Sitka, Alaska

Sitka is on the west side of Baranof Island, overlooking Sitka Sound. When Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867, the deal was sealed in Sitka. You can still see the strong imprint of Russian culture at the Russian Bishop's House. Then, step into nearby Sitka Rose Gallery to find whalebone and walrus ivory carvings by Inuit Eskimo artists, or wood sculptures by the Haida and Tlingit native people.

Take the mile-long trail from Sitka National Park to Totem Park, which loops you through a Tlingit Fort. Each totem pole you see tells a story, on this forest walk near the ocean. The Galvan Hill Trail offers a good hike close to town - walk 3 miles to its peak for amazing views.

Sea kayaking in Sitka is an amazing experience - beautiful mountains, sea otters at play, and bald eagles flying right past you. Get a close-up look at great-horned owls, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles at the 17-acre Alaska Raptor Center - where injured birds are rehabilitated and sent back to the wild. Try the Alaskan prawns and scallops with basil pesto at cozy, rustic Ludvig's Bistro. The Larkspur Cafe is where the locals go for great salmon chowder and evenings of live music.

Photo 2 Photographer: Brian Adams