Alaska, the Inside Passage, part 1

Starting out 

Flying into Vancouver, B.C. is the perfect opener to an eye-popping scenic adventure. Miles of forests, rivers, straits and mountains surround the city, whetting the appetite for the gorgeous scenery to come.  To stay overnight in Vancouver, we chose a hotel on the water within walking distance of our port. But we arrived early enough to take a scenic bus tour around the city. Floatplanes constantly took off and landed outside our hotel, giving us our first idea of how important small planes are for getting around in BC and Alaska.

As host to the Olympics in early 2010, Vancouver  added several hotels so finding one to meet the budget and travel style is not a problem. 

Vancouver BC
Vancouver’s cruise ship port looks like a distant cousin of the Sydney Opera House
Float Plane Landing Vancouver BC
Floatplanes constantly landed and took off outside our hotel



Vancouver BC
Stanley Park, a good place to spend the day, sticks out into the water like a thumb


Jaded travelers may say that Ketchikan, usually the first port of call, is a mere tourist trap. Maybe if a visitor spends the entire time on shore browsing the cute village shops, the person would leave with the impression the town is about shopping.  We did our share of browsing but what we loved in Ketchikan was the Saxman Native Village. The town claims to have the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Many of them can be seen at Saxman, Totem Bight State Park and the Totem Heritage Center.  After sitting and putting away more food that was good for us, we also liked the hike to Saxman, particularly passing trees filled with eagles and houses that had totem poles out front. 

Ketchikan, Alaska
Cute shops attract shoppers in Ketchikan, a fishing village also known for its totem poles

Totem poles line the Saxman Native Village entrance
Totem poles line the Saxman Native Village entrance
Saxman should be a Ketchikan destination
Saxman should be a Ketchikan destination

Eagles take over the trees on the way to Saxman
Eagles take over the trees on the way to Saxman

Links For More Info:

Tourism Vancouver
Travel Alaska
Visit Ketchikan

Coming Up: Alaska, the Inside Passage, part 2

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS

One thought on “Alaska, the Inside Passage, part 1”

  1. Having been to Vancouver, I can attest to its beauty. I have not yet made it to Alaska on a cruise – but it is on my “bucket list” for sure!

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