On Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island, the city of Unalaska is by far the most popular destination in the Aleutian Islands. (Dutch Harbor is not a separate town, merely a harbor, albeit a very large one.) Although Unalaska is sometimes called "the Crossroads of the Aleutians," even by Alaska standards people who live here are living remote. Usually referred to simply as "Dutch" (or, by people who spend winter here, "the gulag"), the islands of Unalaska are connected by a bridge that spans a narrow channel between the two landmasses. (Locals playfully call the span the "Bridge to the Other Side.") Despite the often-harsh weather—this region is known as the "Cradle of Storms" for good reason—the Aleut people and their ancestors have occupied these islands and others in the Aleutians for thousands of years. Today, Unalaska is the region's tourism center and venue for the annual Heart of the Aleutians Festival. The town’s Parks, Culture and Recreation department (PCR) manages eight public parks and an impressive community center, where visitors are also welcome to use the indoor and outdoor sports facilities, and various arts and cultural amenities They also publish an activity guide that includes local events. Dutch Harbor, best known from the Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch, is one of the busiest fishing ports in the world, processing a billion—yes, billion—pounds of fish and crab each year. Scattered around both islands are reminders of history, specifically the "Aleutian Campaign" in World War II: the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor in June 1942 (unexploded ordnance may still be out there, so don't handle any odd metal objects you see while hiking), and you can still explore concrete bunkers built into mountainsides, gun batteries, and a partially sunken ship left over from the war.
Fodor's Editorial Photo Intern Leonard Vargas snapped photos of this spring's wildflower explosion in Southern California.More