A look at the nature and culture of one of the world’s most stunning remote corners
Southeast Alaska is a bucket-list destination for many, but the dream often dissolves somewhere in the middle of the planning stages. That’s because it’s difficult for anyone who’s not a seasoned travel expert to build an itinerary that easily navigates from city to city. Many towns in the region are only accessible by air or sea, and the space between them is wilderness. Trying to plan a sequence of flights and ferry rides to get around quickly becomes a task that many find impossible. That’s why Alaska remains on the back burner of so many travelers’ lists.
Luckily, Seabourn is there to make the often-elusive Alaska dream real, transforming a daunting proposition into an effortless experience: Enter the 11-Day Sojourn cruise from Vancouver to Seward — it’s an incredible opportunity to see the icy beauty of Southeast Alaska up-close, thanks to a wide selection of activities you can sign up for, including seaplane rides, helicopter tours, fishing, whale-watching, kayaking, and more.
But the most immersive experiences are Zodiac boat excursions with the Seabourn Ventures team. The boats allow you to get deeper into the wilderness of Alaska and see an up-close look at wildlife and more. Below, learn more about the places you’ll see in Southeast Alaska, on-board and off. To read more about this experience, head to Allison Anderson's photo essay here.
Marking the northern entrance of Alaska’s storied Inside Passage, these remote islands are a treasure trove of wildlife: See puffins, otters, harbor seals, sea lions, eagles, and more, all happily performing their daily routines that sometimes look more like theater scenes (like when the sea lions toss up fish for bald eagles swooping and circling overhead).
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Located along the Inside Passage coast, this towering National Monument has been called “the Yosemite of Alaska” due to its similar geology to that famed monument. It’s made of shimmering, light-colored granite that’s around 50-70 million years old, and has been sculpted over that time by glaciers that form troughs throughout. Completing the memorable picture, the monument is surrounded by misty hills, waterfalls, bald eagles perched in the trees, and seals peeking out of the water.
Half of the beauty of this tidewater glacier is in the approach: Seals and their pups eek out of the water to greet boats that navigate chunks of ice on their way up. Once reached, the glacier proves to be breathtaking: a wall of ice several hundred feet high and half a mile across, surrounded by fjords with their spectacular granite walls.
Ths World Heritage Site — one of the world’s largest international protected areas — has an outstandingly diverse set of wondrous natural features: glaciers, rainforest, fjords, and more. There’s inspiration there for every type of nature lover. Nearby in Haines (a ferry ride away from the park), Alaska’s Kroschel Wildlife Center in Haines is a place for orphaned animals that are indigenous to Alaska, including bears, wolves, moose, lynx, foxes, reindeer, porcupines, wolverines, and more. Reservations are required, and guided tours allow an incredible opportunity to see and photograph the animals (you can even pet a baby moose!).
Alaska’s southeasternmost major settlement, and the state’s fifth most-populous city, Ketchikan is known for its vibrant fishing industry (some even call it the “Salmon Capital of the World”). To that end, there are plenty of fishing tours and hands-on fishing experiences offered to visitors — catch your own, and then have a bonfire cookout on the beach. In addition, Ketchikan is known for housing the world’s largest collection of standing totem poles (found at various locations throughout the city including at the Totem Heritage Center, and parks including Totem Bight State Historical Park).
Alaska’s capital (and the second-largest city in the U.S. by area), this is a major stopping point for visitors to the region. Take a helicopter up to Mendenhall Glacier where you can meet real sled dogs and see them in action, or head to Icy Strait Point (also a helicopter ride away), where you can visit a remote beach and learn about Tlingit culture. And if you’d rather stay in-town, there’s plenty to do in Juneau’s bustling downtown area: craft shops, eateries, theaters and concert venues (including Perseverance Theatre, Alaska’s largest, where the Juneau Symphony performs), cultural centers and exhibits, and an especially extensive selection of art galleries (the monthly First Friday Art Walk is a main draw). It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a vibrant dose of commerce and culture, with the splendor of nature right at your feet.
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