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Blessed with a viable fog-cooled and sun-kissed climate and a dramatic landscape, the San Francisco Bay Area is a visual feast where neither water nor hills are ever too far away. Add to this the cultural medley: Within every neighborhood, from Santa Cruz to Oakland to Mill Valley, a diversity of tastes and interest is thriving. See it in the cuisine, the bookstores, the arts, and the recreational opportunities. To embrace all San Francisco has to offer get out and explore. Walk the streets, drive across the Bay Bridge, go south down the peninsula to Silicon Valley and cruise along the San Mateo coast. Find great sights, museums, art, culture, and family fun attractions. There is a plethora of attractions and activities to satisfy the desires of every one who visits.
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Astoria is a city of 10,000 people on the Columbia River, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It is surrounded by the beauty of the forest, mountains, 3 rivers and the sea. Astoria is part of a nationally significant historic region at the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail. Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies; a place that takes visitors back to simpler times, its architecture dominated by hundreds of Victorian homes clinging to steep wooded hillsides and with a revitalized 1920s era downtown; all set against a backdrop of tremendous natural beauty. Unspoiled and generally uncrowded, Astoria is near several first-class interpretive attractions including Fort Clatsop, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, the Flavel House, Fort Stevens State Park, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley and the Astoria Column. Because of its steep hills and beautiful Victorian homes, Astoria has been called the "Little San Francisco of the Pacific Northwest."
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Resting between snowcapped mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Sitka is one of the most beautiful seaside towns in Alaska and the biggest city in America - encircling 4,710 square miles on Baranof Island. No symbol shows Russian influence more than the landmark St. Michael's Cathedral. Original artifacts and icons, including the Sitka Madonna, were saved from fire and are on display. Visit Castle Hill, once site of a two-story log mansion known as Baranof's Castle, which overlooked Sitka Sound during the town's fur trading days. Only stone walls and mounted cannons remain from Russia's bloody battles against native Tlingit. Sitka National Historical Park offers information and artifacts relating to the Tlingits, including totem poles as a chronicle of early life on this fertile ground. Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center cares for as many as a dozen bald eagles and other birds at a time. The facility caters to rare wildlife recovering from injuries incurred in the wild. Among the more popular trails is Indian River Trail, which parallels a salmon stream, and the three-mile-long Gaven Hill Trail.
Alaska's heritage comes alive in the handcrafted artistry of the Tlingit Indians and in the lively performances of the Chilkat Dancers, with their brightly painted tribal masks. Get a glimpse of the town’s gold-rush history in local museums. Visit the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve—Haines boasts the world’s largest concentration of the magnificent birds, drawn to the area by the salmon-rich waters. Take a boat trip on Lake Chilkoot or a glacier country flightseeing trip.
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Seventy-five miles long and covering over 1,350 square miles in area, the Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. It is also one of the most impressive, a 300-foot wall of ice rising sheer and jagged from the ocean. You may hear the rumble and see the monumental splash as the glacier breaks off in great ice chunks, known as "calves."
Juneau is one of America's most beautiful state capitals, with the looming summits of Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts providing a gorgeous backdrop. Once part of Alaska's Gold Rush, the city boasts natural and manmade attractions. Downtown is filled with many vibrant buildings, including must-see St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, which houses artwork and artifacts dating back to the 18th century. From the bright mural in Marine Park to the carvings in House of Wickersham, downtown is filled with Alaska's own unique brand of culture and architecture. Often hailed as Juneau's most impressive sight, nearby Mendenhall Glacier is approximately 12 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. See the glacier on a float trip or a "flightseeing" adventure, or hike up one of its trails for a closer inspection. For a bird's-eye view, the Mt. Roberts Tramway offers a short, six-minute trek to the top of Mt. Roberts, 1800 feet above the city. If wildlife is your passion, scenic Admiralty Island has the world's highest concentration of brown bears.
