6 Charming Small Cities to Go to in Southern Alaska


 The full
was revealed in Journey
on Dec. 30, 2021

On our first
journey to Alaska, we made a detour to Valdez within the southeastern nook. Then
from Anchorage, we did day journeys to the cities of Whittier and Homer. And on the
approach again to the Decrease 48 via British Columbia, we discovered the tiny city of
Hyder. The subsequent yr we went to the cities of Kenai/Soldotna and Seward. That is
the second of two articles on my favourite small cities in Alaska, protecting the
south. The northern cities have been featured beforehand in 6
Quaint Small Cities To Go to North of Anchorage, Alaska.

1. Valdez

We accomplished
navigating the famed Alaska Freeway in every week. After an evening at a campground in
Tok, Alaska, we woke as much as a day coated with smog from the forest fires that
have been raging throughout. Rapidly we postponed seeing my husband’s youngest in
Anchorage for just a few days and drove to Valdez in southeastern Alaska first.

There have been a
few showers on the way in which there; the air was damp and numerous fog hovered round.
Quickly we misplaced our cell indicators and broadband communications. Immediately, as our RV
negotiated a bend, a big white mountain appeared earlier than us: It was
Worthington Glacier, and one may stroll to it from the roadside! My husband was
gone in a jiffy, bringing again a piece of blue ice that I shortly deposited
into our freezer.

minutes from Worthington is the quaint little fishing city of Valdez
(inhabitants of just about 4,000). Low-lying clouds encircled the city and the beautiful
marina. The “longest boat ramp on the earth” reached far out into the waters
teeming with pink salmon spawning close by. Keen fishermen lined the banks
round Allison Park the place we camped.

Up within the
hills the place the paths wound, we got here throughout a piece of the Alaska fuel
pipeline. However extra remarkably, we noticed three younger males in flip-flops hauling a
canoe, heavy with provisions and tools, up the steep path to camp within the
mountains. And the mountain climbing trails have been stuffed with berry bushes that the bears
had clearly ravaged earlier.

Professional Tip: On
the way in which again, in case you have time, go to Wrangell-St Elias Nationwide Park, which
hosts the Canadian Rockies’ highest level, or, nearer to Anchorage, stroll on the
27-mile-long Matanuska Glacier.

2. Homer

was the neat metropolis we anticipated it to be. From there, our prolonged household group
took a visit to Homer, Alaska, the “halibut fishing capital of the world,” on the
southwestern tip of the state, with over 5,000 in inhabitants. It has a well-known
spit jutting out into the chilly blue waters of Kachemak Bay.

There, my
husband and his eldest grandson fished to their hearts’ content material. At evening we
let a chef serve us a fish fest. The subsequent day we went attempting to find souvenirs and
good eats on the quaint outlets and eating places perched in colourful entrancing
huts above the waters alongside the shore. Afterward, I couldn’t resist having my
photograph taken with the biggest halibut (nearly 200 kilos) caught in a derby that

Professional Tip: On
that second evening we had just a few drinks on the Salty Dawg Saloon on the spit,
well-known for its ceiling and partitions coated with foreign money. I posted my Philippine
peso 100 invoice, and my husband and his daughter put up a U.S. greenback.

3. Whittier

When the
grandson left to return to his job in Hawaii, my husband, his daughter, and I
proceeded to expertise the well-known four-hour Inland Passage. Plenty of cruise
traces use Whittier, the charming gateway to Prince William Sound nestled
between glacier-draped mountains, as a departure port for these cruises. Solely
about 60 miles southeast of Anchorage, Whittier is a really fairly city on the
western fringe of south-central Alaska. Its inhabitants is about 200 folks within the
low season, which doubles throughout summer time. It’s separated from Alaska’s highway
system by a 2.5-mile-long tunnel that’s shared by alternating one-way auto and
railroad site visitors. Fairly an expertise.

Our cruise
took us to see 26 glaciers up shut, some rising to 1,700 toes above sea stage.
We rode in a high-speed catamaran with big image home windows inside two enclosed
decks (there are in depth exterior viewing areas, too). The voyage visits
Resurrection Bay and the Faculty Fjords. There have been numerous sea otters, seals,
porpoises, sea lions, and whales. We have been fittingly stunned as we approached
Shock Glacier, a really blue tidewater glacier, items of which have been floating
on the icy waters across the vessel (suppose shades of Titanic). When the crew
served glacial blue margaritas from ice they harvested, we had a celebration!

