Extending from Washington’s Puget Sound, along the shores of British Columbia and into the Gulf of Alaska, the Inside Passage is a must-have experience when visiting Alaska. The waterway exists thanks to the many islands that reside between the North Pacific Ocean and Alaska’s coast. This allows for calmer waters, which is why many ferries and cruise ships choose to use it to transport travelers.
Featuring bays, beaches, peninsulas, fjords, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, rivers, coastal towns and over 1,000 islands, the passage is a photographer’s heaven, as well as a supremely scenic playground for adventure travelers, culture cravers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are a variety of experiences to be had along the way: visiting Native Alaskan heritage attractions; exploring Gold Rush history; glacier trekking; dog-sledding; spotting wildlife such as bald eagles, whales and bears; rainforest cycling and more. Kayaking through Glacier Bay National Park, home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of glaciers, is an extremely popular activity in the passage, which also resides in the center of the United States’ largest forest – the 17-million-acreTongass National Forest. You’ll be privy to the offerings of this natural attraction as well.
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. Here it’s possible to visit the famous Misty Fjords National Monument, take part in traditional arts and crafts courses at the Saxman Native Village, view historic totem poles at the Totem Heritage Center, go salmon fishing and much more.