With the summer solstice upon us, my thoughts this time of year turn to Alaska, which is currently bathed in midnight sun for the next month or so. With travel bookings still down as a result of the economy, cruise lines large and small still have spots for those looking to set sail for southeast Alaska or within the coastal waters of other parts of the 49th state. And then there is the great interior--Denali National Park, Fairbanks. (Bring your own or buy a
mosquito head net!) Anyway, if you've never been, why not now? The deals are hot and the living is large in the 49th state, whether you like to bike, fish, paddle, hike, climb, watch wildlife, take pictures, sightsee or just simply wallow in nature's bounty, you will be justly rewarded. CruiseWest offers several smaller cruise boat itineraries within Alaska's southcentral coastal waters--<including Prince William Sound, which looks pretty sweet now some two decades after the big oil spill there. (Many of these require you to fly to Anchorage first.) No less than six different large cruise lines run trips right from the Port of Seattle to Southeast Alaska (Juneau, Sitka, Tongass National Forest). if you get up into interior Alaska, make sure to book at least one night at the funky and hand-wrought Cloudberry Lookout B&B in Fairbanks.