Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

See What You’re Missing In Southeast Alaska


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Leda Caro



Welcome to the enchanting world of Southeast Alaska, a land of breathtaking landscapes, rich wildlife, vibrant indigenous culture, and endless outdoor adventures. Located in the remote corners of the United States, this region offers a diverse range of experiences that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty and cultural heritage.


When you think of Alaska, images of towering mountains, shimmering glaciers, and pristine forests come to mind, and Southeast Alaska delivers on all fronts. The region boasts stunning landscapes that will take your breath away. From the majestic fjords of Glacier Bay National Park to the rugged beauty of Misty Fjords National Monument, every corner of Southeast Alaska is a postcard-perfect scene waiting to be explored.


But it’s not just the landscapes that make Southeast Alaska special; it’s also the incredible wildlife that calls this place home. From magnificent humpback whales breaching the waters to playful sea otters floating on their backs, encounters with marine life are a common occurrence in Southeast Alaska. The region is also a haven for birdwatchers, with bald eagles, puffins, and other species dotting the skies.


The indigenous culture of Southeast Alaska is deeply rooted in the land and sea. The Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples have inhabited these lands for thousands of years and have a rich tradition of art, craft, storytelling, and ceremonial practices. Exploring their heritage through visits to cultural centers, museums, and traditional villages provides a unique window into their way of life.


Southeast Alaska is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With countless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife spotting, adventure awaits around every corner. Explore the rugged trails of Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States, or paddle through the peaceful waters of Misty Fjords, immersing yourself in the untouched wilderness.


But it’s not just the natural wonders that make Southeast Alaska special; the region is also home to charming coastal communities that exude a welcoming atmosphere. Places like Juneau, Sitka, and Skagway are brimming with history, culture, and friendly locals who are eager to share their tales of life in the Last Frontier.


No visit to Southeast Alaska is complete without indulging in its mouthwatering seafood. From fresh Alaskan salmon to succulent Dungeness crab, the region’s waters yield a bountiful harvest that will delight even the most discerning food lovers. Whether you dine in a rustic seafood shack or a fine dining establishment, the flavors of Southeast Alaska will leave a lasting impression.


As you explore the region, be sure to pick up unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Southeast Alaska. From intricately carved totem poles to handwoven Native art, the local shops and galleries offer a wide array of treasures that serve as lasting mementos of your journey.


So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the wonders of Southeast Alaska, and uncover the hidden gems that await in this captivating region. From awe-inspiring landscapes to vibrant cultural experiences, Southeast Alaska is a destination that should not be missed.


Stunning Landscapes

Prepare to be mesmerized by the stunning landscapes of Southeast Alaska. This region is a nature lover’s dream, boasting a diverse array of natural wonders that will leave you awestruck.


One of the highlights of Southeast Alaska is the magnificent Glacier Bay National Park. This park is home to towering glaciers that stretch as far as the eye can see, creating a breathtaking backdrop of ice and snow. Witness the sheer power and beauty of these glaciers as they calve, producing dramatic displays of ice crashing into the water below.


Another must-see destination is the Misty Fjords National Monument, where mist-shrouded fjords cut through towering cliffs, creating a landscape straight out of a fairy tale. The sheer grandeur and tranquility of this untouched wilderness will transport you to another world.


The Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore its vast expanse of lush temperate rainforest, where towering trees, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear rivers await. Hike through ancient forests, keeping an eye out for wildlife such as black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, and bald eagles.


No visit to Southeast Alaska would be complete without exploring the Inside Passage, a scenic marine route along the coast that showcases the region’s beauty from a different perspective. Cruise through calm waters, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and verdant islands, while keeping an eye out for playful sea lions, curious harbor seals, and majestic humpback whales.


For those seeking a thrill, a helicopter tour or a seaplane flight will provide a bird’s-eye view of the region’s stunning landscapes. Soar over glaciers, forests, and mountains, taking in the vastness and grandeur of Southeast Alaska from above.


Whether you find yourself surrounded by towering glaciers, exploring misty fjords, hiking through ancient forests, or cruising along the coastline, the stunning landscapes of Southeast Alaska will leave an indelible impression on your heart and soul.


