Planning a visit to Petersburg? Summer is by far the most popular time to visit, and with good reason — temperatures are pleasant and the sun doesn’t set until 8 or 9 at night, leaving plenty of time to hike, fish, and explore all the town has to offer. July is generally the peak tourist time in Alaska, so if you want to avoid some of the crowds and tourist prices, visiting toward the later part of August or even early September is ideal. Here are just a handful of activities you’ll want to be sure to work into your itinerary during a summer trip.
Take a hike.
Whether you’re in peak shape or haven’t broken in your hiking shoes yet, Petersburg offers trail options for all ages and experience levels. Some of our favorites include: Raven Trail, Three Lakes Trail, Man Made Hole, Ohmer Creek Trail. Plan a backpacking trip if you’re looking for some solitude, or book a cabin to use as your home base if you’d prefer a day hike.
Perfect your fishing techniques.
Try Blind River Rapids, which has salmon running up it, or make a day trip to any of the small lakes dotting the island to fish for trout. Dolly Varden trout and herring are plentiful in the harbor—and while you’re there, don’t forget to watch for sea lions from the docks. They are frequent visitors to the canneries, hoping for a scrap of fish.
Go berry picking.
Did you know there are almost 50 types of berries in Alaska? Berry picking is plentiful in Southeast Alaska, and for most types of berries is best in late July and August. Some of the varieties you’ll find include blueberries, huckleberries, salmonberries, and the elusive Nagoon berry, if you can find a local who will disclose their secret locations. If you don’t know your berries well, it’s best to pick up a book beforehand and learn what is and isn’t safe to eat — some berries, including all white-colored berries in Alaska, are poisonous. If you’re unsure, stick to you-pick farms and orchards, or ask a park ranger to look at your berry loot before consuming.
Stroll through town.
No trip to Petersburg is complete without a day spent browsing the local shops and restaurants in the historic downtown area. Here you’ll find a blend of fine art, souvenir items, and a taste of the town’s history. Make sure to bring home a handcrafted Alaskan item from a local artist and snap a picture of the local storefronts and homes featuring the Norwegian decorative painting style known as “rosmaling.”
Take to the seas.
Getting out on the water is a favorite summer activity of the locals! Book a sea kayaking trip or take to the open seas independently by renting boats or kayaks from one of the numerous rental companies. If you’re traveling with small children or are looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the water, a cruise or marine charter is a great way to go whale watching and learn about the history of the area at a more leisurely pace.