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Women Owned Businesses in the U.S. servicing tourists and locals

When I talk about my home state, Alaska, you’ll often hear me gushing about the women there. How they are strong, resilient, and can do any of the stereotypically male-dominated jobs out there just as well –  if not better than men. In fact, this is one of the things that I miss most about Alaska. On my most recent trip home, I took a cruise with a female captain and then rode the train with a female POC conductor running the train. Women in Alaska are outdoorsy and athletic – gutting fish, going hunting, building houses, chopping wood, flying planes, all while leading daring and bold lives. The women in Alaska are creative, crafty and smart, and producing wonderful art. In fact, Alaska leads the nation in female entrepreneurs. Because the women in Alaska have created ingenious businesses, I will be highlighting some of my favorite women-owned businesses that every tourist and local in Alaska should support. These women and their team are excited to show off their gorgeous home state to visitors and will make you feel right at home. Every dollar spent at one of these businesses supports the local Alaskan economy and the savvy female entrepreneurs that make it so great. As an added bonus you can leave Alaska with a truly unique memory or souvenir that is one of a kind, and definitely not made in China.

Authors Note: I am only one girl who grew up in Eagle River meaning my reach and knowledge of women-owned businesses in Alaska is limited. There are hundreds of women-owned businesses in Alaska and I wish I knew about and could include them all! Unfortunately I don’t know about them all and rely on members of the community to inform me. If you are an amazing women doing great things in the state of Alaska that services tourists, and deserve to be on this list please email me (skelly (at) more information about you, your business, and any other details and I will look at getting you added to the list, if you are a right fit for this list. As I am a travel blog, at this time, I am only focusing on services that both tourists and locals can utilize please understand. Thanks for supporting women!

Women Powered Tour Companies

Alaska Private Touring

Founder Pamela Manderson has lived in Alaska since she was 3 and has a long history in the tourism industry. She previously worked in a job getting Alaskans out of Alaska and to someplace warm and sunny. Unsatisfied with that career, she changed gears and ended up on a path that allowed her to start Alaska Private Touring. Her tour company caters to visitors seeking an in-depth, guided visit to Alaska, but away from the crowds and typical ‘bus’ tours.  Each of their itineraries is custom designed with guests’ specific interests in mind.  Whether they are traveling independently, with their significant other, or with the entire family – their specialty is to create the ideal Alaskan experience that they will always remember. They like to refer to themselves as ‘Alaskans selling Alaska,’ and it’s what sets them apart from other companies.  They would be a great choice for the solo female traveler, a couple, a family group, or work colleagues.

Pamela’s works with a team of 5 female travel designers who know Alaska like the back of their hand. Pamela says,

It’s not particularly intentional that our travel designer team consists entirely of women, but it definitely works for us.  I can’t tell you how much I value the women I work with – I couldn’t do this without them and I work very hard to make sure they know how much they are appreciated.  I’ve always been a believer that my first priority is taking care of my team, and they will, in turn, take care of our clients.

Talk about ultimate female power! When Pamela isn’t busy creating dream Alaskan vacations, she’s busy being a super-mom to two kids. With the support of her loving husband and amazing tour guides, she rarely misses baseball or soccer games even during peak season!

Adventure 60 North

I loved emailing with Monica, or MOMica, as she is known at Adventure 60 North, but don’t let the mom part fool you she is as tough as nails and the true embodiment of an all Alaskan savvy businesswoman. Adventure 60 North is a kayak and adventure company out of Seward, Alaska and they are the only company operating during shoulder seasons in winter. Can I get a hell yeah, from those who like to travel as I do? Offseason and away from the crowds. A60 is a small company and they want to stay that way, focusing on an intimate experience in Alaska and connecting and supporting the local Seward community.

kayak seward adventure 60 north

Monica runs the business with Rick, who had been headhunting her for over a year to go into business together. She started as the general manager and quickly moved up to co-own the company. She says that being a woman co-owning a company she provides much-needed skills to keep the business profitable.

