Spring brings the migration of numerous species of wildlife to Alaska. Fish, whales, and birds come to our state to engorge themselves on rich plankton blooms. They come to spawn, nest, or bring their young to the safe environs of the Last Frontier. If you're lucky, you can see them right from the deck of the ferry!

Salmon making their way up stream to spawnSalmonAlaska's world-class fishing draws anglers from all over the world. When the time is right you will see all five species of Pacific salmon battling en masse to make their way up Alaska rivers and streams to spawn. Communities across the state host fishing derbies based on the best time of summer to catch salmon and other species. From the Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival in Cordova, to the Sitka Seafood Festival and the Kodiak Crab Festival, we celebrate seafood and the bounty it provides. Salmon is an important resource to both residents and wildlife as it provides vital nutrients in order to thrive in the wilds of the Great Land.

A humpback whale makes an appearance on the surface © Billie Jo AbramsWhalesTake the ferry from Juneau through Icy Strait and past Point Adolphus to Gustavus, Hoonah, or Pelican to see humpback and killer whales in action. During the summer, over 500 humpback whales, the highest concentration in Alaska, are found in the Inside Passage; although, they are also found in abundance in the Barren Islands between Homer and Kodiak. Killer whales, the largest member of the dolphin family, are most commonly found over the waters of the continental shelf from Southeast Alaska through the Aleutian Islands and northward into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The communities of Kodiak and Sitka celebrate these magnificent creatures during annual festivals.

Two birds share a feast © Terry MeyerBirdsTravel all summer throughout Alaska for spectacular birding opportunities. Southeast Alaska is the place to be in April and May to witness the annual migration of birds to Alaska. Wrangell, Yakutat, Cordova, and Homer are among the communities that host birding festivals in the spring and early summer. Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge experts suggest visiting the Aleutian Chain June through August, when marine birds and mammals are coming ashore to breed and raise young. Visit Haines in November to see the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world. View our sample itineraries page to learn more about birding in Alaska.

A curious brown bear comes to investigate © Ra Hull-ShieldsBearsAlthough not a migration, bears start to come out of hibernation in the spring. First, they forage through the rich forests, but once salmon start to spawn you'll see them on the shore and along rivers stocking up again for the long winter. Visit Kodiak to see the magnificent Kodiak brown bears, or go to Wrangell for their annual bear festival and to visit the Anan Bear Observatory where you can see black and brown bears in their natural habitat. July thorough November are the best times to see bears where salmon spawn.

Visit our community events page to learn more about the annual events that celebrate the wildlife of Alaska. Start planning your trip today from the "Lower 48" or simply explore your own backyard. Remember, kids under the age of 6 ride free and kids age 6-11 ride for half price, so it's easy to bring the whole family. We look forward to welcoming you aboard one of our vessels this summer.