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The town of Haines, located at the base of the Chilkat Peninsula, is the ancestral home to the Tlingit people. Tlingits were the first settlers to the area and called Haines "Dei-shu" meaning "The End of the Trail". The area is still rich with Tlingit culture and history. Haines is home to the first established US Military Base, Fort William H. Seward, which is over 100 years old.
 
If you are looking for an enjoyable and milder trip to Alaska, then Haines is the ideal cruise spot for you. Haines is perhaps the most beautiful port in the entire state, and the picturesque scenery of the snow-covered mountains will satisfy all of your visual desires. When you get close to docking in Haines you are certain to be mesmerized by the landscape, and its aesthetic brilliance is complemented by much better weather than the other regions of Southeast Alaska, with less than half of the annual rainfall of Juneau. The blue waters that encompass Haines are spectacular, and because of the comparatively pleasant weather, the area has become known as the sunny spot of the Southeast. This city is full of culture and tradition, and its citizens make every effort to remain true to their heritage. Many of the Tlingit people reside in Haines, natives whose ancestors lived here hundreds of years ago. Tourists to Alaska often remark that the Tlingits and the other locals in Haines are some of the most likeable people in all of Alaska, comfortable with themselves and with helping one another and visitors to their city. One of the most pleasant nighttime activities in Haines is to venture into one of the local bars and have a drink with someone who has lived in town their entire life. The stories, both contemporary and ancient tribal legends, are absolutely fascinating.
 
Haines may be a small town, but it's got a lot of energy and life. Its campgrounds are perfect for an afternoon hike, and if photography interests you, you're always in luck. No matter what time of year you visit Haines, you can be sure that you will be snapping some splendid shots. Some fine museums and great restaurants complete a wonderful selection of memorable experiences in Haines. Recently, Haines became a port-of-call to several cruise ship operators, including Princess Cruises and the Holland-America Line. As of summer 2009, the cruise ship visiting frequency is about 18 per season.The cruise ship berth is very near Fort William H. Seward.
 
Haines is also home to the Discovery Channel’s hit show Gold Rush Alaska and the site for traveling Yukon Vet Dr. Oakley.No matter where your interests lie you can be assured to find something truly amazing in Haines. Come and tap into your inner explorer…Your adventure starts here!
 
Where You are Docked
Cruise ships dock in Haines at the pier in the Fort Seward District. From here, you are within walking distance to all the sights in this historic and charming Alaskan town.
 
Many folks visiting Haines opt to rent a car to explore the sights. Contact Avis (tel. 800/542-6363), at the Hotel Halsingland, for more information. If you prefer to rent a bicycle, contact the friendly folks at Sockeye Cycle (tel. 907/766-2869) located right next to the Port Chilkoot Dock on Portage Street.
 
You can walk pretty much everywhere in town, but if you want to go see the eagles you can rent a car from Eagles Nest Car Rental (1069 Haines Highway, 907-766-2891) from $49 per day. Taxi service is available from Haines Shuttle and Tours (907-766-3138). Since supplies of taxis are limited you're best off reserving in advance. Finally, call up Haines Taxi and Tours at 907/766-3138 to arrange for taxi transportation.
 
Haines Set on the beautiful Chilkat Peninsula at the Chilkat Mountains, it is just south of Skagway and northwest of Juneau. A regular ferry service links Haines and Skagway. Alaska's salmon fishing grounds are locked in ice, bald eagles gather here by the thousand to fish in the Chilkat River mainly because Haines' climate is considerably drier than most of southeast Alaska - and warmer. The "big baldie" convention occurs during the winter, but even in summer Haines has 200 year-round raptor residents which are readily spotted on any of the fascinating wildlife tours available from Haines. Visit the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve and see the eagles, on foot, by bus, kayak, river raft or mountain bike.
 
Located on the site of a Chilkat Indian village, first as a North West Trading Company post in 1878 and later a gold rush supply centre, an outlet for the Porcupine mining district, and a frontier fort. A mission was established in 1881 by a missionary accompanied by naturalist John Muir. Today, the missionaries are gone and Haines has become one of Alaska's premier native cultural and arts communities. At Fort William Seward, where the former army barracks are now museums, inns and art galleries. Visit the Center for the Arts and see the distinctive fringed blankets, priceless examples of the Chilkat Indian weavers' art, made of yarn from the hair of the mountain goats.
 
Attractions
The American Bald Eagle Foundation Natural History Museum is located at Haines Highway and 2nd Avenue (907/766-3094) and is a tribute to the celebrated bald eagle. The film and wildlife room is quite interesting, and the staff provides a wealth of information. Thanks to efforts of both local and national government, the American bald eagle has made a tremendous comeback from the endangered species list. The American Bald Eagle Foundation Center can be contacted at the same number if you are interested in learning more about the cause, or if you wish to make a contribution.
 
Each fall, the Chilkat Valley hosts the world's largest congregation of bald eagles.  Beginning in October, as many as 3,000 eagles crowd the banks of the Chilkat River, where they can be seen gorging themselves on salmon and roosting in cottonwood trees.

