For airborne visitors, Gustavus is the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The long, paved jet airport, built as a refueling strip during World War II, is one of the best and longest in Southeast Alaska, all the more impressive because of its limited facilities at the field. Alaska Airlines, which serves Gustavus daily in the summer, has a new terminal at the site. Smaller, light-aircraft companies that serve the community out of Juneau also have on-site shelters. A summer ferry, operated on Friday and Sunday by Aramark (907/264–4600 or 888/229–8687 www.visitglacierbay.com), runs between Juneau and Bartlett Cove.
Before you get too excited about visiting this remote outpost, be forewarned: Gustavus has no downtown. In fact, Gustavus is not really a town at all. Instead, it's a scattering of homes, farmsteads, a craft studio, fishing and guiding charters, an art gallery, and other tiny enterprises peopled by hospitable individualists. Visitors enjoy the unstructured outdoor activities in the area, including beach and trail hiking in the Nature Conservancy's Forelands Preserve.