My family had a bucket list trip this summer! We visited Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage on a small ship and wow, what a travel adventure!! The scenery was majestic. The animals were amazing. The education was superb. And, best of all, the other travel guests became like family!
If you follow Oh Lardy, you know I love travel. I just want to sell my house and go see the entire world! (maybe someday). I love educating my daughter and exposing her to new cultures and sites. I love bringing my healthy lifestyle on the road with real food and essential oils.
There is nothing I like better than soaking in everything I can new places!
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We purchased this trip at a live auction at my daughter's Montessori School. The owner of Orbridge Destination Specialists has children who attend the school and he was kind enough to offer this amazing trip in the auction. We knew we wanted the trip and we like to support Montessori education so this was a win-win!
We flew into Sitka and flew home from Juneau and the week in between was filled with adventure! All I can say is this was a bucket list trip and I can't even tell you how amazing it was. The pics and videos I will show you don't even do it justice. The itinerary, the attention to detail from Orbridge, the professionalism of the staff was absolutely mind blowing.
Here is a map of our route through Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage. Absolutely amazing!
**I link to all of the sites, restaurants, travel guides we used at the bottom of the post!**
Pre-Departure 2 Days in Sitka
We arrived in Sitka, Alaska the day before our cruise was set to depart. We had a lovely sunny day and spent time walking around the town, exploring the shops (the book store and the gear store were highlights!). We sat on a dock and had some delicious local beer. We hiked along the water and enjoyed sitting watching our daughter find crabs while we witnessed 9 bald eagles flying over head. Spectacular!
We went to the Fortress of the Bear and viewed brown and black bear that had been rescued. Alaska doesn't have an official bear rescue program so this small venue is doing some pretty spectacular work! We stopped by the Sitka Science Center and my daughter had fun with the touch tank and learning about salmon.
We finished off the night with a spectacular meal at Ludvig's Bistro (If you are ever in Sitka, this restaurant is a must! Make reservations as it is very popular…and small!).
The next day we woke up, walked around the town some more and met our fellow cruise passengers at the Alaskan Dreams Hospitality Suite. We were treated to authentic Tlingit Dancers, visited the Raptor Center (where they rescue eagles, owls, etc) and hiked the Sitka National Historical Park.
We boarded our home for the week, The Admiralty Dream, and had fun getting to know the other passengers. Even though we were the only ‘family' (ie only people with a chid) on board, everyone was kind and gracious and Tyler was excited for this amazing adventure.
Wildlife Sightings: bald eagle, black bear, brown bear, sea otter, raven, crabs, various raptors at the Raptor Center.
Day 1 – Icy Strait, Fox Creek – Chicahagof Island
The first full day of the cruise, we sailed most of the morning. We viewed the beautiful scenery of Chichagof Island and Icy Strait. It was relaxing and we kept our binoculars at the ready for any wildlife spottings!
In the afternoon, we were going to kayak but the winds were not helpful so we all went hiking in the forest. Our naturalist guides were amazing at pointing out various plants, berries and bear tracks!
The evening had us enter Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. We split off into a small group with some new found friends and hiked a gorgeous trail and followed it up with a glass of wine at the Barlett Cove Lodge for sunset. We also picked up a National Park Ranger and a Hoonah Tlingit Cultural Heritage Guide who were to spend the next day with us sharing stories and history about this amazing National Park.
Wildlife Sightings: humpback whales, sea otters.
Day 2 – Glacier Bay National Park
The day we spent in Glacier Bay may have been one of the best travel days of my life. We awoke at the foot of Johns Hopkins Glacier. We spent hours there, watching the massive glacier calve ice into the water. There were 100s of seals swimming about. It was truly spectacular.
We also had our share of amazing animal spottings…bald eagles, bears, sea lions, mountain goats…even a moose swimming toward shore! My daughter sat for hours with her binoculars scanning the shores for wildlife. It was truly spectacular.
Wildlife Sightings: bald eagle, brown bear, moose, sea otters, harbor seals, Stella sea lions, humpback whales, cormorants, tufted puffin, mountain goats, various birds.
Day 3 – Baranof Island – Lake Eva Trail and Hidden Falls
We awoke this am just off Baranof Island in Hanus Bay and readied ourselves to hike the Lake Eva Trail. From the boat we saw several bear feeding on the beach. I was a bit nervous to venture ashore for our hike! Our hike was several miles all the way to Lake Eva. We never saw bear but there was plenty of fresh bear scat on the trail so they definitely were around!The afternoon was spent at Hidden Falls where we explored an historic salmon hatchery. We saw gobs of brown bears feasting on the salmon who were coming to spawn. It was like an all you can eat buffet for bear! The more I learn about salmon, the more fascinating they are to me! How do they know to return to the same fresh water in which they were born? Nature is cool!
Wildlife Sightings: common loon, bald eagles, brown bear, river otter, porpoise, salmon.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this amazing travel adventure where we visited: Baranof Island – Red Bluff Bay, Petersburg and Frederick Sound, Tracy Arm and Ford's Terror Wilderness and Juneau.
Here are some of our travel resources, places we ate, shops we visited. This was a trip of a lifetime and I hope you find this helpful if you ever go to Southeast Alaska!
Ludvig's Bistro – Sitka, AK
Westmark Hotel – Sitka, AK
Bayview Pub – Sitka, AK
Dock Shack – Sitka, AK
Old Harbor Books – Sitka, AK
Ernie's Old Time Saloon – Sitka, AK
Alaska Raptor Center – Sitka, AK
Work and Rugged Gear Store – Sitka, AK
Fortress of the Bear – Sitka, AK
Papa Bear's Pizza – Petersburg, AK
Coastal Cold Storage Restaurant – Petersburg, AK
Icy Bay IPA – Patrick's favorite beer of the trip!