Ketchikan, Alaska. Photos courtesy Candy Be.

Travel Journal: Canada and Alaska

Seen through the eyes of Candy Be

Who went: My husband Robert and I, our children Sara and James, and some other family and friends—19 people in total!

We went because: We had never been on an Alaskan cruise, and it was a must-do for us. All our families have traveled together across the globe, to Costa Rica, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Greece and Montenegro.

TJ 3-B
Candy and Robert Be with son James and daughter Sara

Hotel recommendations: In Vancouver, the Fairmont Pacific Rim; in Seward, Windsong Lodge and the Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island. Next time we’d love to try one of the VRBO rental homes close to Seward.

Where to eat: Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Juneau, or fish and chips in Seward.

Favorite dish on the menu: King Crab Bucket!

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: Raincoats

Favorite historic landmark: Hubbard Glacier

Local attraction worth a drive-by: Between Seward and Anchorage, along the Turnagain Arm waterway, you can see where inland surfers ride the bore tide.

A great experience off the beaten path: Taking a sea plane from Ketchikan to Prince Edward Island to bear watch and see salmon swimming against the current to spawn.

Worth the splurge: Whale watching in Juneau, rock fish and salmon fishing in Seward, a Kenai Fjord tour in Seward, and kayaking in Icy Strait Point.

The group aboard a fishing charter boat in Seward
The group aboard a fishing charter boat in Seward

Not worth the splurge: My kids would disagree, but summer dog sledding in Seward.

Something surprising we learned on the trip: As salmon swim against the current, upriver, their bodies deteriorate and are no longer edible. When they reach the spawning grounds where they were born, they mate and die.

View from the Skagway train
View from the Skagway train

Insiders’ tips: To see the salmon migration, go in late July or early August. Book directly through outfitters to get better-priced, private tours. You will end up in big buses and large crowds otherwise. Consider staying in Seward as a base (not going on a cruise), because most every activity, plus lots of hiking and biking, can be done out of Seward—and you won’t get seasick.

We would suggest this trip to others because: Alaska is picturesque and adventurous, seemingly otherworldly. We plan to return and rent a home somewhere close to Seward in the summer.