“We have a good balance. He is the idea man and I am at the Dasher of dreams – LOL. He worked hard to build A60 and it has been my job to finesse it and focus it into a profitable business. I enjoy being a female business owner in Alaska because Alaska has a long history of strong women, which means I haven’t faced some of the challenges of women in other states because strong female leads are taken seriously here in Seward. I am a pretty direct person and take charge automatically, so that may also have something do with it too.”
Aside from Monica keeping the business profitable, their lead kayak guide, Sunny, is a talented female leading kayak trips year round. Monica said that from time to time someone comes in and doesn’t deal well with having a female guide, but Rick and Monica put their foot down and say take it or leave it – with no refund. If you are thinking of booking a kayak trip to Seward this THE company to book through, you’ll be in good hands with Sunny and Monica.

Seward Ocean Excursions

I’ve toured Resurrection Bay in Seward on one of the larger charter sightseeing boats and the connection to nature was great, but I can only imagine what it is like on one of Seward Ocean Excursions small group tours. They take no more than 6 passengers on a Hewescraft 240 Alaskan boat and explore Resurrection Bay in an intimate setting. Co-owner and boat captain Krystin is what she describes as a do-it-all kind of woman. On top of having her captain’s license, she has a private pilot’s license and enjoys flying when she’s not on the water. It doesn’t end there, because she works as a professional engineer when she’s not helping run the boat business. Of course, like most super moms, she always makes time to play outside with her son and husband with whom she co-owns the company.

Aside from Captain Krystin, Seward Ocean Excursions also employs other female captains and just brought a new one on board. This makes them a great option for solo-female travelers, or anyone looking for a small group once in a lifetime tour of one of Alaska’s most beautiful places.

Salmon Berry Tours

Salmon Berry Tours was started by Alaskan born and raised, female powerhouse Candice McDonald. Candice always knew she wanted to own her own business in Alaska and pursued her passions founding Salmon Berry Tours. Her business partner, Mandy Garcia joined the team first as a tour guide and worked her way up until Candice asked her to join forces. They now operate as a dynamic female duo and are making waves in Alaska’s tourism industry. Both Candice and Mandy are hard working mothers who are able to balance a successful business and quality family time.

Salmon Berry Tours operates year-round and specializes in locally-guided, small-group, all-inclusive, off-the-beaten-path day tours from Southcentral & Fairbanks Alaska, as well as curated multi-day packages across the entire state! Salmon Berry loves incorporating “hidden gems” that the large commercialized experience miss and they are able to do this by staffing seasonal and year-round local Alaskans like their glacier certified guide, Tiffany and incorporating the communities they visit with our guests. They have an exclusive partnership with the Alaska Native Heritage Center and have been invited by the Chickaloon Tribe to visit their site. They were the first small group tour company to offer winter tours from Anchorage — like their signature, pink vests say: “Alaska, always in season”!

Aside from providing authentic tours in Alaska, they are committed to going green by reducing their plastic use and often donate to women’s charities. Oh, and it gets better… they have a tour called No Man’s Land: Alaskan Wilderness for Women. So, ladies, break out your X-TraTufs and flannels because this is a tour you don’t want to miss!

The Mindful Marmot

Rachael Gordon, the owner of the Mindful Marmot grew up in Colorado with a love for the mountains, but she also loved the ocean. So she ventured to Costa Rica to get her yoga instructor’s license and ended up in Seward, Alaska a place where her love for mountains and the ocean met in perfect harmony. She now owns her own adventure and yoga company. She wants Alaskan nature to be accessible to everyone and offers custom adventures based on skill level. She leads guided hikes, outdoor retreats, land and sea tours, and even teams up with a helicopter company to lead remote yoga sessions in the wilderness. This is the perfect adventure for the solo female traveler as she is happy to take you out into the wilderness in a one-on-one tour or connect you with new friends for a group adventure.

Honorable Mentions

Major Marine Tours get an honorable mention from me. They are a local family-owned business, which is impressive, but they also employ 3 female captains and a full sales and marketing team comprised of women. I was fortunate enough to take a boat tour with them into resurrection bay with a female captain, Nicole, a female First Mate, and a female Park Ranger. It was a flawless experience that my whole family loved! Major Marine is great for larger groups.

The Alaska Railroad also gets an honorable mention for employing female conductors, cabin managers and commentators they also staff POC crew members at every level. Now that is a company I can support!

