Once called “the Paris of the Pacific,” Sitka stands out among other ports as a city rich in culture. Built on the empire of Russian fur trade, Sitka is set between steep mountain slopes and the Sitka Sound, just off the shore of Baranof Island. With a population of 9,300, Sitka is Alaska’s fifth-largest city and has grown to be the cultural and artistic center of the Southeast. Sitka is a town with a history grounded in Russian heritage with a damp, moderate climate that contributes to the appearance of an England coastal community. The local economy is strongly centered on the timber, fishing and tourism industries. Famous for its sport fishing, Sitka’s two harbors are dotted with brightly colored boats that look out over the pine-covered islands of the Tongass National Forest.
As one of the larger ports along the Inside Passage, Sitka offers everything from campgrounds to first class, full-service hotels. The local network of roads encourages campers to explore the many rustic options, while the downtown area offers the usual array of Bed & Breakfasts, lodges, and hotels.
Sitka Tours and Attractions
The Sitka National Historic Park offers workshops on Indian arts and crafts, a treat for visitors seeking a creative endeavor. Forty miles worth of hiking trails wind throughout the forested areas within the community. Onion-dome architecture dots the landscape, and local dancers bring to life the traditions that Russia brought with its conquest. Sitka is home to an annual salmon derby, the Alaska Logging Championship, the Sitka Summer Music Festival, and the Alaska Fine Arts Camp. Several local museums and galleries present the rich history of the town.
This port town is best reached by boat, either cruise ship or the Alaska State Ferry. Air taxis are also a popular mode of transportation. Small boat charters are necessary for exploring the many historical sights accessible only by water.
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