fun to do kids alaska marine highway   Travel for Kids
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Alaska Marine Highway

The Alaska Marine Highway in southeast Alaska is the ferry route that goes through the Inside Passage, from Skagway to Bellingham (Washington), with stops in Haines, Juneau, Petersburg, Sitka, Wrangell, Ketchikan, and Prince Rupert. The ferries run in both north and south directions, and you can take them either way. The ferry is a fun and affordable option for families (children under 12 are half price, kids under 6 are free), and follows a route similar to cruise ships.

     

One advantage of the ferry is you can set your own itinerary, getting on and off as you like.  For example, you could get on in Skagway, ride to Juneau, spend several days there, then get on the ferry again, stop off at Ketchikan for a day to see the totem poles, then ride the ferry all the way down to Bellingham.  Or you could fly to Prince Rupert, pick up the ferry and cruise north though the Inside Passage to Juneau.   

     

There are several choices of ticket options for the ferry.   You can purchase passenger tickets only, getting on and off at different stops so you don't stay overnight on the boat. Or purchase a passenger ticket plus cabin. Berths are available in 2, 3, and 4 person cabins. In addition, you can also put your car on the ferry (which is what we did). Tip: In summer, the ferry is very popular, and you will want to book your tickets, berths, and any car reservation well in advance.

   

The ferry is comfy, with a large observation lounge (includes a toddler play area) and lounge chairs on the outside decks. In the lounge are informative and interesting presentations by the ranger naturalist on board.  At various times during the afternoon and evening are feature film movie presentations. The self-service restaurant has kid-friendly food, plain and simple.  Bring coolers for snacks on board (ice is available on the ferry).

     

Traveling up the Inside Passage is also a wildlife watching cruise. Look for humpback and minke whales,  Dall's porpoises, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, orcas (the big dorsal fin is a giveaway), sea otters,  as well as bald eagles on shore.  (Have your binoculars handy).

     

For the routes, schedules, and the ferry website, click here.

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