Come Whale Watching in this Alaskan Coastal Town! 🐋🌲 - Sitka, Alaska.

Today: Russian Roots, Kayaking with Otters, and more!

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Today’s location was Alaska’s first capital! Check it out! ⬇️

Imagine waking up to the crisp, invigorating air of Alaska, the distant call of seabirds, and the gentle rhythm of waves crashing against the shore. As you step outside, the breathtaking panorama of Sitka unfolds. The towering green mountains stand over the town, cradled by the Pacific Ocean.

In Sitka, The town's streets are lined with charming wooden buildings while the stunning natural surroundings await. Mount Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano, looms in the distance, promising awe-inspiring vistas for those who venture to its summit.

Your day begins with a stroll along the waterfront, where fishing boats bob gently in the harbor. Sitka is home to Sitka National Historical Park, where towering totem poles tell stories of the Tlingit people, and the dense, verdant forest trails invite you to wander and reflect.

As the morning sun climbs higher, you might make your way to the Alaska Raptor Center. Here, majestic bald eagles, once injured but now thriving, soar above, a testament to the center's dedication to wildlife conservation.

The afternoon invites adventure, perhaps a kayak excursion through the waters of Sitka Sound. Paddling gently, you explore hidden coves where otters and seals can make appearances!

Evening descends, and with it, the promise of a stunning sunset over the Pacific. Dining at a local seafood restaurant, you savor the flavors of fresh, locally caught fish, the perfect end to a day filled with discovery.

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Now, here’s all you’ll need to know about your trip!

Sitka National Historical Park

  • Established in 1910, it's the oldest national park in Alaska.

  • Activities: Walk the scenic Totem Trail to see authentic Tlingit and Haida totem poles. Visit the park's visitor center to learn about the Tlingit people and the history of the Russian-American period.

  • Why Visit: This park provides a deep dive into the cultural and historical roots of Sitka, with beautiful trails and informative exhibits.

St. Michael's Cathedral

  • The first Orthodox cathedral in North America, originally built in 1848.

  • Activities: Explore the unique Russian Orthodox architecture, and view religious artifacts and icons inside the church.

  • Location: In the heart of downtown Sitka.

  • Why Visit: This cathedral is a significant piece of Sitka's Russian heritage, offering insights into the town's historical and religious past.

Alaska Raptor Center

  • A leading rehabilitation center for injured birds of prey, particularly bald eagles.

  • Activities: Take a guided tour to see the birds up close, learn about their rehabilitation, and witness flight demonstrations.

  • Location: A short drive from downtown Sitka, nestled in a forested area.

  • Why Visit: It's a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts and those interested in conservation efforts.

Fortress of the Bear

  • A rescue facility for orphaned Alaskan brown and black bears.

  • Activities: Observe bears in large, naturalistic habitats and learn about their rescue and care.

  • Location: About 5 miles from downtown Sitka.

  • Why Visit: Offers a unique opportunity to see bears up close and understand their natural behaviors and habitats.

Sitka Sound Science Center

  • Features an aquarium and marine science exhibits focused on local marine life and ecosystems.

  • Activities: Explore touch tanks with sea stars and other marine life, interactive exhibits, and the salmon hatchery operations.

  • Location: Near the Sitka National Historical Park.

  • Why Visit: Perfect for families and those interested in marine biology and local marine ecosystems.

Mount Edgecumbe

  • A dormant volcano resembling Japan's Mount Fuji.

  • Activities: Hike the Mount Edgecumbe Trail, which includes a boat ride to Kruzof Island and a challenging climb to the summit.

  • Location: Accessible by boat from Sitka followed by a hike.

  • Why Visit: The hike offers spectacular views and a unique adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

Sheldon Jackson Museum

  • Home to one of the oldest collections of Native Alaskan artifacts.

  • Activities: View a wide range of cultural artifacts, including masks, tools, and clothing, and learn about Alaska's indigenous peoples.

  • Location: On the former campus of Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka.

  • Why Visit: Offers an in-depth look at the history and culture of Alaska's Native peoples.

Harbor Mountain Recreation Area

  • Offers panoramic views of Sitka, the surrounding islands, and the Pacific Ocean.

  • Activities: Hiking, bird watching, and picnicking along well-maintained trails.

  • Location: Accessible by a scenic drive up Harbor Mountain Road.

  • Why Visit: Provides breathtaking views and a serene environment for outdoor activities.

Whale Watching

  • Best Time: Summer months, particularly from May to September.

  • Activities: Several local operators offer whale-watching tours where you can see humpback whales, orcas, and other marine wildlife.

  • Why Visit: Sitka's waters are rich with marine life, offering some of the best whale-watching opportunities in Alaska.

Fishing

  • Species: Salmon, halibut, and rockfish.

  • Activities: Charter fishing trips available for all skill levels, offering both saltwater and freshwater experiences.

  • Sitka is renowned for its excellent fishing, making it a prime destination for anglers.

Kayaking

  • Experience: Paddle through the tranquil waters of Sitka Sound, exploring hidden coves and observing wildlife.

  • Tours: Guided kayak tours are available for beginners and experienced paddlers.

  • Why Kayak: Kayaking offers a unique perspective of Sitka's coastal beauty and marine life.

Sitka Summer Music Festival

  • Features chamber music performances by world-class musicians.

  • Timing: Held annually in June.

  • Why Visit: A cultural highlight that attracts music lovers from all over, providing a rich musical experience in a stunning setting.

Tlingit Cultural Tours

  • Experience: Learn about Tlingit history, culture, and traditions through guided tours and cultural demonstrations.

  • Why Visit: Provides an immersive experience into the indigenous heritage of Sitka.

Russian Bishop's House

  • History: Built in 1842, it was the residence of the Russian Orthodox bishop.

  • Activities: Tours of the house provide insight into the Russian period of Alaska's history.

  • Location: Near downtown Sitka.

  • Why Visit: Offers a glimpse into the historical lifestyle and influence of Russian settlers in Alaska.

Accommodation

  • Hotels and Inns: Options range from luxury hotels to quaint inns, such as the Westmark Sitka Hotel and the Sitka Hotel.

  • Bed and Breakfasts: Cozy, personalized lodging experiences often hosted by local residents.

  • Vacation Rentals: Homes and cabins available for short-term rental, offering more space and amenities for families and groups.

    Transportation

  • By Air: Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport (SIT) with regular flights from Seattle, Anchorage, and Juneau.

  • By Sea: The Alaska Marine Highway System offers ferry services connecting Sitka to other Alaskan towns and the lower 48 states.

  • Getting Around: Rental cars, taxis, and local bus services are available for getting around town.

See you in Sitka!

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