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Wednesday, 01 May 2019

Out of this World: Visiting the Stunning Islands of Alaska

Written by Katlyn Grannis
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Photo by Rod Long


There are currently 2,670 named islands in Alaska and several unnamed islands that make up the largest state in America. Although they have a population of fewer than 800,000 people, twice as many people visit Alaska each year for business and pleasure. These islands are so large that many of the mountains found in Alaska are scattered among them. On the mountain tops you will find snow-covered peaks and inactive volcanoes. Beautiful little houses are nestled in the valleys where you can spend the night.


Chichagof Island

Chichagof is the fifth largest island in North America with its terrain ranging from snow-capped mountains to white sandy beaches. This island offers plenty of tourist options, from the small towns near the docks on the northeastern coast to the Ziprider – the world’s longest zip line. Visitors from all over the world come to watch the humpback whales at the many docks along the rugged coastlines and to explore the Archipelago Mountain Range. Like several of the islands around it, you will love the small town atmosphere and the cool summers.


Yakobi Island

Yakobi is considered a part of Tongass National Park. It has no permanent residents and today serves as a recreational island for fishers, hikers, and campers. The island is only accessible by boat or plane. The Trust of Public Land was responsible for the cleaning up of the island after the abandoned gold mines were signed over to them in 2001. The island is now a haven for hunters year-round and a conservation effort of the state.

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Photo by Elizabeth Meyers


Afognak Island

Afognak currently lies abandoned, except for summer residents, just north of Kodiak Island. Prior to the earthquake of 1964, the island was a favored retirement home of Russian-Americans. Small houses used to litter the beach and sit on cliffs. The island is now home to a healthy seal population and offers plenty of opportunities for tourists to go sightseeing and fishing. Try bringing your fishing rod for either Salmon fishing in the rivers or salt water fishing along the shores.

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Photo by Sunya on Unsplash

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Photo by David Tatum


Prince of Wales Island

Prince of Wales is the fourth-largest island in the US. The island has a rich history starting with the Tlingit People and later on settlers who came seeking gold, copper, and other minerals. Today the island offers lodging, restaurants, and unique tourist destinations such as fish ladders and caves. While the island is not as large as others, it does have its own airport and thriving economy. Each year championship sport fishing tournaments are held to discover new talent.


Baranof Island

This island supports a population of fewer than 10,000 people and was named after one of the first settlers, Alexander Baranof. Baranof Island underwent a small gold mining stage, but today makes its living off the tourist and fishing industry with its main city being Sitka. Sitka has many totem poles in Sitka National Historical Park as well as Russian historical buildings and is a popular cruise ship port.


Don’t Forget to Explore!

Many of the islands in Alaska are a part of conservations or state parks, this allows many more people to visit the islands while protecting the natural wildlife of the area. To be able to explore all of Alaska could take several lifetimes combined. It is a beautiful state with plenty of natural beauty, delicious food, and friendly people. While the state is much more than its islands they bear great significance to its size and development.

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Photo by Jonathan Wheeler


©Katlyn Grannis

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 May 2019