The Northwest

Despite the remoteness of many Alaska’s parks and wilderness areas, and the distance between them, you can still explore several of the state’s natural areas in the space of a two-week visit. One option is to base yourself in Anchorage and tour the mainland preserves. Another is to explore the fiords and rain forests of south-eastern Alaska by taking state-run ferry that travels through the Inside Passage. Ferries depart from as far as Seattle, allowing the traveler to experience coastal British Columbia before continuing north.

Misty Fjords National Monument and Glacier Bay National Park are among the parks of the panhandle.

More temperate rain forests can be explored to the south in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, where Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades national parks can be combined in one short trip.Check out the various national wildlife refuges in the region, as well. Coastal wetlands and estuaries are prime stopovers for the millions of waterfowl that travel up and down the migration route known as the Pacific Flyway each year. At Washington’s Willapa Bay, for example, you can see countless thousands of shorebirds, including dunlins, avocets, sanderlings, plovers, and curlews.