A quick one hour flight from Anchorage, Alaska sets you down into the charming fishing port of Valdez. The community, though small, brims with kind locals, fit fishermen and a surprising amount of adorable rabbits. This is your #1 Alaskan destination for kayaking, hiking, glacier exploring and fishing.
Booking a ticket can be a bit pricey (the airport is only served by small, local airlines) but the trek is far worth it. Landing in Valdez is like landing in another world. Lined with snow-capped mountains, Valdez hosts a small but ample fishing port that holds a number of both private and commercial vessels. Locals and visitors alike can find accommodations (not fancy ones, mind you) at some of the cozy inns, or you can take Black Hound's recommendation and stay on boat Ola with a group of 2.
Pros: Valdez is gorgeous and there are plenty of outdoor activities for the nature enthusiast. Helicopter tours, boat tours, kayaking in Glacier Lake and fishing are some of the best in the state, if not in all of the U.S. Definitely do not miss out on seeing the incredible landscapes and be sure to pack extra batteries for your DSLR.
Cons: If you are the kind of traveler that is looking for upscale accommodations, Valdez may not be able to satisfy your need. That said, plenty of people can and do rent from home owners in the area, or you can rent an RV and travel up from Anchorage in your own mobile home. Valdez is also quite isolated, so if you're the type to need a lot of options in terms of food and services, this may be a disappointment to you as well.
Neutral: There are only 3 flights in and out of Valdez on a given day, and none that run very late, so be sure to keep that in mind while you are planning you trip. Also, with the rising temperatures due to climate change, much of the landscape is rapidly altering. This means that photos of towering glaciers or snow caving may very well not exist during certain times of the year.
Days to stay: Plan 1-2 nights
All: Take Ravn Air into the tiny airport of Valdez. Valdez isn't accessible from every major Alaskan airport, so expect their to be limited flight options and possibly higher fares. Optionally, you can also drive to Valdez from Anchorage, or take a ferry from Whitter to Valdez. Approx 1 hour by plane, 3 hours by car and about 2 hours ferry/car combination.
Top and center: View of boats moored in the port of Valdez. Port of Valdez, at sunrise with Alaskan mountain peaks all around. Bottom: I get cozy with spiced tea while staying on the boat Ola. Read the amazing story of how she was built in this incredible Story Worthy.
All: Take a helicopter or ferry tour to see the majestic Prince Edward Sound and it's many glaciers. The helicopter tour provides even more remote access and is well worth the cost. Run across the top of ice caves and see glacier calving up close from the warmth and protection of your seat.
Top: An early morning jaunt to Glacier Lake provides an awesome half-day's kayak in the middle of some of the most beautiful landscapes around. Bottom: A fellow passenger during my kayak tour snaps a picture of me getting all photo-journalist-like.
All: Valdez isn't just ice, it's also plenty green, with beautiful hiking and sailing. With a ton of trail heads and plenty of open water ways, Valdez has a little something for every outdoor enthusiast.
Got more tips for the township of Valdez or have recommendations for other small towns in Alaska? Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org .