Destination Guide to Haines, Alaska
GoNOMAD DESTINATION MINI GUIDE TO Haines, Alaska
By Monk Media
Incredible wildlife, spectacular mountain scenery, the best weather in southeast Alaska and a local party scene that ranges from manic to mellow, and from quirky to downright bizarre, makes this the perfect edge-of-the-earth getaway. It's also a great place to settle down and start a militia.
WHEN TO GO?
Situated in the rain shadow of the Chilkat Mountains, Haines is in southeast Alaska's banana belt. The best time to visit is from May to August, when dry, mild weather prevails. Haines receives less precipitation than Juneau, but more than Seattle, so be prepared to get wet.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
From Juneau, you can catch a short, non-stop flight or ferry to Haines. If you arrive by plane, your airline will provide shuttle service into town. Haines is one of only two towns in southeast Alaska accessible by road. However, you must first reach Haines Junction, 150 miles north, deep in the Canadian Yukon.
The Southeast Alaska State Fair is Haines' raucous answer to Mardi Gras, the Running of the Bulls and the Kentucky Derby, all rolled into one. Entertainment has included a "Supertron Orbitron," a superhero zucchini decorating contest, a belly dancing troupe from Juneau, a "most lovable dog" competition, an a cappella group from LA and a logging tournament (Sorry, you must have lived in Alaska for at least 30 days to compete in the logging events. Hard-hats are required for power bucking, ax throwing, obstacle bucking and hook tendering.).
MOST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
Each fall, the Chilkat Valley hosts the world's largest congregation of bald eagles. Beginning in October, as many as 3,000 eagles crowd the banks of the Chilkat River, where they can be seen gorging themselves on salmon and roosting in cottonwood trees.
BEST ACTIVITIES OR TOURS
Take a hike up Mount Ripinsky, a whitewater rafting trip or a helicopter ride over Glacier Bay National Park.
- The historic Fort Seward Lodge (Tel: 800-478-7772) is just a five-minute walk from downtown Haines.
- Several bed & breakfasts in town also offer comfy accommodations for those with a few bucks in their pocket.
- If you're on a budget, try the Bear Creek Cabins and International Hostel (Tel: 907-766-2259).
- Great campsites abound in private and state campgrounds near town.
- The Fireweed Café offers top-notch veggie and organic fare.
- In summer, start the day at the Chilkoot Coffee Co.
- The Klondike, in Dalton City, offers a groovy atmosphere, inexpensive food, locally brewed Haines Stout Beer, horseshoes and full-contact Frisbee golf.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS
This is a special place; treat it with care and the locals will take you in as one of their own.