Travel Within Alaska: By Boat
Alaska’s coastal regions are known for abundant wildlife, stunning tidewater glaciers and lively port communities. For many of these towns, ferries and water taxis are the primary link to the rest of the state and beyond. Traveling Alaska by ferry is an excellent option for independent travelers and families, and allows you to bring your car, RV, bicycle or kayak along for the ride.
The Alaska Marine Highway is Alaska’s state-owned ferry system, offering scheduled service to the Inside Passage, Prince William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands. Ferries allow visitors to travel at their own pace and create their own itinerary. Cabins provide private, overnight accommodations, but you can also sleep in public areas on the ferries, including lounges and the outdoor solariums, in small tents or sleeping bags. Food service, onboard naturalists, movies and other entertainment are available on the ferries. It’s important to book ferry travel in advance, especially during summer months or if traveling with a vehicle.
Several coastal communities offer a selection of day cruises and multi-day cruises around Alaska. Day cruises are typically four or more hours; longer tours usually feature a meal or snack. Most ships have onboard naturalists to interpret plant and animal life, climate and geographic features, and to provide historical background.