As you probably already know, Alaska is a massive state and there is no way you can see it all during a one-week vacation. While you may be tempted to skip most of it and spend your time in one of the larger cities like Juneau for the duration of your visit, I would like to urge you to consider destinations like the ABC Islands for part of your trip.
Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof are the three islands that comprise the ABC Islands within Alaska and you will find them at the northern end of the Alexander Archipelago. This archipelago is on the southeastern coast of the state.
Most people see these islands as their ship sails through the Inside Passage. Many of those people couldn’t tell one island from the other since there are hundreds of islands, but Baranof and Chichagof are the largest ones. All three of these islands are considered protected, which means there is plenty of wildlife roaming around on each one.
Admiralty Island is only fifteen miles from Juneau’s coastline, and it is the best place to visit if you truly want the opportunity to see a grizzly bear. There are more than sixteen hundred of these furry wild creatures on this island, so the chances are excellent that you will see one up close during your visit.
Booking a tour is necessary for visiting this island because there is only a specific amount of people allowed on the island per day.
A trip to Baranof will probably have you arriving in Sitka and realistically, you can spend your entire trip there. You can only reach this major island city via cruise ship, ferry, or small airplane, so plan your trip accordingly.
Once you are on the island, you can explore all the history at Sitka National Historical Park, learn about different cultures at the Sheldon Jackson Museum, and visit St. Michael’s Orthodox Cathedral, which is supposedly the first Orthodox Cathedral to be constructed within the United States.
You cannot leave this island until you have visited the wildlife at the Alaska Raptor Center. Approximately two hundred injured birds are cared for at this center until they can be released back into the wild. A few of the birds are permanent residents because they cannot be released, so you may be allowed to get closer to those animals than the others.
It is important to note that many festivals and other events take place on this island throughout the year. If you do not have your heart set on specific travel dates, you may want to plan your vacation according to the timing of the Alaska Day Festival, Sitka Summer Music Festival, Sitka Whalefest, or other events that are happening on Baranof.
Hanoof is the primary village on the island of Chichagof and there are so many unique things to do on this island. Icy Strait Point is an excellent place to start, but it can be quite crowded since it is the main tourist area of the island. Afterward, you must venture over to the Huna Tribal House. This is a permanent Tlingit clan house and the only one on the island since the rest were destroyed more than two hundred years ago.
As you are exploring this island, you may want to keep an eye out for different areas that were filmed for the Alaskan Bush People series on the Discovery Channel. The Brown family lived off the land on Chichagof Island before relocating to the state of Washington.
After a long day in Chichagof, you will be more than ready for a cold brew. Icy Strait Brewing is the place to go if you are interested in trying one of Alaska’s handcrafted beers. You can also get a bite to eat at this brewery. The Alaskan smoked fish board is highly recommended by past guests.
Now that you know everything you need to about the ABC Islands within Alaska, you can easily incorporate a trip to any of them during a vacation in this state. Let me know when you are ready to start planning a trip of a lifetime because I know a few secrets that will make your trip better than you thought possible.