Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
An Alaska Marine Highway ferry sails thru blue waters, with spectacular mountains covered with forest and glaciers in the background.
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By Water

Alaska Marine Highway System: an American Scenic Byway

The state ferry system offers a unique way to travel to and throughout Alaska.The Alaska Marine Highway System has been operating year-round since 1963, with regularly scheduled passenger and vehicle service to 33 communities in Alaska, plus Bellingham, Washington and Prince Rupert, British Colombia.  There are currently 11 vessels in the Alaska Marine Highway fleet.  

The 50th anniversary of the Alaska Marine Highway.

Note: This Embedded video resides on the official Alaska Marine Highway System YouTube channel
Beluga whale
Beluga whales are among the many different types of marine wildlife one can see on Alaskan ferries.

ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY: Inside Passage Routes 
Total distance, for all routes: 1048 miles (1687 kilometers)

All routes within the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) are, collectively, an All-American Road. Locals and visitors alike ride Alaskan ferries together in a relaxed atmosphere, through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Voyagers are treated to spectacular views of tranquil fjords, glaciers, lush forests and unbelievable concentrations of seabirds and marine wildlife!


  • Over 1500 islands protect this route from large Pacific Ocean surges.
  • Grab a pole and find out why Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world!
  • Explore Sitka for its early Russian influence and rich Tlingit culture. Sitka was once the capital of Russian America, as well as Alaska's first capital as a US territory!
  • Alaska's busy capital city of Juneau has a rich gold mining history and offers a wide range of tourism-oriented services to nearby wonders such as the Juneau Ice field and Glacier Bay National Park.
  • In Skagway, walk in the footsteps of gold-hungry prospectors headed for the Klondike.
  • Enjoy the scenery and wildlife of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve near Haines with a raft or boat tour.
  • The Inside Passage takes you through the pristine 16.8 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the US!

Visit the Alaska Marine Highway System for more information.

ALASKA MARINE HIGHWAY: Southcentral & Cross Gulf Routes, Southwest & Aleutian Island Routes

Total distance, for all routes: 1650 miles (2655 kilometers)


  • Learn more about Prince William Sounds's abundant marine life at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, then take a charter to the incredible Kenai Fjords National Park to put your new knowledge to good use!
  • Valdez is the terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, has some truly stunning sights, and an extreme skier's paradise!
  • Use Homer as a base to explore or fish beautiful Kachemak Bay.
  • Make Kodiak your destination for fishing and outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities. North America's largest land-based carnivore, the Kodiak Brown Bear, calls this island home!
  • Sail along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," which traverses the Alaska Peninsula out to the Aleutian Islands.
  • For a rare adventure, ride the ferry to the Marine Highway's westernmost port, Unalaska, which the Japanese bombed during World War II and is now home to a large fishing fleet.


A profile shot of a bull caribou walking through scrubby tundra vegetation which has turned the rich yellows and oranges of fall. Did You Know?
The Western Arctic caribou herd is North America's largest at over 450,000 animals. Their annual migration ranges over 140,000 square miles, including all four of the Western Arctic National Parklands, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Selawik National Wildlife Refuge.