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Alaska's Inside Passage

What would you like to see on your next travel adventure?

How about a bald eagle building a nest and caring for its young? Or a thousand-year-old glacier calving into the sea with a thunderous roar? Or perhaps humpback whales bubble-net feeding in a stunning display of nature's cooperative behavior? Or maybe you want to learn more about the Tlingit (native) populations of our 49th state, and their generations of remarkable history, art, and culture.

All of this is possible, and more, on a visit to Alaska's Inside Passage.

Alaska's Inside Passage spans an area close to 500 miles in size—from just south of Ketchikan to the northern areas above Glacier Bay National Park, running along Canada's far western border. It encompasses more than 900 islands, with diverse wildlife, extraordinary beauty, and breathtaking scenery—making it a spectacular example of nature's dramatic, unspoiled beauty.

A trip to the Inside Passage area may include a stop in Juneau, the state capital, (the only one in the U.S. that must be accessed by sea or air), or a stop in Sitka, Ketchikan or Skagway—all lively tourist towns filled with history, charm, and friendly locals. The itinerary may include visits to smaller towns like Haines, Hoonah, or Kake—home to one of the largest totem poles in the world.

The region is rich with historic Tlingit villages, many that have existed for hundreds of years, where friendly residents welcome visitors with traditional dance performances and storytelling.

And if natural beauty is what you seek—look no further, as the area is lush with temperate rain forests, ever-present wildlife, and natural wonders from towering mountain peaks to age-old glaciers. From hundreds of species of birds and land mammals to, of course, fish and whales, everywhere you look there is abundant wildlife on display. Day trips or hikes are the perfect way to see, hear, and photograph the astounding variety of flora and fauna native to the area.

The crown jewel of any trip to the Inside Passage is a cruise through Glacier Bay, where 11 named glaciers can be found, including the well-known Marjerie, Grand Pacific and Johns Hopkins. Watching one of these behemoths calve into the sea is a sight unlike any other, whether viewed from afar on a large cruise ship, or much closer in by skiff or kayak. All cruise ships employ naturalists or park rangers, so visitors can learn about the history and natural wonders all around them as they cruise through the icy waters. From learning about glacier movements over the last century to understanding how and why whales move in and out of the bay and surrounding area, there is much to learn. And while nature does not perform on cue, visitors are sure to see both glacier movement and wildlife in action, providing a spectacle for the senses.

With many land and cruise options, visiting Alaska's Inside Passage is a journey unlike any other. From unspoiled natural beauty to diverse wildlife on land, sea and in the air, it's a must-see for any traveler looking for a summer adventure up north!

Click here to learn about Orbridge's highly acclaimed small ship voyage to Alaska's Inside Passage.