Wrangell, a hidden jewel in the heart of the Tongass National Forest, is the third oldest community in Alaska and the only community to be ruled by 4 nations: the indigenous Tlingit nation, Russia, Great Britain and the United States. The island is rich in native heritage as evidenced by the rock carvings at Petroglyph Beach as well as the totems seen around town. Walk in the steps of John Muir amidst historic buildings that will take you back to the unhurried pace of yesterday, and enjoy the beauty of the Stikine River and the surrounding wilderness.
Ketchikan is known as "Alaska's First City" because it's the first major community travelers come to as they travel north. The city is built on steep hillsides and is billed as salmon capital of the world. A quaint village, the town is three miles long and three blocks wide. With fishing boats sailing in and float planes ascending from the water, this seaside town is bustling with activity. With the world's largest collection of totem poles, Totem Bight State Historical Park offers insight into various native cultures of the Pacific Northwest. These wood-carved creations tell colorful, intricate tales – often showing a family history or depicting a local legend. Ketchikan has many options for adventure of relaxation, including mountain bike tours, sea kayaking, seaplane riding, or strolling down the boardwalk of Creek Street, Ketchikan's most famous section with a historic cable car and quaint boutiques. Blessed with an abundance of hiking trails, Ketchikan offers many breathtaking vistas, including the panoramic, 360-degree view from the top of Deer Mountain.
Imagine being confronted with a myriad of mysterious channels. Following each fjord to the interior, encounter massive mountain ranges, towering cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, virginal forests of two-hundred foot tall spruce, while whales, bears, seals, salmon, eagles and other wildlife. Always they were stopped by an inevitable face of ice - glaciers pushing inexorably downward to meet the sea. What must have been a mapmaker's nightmare is today cherished as the continent's last great untouched wilderness, harbouring the world's largest temperate rain forest. An Eden of the North to captivate the every modern-day explorer. The string of islands of the Inside Passage create a protective barrier to the open sea running from the Washington State/Canadian border and the bottom of Vancouver Island all the way up to the top of Chichagof Island, where the Gulf of Alaska begins its curve westward, offering a supremely serene cruising environment in some of the most dramatic surroundings on earth.
British culture and island informality collide in Victoria. This sophisticated seaside city is full of historic sites, parks and gardens. Take a walking tour - many of which begin at Parliament Buildings at Victoria's Inner Harbor. Combined with majestic Empress Hotel, these monumental buildings give the city a regal European feel. See equally impressive modern structures, such as Royal British Columbia History Museum, or replicas of large, native Northwest Indian houses at Thunderbird Park. Unique attractions include Undersea Gardens, Miniature World, Maritime Museum, Chinatown and Royal London Wax Museum. A memorable places to visit is world-famous Butchart Gardens, with 5,000 fauna varieties. The dazzling gardens on Saanich Inlet are beautiful at night, when hundreds of lights sparkle along winding paths. Additional gardens in Victoria include Crystal Garden and the gardens surrounding Government House and near Craigdarroch Castle, a towering Victorian mansion complete with a tower and turrets. Tour this city in a horse-drawn carriage.
Vancouver is a thriving metropolis surrounded by natural beauty. With parks, beaches, gardens, museums, art galleries and the second-largest Chinatown in North America, Vancouver lives up to its promise of offering something for everyone. With modern buildings set against green, rolling hillsides, this city is breathtaking; no location offers a more spectacular view than Stanley Park - with a zoo, aquarium, totem poles and honking geese. A short walk from the park leads to Robson Street, which offers the town's best window-shopping. Stores with European flavor share the avenue with delicatessens and tea rooms ready to serve. As architectural heart of the city, Robson Square features a central plaza with a food fair and an old provincial courthouse, which now houses Vancouver Art Gallery. Be sure to stop at 8 Pender St. - "the narrowest building in the world." Other points of interest include the Museum of Anthropology; Japanese-style Nitobe Memorial Garden; and VanDusen Botanical Garden. Capilano Canyon is site of the world's longest and highest suspension footbridge.
Itinerary subject to change without notice. Please confirm itinerary at time of booking.
Fares are in US dollars, cruise only, per person, based on double occupancy and include fees/taxes. Price does not include airfare, transfers and airline government fees and taxes.
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Optional roundtrip airfare.
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