Bethel Travel Guide

  • Shortcut to the Moravian Church
    Shortcut to the Moravian Church
    by AlbuqRay
  • Port on the Kuskokwim River
    Port on the Kuskokwim River
    by AlbuqRay
  • Honey Bucket Lake
    Honey Bucket Lake
    by AlbuqRay

Bethel Things to Do

  • Take a Wilderness Trip

    I did not get to do it this time (the season was closing as I arrived) but it is highly recommended to try Mike's and Jill's (one of my friend's sisters and brother-in-law) Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures. They have river camps on the premier trout and salmon streams of the region, like the Kisaralik River. People come from all over the world for...

  • Yukon Delta NWR Visitors' Center

    The headquarters and visitors' center for the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge are located in Bethel. The small visitors' center is free; in fact, we did not see another person (not even staff) while we were there. There are interesting displays, including mammoth bones and a tusk. A description of the refuge is below.In southwest Alaska, the...

  • Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center and...

    The Bethel Cultural Center includes the University of Alaska, Kuskokwim Campus Library (with free computers)and a museum. The Saturday Market is also held there. Unfortunately when I was in town, the museum (which has a beautiful collection of Yup'ik traditional dress, instruments and artwork, and has received an Honor Award of Excellence in...

  • Walk on the Tundra in the Summer

    For an Okie New Mexican such as myself, walking on tundra is a unique experience. In the summer the ground is spongy even if it seems dry. It is like you suddenly become lighter. The smell is unique too. It seems pristine and totally clean. The colors catch your eye. There are blue, dark purple and bright red berries among the grasses, low shrubs,...

  • Berry Picking

    Berry picking is a major subsistence activity for Yupik Eskimos. Blueberries (Vaccinium uliginosum) and "blackberries" grow wild on the tundra. The latter are like blueberries but darker purple, sweeter and seedier. I am confused about what locals call a "blackberry" vs. a crowberry (same color but larger with different foliage). Some online...

  • Go to Your Fish Camp

    Many people have fish camps on the Kuskokwim River to smoke and dry their fish. It is a good place to get away from it all. My friends' fish camp was on an island in the river and even had a steam bath and a one hole "golf course."


Bethel Hotels

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Bethel Restaurants

  • Things You Can Make With Fresh...

    My friend's mom is a wonderful cook. She had great recipes for fresh picked blueberries and blackberries. Evelyn made my pancakes with berries I had picked myself. However, the two main things I was supposed to bring back to Albuquerque for my friends, Becky and Mike, were agutak (eskimo ice cream) and pictures of the Husky II in Seldovia. I was...

  • Just Have It Delivered

    Basically all restaurants in Bethel deliver. Many people never eat at the restaurant itself. They just call in an order and have it delivered to their house. Many restaurants do not even do walk-in service. Other Bethel restaurants include the Snack Shack, VIP, Datu's, The Lunchbox, The Express Way (Thai, delivery only), Family Restaurant, Casa...

  • Good for Lunch

    Yolanda's used to be Gloria's Northern Lights Restaurant. Yolanda is Gloria's daughter. They have good sandwiches. The windows by the booths overlook the upper end of Brown's Slough. I had a Philly Cheese Hamburger Steak sandwich with carmelized onions. It was quite good.

  • Greek Food in Bethel

    Dimitri's is considered by most people to be the best restaurant in Bethel. It was quite good but I thought there were other good restaurants too. It definitely is one of the more "spendy" restaurants there. Like most other restaurants in Bethel, they also serve American and Italian food. Unlike most other Bethel restaurants, they do not serve...

  • Any Food You Want in One Place

    Shogun's is owned by Korean-Spanish brothers but serves American, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Japanese food. The menu is 1/2" thick! We had the Chinese and it was excellent. With three rooms, it is one of the larger restaurants in Bethel. It was also very busy and may have been completely full when we left around 7:30 PM. The garlic chicken was...

  • Good Restaurant Near Bentley's

    The Front Street Cafe has American, Italian and Chinese food. The waitress was Korean and kindly shared her kimchi with me (three types). It went great with my pork chops. Crew members from the boats on the river carry out food from this cafe. The porkchop meal ($15.95) was good and came with 3 porkchops, enough for dinner and 2 lunches!


Bethel Transportation

  • Small Boats

    Small boats are a primary means of transportation on the Kuskokwim River and its tributaries in the summer time. There is a small boat harbor on the east side of Bethel. Since it is ~40 miles up the river, there are no tides like on the coast.

  • Float Planes

    A common way to get around in the Alaskan bush country is by float plane. H Marker Lake is just outside Bethel. Some people park their float planes there. Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures is one of them.

  • Don't Complain About Your Gasoline...

    If you think gasoline is expensive where you live, then feel sorry for the people in Bethel. All their petroleum products must be barged in, adding even more cost. Gasoline was not cheap anywhere in Alaska in Aug 07. Regular unleaded gasoline in Homer was $3.19 and in Seward was $3.20; however, it was $4.79 in Bethel!