Abundant Wildlife

Southeast Alaska is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, teeming with a diverse array of animal species that call this region home. From majestic marine creatures to fascinating land-dwelling animals, encounters with wildlife are abundant in Southeast Alaska.


One of the most iconic wildlife species in this region is the humpback whale. These magnificent creatures migrate to the icy waters of Southeast Alaska every summer to feed on the abundant krill and small fish. Witnessing a humpback whale breach the surface or hearing its hauntingly beautiful songs is an awe-inspiring experience that will stay with you forever.


Marine mammals are not the only stars of the show in Southeast Alaska. The coastal waters are also home to playful sea otters, adorable harbor seals, and massive Steller sea lions. Watch as sea otters float effortlessly on their backs, using rocks as tools to crack open shells, or observe the agility and grace of harbor seals as they navigate the rocky shores.


Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the variety of avian species in Southeast Alaska. The region is home to majestic bald eagles, with their distinctive white heads and powerful wingspans. Look up and spot bald eagles perched on treetops or soaring through the sky, their piercing calls echoing in the wilderness. Puffins, guillemots, and other seabirds also grace the skies above Southeast Alaska, adding a splash of color and excitement to the coastal areas.


For those fascinated by land-dwelling animals, Southeast Alaska offers the opportunity to observe both black bears and Sitka black-tailed deer in their natural habitats. Keep a safe distance and observe these beautiful creatures as they forage for food or traverse the forested landscapes. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a rare and elusive coastal wolf or a mountain goat perched on a rocky cliff.


As you explore the region’s national parks and wildlife refuges, keep your eyes peeled for smaller creatures too. Squirrels, marmots, and porcupines scurry through the forest underbrush, while beavers diligently construct their dams in the tranquil streams.


Encounters with wildlife in Southeast Alaska are not limited to remote wilderness areas. Even the coastal communities provide opportunities to observe and interact with animals. From fishing docks where fishermen unload their catch to nature preserves where injured animals are rehabilitated, there are plenty of chances to get up close and personal with the wildlife of Southeast Alaska.


Whether you’re whale watching, bird spotting, or simply taking a hike through the forest, the abundant wildlife of Southeast Alaska will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the incredible diversity of life that exists in this untouched wilderness.


Indigenous Culture

Southeast Alaska is not only known for its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife; it is also home to a vibrant and rich indigenous culture. The Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples have inhabited this region for thousands of years, and their cultural heritage is deeply intertwined with the land and sea.


Exploring the indigenous culture of Southeast Alaska offers a unique opportunity to gain insight into the traditions, artistry, and storytelling of these ancient peoples. Visit cultural centers and museums to learn about the history and way of life of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian communities. These centers often feature exhibits showcasing traditional artifacts, intricate carvings, and beautifully woven textiles that highlight the unique artistic traditions of the region.


Take a step back in time with a visit to a traditional village, where you can witness living history come to life. Walk among the intricately carved totem poles that tell stories and honor ancestral spirits. Engage in interactive demonstrations of traditional crafts such as weaving, carving, and basket-making, and gain a deeper appreciation for the skill and artistry that goes into these time-honored practices.


The indigenous people of Southeast Alaska are proud of their cultural heritage and are eager to share their traditions with visitors. Attend cultural performances, storytelling sessions, or ceremonial events to witness the vibrant dances, songs, and rituals that have been passed down through generations. These experiences not only entertain but also educate, offering a glimpse into the deep connection between the indigenous peoples and the natural world around them.


One aspect of Southeast Alaska’s indigenous culture that stands out is the artistry and craftsmanship of the native peoples. From intricately carved totem poles to exquisite silver jewelry, the art of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian communities is renowned for its beauty and symbolism. Visit local art galleries and studios to admire and purchase these unique and treasured works of art. Each piece tells a story and reflects the rich cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples.


Let the traditional cuisine of Southeast Alaska tantalize your taste buds. Delight in dishes that showcase the natural bounty of the land and sea, such as crisp-fried halibut, smoked salmon, and fresh-picked wild berries. Many local restaurants and food vendors proudly offer indigenous-inspired dishes, allowing you to savor the flavors and experience the culinary traditions of the region.


