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Gustavus Travel Guide, Alaska

Gustavus boasts the most breathtaking glacial scenery in the world and its location on the edge of Glacier Bay National Park makes it a unique place in Southeast Alaska.

When you say Alaska you immediately see ice, but the first white settlers saw something else, a lot of wild strawberries and called the place Strawberry Point. But, even if it is a natural resource they certainly didn’t see it as the cornerstone of the settlement’s economy. Other natural resources like commercial fishing were seen as more productive. Commercial fishing is still going on with the main catch being salmon and halibut, but had suffered great loss due to the closing of Dungeness crab fishery.

The City of Gustavus has only about 450 residents but it is marvelous what they achieved in such a small community. They put their intelligence to good use and developed and promoted what they have got: beautiful and unique scenery, marvelous wildlife, endless outdoor activities, isolation from the crowds and the small-town friendliness that makes you feel more than at home it’s like the townspeople are a one big family, everybody greets everybody on the street and you won’t be seen as a stranger as even if you are a tourist you are still welcomed in their community the same way.

Not everybody in Gustavus is involved in fishing; there are people working in tourism, the public school, the National Park Service or the post office and most of them live in clapboard houses and log cabins.

Those who come to Gustavus really see it as an undiscovered treasure, wonderfully remote being accessible only by air or a small passenger ferry, Gustavus is a place appealing to independent travelers who want free time along with sightseeing undisturbed by crowds as there are no large cruise ships coming in. They can enjoy outdoor activities like: whale-watching, fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and biking and stay at one of the comfortable and even luxurious inns and lodges.

But if you are a people’s person you should still come to Gustavus as Bartlett Cove, the National Park headquarters, is just a few miles away and offers a very different experience from Gustavus being the only developed campground in the area with the Glacier Bay Lodge the place to arrange all kind of excursions. People coming here are on package tours and you will hardly see one without a camera as if they would want to take the entire wilderness back home. They are enthusiastic about seeing whales and the many excursions organized for this purpose are sure to satisfy their wish. They can choose to get on bigger boats or on smaller ones that can take them even closer to the whales and even provide halibut and salmon fishing opportunities, but they are a bit more expensive.

After all what isn’t! Almost everything in Gustavus is expensive and if you want the best outdoor activities you need charters or rentals. As far as accommodation is concerned you can choose an all-inclusive plan, or a B&BS that’s less expensive. But unless you decide to cook your catch of the day you still you’ll need to go to one of the restaurants or inns and there are not many to choose from.

If you have come all this way it is worth spending your money on some of the finest meals in Alaska that can be tasted at the full-service inns or The Glacier Bay Lodge.

A trip to Gustavus is worth every penny as it’s one of a kind, with a unique setting in Alaska, roads fun to explore as you can go biking anywhere at will, sandy beaches and unequaled wildlife.
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