The laid-back town of Haines, deep in a sheltered fjord on the shores of Lynn Canal, was created during the Klondike Gold Rush. Today, graced by eagles and glaciers, it is one of the few communities along the Inside Passage connected by roads to the rest of the state. Only smaller ships stop here, and the town is located on the longest fjord in America.
What We Love
Hammer Museum: Keeping with the unique art scene and eccentric local vibe, this museum has a collection of nearly 1,400 hammers and takes visitors through the history of man’s first tool.
Fort William H. Seward: The circa-1902 fort, a 10-minute waterfront walk from downtown, now has restaurants as well as the Alaska Indian Arts Center. Meet artists and see how Tlingit totems, masks, and jewelry are created.
Best Known For
Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve: Thousands of eagles flock here in the fall and early winter to feast on salmon. The nearby American Bald Eagle Foundation has bird presentations and a rehabilitation center for injured animals.
Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center: This informative museum celebrates the culture of the Chilkat and Chilkoot Tlingits, who have lived in Haines for centuries. See exhibits of Chilkat blankets, spruce root basketry, and beadwork.
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Who It's Best For
Art Seekers: Haines has the highest percentage of artists per capita in Alaska. Stroll Main Street to peruse galleries displaying Tlingit art, weaving, and beadwork as well as paintings of the area's natural beauty.
Adventure Lovers: In Chilkat Valley, visitors are surrounded by an abundance of wildlife with endless opportunities to spot Alaska’s native species by river rafting, hiking, and whale watching.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Tricky Weather: Haines is located in a temperate rain forest and gets an average of 48 inches of precipitation a year. Bring layers — you could be in shorts for one part of the day and fleece and raingear for the next.
Matt Villano is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Wall Street Journal.