Immerse yourself in the indigenous culture of Southeast Alaska and gain a deeper understanding of the values, traditions, and resilience of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples. Their cultural heritage is not only significant to the history of this region but also serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and honoring indigenous cultures around the world.


Outdoor Adventures

Southeast Alaska is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a multitude of thrilling adventures in the midst of pristine natural beauty. From hiking through lush forests to kayaking in serene waters, there is an adventure waiting for everyone in this breathtaking region.


One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the wilderness of Southeast Alaska is through hiking. Lace up your boots and explore the network of trails that wind through the region’s national parks and reserves. The Tongass National Forest, with its vast expanse of temperate rainforest, offers countless hiking opportunities for all levels of experience. Traverse moss-covered trails, breathing in the fresh, earthy scent of the forest, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as black bears, Sitka black-tailed deer, and eagles soaring above.


To truly appreciate the beauty of the fjords and secluded coves, take to the water on a kayaking adventure. Glide along calm waters, surrounded by towering mountains and lush vegetation. Explore hidden coves, discover remote beaches, and witness marine life up close, as seals poke their heads above the water’s surface and eagles soar overhead. Kayaking allows you to experience the tranquility and serenity of Southeast Alaska in a truly immersive way.


Fishing enthusiasts will be thrilled with the opportunities that abound in Southeast Alaska. With an abundance of salmon, halibut, and other species, the region is a fishing paradise. Join a guided fishing charter and try your luck at reeling in a prized catch under the guidance of experienced local fishermen. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a first-time fisherman, the thrill and satisfaction of landing a fish in these pristine waters is an experience not to be missed.


For adrenaline junkies seeking an extra dose of excitement, consider embarking on a heli-skiing or snowboarding adventure in the winter months. Board a helicopter and be transported to untouched, snow-covered mountain peaks. Then, carve your way down powdery slopes, surrounded by breathtaking views and an exhilarating sense of freedom. This heart-pounding experience is perfect for those seeking a truly unique and adrenaline-charged adventure.


Another must-try activity in Southeast Alaska is wildlife spotting. Join a guided tour or embark on a wildlife cruise to witness firsthand the incredible diversity of marine and land-based creatures that inhabit this region. From humpback whales breaching the surface to playful sea otters and majestic bald eagles, Southeast Alaska offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe and appreciate wildlife in its natural habitat.


Whether you prefer to hike, kayak, fish, or immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world, Southeast Alaska is a haven for outdoor adventurers. The region’s untouched wilderness and abundant wildlife provide the backdrop for unforgettable experiences that will leave you with cherished memories for a lifetime.


Charming Coastal Communities

As you journey through Southeast Alaska, you’ll discover a string of charming coastal communities that offer a unique blend of history, culture, and the warm hospitality of the locals. These towns and cities provide a glimpse into the life and character of this remote region, inviting visitors to experience the authentic charm of coastal Alaska.


Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, is surrounded by stunning views of mountains and glaciers. Explore the historic downtown district, filled with boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Visit the Alaska State Capitol building or take a tram ride up Mount Roberts for panoramic vistas of the surrounding area. You’ll feel a sense of connection to the natural and cultural heritage that defines this remarkable city.


Sitka, once the capital of Russian America, is a picturesque coastal town steeped in history and brimming with cultural significance. Walk along the waterfront and admire the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, a testament to Sitka’s Russian past. Explore the Sitka National Historical Park, where totem poles stand tall, showcasing the rich indigenous heritage of the region. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Alaska Raptor Center and witness the rehabilitation of injured birds of prey.


Skagway, with its well-preserved historic buildings, transports visitors back to the days of the Klondike Gold Rush. Stroll along Broadway Street, lined with wooden storefronts that harken back to the late 19th century. Immerse yourself in the town’s gold rush history by visiting the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park or taking a ride on the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.


Haines, situated at the northern end of the Inside Passage, offers a more laid-back and tranquil atmosphere. This charming community is a gateway to outdoor adventures, including hiking, wildlife viewing, and fishing. Explore the quaint downtown area with its art galleries, locally-owned shops, and cozy cafes. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, where you can witness the congregation of bald eagles during the winter months.


