Travel to Small Communities in Southeast Alaska

Hidden away from the outside world, relatively undeveloped communities in Southeast Alaska have retained a remote and charming appeal. Getting here takes effort, but it’s rewarded with bountiful wildlife, friendly locals, and immersion into a magnificent natural world where time seems to stand still.

Alaska Seaplanes connect these communities to the outside world, providing daily essential air service. When an Alaska Seaplane lands on the water, it means that the mail has arrived, fresh groceries will stock the store, students are coming back from school, or visitors have come to enjoy the area. For these communities, Alaska Seaplanes are like the city bus system – a normal and steady way in and out of town.

For many visitors, arriving in a small town by floatplane is a phenomenal experience that captures the nostalgia and romance of days gone by.

Note: Unlike nearby communities, Kake has a landing strip, so flights in and out of that community are by wheeled plane.

Plane - Summer Plane - Winter Ferry - Summer Ferry - Winter
Elfin Cove 3x/day 2x/week No Service No Service
Pelican 3x/day 1-2x/day 1x/month 1x/month
Tenakee Springs 3x/day 1-2x/day 2x/week 2x/week
Angoon 3x/day 1-2x/day 2x/week 2x/week
Kake 3x/day 3x/day 2x/week 2x/week

Ferry or Plane?

You can also get to many of these communities on the Alaska Marine Highway System. Whether you explore the area by ferry or take a plane depends in large part on your schedule and budget. Ferry advantages include lower cost, multiple stops, and plenty of time on the water to watch marine wildlife. Alaska Seaplanes are more costly, but offer shorter journeys and more frequent flights into the communities. Depending on your destination, it will take between 30 minutes and an hour by plane, whereas a ferry could take up to nine hours.

Other considerations:

  • “Flightseeing”: Each flight to and from these small communities is like its own flightseeing adventure, and for some travelers it’s the best part of their trip.
  • Weight limits: There’s a 70-pound limit flying into Kake and a 50-pound limit into the other communities, although you can pay extra if you go over.
  • Bringing back fish: Time counts when you’re traveling with fresh fish. We recommend flying back to Juneau with your haul.
  • Kayaking: If you go by ferry, you can take a kayak or other inflatable with you to explore the numerous wild coves and inlets of Chichagof and Admiralty Islands.
  • Weather delays: Safety is a top priority and weather delays are common when flying in and out of these small communities. Plan for it and you’ll relish an extra day if your flight is delayed. Be sure not to plan anything critical for a day or two on the front or back end of your flight.
  • Both worlds: See this area from air and from the water by planning ahead to fly in and ferry out or vice-versa.


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