Raise your hand – or fluke – if you’ve been to Alaska. Now raise your hand if you hated it. (I guarantee no one is raising their hand because it’s impossible!) I’ve never been to a place on earth that more people in agreement over. Seriously. Everybody loves Alaska – myself now being included.
My parents and Tommy and I just embarked on a week long cruise through Alaska and it truly was the trip of a lifetime. I have never in my life seen a place so naturally stunning that it’s actually difficult to comprehend.
Now. I’ve always been honest about the fact that I’m not one for venturing too far out of city limits – the great outdoors is not exactly within my comfort zone. I’m not a camper, not even a glamper for that matter, but I knew Alaska was just one of those places in the world I needed to see. IRL.
Sure we saw a lot of the Alaskan great outdoors by way of a fancy boat – Silversea Cruises to be exact – but give me some credit, I am taking baby steps here! But thanks to said fancy boat, we were able to visit 5 cities within one week on our journey – Anchorage, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. Each city offered something new and had its own unique charm, and I am grateful to have seen so much. I’ll have to come back for a moose sighting as well as a Northern Lights show, but I figure those are both great excuses to do so.
Here’s a little of what we saw along our journey through the great Alaskan territory:
FIRST STOP: ANCHORAGE
This is the city we flew into to begin our journey. It’s Alaska’s largest city and is home to most of the state’s population. I will leave the guide to Anchorage up to my friend Courtney Halverson, who gave me all the recommendations I needed while I was there. That included The Bubbly Mermaid – a champagne and oyster bar and arguably one of the cutest establishments on the planet.
If you’re interested, Courtney’s guide to Alaska is awesome, you can – and should – read it HERE.
TRAINRIDE TO SEWARD
The train had a glass ceiling, so we got to take in all the sights from all the angles on our 5 hour journey from Anchorage to Seward where our boat was docked.
SECOND STOP: JUNEAU
There are a lot of cruise ships that go through Alaska as it turns out. A lot. When we docked at our first actual boat stop in Juneau I was stunned by the size of some of these boats that carried upwards of 3k people. It made me insanely grateful to be traveling on a Silversea ship, that carried just 300 passengers. Silversea did an excellent job of providing all kinds of “excursions” for us to hop on in each port. In Juneau – Alaska’s capital that also happens to be land locked – we opted to go whale watching, since oddly enough none of us had actually ever seen a whale!
The whale watching was easily my favorite part of the entire trip, for obvious reasons. I am a huge animal lover, I have to fight back tears when I see dogs, so you can only imagine what it was like for me to see whales in the wild. Humpback whales are usually what you’ll see this time of year in Alaska, they’re here to eat their hearts out before they head south to warmer waters in Hawaii for the winter.
[That Alaskan King Crab tho… next time you’re in Juneau be sure to stop by Tracy’s King Crab Shack!]
THIRD STOP: SKAGWAY
It was an absolutely stunning day in Skagway when we docked, we’re talking like 65 degrees and sunny. I was once again pretty predictable when it came to selecting our excursion; anything to do with animals, especially horses, you know I’ll want in on it. So I dragged my mom (kidding she loves horses too) on an Alaskan trail ride while my step dad and Tommy went on a photo adventure around the Chilkoot Pass.
The actual town of Skagway is a total crack up, it literally looks like it did 100 years ago. The stores of course just offer very different goods these days. It looks a lot like an old western town and it definitely has it’s charm. If you make it over that way be sure to stop in at Olivia’s and order the King Crab nachos.
FOURTH STOP: SITKA
Sitka was easily all of our favorite stop. It was absolutely beautiful, the landscape was so unique, so breathtaking, PLUS one of my favorite movies, The Proposal, happened to be filmed here. So there’s that.
My mom and I decided to take a zodiac boat tour around the islands, and while I was a it terrified being in that little boat zooming around so fast, what we saw that I day I will literally never forget. I was blown away by the amount of sea otters and bald eagles, and to top it all of we got about 20-30 ft away from a humpback whale. (The video is on my Insta Stories “Alaska” highlight if you want to see it!)
The boys had a blast fly fishing for the first time. Salmon were A PLENTY so there was a lot to be caught – which they of course released back. They were lucky enough to actually see bears in the wild while they were out there as well. Me and my mom had to visit The Fortress of the Bear to get our bear sighting. (I highly recommend visiting the Fortress of the Bear if you’re in Sitka; it’s a bear rescue and rehabilitation center, and it was such a cool experience. They’d just gotten two baby bear sisters the day before we visited, they’d sadly just lost their mom but at least they’re in good hands.)
LAST STOP: KETCHIKAN
Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world, and while I sadly did not have any salmon in Ketchikan, we did fly over some in our float plane.
The four of us all opted to take our first float plane ride through the famed Misty Fjords to meet up with a boat in the middle of if that would take us back to the city. It was a 25 minute flight, I was mildly terrified, but I am so glad I got to see Alaska’s beautiful rainforest and terrain from that high up – and it was such a gorgeous day on top of it.
The boat ride back was a total trip as well, it was a picturesque ride and about 10 minutes before we got back to the dock we’d spotted some humpbacks out in the distance putting on a full on show for us – breaching, tale slaps and all! It was INCREDIBLE. We were told you don’t really see humpbacks breach in Alaska, so I guess we were some of the lucky ones. (Again, you can see a video of what we saw on my Insta Story highlight!)
If you have the opportunity to visit Alaska. Do it. It was honest to god the trip of a lifetime. To be immersed in such pristine and borderline untouched nature… it’s a feeling I’ve never had and I’m so glad I got to experience it. Seeing Alaska by way of cruise was a great way to do it; you can see quite a bit in a very short amount of time. If you have the funds, definitely go with a smaller ship like Silversea, it really does make a difference, and this ship went above and beyond to make every single passenger happy.
I am personally dying to go back and stick around a bit longer in each city, but for now, this was a great start.
[We saw TONS of bald eagles!]
[just ‘cuz it’s pretty.]
[Exactly what I think of when I think of Alaska.]