Distance from Baton Rouge: 2,798 miles
Coordinates: 57.04907 N, 135.33905 W
Driving Time: N/A
Flying time: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Sitka, Alaska is more than just a popular fishing spot: it is a city brimming with history, culture, and wilderness. It is a great place to escape to if you’re looking to get far, far away from the Louisiana heat and city life or if you just want a quiet getaway. At Sitka, you’ll experience a mix of indigenous and Russian culture as you shop, dine, and explore. You’ll also get to see tons of wildlife up close, from a wild bird rescue center to the warf right outside your suite! Whether you’re in the forest or on the water, Sitka has tons of opportunities for adventure.
WHERE TO STAY
Sitka is a small, remote town, which means its hotels will be locally owned and cozy. You could also opt for renting a cabin or a condo, or you could stay at a place like Longliner Lodge and Suites where you can get the comfort of a hotel and the views of a cabin. At Longliner Lodge, you’ll have beautiful waterfront views and spacious rooms all within a few miles of downtown Sitka. Your room will come with a refrigerator, wet bar, coffee pot, microwave, hairdryer, and a TV. You may even get to see some whales and sea lions during your stay!
WHERE TO EAT
Campfire Kitchen Sitka serves wood-fire pizza made from scratch (even their mozzarella!). Their menu updates weekly, so be sure to check it out on their Facebook page before you go. Some regular pizzas on the menu include the Margherita, Grogu (with greens, cheeses, and pesto), and Onion Belly (spring onions, bacon, and cheeses). Don’t forget to order the S’mores Calzone for dessert!
The freshest Alaskan food can be found at Beak Restaurant for brunch, lunch, and dinner. For brunch, try the brie & pesto donut sandwich or just a breakfast burrito and some coffee. If you’re stopping by for lunch or dinner, you’re going to want to add sitka salmon to the beak mac’n cheese and a fourth taco to the three rockfish tacos.
You may find parts of Sitka have Russian influences. This is because Sitka was a part of Russia until 1867, when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. Sitka Pel’Meni is a tasty example of the Russian influence–all you have to do is choose between potato dumplings or beef dumplings (or go half-and-half) and select your toppings. You can top your dumplings with everything, too: butter, curry, hot sauce, and cilantro!
WHAT TO DO
There is tons of wildlife in Alaska, and the Alaska Raptor Center helps preserve and protect the state’s feathered friends. The Center is located in the country’s largest forest, the Tongass National Forest. Here, you’ll be able to meet the eagles, owls, falcons, and hawks that live there and learn about the natural history of these wild birds and their habitats. You can also walk along a nature trail, go eagle watching, and watch birds be rehabilitated as they are trained to go back into the wild. You can even adopt a raptor to provide support for its treatment and daily care.
St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral was established in 1848 by St. Innocent, the first bishop of Alaska. It was the first Orthodox Cathedral established in the country, as Russian travelers brought their faith to Alaska when the state was considered a part of Russia. Now, you can stop by for a visit or attend a service surrounded by icons in gilded frames.
About thirteen percent of Sitka’s population is Alaska Native, so there is tons of indigenous history to learn about during your stay. Visit the Sheet’ka Kwaán Naa Kahidi Tribal Community House and embark on a tribal tour to learn about the Tlingit people, who have lived in Sitka for ten thousand years. On this tour, you will see historic sites such as Baranof’s Castle Hill, the Russian Bishop’s House, and the Alaska Pioneer’s Home. You’ll also stop at Sitka National Historical Park, where you can explore the rainforest and learn all about the medicinal and edible plants, totem poles, and the Battle of Sitka, which was the last battle against the Russians and the Alaskan natives.The tour concludes with The Naa Kahídi Dance Performance, a mesmerizing immersion into native Tlingit culture.