If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all, it’s hard to get more remote than the tiny picturesque fishing village of Pelican (pop. 150) inside narrow Lisianski Inlet on the western shore of Chichagof Island . During the summer, Pelican’s population doubles with the seasonal arrival of fishers. The town received its name from The Pelican, a fishing boat owned by the town’s founder; there are no pelicans in Alaska.
Locals drive four-wheelers down the boardwalk connecting Pelican’s restaurants, bars, general store, coin laundry, and cold-storage plant (closed in recent years). Showers are available at the coin laundry, or try the steam baths at the liquor store (no joke). The Pelican Visitors Association (907/735-2460, www.pelican.net ) has info on local businesses.
Tiny Pelican has achieved notoriety as a party town, particularly when festivities reach their peak at the Boardwalk Shuffle in early May, with two days of live music—including a filthy-song contest—and some major-league boogying. This is not for the faint of heart. Lodging is in dorms at the old cannery, and Allen Marine makes a special boat run from Juneau for the event. If you miss the shuffle, don’t miss the 4th of July, with more fun and lots of competitive games, plus a little parade.
Ferry service to Pelican arrives only once or twice a month. The LeConte usually stays for two hours and then turns around for the return trip to Juneau . Get details from Alaska Marine Highway (800/642-0066, www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs ),
Alaska Seaplane Service (907/735-2244 or 800/478-3360, www.flyalaskaseaplanes.com ) has daily flights to Pelican from Juneau.
Several locals run fishing and sightseeing boat charters, and they will be happy to run you and your kayak out to such local destinations as White Sulfur Springs.