Do you need a break from the everyday? Take a trip to Pelican and Gustavus where you will experience an out-of-the-ordinary vacation with incredible scenery and abundant wildlife. The Alaska Marine Highway offers bi-monthly service to Pelican in the summer, so this vacation takes a bit of pre-planning, but once you are on the ferry, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.
Ferry from Juneau to Pelican — Closest to the Fish (+)
Ferry from Juneau to Pelican — Closest to the Fish (-)
From Juneau, board the ferry for a nine-hour voyage to Pelican. The ferry route wends through Icy Strait past Point Adolphus, where underwater land formations and strong tidal currents create Alaska's most active whale feeding area. At first glance it is difficult to say what is the most eye catching as one arrives in Pelican; the 22-mile fjord on which it nestles, the 3,000-foot mountains bordering Lisianski Inlet, or the boardwalk community itself. Pelican was built, as a center for the commercial fishing fleet, and maintains the motto, "closest to the fish." Overnight in Pelican at one of the local B&Bs, and enjoy your time relaxing in this quaint boardwalk community.
Gustavus — Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park (+)
Gustavus — Gateway to Glacier Bay National Park (-)
Board the ferry in the morning for the three-hour cruise to Gustavus; a community of just over 400 people and the perfect place to launch your Glacier Bay adventure. Check out the town's little shops and art galleries, or walk the nearby trails and beaches. The most popular way to experience Glacier Bay is by boat. Reserve a charter (many of which can be booked as a package with a stay at a lodge), grab a rain jacket and spend a day on the water. You'll see floating icebergs and glaciers. The wildlife viewing is almost always excellent. From whales, sea lions and seals splashing alongside your boat to bears meandering along the coast to eagles soaring overhead, your camera won't get much rest. If you would prefer an awe-inspiring eagle-eye view of the glaciers book a flightseeing tour.
Relax in Gustavus and Ferry Back to Juneau (+)
Relax in Gustavus and Ferry Back to Juneau (-)
After a lazy morning, enjoy a few hours walking the Gustavus boardwalk or beachcombing. Catch the mid-afternoon ferry back to Juneau and enjoy the cruise through Alaska's famously beautiful forest- and mountain-shrouded Inside Passage. Keep your binoculars handy for the chance to see a variety of marine mammals, including Humpback whales, Minke whales, Orcas, Stellar sea lions, sea otters, Dall porpoises, and harbor porpoises. You'll arrive mid-afternoon, with an appreciation for the peacefulness of these neighboring, secluded Alaska communities.