Bethel Shopping

See all 6 Shopping in Bethel
  • If You Are Looking for Authentic Stuff

    Lucy's Cache at the airport was by far the best place in Bethel to buy authentic Native crafts and ethnic Russian items. She also has some wonderful things on display that are not for sale. BTW, I realized later that the kids in the third picture are from Brother's Pizza. They work hard bussing tables. I don't even know her name, but as a former...

  • Local Books and Crafts

    At one time the Moravian Book Store was supposed to have an amazing collection of books about western Alaska and a beautiful Alaska Native arts and crafts display, so I stopped there. It had a few things but mostly the shelves were empty. I am thinking they are not getting enough business. I also went back to try to find a copy of Bethel: The First...

  • Bethel's Equivalent of Wal-Mart

    The Alaska Commercial Company has an interesting history. AC Value Centers are now found all over Alaska. They have a large store in Bethel and it is Bethel's equivalent of Wal-Mart. It has almost the same choices but definitely not the same prices. Non-local products must be flown in or shipped by barge. This really makes things expensive,...


Bethel Local Customs

  • AlbuqRay's Profile Photo

    by AlbuqRay Updated Sep 7, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I think I have finally realized the secret of the places where the people are especially nice. They are all multicultural! Not just one or two cultures blended together, but three or more. Examples familiar to me are Malaysia (Malay, Chinese and East Indian), Trinidad (African, East Indian, and European), New Mexico (Hispanic, Native American and Anglo), and now Bethel (Yup'ik, Lower-48, Russian and maybe even Korean). It seems to be an effect independent of geography. Even if the geography is not spectacular, the blending of diverse cultures is. The AC Value Center had such a nice logo for Native Pride on their plastic bags that I took a pic of it. Even the Native people of Alaska are diverse. I also included here the Bethel Russian Orthodox Church. Russian influence is still significant in many places in Alaska. I have already talked about the Moravian and Catholic Churches in other places. The 2% population of Koreans is making their impact also, esp. on the local restaurants.

    Native People Logo Bethel Russian Orthodox Church
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Bethel Warnings and Dangers

  • Watch Out for This Strange Tundra Beast

    I managed to photograph this strange tundra beast. It may even be a new species. It looks like it could be dangerous. I think I saw it eating unripe cranberries. Anything that can do that must be tough.

  • Be Ready for Mosquitoes

    Alaska is known for its mosquitoes, so I was ready. I treated my clothes with permethrin before I went. I had repellent, a hat and a hooded raincoat to cover my neck. BTW, today's "hoodies" look a lot like the adikey(?) that Natives wear to protect themselves if they are not wearing a fancy no-see-ums jacket.Okay, I go out by myself on the tundra...

  • Bethel Hotels

    3 Hotels in Bethel

Bethel Off The Beaten Path

  • Steamboat Slough

    To the east of Bethel there is a slough with many abandoned ships aground on the shore. A couple were old steamboats; thus the name. The weather was bad and we went up Steamboat Slough on the way to the fish camp to try to avoid the big waves on the main river. It was still pretty rough water and my camera does not have stabilization. Only one...

  • Miles and Miles the Same

    When you are out on the river, you see an occasional fish camp but mostly there are just miles and miles of tundra and water. This happens to be the confluence of the Kuskokwim and Gweek Rivers, maybe 8 miles north of Bethel. You can read about this year's Campout Race on the frozen Gweek River in an excellent Tundra Medicine Dreams blog. It tells...

  • Old Friendly Dog Farm

    Bethel is famous for the Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. The Old Friendly Dog Farm is the name of the Angstman family dog racing kennel. Their web page tells us that Myron started mushing in the 1970's and was instrumental in forming the Kuskokwim 300. He went on to win the race two times. He has also competed in the Iditarod. All of the Angstman...


Bethel Favorites

  • Corrections

    I have some corrections to make....Bethel is 90-100 miles from the mouth of the Kuskokwim River. It is a deep sea port with 60-80 feet deep water close to Bethel.The Sewer Lagoon is beyond Bethel Heights (ASHA Housing). MacDonald Lake was often called honeybucket lake because people used it for disposal before the city system came into being....

  • Brown's Slough Music

    Local songwriter Michael Faubion has an album called "Paris on the Kuskowim". Faubion's music is often his lyrics set to familiar tunes from the 1940's. The article says you can learn a lot about Bethel geography in "Bethel Cab Driver." You hear of the Brown Slough bridge (where these pictures were taken) and Louse Town, where Datu's house is. In...

  • Historical House on Brown's Slough

    A student Science Fair paper tells us that the original site of Bethel was located around the mouth of Brown's Slough. Datu used to live in this house located between the river and the present-day bridge. He lived to be 100 years old. He must have been one of the original settlers. Maybe watching TV was the secret to his longevity (notice the...


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Explore Deeper into Bethel
Bethel Actors Guild
Off The Beaten Path
Different Kind of Music
Off The Beaten Path
Port of Bethel
Guns and Fun
Get Your Local Crafts and Food
Chair or Boy?
Boards and Not Concrete
Hovercraft That Delivers the Mail
Upriver Boat
Above Ground Plumbing
Map of Bethel

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