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Southeast Alaska is best explored by ship or plane.
Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines operates several flights daily from Seattle and other Pacific Coast and Southwestern cities to Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Glacier Bay, and Juneau. The carrier also connects Juneau to the northern Alaska cities of Yakutat, Cordova, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome, Kotzebue, and Prudhoe Bay. 800/252-7522. www.alaskaair.com.
Unless your destination is Haines, Skagway, or Hyder, forget about driving to Southeast. Cars don't do much for travelers, as roads typically run just a few miles out from towns and villages, then dead-end. Many people elect to transport their vehicles (and themselves) via the ferries of the Alaska Marine Highway System. Serious cyclists bring their bikes along. Visitor information centers are generally open mid-May through August, daily 8 to 5, with additional hours when cruise ships are in port; between September and mid-May they're typically open weekdays 8 to 5.
There's no better way to view Southeast's twisting channels, towering mountains, and gleaming glaciers than from one of the region's many small-aircraft flights.
At least four services offer daily flights between Southeast's larger towns—Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Ketchikan, Sitka, Petersburg, and Wrangell—in addition to the bevy of helicopter flightseeing services that specialize in short, scenic flights. Tops among the fixed-wing carriers are Air Excursions (800/354-2479www.airexcursions.com) and Wings of Alaska (907/789-0790www.wingsofalaska.com), both of which offer connecting flights and scenic air tours of Southeast landmarks.
Flying between destinations in Southeast—while significantly more expensive—is an experience you won't forget. If your itinerary includes an extra day or two in Southeast (particularly in Juneau), consider spending a day flying to and from a neighboring community. Round-trip tickets from Juneau to Skagway, for instance, start at around $250, as compared to approximately $170 for a one-hour flightseeing trip in and around Juneau.
A host of floatplane services offer access to remote cabins and remote freshwater fishing destinations. Check out Southeast Aviation (888/359-6478www.flymisty.com) for flight details.
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