When choosing a destination for a cruise, it is hard to beat the natural beauty and wondrous splendor of Alaska. With four times more coastline than any other state, Alaska is the perfect seafaring destination. Let’s take a look at ten of the best sites to visit when cruising along the Alaskan coast.
1. Kenai Fjords
The Kenai Fjords are located in the Kenai Fjords National Park, the sixth most visited national park in Alaska. The park includes the Harding Ice Field, the largest ice field completely contained inside the United States, as well as four active volcanoes. Due to the plate tectonics that shaped the coastline, a mixture of rock can be seen among the fjords.
Just to the east of the Kenai Fjords, the town of Seward is a dazzling sight along the coast. Named in honor of William H. Seward, who served under Abraham Lincoln as Secretary of State, the town of approximately 3000 people is the starting point of the famed Iditarod Trail.
3. Hubbard Glacier
At 76 miles in length with a width of up to seven miles, the Hubbard Glacier is North America’s largest tidewater glacier. The massive glacier, named for the first president of the National Geographic Society, Gardiner Hubbard, is one of the few Alaskan glaciers currently advancing rather than retreating. It is moving at a rate of about 80 feet per year.
4. Glacier Bay National Park
When large chunks of glacial ice break off and fall into the ocean to form icebergs, the process is known as calving. Glacier Bay National Park is one of the best places in the world to witness this phenomenon. Several tidewater glaciers are found in the area along with some of the finest whale watching in the world.
As the capital of Alaska, the port city of Juneau is one of the state’s most popular coastal attractions. Home of the Alaska State Museum, travelers can learn about the native Inuit culture while visiting the city. Juneau even has its own glacier, the Mendenhall Glacier, easily accessible within the city limits.
The small town of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, allowing visitors to experience an authentic Alaskan mining town. Skagway was established during the Klondike gold rush of the late 19th century. These days, the town has embraced its distinctive past and become a favorite attraction of tourists.
7. Icy Strait Point, AK
Only one cruise ship is allowed to dock at Icy Strait Point at a time, allowing the visitors to immerse themselves in Tlingit culture and the area’s abundant wildlife. The private port is open to the public, but cruise ship guests get priority treatment and are sure to discover a memorable adventure.
8. Petersburg, AK
The borough of Petersburg is known as “Alaska’s Little Norway” and is one of the state’s most important fishing communities. The icebergs that often populate the southern end of nearby Frederick Sound provide an almost alien landscape where numerous whales can often be spotted.
9. Ketchikan, AK
Known as the “Salmon Capital of the World,” Ketchikan is also home to the largest collection of totem poles in the world. The Misty Fiords National Monument is also located near Ketchikan, about 40 miles to the east. In addition to the abundant salmon population, wildlife in the area includes deer, whales, mountain goats, Grizzly Bears and Black Bears.
10. Inside Passage, AK
The Inside Passage is one of the most beautiful areas not only in Alaska but in all the world. In the summer months, gorgeous wildflowers bloom while the fall brings an explosion of color to the foliage. Native culture and plentiful wildlife, including bald eagles and migrating whales, make the Inside Passage a true natural wonder.