans—and there’s even a notable Finnish influence that’s seen in the Lutheran church.
Juneau, Alaska, is one wild place. Here in Alaska’s coastal capital, humans only occupy a small sliver of the surrounding coast and forests. Despite the fact that thousands of cruise visitors annually pass through town, and that this city with 31,000 residents is the third-largest in Alaska, the majority of the land surrounding Juneau is still an untouched wilderness. It’s a place where bears still bathe in creeks and hikers carry guns; a place where whales and harbor seals both snack on krill and fish; and a place where simply looking at the sky could reveal a passing bald eagle. Viewing wildlife is definitely a highlight of any visit to Juneau, and whether it’s watching as mountain goats defy gravity on sheer, near-vertical cliffs, or viewing orca as they powerfully splash in the Inside Passage waters, here is where to see wildlife in Juneau by land, sea, and sky.
Looking to take a romantic escape with your special someone? Alaska is a great accommodation choice. From bucket list experiences to glacier hikes to wine tastings and beyond, you’ll be able to strengthen your bond with your loved one. To help you plan your trip, here is a guide to Alaska’s most romantic escapes.
No trip to Alaska would be complete without exploring the beautiful local glaciers. As there are many to choose from, it can be tough pinning down the perfect icy excursion. To help you plan your trip, here is a guide to Alaska’s top glacier experiences.