Each coastal community in Southeast Alaska has its own distinct personality and story to tell. Beyond the well-known towns, countless hidden gems dot the coastline, welcoming visitors with open arms. From the friendly people to the rugged natural surroundings, these communities offer a true taste of authentic Alaskan coastal living.


Immerse yourself in the local culture by attending community events, festivals, and celebrations. Listen to live music performances, watch traditional dances, and engage in conversations with the locals, who are known for their warm hospitality and knowledge of the area. You’ll find that the residents of these coastal communities are passionate about their home and take pride in sharing it with visitors.


Whether you’re exploring the bustling capital city of Juneau, stepping back in time in Sitka and Skagway, or discovering the hidden gems in smaller towns like Haines, the charming coastal communities of Southeast Alaska provide an immersive and unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Delicious Seafood

When it comes to seafood, Southeast Alaska is a true culinary paradise. With its pristine waters and abundant marine life, the region offers some of the freshest and most delectable seafood you’ll ever taste. From succulent salmon to mouthwatering Dungeness crab, Southeast Alaska is a seafood lover’s dream come true.


Alaskan salmon is renowned worldwide for its exceptional flavor and quality. The cold, nutrient-rich waters of Southeast Alaska are home to several species of salmon, including Chinook (king), Coho (silver), and Sockeye (red). Indulge in the rich, buttery taste of grilled salmon or taste the delicate flavors of smoked salmon. Sample salmon in various forms, from freshly caught fillets to salmon chowder and even salmon jerky. No matter how it’s prepared, you’ll savor the freshness and unrivaled taste of this Alaskan delicacy.


Crab lovers rejoice, as Southeast Alaska is also known for its plentiful Dungeness crab. Dip into a sumptuous feast of steamed crab legs, cracking them open to reveal the succulent, sweet meat within. Another popular seafood treat in the region is Alaskan king crab, with its massive legs and rich, decadent flavor. Local restaurants and seafood shacks serve up crab dishes that will leave you truly satisfied.


Halibut, one of the largest flatfish in the sea, is another star of the Alaskan seafood scene. Indulge in a perfectly grilled halibut fillet, tender and flaky, or savor the succulence of halibut cheeks, considered a delicacy. This versatile fish pairs well with a variety of flavors and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.


Don’t forget to try the delectable shellfish that Southeast Alaska has to offer. Sink your teeth into plump, juicy shrimp, either grilled or sautéed in garlic butter. Sample the delicate and sweet flavor of Alaska spot prawns, often served in a classic shrimp cocktail or as a savory addition to pasta dishes. Raw seafood lovers will delight in trying locally harvested oysters, brimming with the flavors of the pristine waters of Southeast Alaska.


The best part about enjoying seafood in Southeast Alaska is that it often comes straight from the source. Many local fishing boats sell their freshly caught seafood directly to the public, ensuring that you are getting the freshest and highest quality product available. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider going on a fishing excursion yourself and reeling in your own catch of the day.


Whether you dine in a fine seafood restaurant or indulge in a casual seafood shack, Southeast Alaska offers a seafood experience like no other. The flavors are exceptional, the freshness unparalleled, and the variety of seafood available will satisfy even the most discerning palate. Prepare yourself for a culinary journey through the bountiful waters of Southeast Alaska and savor the rich flavors of the sea.


Unique Souvenirs

When exploring Southeast Alaska, be sure to take home a piece of this remarkable region with unique souvenirs that capture the spirit and beauty of the area. From traditional indigenous crafts to local artisanal creations, there are plenty of treasures to choose from that will serve as lasting mementos of your journey.


One of the most cherished souvenirs from Southeast Alaska is the intricate and beautifully carved totem pole. These towering wooden sculptures tell stories and represent the rich cultural traditions of the indigenous peoples. Whether it’s a small totem pole replica or a hand-carved piece created by a local artist, owning a totem pole brings a piece of Southeast Alaska’s indigenous heritage into your home.


Discover the remarkable artistry of the region through Native Alaskan jewelry. Handcrafted by skilled artisans, these jewelry pieces often feature traditional designs and incorporate natural materials such as silver, gold, abalone shell, and semiprecious stones. From earrings and necklaces to bracelets and rings, there is a wide variety of jewelry options available that showcase the unique beauty of Southeast Alaska.