Female Owned Alaskan Fashion, Retail, & Apparel

Salmon Sisters

The hottest piece of fashion in Alaska got a serious upgrade when two local Alaskan women got a hold of them and created Salmon Sisters. X-TraTuf boots are known as the official shoe of Alaska. People fish in them, hike in them, get married in them, wear them on dates, to the bar, and while doing yard work. There is no inappropriate time to wear these boots.

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Sea Greens on a sunset seashore. 🌿🌊 #aksalmonsisters #salmonsistersxtratuf #xtratuf #legacy

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Two life long Alaskans, Emma Teal and Claire grew up on a homestead called Stonewall Place on the Aleutian Islands. Their family owns a fishery and X-TraTufs were basically part of their uniform. These two Alaskans have created unique, original designs that line the fishing boots, so when you roll down the top you reveal an awesome piece of fashion. The designs are inspired by Alaska and the ocean. When this power duo is not studying to finish a masters degree, they continue to fish for salmon and halibut and spend their winters running Salmon Sisters. These boots make a unique Alaskan gift or souvenir, and you can find them at stores like Big Rays in Anchorage, Salmon Sisters in Seward, their home store in Homer, or right next to Shirley’s Homemade Ice Cream on Main street in Talkeetna. I suggest buying them as soon as you land so you can blend in with the locals!

On top of the iconic fishing boots, Salmon Sisters also creates designs featured on a line of hoodies, leggings, and a variety of other things. For every boot purchased the sisters donate a can of Alaskan salmon to the local food bank.

Not only is Salmon Sisters an awesome local business you should support, but they, in turn, support local women including Iñupiat ambassador Cordelia Qigñaaq Kellie who also has a deep connection to fishing and subsistence lifestyle. Read about her ambassador program, here.

Oomingmak Musk-Ox Producer Co-Op

Oomingmak is a co-op conveniently located in Downtown Anchorage, but employes 250 Indigenous Alaskan women throughout the state. You’ll find luxurious hand knit Qiviut hats, scarves, and tunics. Qiviut is quite possibly the warmest (8x warmer than wool), softest and most lightweight material out there, and it comes from the local Alaskan Musk-Ox. The musk-ox shed their fur annually and women collect the fur and knit it into wonderful creations just for you. This process is a sustainable, ethical, and traditional art form. Each “traditional item” is 100% Qiviut and natural in color and each village has its own unique pattern and style. If you ask me, purchasing a traditional item from these women is the way to go, but if you want a more modern look they have a “tundra line” which is a silk Qiviut blend and dyed for a contrasting pattern.

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Time to start making more Christmas ornaments. #almostchristmas #knitting #qiviut #preptime

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The women are paid fair working wages and are allowed to knit as fast or as slow as they want. They pay a yearly membership fee which gives them access to the collective Qiviut and their copyright pattern for their village. They are paid once the work is completed and they can mail their designs to Anchorage or someone may visit the village once or twice a year and pick up the items.

Alaska Chicks

You can’t go very far without seeing a girl in Alaska wearing an Alaska Chicks original design. These ultra comfortable and thick hoodies, hats, sweaters, and leggings are a fashion staple in the last frontier. Most of their designs are created and produced locally in Palmer for Alaska Chicks co.,  but you will find a few other Alaskan and national artists on display in their stores. The female owner behind Alaska Chicks loves fashion with a vintage twist and twice a year Alaska Chicks hosts a vintage market where they sell all the “trash” they have collected and recycled, upcycled and polished off to sell like new. This business is not only owned and managed by a woman, but they have a unique co-op style where they support other female-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

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Cute #hoodies for #Christmas! #alaskachicks

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Alaska Chicks has two locations in Wasilla in the Boardwalk Shop and Palmer in Peak Boutique.  

The Baby Store

The Baby Store, owned by Victoria Kellie – a wonderful Indigenous Iñupiat and mother of two sons, is perfect for any traveling parent or grandparent looking to support a local Alaskan business. She purchased the store when it was a consignment shop 8 years ago and has transformed it into a natural parenting shop. She always makes an effort to bring renewable and reusable products to all mothers in an affordable and easy to use way. Victoria has a strong connection to our planet and Alaska and that shines through her efforts to help mothers live in harmony with the earth.