4. Hyder

On the way in which
right down to the Decrease 48, we took the Stewart-Cassiar Freeway via northern
British Columbia. I didn’t see a glacier-topped mountain till the flip to the
city of Stewart, British Columbia, towards the coast, the place there was supposed
to be good fishing.

There was
nothing industrial concerning the city of Stewart/Hyder. Nobody needed to take Invoice
out fishing as a result of it was already a day after the season. I used to be so disillusioned
till we came upon that, solely two miles away, was the intriguing tiny city of
Hyder. The little city of a couple of hundred folks stunned us with two
unplanned and unforgettable experiences: Salmon Glacier and Fish Creek.

Glacier is the fifth largest glacier in North America, and as we went up the
hill (15 miles) from downtown Hyder and Stewart, it slowly made its look.
The images I took couldn’t seize your complete extent; they might not do it
justice. And the worth we paid was excessive. The highway was dirt-gravel all the way in which;
and because it was additionally raining, it was muddy dust/gravel! I can solely think about the
brutal punishment we gave our small Class B motorhome. However there was no different
solution to get there.

Fish Creek
Bear Viewing Website, however, proper on the foot of the hill, had a
sideshow ready for us. A superb-sized black bear confirmed up, and for about 39
minutes hunted for and devoured all of the salmon he may discover. My husband and I
have been clicking our cameras continuous. At instances he was a mere 20 toes away. Good
factor we have been hidden; he placed on fairly a present!


following yr, we went again to Alaska for the marriage of my husband’s
daughter! When the couple went on their honeymoon, we tried to duplicate with
the grandson the enjoyable instances we had the earlier yr. We drove to the dual cities
of Kenai (inhabitants 7,000) and Soldotna (inhabitants 5,000) on the mouth of the
well-known Kenai River on the Kenai Peninsula, simply barely off the identical highway we
took to Homer the earlier yr.

 Being late
in the summertime, nevertheless, it was already colder, wetter, darker, and windier.
There was not a lot fishing to do on this famend fishing space of Alaska. Even
the snow-capped mountains appeared farther away, hidden by haze in order that the
footage we took weren’t as vivid. In Soldotna, the one factor that caught
our consideration was that the native Fred Meyer, the place we camped for the evening, had
a complimentary dump and potable water stations.

However we
found an entrancing and historic church constructed on the flip of the nineteenth
century when the land was nonetheless below Russian rule. Alaska solely grew to become a state
in 1959 after Russia offered it to the U.S. The Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox
Church within the Previous City of Kenai was so endearing. We even discovered a set of
wedding ceremony crowns we may don for an image.

Professional Tip: On
the way in which to Kenai/Soldotna, you may get the best-smoked salmon chowder you’ll
ever discover on the historic Gwin’s Lodge in Cooper Touchdown.

6. Seward

The subsequent
morning, sensing my disappointment within the climate, my husband headed off to the
different aspect of the peninsula, to the city of Seward (inhabitants 3,000) on the
mouth of the Kenai Fjords Nationwide Park as an alternative of going again to Anchorage.
One other beautiful cruise ship city nestled between the mountains and the fjords, I
felt that Whittier was prettier although smaller. It was already low season,
nevertheless, so there was hardly a soul on the Seward waterfront. However the boats
have been all nonetheless moored within the marina, and the outlets have been nonetheless open. And excursions
to the Kenai Fjords have been nonetheless out there.

Upon leaving
city, an indication led us to a sure Exit Glacier solely eight and a half miles west.
In fact, we took the detour. We came upon it’s a part of the 500-square-mile
Harding Ice Fields and is so named as a result of it has been receding slowly since
the earliest recorded terminus in 1815. There have been recordings all alongside the
approach; the final about two miles from the current one. You can think about the
former measurement of the glacier from the marshland it was creating at its toes. And
I acquired a second probability to stroll on the glacial ridge. I lastly summoned the braveness.
Nevertheless it was so chilly; it felt like I used to be contained in the freezer. I turned again after
the short photograph op!

Such are the
charming discoveries we proceed to make throughout stunning Alaska. It’s a
place the place disappointments don’t final lengthy!


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