On the Water
It’s hard to beat the waterfront views, access to wildlife, opportunities to fish, and over-the-top beauty of staying at an island hotel. Below are a few lodging options strategically situated on some of Alaska’s stunning islands.
On St. Paul
The King Eider Hotel is the only hotel on St. Paul Island, a “small, windswept island in the Bering Sea” that is rich with wildlife. In particular, at least 313 avian species have been recorded on the island, including several rare birds making their spring migration. According to St. Paul Island Tour, the island is a “birders paradise.” The King Eider Hotel (named after a large sea duck that migrates to the Arctic to breed in the summer) offers comfortable lodging for island guests and is conveniently located next to the St. Paul Airport. stpaulislandtour.com
In Lake Clark
Island Lodge is settled on a forty-five acre island in Lake Clark and is the only lodge located within Lake Clark National Park. According to the National Park Service, “Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a land of stunning beauty. Volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage, and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes.” Guests stay in cabins that sleep two to four people and have access to a sauna, recreation cabin, and main lodge with a dining area. islandlodge.com
The Kodiak Island Resort bills itself as “spectacular luxury in the heart of the Alaskan Wilderness.” The wilderness fishing resort is located on the shore of Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island and is open from May to October, annually. Kodiak Island is renowned for its fishing waters and other local activities including kayaking, bear viewing, whale watching, beach combing, and endless opportunities for photography. “We’re among an elite group of Alaska fishing lodges,” the company states, “priding ourselves on providing a level of service that is refreshingly old fashioned with an emphasis on quality.” kodiakresort.com
Shelikof Lodge is nestled “in the heart of Kodiak” and includes a full-service restaurant that was voted as serving the “Best Breakfast in Town” in 2017. The Lodge is centrally located in downtown Kodiak and has a free guest freezer available for hunters and fishers visiting the island. The island is home to Kodiak brown bears, which have a density on Kodiak of about one bear for every 1.5 square miles, though the bears naturally gather near salmon streams, tidal flats, and other preferred summer feeding areas. shelikoflodgealaska.com
Best Western Kodiak Inn is conveniently located six miles from the airport and two blocks from the ferry terminal. According to the company, “Either way you travel, the sights are beautiful from mountain and glacier viewing on the hour long flight from Anchorage or wildlife viewing on the ferry trip from Homer.” In addition to a complimentary breakfast, the Kodiak Inn also provides guests access to the outdoor gazebo with a hot tub and barbeque pit. kodiakinn.com
On Prince of Wales
Sunnahae Hotel is situated on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska at the southern part of the Alaska Panhandle. It’s the fourth largest island in the United States and has more than 1,000 miles of coastline. Guests can fish, visit inland lakes, explore caves, and view karst formations. Sunnahae Hotel offers rooms at the main hotel as well as cabins that can be rented by the night or week; all of the cabins overlook the water. sunnahaehotel.com
Waterfall Resort is all about fishing, calling itself “the hub of fishermen for over a century.” Prince of Wales is ideally situated where “nutrient-rich spring runoff and a confluence of ocean currents attract millions of bait fish, which in turn feed vast populations of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish—as well as the extraordinary annual returns of king and silver salmon,” the resort states. Waterfall Resort rents rooms within the historic lodge as well as twenty-six renovated cabins that were originally built to house cannery workers. waterfallresort.com
On Orca Island
Orca Island Cabins provides yurt accommodations on a private island in Humpy Cove in Resurrection Bay approximately nine miles southeast of Seward. According to the Alaskans who own and operate the cabins, kayaking is the most popular activity for guests on the island; other activities include stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, hiking, tide-pool exploring, and bird and wildlife viewing. The yurts feature a fully-outfitted kitchen, hot and cold running water, and a barbeque on each private deck. orcaislandcabins.com
On Fox Island
Traveling to Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge starts with a twelve mile boat ride from Seward—“When you arrive at Fox Island, mist-covered pebble beaches and crystal-clear waters call for adventure,” the lodge’s website states. Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge is the only accommodation on Fox Island, around which guests often see Steller sea lions, otters, whales, Dall’s porpoise, eagles, puffins, cormorants, and murres. The main source of power on Fox Island for the cabins and main lodge is solar, and this eco-tourism destination is certified by Adventure Green Alaska.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.