The Baby Store Alaska Female Owned Business

Victoria has also created a supportive network of mothers with similar principles in Alaska and her inspiration and impact reach throughout the state and beyond. She loves having visitors and wants to know if you are visiting from out of town to make sure you come and say hello. You can even order online to continue supporting this inspiring mother.

AK Starfish Co.

Owned by a 3rd generation Alaskan woman, Marci, the AK Starfish Co. was probably the first Alaskan inspired clothing line to blow up, starting a trend in Alaskan fashion. You can take home the iconic starfish design that is recognized throughout Alaska on a hoodie, dress, hat, water bottle, shirts and much more.  You can find AK starfish stores in Anchorage, Homer, and Seward.

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Hannah; Seward, Alaska❤️🌊 #akstarfishco #mermaidcoboutique #february #camo #seward

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Octopus Ink

Owned by a traveler, free diver, earth-conscious, and creative Anchorage local, Shara, Octopus Ink was born from experimenting with clay and screen printing. These ocean-inspired designs feature many of the critters you’ll find in Alaskan oceans, including halibut, jellyfish, whales and more. Aside from Shara’s original creations, you’ll find a bevy of local Alaskan creations in the storefront on the corner of G and 4th in downtown Anchorage.

Read About Alaska From a Woman’s Perspective

Look for These Books at Local Book Stores

Dana Stabenow was born and raised in Alaska and attended university at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has published many books that take place in or are inspired by Alaska, such as the Liam Campbell and Kate Shugak series. Her book in the Kate Shugak series A Cold Day for Murder, won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 1993 and she was named the Alaskan artist of the year in 2007.

Read Two Old Women, a story by Alaskan Indigenous female author Velma Wallis. This story has been passed down through her family for generations and follows 2 older, sassy Alaskan women on a harrowing adventure after they abandoned their village during a winter famine.

Ada Blackjack tells a story inspired by the diary and journal of an Alaskan Indigenous woman who joined an adventuring party as a seamstress. 6 people went into the Arctic and only one, Ada returned. While the author is not Alaskan the story is based on an Alaskan’s dairy.. These are the types of women we need to write back into history.

Read a Local Alaskan Blog

Cordelia Qigñaaq Kellie has a local blog about what it means to be an Indigenous Alaskan discussing life, political, cultural, and social aspects.  She was raised on Dena’ina Athabascan land and is an advocate in Washington DC for Indigenous Alaskans and their traditional way of life. Support her by reading real stories from Alaska on her blog.

Art, Crafts, & Jewelry by Alaskan Women

The Quilted Raven

You’ll find three talented and creative women, Lou Ann, Leigh, and Barb, behind the counter at The Quilted Raven, Anchorage’s best quilting store. I’ve often come here with my mom and no matter who’s working they are always chatting up a storm with locals and travelers alike, helping them pick out and craft a unique one-of-a-kind Alaskan patterns, fabric or quilt pieces. The Quilted Raven supports local female artists, featuring quilting and cross-stitching patterns created by Alaskans featuring moose, bears, salmon and of course, the raven. They also stock plenty of Alaskan themed Batiks from artists such as local Cindy Shake. Beyond quilting, you can buy yarn hand dyed in state and the truly special Qiviut wool from our local musk-ox.

Bear Box

Bear Box is an Alaskan twist on the monthly subscription box and was started by LeeAnna and a team including three more women. They collect locally made Alaskan products and include 4-7 gifts in every box. This subscription box is perfect for any local, Alaskan living outside of Alaska, or travelers who want to take a piece of Alaska home with them every home. They ship anywhere in the U.S. and each month you’ll receive over $50 worth of products ranging from home decor to personal hygiene, art and more!

Trickster Company

I love the designs of Trickster Company, which was started by Crystal Worl and her brother Rico an Indigenous Alaskan duo whose goal is to promote innovative Indigenous designs. They started by designing skateboards for friends and family and now have a wide range of products from athletic wear, jewelry, home decor, stationery, and fine art. Their mother store is located in Juneau and a must visit for anyone passing through on a cruise. You can also find their products at various stores across Anchorage and throughout Alaska, or order online.

