If the gorgeous scenery, cultural diversity, and historic past of Sitka, Alaska’s most beautiful seaside town, aren’t enough to tempt you out of the lower 48, here are five more reasons to plan a trip to Sitka this year.
1. One of the Smithsonian’s Top 20 Best Small Towns to Visit
In the April 2013 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, Sitka ranked 9th on their list of the Top 20 Small Towns to visit this year. From the incredible photo ops found throughout the town and within Sitka National Forest to the rich cultural diversity of the town, there is something for everyone in Sitka. If you are a history buff, you can learn more about some of the last battles fought between Europeans and Native Indians. If you love the outdoors, you could likely go for a different hike or try a different trail everyday and always find something new to explore. But one of the things that allows Sitka to stand-out from other small towns is its cultural diversity. Unlike other small towns with small populations, the town of Sitka has a rich history spanning three distinct cultures.
2. Sitka National Park is one of the top 10 things to do in all of Alaska
In a state known for its natural beauty and national parks, Sitka’s National Historical Park stands out as one of the Top 10 things visitors should do when visiting the state. As Alaska’s oldest national park, Sitka National Historical Park combines history, culture, battlefields, architecture, and nature into a one-of-a-kind experience every visitor will remember.
3. Sitka’s Alaska Day Celebration
Alaska Day commemorates the transfer of the Alaskan territory from Russia to the United States in October 1867 and the festival held in Sitka to celebrate the momentous day has grown from a local celebration to a renowned occasion that attracts visitors from across the country. Throughout the festival period, which ran from October 11-19 this year, women are encouraged to dress in period clothes and men are asked to grow out their beards. The festival always includes a period costume ball with music provided by the Alaska Army big band playing until midnight when the Army Arctic Rock band takes over, coast guard demonstrations, Seattle Firefighters Bagpipe Band performances, long distance running events, a concert featuring local performers and dancers, a parade, various type games, Keystone Kops, and a re-enactment of the transfer ceremony.
4. Sitka WhaleFest
Hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, the Sitka WhaleFest is an annual event focused on the unique marine environment of the North Pacific. Part science symposium, part festival, the WhaleFest offers symposium style lectures, marine wildlife focused cruises, an artisan market focused on wares with a marine theme, musical events, a banquet, and a fun run. Festival officially begins November 1st this year.
5. There is something for everyone
If you are looking for a place to visit that will keep everyone interested and occupied, Sitka should be on your list. For the outdoorsy members of your family, there are a wide range of fishing and hiking and kayaking opportunities. Love learning about history or other cultures? Sitka has you covered with museums, historical sites, and cross cultural learning opportunities. Wildlife viewing is especially abundant in Sitka. No matter what your family likes to do, there is sure to be something fun for everyone.