Favorite thing: While most of its main ornaments exist in Kodiak township, Russian features dot the island. For most visitors, the easiest means to observe the island's Russian heritage is to visit the Baranov Museum, the local graveyards, and the Russian Orthodox Church and seminary in Kodiak township.
Favorite thing: Kodiak Island is crisscrossed throughout its extent by rivers and creeks, some insignificant and some major. For the most part the rivers drain the lowest elevations, so there is little white water anywhere on the island. On the other hand, Kodiak arguably boasts some of the prettiest creeks and streams for a state famous for its natural beauty. Whether you come here to fish, hike or hunt, the island's waterways are as plentiful and as plush as you could wish or imagine.
Favorite thing: Alaska sees a short growing season, but in the summer the vegetation makes up for it by leaping skyward at a phenomenal clip. On Kodiak in the warmer months, even "subdued" vegetation will tangle the footing at only 18-24 inches in height. Seldom will you find an area that resembles a carpeted lawn except in the residential areas. Getting out of the car almost anywhere along the road system means facing obstacles of alder and pootschki, but at the very least it means careful stepping through shin-high vegetation.
Favorite thing: Many of the island's most frequented lakes or ponds have no natural outlets to the sea, but given that fishing is the premier activity on Kodiak Island, several lakes are deliberately stocked with Dolly Varden and other varieties. Smaller ponds such as Boy Scout Lake and larger reservoirs like Lake Gertrude are just a pair of such beneficiaries. Whether stocked by the fish and game department or by nature, fishing is good almost anywhere on Kodiak Island.
Favorite thing: Kodiak Island is a study in limits. If you have no boat, there are less than 100 miles of developed road throughout its 3,600 square miles. Boats can only drop off passengers on the shore, but the rest of the island is largely impenetrable. Put-ins must come from bush planes at a high price. Otherwise, most of the people you see along the roadways are the same folks and faces you saw in town. Beaches, parks and "rural" lodges normally comprise the most significant draws.
Favorite thing: Kodiak Island is sculpted if not scalloped with countless bays, some of which are large enough to harbor the biggest ships in the navy. As usual with bays on the island where the general road passes, there are commonly a few outlets where passengers can eat or phone at area restaurants or cafes. Otherwise, boating and fishing is the primary activity, though for those without either the bays themselves are significant attractions.
Favorite thing: In numerous places along the Kodiak landscape there are abandoned houses. Sometimes these were actual homes, sometimes halfway points along old routes during the U.S. occupation and partial buildup here during WWII, and sometimes they are seasonal shelters for brown bear hunters. Be not surprised to find a shack with busted-out windows graced with a stack of fresh-cut firewood on its grounds.
Favorite thing: Berries are as important to Kodiak Island as the spruce forests, the fish and the bears. Depending on the season of your visit, it might do well to understand which berries ripen and when, since these succulent and ubiquitous fruits are excellent supplements to your diet, and moreover bring a little local flavor (both aesthetically and culturally) to your visit.
Favorite thing: It is an established fact that most of the island's residents seldom venture more than a few yards from Kodiak's road system. The motorcycle club (an island anomaly according to some residents) only motors as far as the pavement on the highway. Pot holes and poorly graded roads take a toll on most vehicles, deterrents in themselves to discourage driving too far outside of town. Everywhere on the island are indications of Kodiak's rugged character, from seemingly abandoned houses only a few miles from the island mainstays, to derelict vehicles of an earlier generation, left to rot and rust where the jungle ended their days.
Favorite thing: During the 1940s, most of Alaska was inaccessible to almost everything but winged creatures. The precautions taken by the war department during World War II helped to begin a road system that has since linked cities, towns and other places of importance around the state. On the island, Fort Abercrombie is only one reminder of Kodiak's military past. Within town there still exist concrete bunkers which local entrepreneurs are rapidly converting to B&B's. The road from Saltery Cove to the island's main highway was originally carved out of the bush by the war department. Everywhere is evidence of the military past.
Favorite thing: As this page has shown elsewhere, Kodiak Island is a lush tropical preserve crisscrossed with mountains, hills and valleys, all drained by glaciers, creeks and rivers. These details, along with the vegetation and the porous surfaces throughout, make this a difficult paradise to explore on foot. If the visitor enjoys the luxury of limitless time, no part of the island is inaccessible, but for the average traveler, some knowledge of the island's primitive roads and ATV trails will ease an already difficult landscape of its worst and most common obstacles.
Favorite thing: The Sitka black-tailed deer is Kodiak Island's most successful and prolific among the nonnative species lately introduced to the island. Much smaller than black-tailed deer of the western United States, the Sitka deer still bound on four legs in unison (the tell-tale mark of their species) and are just as skittish as deer anywhere. For hikers in the backcountry, whenever you hear grasses rustle, realize that the agent is probably a fox or Sitka deer rather than a brown bear. Then again, prepare for all contingencies.
Favorite thing: Most coves and protected inlets reachable by road on Kodiak Island are either hosts to seaplanes or small watercraft. On an island where only sixty miles of highway exist and most of it unpaved, the remoter parts of the island are reached by sea or air only. With fishing being so important to the local economy and culture, it is no surprise to find boats moored in every conceivable anchorage.
Favorite thing: Much of the shoreline around Kodiak Island is a smooth beach fit for relaxing and watching the surf. While the sands might not be as granular and fine as beaches in Florida and California, the scenery both before and behind the beachcomber is also unlike that found in the contiguous U.S. In front, waves are gentle on a tide that scarcely fluctuates above eight feet, while the lush vegetation behind most beaches adds a sense of ruggedness and seclusion.
Favorite thing: St Hermans Harbor is a nice place to wander around and look at the fishing boats. You can also talk to the local fisherman about their way of life or find out what issues are concerning them. Many times there will be Stellar Sea Lions swimming here too.