Around the bend from bustling Skagway, the placid town of Haines sits alongside the Lutak Inlet, with eagles swooping and whales breaching and bears snuffling at low-growing berry bushes nearby. It may sound busy but it’s decidedly and delightfully not. You can find good coffee and tasty food; there’s a real bookstore and a serious distillery; real artists have converted small houses by the water and buildings at Fort Seward into workshops and housing; ski guides and fishing guides and rafting guides and bike shops and bars all operate in town. But the reason they’re all here is what’s waiting outside of town in the glacier-laden mountains and braided rivers and stunning vistas. A drive inland along the Haines Highway takes you to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve along the braided Chilkat River. The birds hunt here year-round but when the salmon are running, the tree branches over the river are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with raptors in town for the show. Up the other side of the peninsula toward Chilkoot Lake, chances are good you’ll encounter bears (and some of the totem poles that Haines is known for). The town’s as charming as it can be, but the drive to head out to glacier or water or mountain trail is infectious here. Ann Shields traveled to Alaska and the Yukon with Holland America Line as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Ann’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.