Fort William Seward is located in southern Haines, and was constructed in 1901 by Americans battling the Canadians during a dispute over border rights. Fortunately, battle never reached the fort itself, and there were not any casualties among Americans living here. Fort Seward remains a fascinating historical favorite for visitors to Alaska. The architecture here is magnificent, a wonderful collection of colonial buildings that look even more impressive when covered by a couple inches of snow. This 400-acre parcel was purchased by five World War II veterans who hoped to make it their own private community. They were unsuccessful, but all five men did go on to become highly regarded members of the Haines community.
 
Chilkat River Adventures
When Karen and Duck Hess started River Adventures in 1991, they wanted to show travelers the wilderness surrounding their hometown of Haines. And there was no better wild spot than the roadless upper reaches of the Chilkat River Bald Eagle Preserve. On their quiet, maneuverable jet boats, you’ll see hanging glaciers, towering mountains, open valleys, and clear lakes. You’ll also witness some of the best moose and eagle habitats in Southeast Alaska. In over 20 years of operation, the Hesses have perfected the trip; you’ll find Bose speakers on the boats, a heated lunch pavilion, and informative, entertaining narration.
Season: Approximately May 15 to Sep 14 web: http://www.jetboatalaska.com/
 
Haines Skagway Fast Ferry
Operating from May to September, this private ferry service is the easiest and fastest way to travel between Haines and Skagway. The 45-minute ride passes through Taiya Inlet, a steep-walled rocky fjord just outside of Skagway, and then opens up to the Lynn Canal near Haines. As you ride, look for seals and sea lions, as well as humpback, minke, and orca whales. Don’t forget to look up from the water from time to time to check out the surrounding scenery.
Season: Approximately May 1 to Sep 30, $36.50+ // 45 mins one-way web: http://www.hainesskagwayfastferry.com/
 
Activities
Kayaking, Fishing, Golfing and Biking
There are some outstanding places to see kayaking off the coast of Haines, and the best company to contact for kayak excursions and rentals is Chilkat Cruises & Tours, located at 121 Beach Rd. across from the Chilkat Cruises fast ferry dock. To book a trip or reserve a kayak call toll free (888/766-2103). To fish the gorgeous waters of Haines, you will need a fishing license, so one of your first stops when you get into town should be the Alaska Sport Shop (907/766-2441). During the summer when the snow melts away, beautiful bike trails are uncovered. For bike rentals, contact Sockeye Cycle on Portage Street (907/766-2869). They have a great selection of bicycles, and a helmet and bike lock are included with your rental. They can direct you to the best biking, and lead guided trips as well.
 
Duffers can brag about a truly unique experience after hitting the links at the nine-hole Valley of the Eagles Golf Links & Driving Range (907-766-2401). Located about two miles from downtown, the range, opened in 2005, is built entirely on wetlands that are periodically covered by high tides. The turf is artificial so as not to disturb the environment with chemicals needed to treat greens. The spectacular scenery includes salmon and trout streams that run right through the course. Moose and bears are spotted frequently. Rental clubs are available. Reservations are recommended.
 
Eating Out
The Wild Strawberry is a wonderful little place located at 138 2nd Avenue (907/766-3608). The ambiance is comfortable and homey, and the food is incredible. Dishes include seafood specialties and sandwiches. The service is quick and reliable, and the meals are hearty and delicious. Wild Strawberry's décor resembles an old time kitchen, making it a cozy place that is perfect for taking a nice warm break from the cold outdoors. The Fort Seward Lodge (39 Mud Bay Rd., 907/766-2009) is a restaurant and saloon featuring simple, mouth-watering dishes along with a lively bar. The Bamboo Room is on 2nd Avenue (907/766-2800) and features great breakfasts and tasty lunch specials. The pancake breakfasts have made the Bamboo Room famous. There's no bamboo anywhere in the restaurant, but there are plenty of locals who keep this place quite crowded until about 3pm. Bell's Seafood (907/766-2950), located on 2nd Avenue, features the best seafood in town. Next to the Old City Jail, Bell's Seafood has a fine menu full of fresh and scrumptious cuisine.
 
The Chilkat Center for the Arts features live performances and memorable events. The Chilkat Dancers perform here, their dancing accompanied by a mysterious narration that adds to the eerie mood. During the first weekend of June, the Alaskan Mardi Gras is about the liveliest event in the south. It is a week of dancing, drinking, and enjoyable tomfoolery.
 
Shopping
Dejon Delights (37 Portage St., 907-766-2505) near Fort Seward is the place for freshly smoked Alaska salmon and halibut. They offer free samples so you know what you're buying and can ship your selections if you don't want to carry them. Wild Iris (907-766-2300), also on Portage Street, is an art shop selling nice silkscreen prints, fine jewelry, Eskimo arts and silkscreen prints, and has a beautiful garden out front. A well-kept secret is the Sheldon Museum's gift shop where you can find locally made gifts, jewelry and many books on Alaska.




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