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Inside Passage


Extending from Washington’s Puget Sound, along the shores of British Columbia and into the Gulf of Alaska, the spectacular Inside Passage is a highlight of any trip to Alaska. Bays, beaches, peninsulas, fjords, glaciers, rivers, coastal towns, snow-capped mountains, and over 1,000 islands make the region an adventurer’s paradise.

Ferries and cruise ships alike ply the waters of the Inside Passage, and there’s a ton to do along the way. Visit Native Alaskan heritage attractions, explore gold rush history, trek on the surface of a glacier, go dog-sledding, spot wildlife (bald eagles, whales, and bears), cycle through the temperate Tongass National Forest, or kayak through the icy waters of Glacier Bay National Park. Popular destinations within the Inside Passage include Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway.

  • Temperatures can vary significantly over the course of a single day, so be sure to dress in warm layers.
  • Consider packing a sleeping mask, as this region gets up to 20 hours of daylight in summer.
  • Make sure to bring a pair of binoculars and/or a camera with a long lens for capturing wildlife.
  • Most shops and restaurants in the towns along the Inside Passage accept major credit cards.
  • Cell phone service is minimal outside the small towns and cities, so plan accordingly.

The city of Ketchikan is located along the Inside Passage on its southern tip, which means it often serves as the first stop for people visiting Alaska, though it’s also possible to fly into the capital, Juneau. A majority of visitors arrive by ferry or cruise ship.

Most tours and cruises in the Inside Passage run from mid-May to mid-September, with peak season falling between mid-June and mid-August. If you’re planning to visit during these busy months, be sure to book well ahead of time. April and May tend to have less rain and a better chance of spotting bears on the shoreline.

Travelers to Alaska’s Inside Passage are in for a treat. This region is home to some of the best seafood in the world, particularly fresh Alaskan salmon, king crab, and local oysters. Savor these items unadorned, or look for them in the form of smoked seafood chowders, bisques, or crab cakes. Wild berries also make appearances in a range of sweet and savory dishes, including akutaq, an Inuit version of ice cream based on whipped fat.


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