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Explore Alaska’s Golden Circle

I recently vacationed in southeast Alaska’s Golden Circle, a route encompassing cities that flourished during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Since then, several have become tourist destinations and ports-of-call for cruise ships. Here are some tips and suggestions for travelers visiting three of those cities:

Juneau

  1. Ride the Mount Roberts Tramway. Soar 1800 feet above sea level while taking in breathtaking views of the city, harbor, and mountains. At the top, hike the trails, ask the guides at the nature center about wildlife-viewing opportunities or grab an Alaskan Brewing Company beer at the bar and grill. Tip: Go in the morning, because your ticket is good for unlimited rides all day.
  2. Go on a walking tour. Many Juneau attractions are within easy walking distance. Pick up a map at the visitors bureau or a hotel and see the Governor’s Mansion, state capitol, historic sites, museums and more.

Haines

  1. Get up close to a glacier. Chilkat Guides takes guests to remote Glacier Point and on a canoe trip that brings them face to face with Davidson Glacier.
  2. Photograph the bears. Worth visiting for its stunning landscapes alone, Chilkat State Park provides opportunities for viewing bears, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Tip: Visit during salmon-spawning season, from August to early September, to watch bears catching fish in the river.
  3. Support the local arts. Despite its small size, Haines is home to more than 50 artists and 20 galleries and gift shops.

Skagway

  1. Take a hike. Lower Dewey Lake is an accessible route for casual hikers offering spectacular lake views; other nearby routes cater to more advanced hikers.
  2. Visit the Red Onion Saloon. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the saloon once housed a brothel and leads an entertaining tour of the upstairs museum for only $5.
  3. Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route. The scenic railroad was originally built to transport people and supplies during the gold rush. Tip: Sit on the left side on the way up. Passengers switch at the top, but you’ll get the best views while the ride is being narrated.

Click here for Travelzoo cruise deals that dock in cities along the Golden Circle, including the following:

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Tips by
Kelsey

Deal Expert, New York
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
See more Tips from
Kelsey Rexroat