Glacier Bay/Gustavus, Alaska

The town of Gustavus is located on Icy Strait in the northern part of the Inside Passage. Early 19th century settlers called it Strawberry Point for the abundant wild strawberry fields. 90% of Glacier Bay travelers come on cruise ships, which don't dock in Gustavus. But the 10% who take the short flight from Juneau to Gustavus discover this town of about 500 residents, many of them artists.

Gustavus is the Gateway to 3.3 million acre Glacier National Park—15,000 foot mountains, glacier-covered fjords, 240 species of birds, mountain goats, moose, bears, and ancient forests with spruce and hemlock trees up to 200 feet tall. The park entrance is in Bartlett Cove, 9 miles from town. In the summertime you can camp, hike groomed trails, and rent kayaks. Or, take a guided boat trip along the phenomenal tidewater glaciers.

Walk the Nagoonberry Loop Trail from town to the beachfront, through woods and wild flower meadows. Relax later with a Thai or Shiatsu massage at Robin's Song Acupressure. Gustavus Inn, on the grassy Salmon River meadow, serves a breakfast of pancakes with spruce tip syrup. Dinner at the Inn includes local salmon, halibut, and Dungeness crab, raspberries and fresh greens grown in glacial soil, and wild strawberry cheesecake.

Photo 1 Photographer: Brian Adams