Corso Graphics

You can find Corso Graphics stickers, created by female artist Annie Brace, decorating my laptop and all my water bottles. My mom always sends them to me for Christmas because I miss Alaska so much. Annie perfectly captures Alaska in her extensive collection of cards, fine art, stickers and much more. Keep an eye out for her art which you’ll find all over Alaska including Stephan Fine Art in the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Brown and Hawkins in Seward, The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, the Hotel Alyeska in Girdwood, and many more locations including Etsy. Her stickers are the perfect souvenirs to bring home and give out to your coworkers, friends, and family.

Sevigny Studio

Sevigny Studio, located on 4thAvenue, is owned by Alaskan transplant Katie Sevigny. She has become an icon in the Alaskan art scene owning her own studio featuring Alaskan artists, livening up the streets with her street art, and being an active member of the art community in Anchorage. Stop by her store and pick up a piece of Alaska to take with you and don’t miss the bear statue she painted, downtown in front of the visitor’s center.

Dawn Gerety Art

One of my favorite Alaskan artists, Dawn Gerety, was born in Australia but raised in Girdwood, Alaska. Her art is colorful and sometimes abstract. She felt something missing from her career in graphic design and reconnected to find her true calling with canvas and paint. Inspired by Alaska, much of her art features stylized animals and layered organic elements. Dawn owns her own company called Art Seriously offering everything from graphic to painting. You’ll see her art all over Girdwood at Slack Tide Gallery, The Hotel Alyeska, Jack Sprat, and you’ll also see her at Sevigny Studio and online.

Crow Creek Designs

Jess Crow is a badass. She owns her own woodworking company, crafting truly unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Jess started learning the trade as a young girl in  Massachusetts and has spent 30 years in Alaska living in various regions that spark her creativity. She works with resin and wood for colorful designs varying from tables, fine art pieces, wine holders, cheese boards and more. When asked about being a female in a male-dominated industry she said,

“Working in an almost 90%+ male dominated field is both rewarding and challenging. I have found mostly great support and encouragement, but also great criticism in the form of comments about my appearance being “the only reason” I was awarded a job. Overall being a female builder is rewarding- my male counterparts appreciate the different views I take, and it allows great collaborative experiences!”
I will let her work speak for itself because I don’t think she was awarded her job for any other reason than pure talent. You can find her work online or by emailing her directly at Jess ships worldwide, and says her clients love being able to talk about the furniture or wall art they got from Alaska!

Bloom by Kali

Kali is the creative artist behind Bloom, handcrafted original pieces of jewelry inspired by the wilds of Alaska. Her pieces are elegant and complex and will spice up any outfit whether you’re going for a casual look or dressing up for a night out. This is another gift I often receive as birthday and Christmas presents. All the women in my family own a different design by Kali and wearing my earrings make me feel a connection back to Alaska no matter where in the world I am. You can find Kali’s jewelry around Alaska, including Bottom’s Boutique, or you can also shop for her line on Etsy.

Watercolor Woods

Alaskan, Hailey Thompson, creates beautiful pieces of watercolor art, inspired by her adventures in Alaska. She spent time driving ships in Alaska and her main inspirations are Alaska’s “18-hour-long solstice days, the quiet rainforests of ancient Sitka Spruce, plump wildflowers drenched in rainfall, and fat spawning salmon.” She ensures that each and every piece she creates is made with attention to detail and sustainable practices. Hailey not only creates beautiful pieces on canvas, but she takes her prints and puts them on tote bags, ski masks, stickers and more!

Sew n Bee Cozy

Another quilting shop, Sew n Bee Cozy, Shiela’s cozy shop is located in the heart of Seward. Coming off the cruise ship you can take Seward’s shuttle to her store and shop till you drop. Many Alaskans are avid quilters to help us survive the long dark cold winters and Shiela’s shop features plenty of Alaskan designs, patterns, and creations. Do not miss the Sockeye Salmon Run created by Alaskan Debbie Kay while she was living in Seward. They have an entire wall featuring Alaskan patterns and a full corner of Alaskan prints and panels.