For those seeking a more practical keepsake, consider purchasing handwoven baskets or traditional woven textiles. These intricately crafted items reflect the rich cultural traditions of the indigenous peoples, while also serving as functional and beautiful pieces for your home. Each basket or textile tells a story and represents the skills honed over generations.


Another popular souvenir option is Alaskan smoked salmon. This delectable treat captures the essence of Southeast Alaska’s bountiful waters. Whether you choose vacuum-sealed pouches of smoked salmon or fish jerky, these delicious and long-lasting goodies are perfect for enjoying yourself or gifting to friends and family back home.


Art enthusiasts will find an array of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics created by local artists. Explore the galleries and studios in the coastal communities, where you can discover unique artistic expressions inspired by the beauty of Southeast Alaska. Choose a painting that captures the majestic landscapes or a sculpture that symbolizes the region’s wildlife for a meaningful piece of art to adorn your living space.


Souvenirs don’t always have to be tangible. Capture your memories of Southeast Alaska through photography or by collecting postcards that depict the region’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. These visual representations can transport you back to the awe-inspiring vistas and breathtaking moments you experienced during your visit.


As you peruse the local shops and galleries, keep an eye out for other unique souvenirs that celebrate the essence of the region. Handcrafted wooden utensils, locally made jams and preserves, and even traditional clothing and accessories are just a few examples of the diverse and one-of-a-kind souvenirs available in Southeast Alaska.


By bringing home a unique souvenir from Southeast Alaska, you not only capture a piece of this remarkable region, but you also support the local artisans and businesses that contribute to the vibrant cultural fabric of the area. These souvenirs serve as lasting reminders of your journey through Southeast Alaska and allow you to share a piece of its beauty and spirit with others.



Exploring Southeast Alaska is like stepping into a world of awe-inspiring landscapes, abundant wildlife, vibrant indigenous culture, and thrilling outdoor adventures. This remote region offers an unforgettable experience for those seeking to connect with nature, immerse themselves in rich cultural traditions, and create lifelong memories.


From the stunning glaciers of Glacier Bay National Park to the misty fjords of Misty Fjords National Monument, Southeast Alaska’s natural beauty is truly breathtaking. The region’s untouched wilderness provides a sanctuary for a diverse range of wildlife, from majestic humpback whales to playful sea otters, bald eagles, and bears. There is no shortage of opportunities to witness and appreciate the wonders of these incredible creatures in their natural habitats.


The indigenous culture of Southeast Alaska is deeply rooted in the land and sea. Exploring the history, art, and traditions of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples provides a unique window into their way of life. Whether you visit cultural centers, museums, traditional villages, or attend cultural events, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and respect for the rich heritage of the region.


Outdoor adventures are plentiful in Southeast Alaska, with endless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Whether you explore the vast Tongass National Forest, paddle through the serene waters of the Inside Passage, or cast a line to reel in a prized catch, there’s something for every adventure seeker in this remote paradise.


As you travel through Southeast Alaska, you’ll also discover the charm of its coastal communities. From the capital city of Juneau to the historic towns of Sitka, Skagway, and beyond, these towns offer a warm welcome and a glimpse into the region’s history, culture, and the friendly nature of the locals. You’ll find yourself captivated by the small-town charm, historic architecture, and the laid-back atmosphere that permeates these communities.


No visit to Southeast Alaska is complete without indulging in its mouthwatering seafood. From the exquisite flavors of Alaskan salmon and Dungeness crab to the succulent halibut and other delicacies from the sea, the region’s cuisine is a feast for the senses. Each bite is a testament to the bounty of the waters and the skill of the local fishermen and chefs.


Lastly, don’t forget to take home a unique souvenir that captures the essence of Southeast Alaska. From intricately carved totem poles and indigenous artwork to handcrafted jewelry and local crafts, there are plenty of treasures to choose from that will serve as lasting reminders of your journey through this remarkable region.


In the end, Southeast Alaska offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re exploring its stunning landscapes, encountering its abundant wildlife, delving into its indigenous culture, embarking on outdoor adventures, or connecting with its charming coastal communities, this region is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.