Unalaska is the chief center of population in the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska.
Originally, Unangan residents named it Agunalaksh, a word that means “near the peninsula.” As Russian fur traders arrived, the spelling morphed into Ounalashka, which eventually became Unalaska.
Unalaska, the small, wind-swept volcanic rock, draws researchers, tourists, adventurers, birders, World War II buffs, fishermen, and seasonal workers – so many that the population swells from about 4,000 in winter to nearly 10,000 in summer.
The land has a fierce beauty, luring hikers of all levels, as well as experienced and even hard-core kayakers, sea paddlers, gliders, surfers and other adventure sporting enthusiasts. Passionate fishers can find local charters to lead them to the world’s best salmon, king crab, halibut and others. Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch fans often meet their favorite captains and crew, whether by chance in town or at the Carl E. Moses Boat Harbor where most of them are docked when not at sea. And, with the world famous Baby Islands birding sanctuary just 20 miles off shore, birders from all over the world make Unalaska their destination spot to meet the rare Whiskered Auklet, and more.
Despite its remote locale, Unalaska offers fine dining restaurants, a hotel, a full service community center, pool, library, nationally awarded schools, museums, local festivals and sporting events and more weave this tight knit community together in extraordinary ways.
While here, you can partake in everything from a community fun run to a charter birding trip. Take a swim at the Aquatic Center, or taste a dessert at the Blueberry Bash. Watch the ground squirrels as they fatten up for winter’s cold chill, and track fishing boats as they ply the harbor during the busy season (which seems to last from January to October!).
As the strong coastal breezes invigorate your body, so too will a visit to Unalaska invigorate your sense of adventure, connection to the land and respect for the past.
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