Food & Beverage Managed by Alaskan Women

Lucky Wishbone

Probably one of Anchorage’s most famous restaurants and one of my dad’s favorite spots to eat for as long as he can remember. We used to go here on father-daughter dates all the time and they have the best fresh local burgers, milkshakes, and the fries to die for. The Lucky Wishbone was originally opened by two beloved Alaskans, Peggy and George Brown, who recently passed, leaving the city uncertain of its future. Thankfully, two savvy female entrepreneurs, Heidi Heinrich and Carolina Stacey, took over maintaining the same values as Peggy and George restaurant. Heidi, who has worked at Lucky Wishbone since she was 16 understands how special this restaurant is to the community.  These two women have seen generations of families eating at Lucky Wishbone and have had life long customers attend many milestone celebrations in their personal lives. Eating here, you’ll feel like part of the local Alaskan community and experience genuine Alaskan customer service.

When they’re not busy running the restaurant both Carolina and Heidi are active in reviving the downtown Anchorage area, lobbying in our state capital and doing their part to keep Anchorage thriving.

Laura Cole – Chef

You may not realize that Alaska has a celebrity chef, Laura Cole, who is famous for her innovative take on traditional Alaskan food using local ingredients. Laura was on Top Chef on Bravo TV, has been nominated twice for a James Beard award, and runs her own restaurant called 229 Parks just outside of Denali National Park. This year, she is going to be coming down to Muse, the fine dining restaurant in the Anchorage Museum to shake their menu up. Whether you’re eating Kodiak scallops at 229 Parks to waiting to try her new menu at Muse in Anchorage, you won’t be disappointed.

Nature’s Nectars

Cedar, the power woman behind Nature’s Nectars in the small boat harbor in Seward, has been running her own successful coffee house for almost 10 years. Nature’s Nectar proudly serves local Alaskan Kaladi Brothers Coffee, loose leaf teas, chai, and matcha. They pride themselves on serving original real fruit smoothies, which are their most popular beverage. Cedar is a single mom who has used her successful business to raise and support her two kids who are both nearly in college.

“I am a former competitive mountain runner, and I have taken what I learned at training and competing at a high level, into my business. It takes the same laser dedication, focus, love, and endurance as athletics…and also pushing through when you’re absolutely exhausted.”
They are open every year from March until October, so be sure to stop by and get some caffeine before heading out on a boat tour in Seward.

Wild Scoops

This ice cream shop has transformed downtown Anchorage with tourists and locals alike forming a line around the block for their fresh local homemade ice cream! Is it as good as the hype? I certainly think so because I can be found in the line every time I’m home and drag all my friends and family to join in. Elissa Brown, the female co-owner of Wild Scoops has done her part to create one of Anchorage’s most talked about treats. Try their signature Baked Alaska, or any of their other flavors featuring fresh local ingredients including Alaskan blueberries, herbs, sea salt, honey, and much more!

Spoonline Market

Alexandra Fletcher opened Spoonline Market a cozy cafe and market providing healthy, fresh meals to tourists and locals alike in Girdwood, back in 1998! Grab some coffee or a breakfast burrito to fuel your day. She also offers catering services, so if you’re a local and need some local food for your next big event, reach out to Alexandra.

Seward Ale House

Liz DeMoss is the female mastermind behind the Seward Alehouse and 4th Ave. Lodging in Seward, Alaska. She has been an active member of the Seward business community for many years, owning and operating the bar and hotel for nearly 13 years. Her goal for the bar has always been to create a place where people felt comfortable and welcome regardless of where they are from. As someone who has had plenty of fun nights in their bar, I can attest to the fact that they always promote a positive and friendly vibe. Oh, and they have free pool too!

13 Ravens Coffee House

Seward’s newest addition in the coffee scene is 13 Ravens Coffee House, owned by Alaskan local Liberty Miller. The location of the coffee shop will be inside Seward’s retired train cars that now house shops, cafes, and more. Liberty is also somewhat of a traveler herself and has written a book about her thrilling adventures before settling down in Seward.

Women Supporting Women

Be sure to save this post for all your friends and family visiting Alaska. If you are a local bookmark these places so you can ensure your money is going to small locally owned businesses. I want to thank all the amazing women in Alaska for leading by example and making my home state a better place!

30 women powered adventures in Alaska new