Nestled deep within Alaska’s picturesque Prince William Sound, the charming town of Whittier, Alaska is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by cruise enthusiasts. As you embark on your journey to this remote destination, you’ll be captivated by its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and unique attractions. To help you make the most of your cruise to Whittier, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of things to do and see in this Alaskan paradise.
1. Experience the Whittier Tunnel
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is the longest combined vehicle and railroad tunnel in North America. This engineering marvel is a vital link to Whittier. It is a one lane tunnel shared by both vehicles and train. Because of the single lane, it runs one way on a schedule, one for the summer and a different one for the winter. This 2.5 mile long tunnel provides a unique experience as you pass through it.
2. Visit the Whittier Harbor
This ice-free port is the gateway to the Prince William Sound. This picturesque harbor has a range of activities to enjoy. You can start by exploring the quaint waterfront, where you can watch fishing boats come and go or simply take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. If you are are a fishing enthusiast, you can try your luck at catching salmon or halibut. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot seals, otters, and even whales in the pristine waters. Since it’s the gateway to the breathtaking Prince William Sound, this is a perfect starting point for boat tours and kayaking adventures amidst the serene fjords and icy wonders.
3. Glacier Cruises
One of the highlights of Whittier is its proximity to breathtaking glaciers. Several cruise operators offer glacier excursions that take you up close to glaciers like the Portage Glacier or Blackstone Glacier, allowing you to witness their majestic beauty and calving events. Glacier cruises in Whittier, Alaska offer a breathtaking journey into the heart of pristine wilderness and icy wonders. As you embark on these scenic adventures, you’ll glide through the stunning Prince William Sound, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and pristine fjords. The highlight of the trip is getting up close to massive tidewater glaciers like the famous Surprise Glacier, where you can witness the dramatic spectacle of calving ice. These cruises provide a unique opportunity to connect with nature, spot wildlife, and marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty of Alaska’s glacial landscapes, making it an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.
4. Whale Watching
Whittier is a prime location for whale watching. Tour boats and charters offer travelers the opportunity to witness humpback whales, orcas, gray whales, and even the occasional pod of playful porpoises as they breach and frolic in the pristine waters. The awe-inspiring backdrop of towering glaciers and rugged mountains adds an extra layer of wonder to this unforgettable adventure. Whale watching in Whittier a must-do activity for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers alike.
5. Hiking Adventures
Nature lovers will appreciate Whittier’s numerous hiking trails. With trails that wind through lush rainforests, offering glimpses of cascading waterfalls, and others that lead to high mountain vistas with panoramic views of Prince William Sound, there’s a hike for every skill level and interest. Adventurers can explore the Portage Pass Trail for a relatively easy trek with stunning views. Or challenge yourself on the more rugged and remote Blackstone Bay Trail. Whittier’s hiking trails provide an opportunity to connect with Alaska’s pristine nature and experience the untamed beauty of the Last Frontier firsthand.
6. Fishing Excursions
Fishing in Whittier, Alaska, is a world-class experience for anglers of all levels. Situated at the heart of the renowned Prince William Sound, this coastal town offers access to some of the richest fishing grounds in the state. Whether you’re into saltwater or freshwater fishing, Whittier has it all. Cast your line for salmon, halibut, rockfish, and more in the pristine waters of the Sound. Or try your hand at fly-fishing in the nearby rivers and streams teeming with trout and salmon. With its stunning scenery, abundant marine life, and the thrill of a potential record catch, Whittier is a top destination for those seeking an unforgettable fishing adventure in Alaska.
7. Wildlife Viewing
Surrounded by rugged wilderness and nestled along the shores of Prince William Sound, Whittier is a prime location to spot a diverse array of wildlife. Visitors can watch as bald eagles soar overhead, sea otters playfully float by, and harbor seals bask on the rocky shores. Moreover, the area is a habitat for black bears, moose, and even occasional glimpses of elusive orca and humpback whales. The untouched beauty of Whittier’s surroundings provides a front-row seat to observe Alaska’s captivating wildlife. It is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers.
8. Exploration of Historic Sites
Whittier, Alaska, boasts a rich history that is deeply intertwined with its unique geography and strategic significance during World War II. One of its most notable historic sites is the Buckner Building. This is a massive abandoned military structure that served as an army barracks and administrative hub during the war. It stands as an eerie testament to the town’s wartime past and is a captivating site for urban explorers. Additionally, visitors can explore the Prince William Sound Museum. The museum offers a comprehensive look into the town’s history through artifacts, photographs, and exhibits. With remnants of its military past and a story deeply tied to Alaska’s development, Whittier’s historic sites provide a fascinating glimpse into the town’s past.
9. Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Kayaking and paddleboarding in Whittier, Alaska, offer an extraordinary way to connect with the pristine natural beauty of this coastal wonderland. Paddlers can glide through the calm waters of Prince William Sound. You will be surrounded by breathtaking glaciers, rugged coastlines, and abundant marine life. Kayakers often have the chance to get up close to sea otters, seals, and a variety of seabirds while exploring the sheltered bays and fjords. Paddleboarding enthusiasts can also take advantage of the tranquil waters. There you will enjoy a serene and immersive experience in this remarkable wilderness. Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a novice paddleboarder, Whittier’s aquatic adventures provide an unforgettable opportunity to intimately engage with Alaska’s coastal treasures.
10. Local Dining
Local dining in Whittier, Alaska, is a delightful culinary journey that captures the essence of this coastal town. While Whittier is small, it boasts several eateries that serve up fresh and flavorful dishes with a focus on local ingredients. Seafood lovers will find their taste buds tantalized with succulent salmon, halibut, and crab. The food is often sourced directly from the surrounding waters. From cozy seafood shacks serving up the catch of the day to charming cafes offering hearty comfort food, Whittier’s dining scene caters to a range of tastes. Whether you’re savoring the catch from the Sound or indulging in Alaska’s wild game, the local dining options in Whittier add a delicious dimension to the overall experience of this charming Alaskan town.
11. Photography Opportunities
Whittier, Alaska, is a photographer’s dream come true, offering an abundance of breathtaking opportunities to capture the pristine wilderness and dramatic landscapes of the region. With its stunning glaciers, and towering mountains, Whittier provides a constantly evolving canvas for photographers. Whittier’s natural beauty and unique lighting conditions make it a picture-perfect destination for both amateur and professional photographers alike. You can capture the ethereal glow of the midnight sun, the shimmering reflections of glaciers in tranquil waters, or the majestic wildlife that calls this place home.
12. Art Galleries and Gift Shops
Whittier, Alaska, may be a small town, but it boasts a surprising array of art galleries and gift shops. They offer a rich glimpse into the creativity and culture of the area. These charming establishments showcase the works of local artists. These stunning paintings, intricate woodwork, and intricate handcrafted jewelry often draw inspiration from the region’s natural beauty. Visitors can explore these venues to find unique Alaskan souvenirs, from hand-carved totem poles to native crafts, all while supporting the local arts scene. You’re sure to find that special souvenir at one of the towns gift shops or art galleries.
A cruise to Whittier, Alaska, is an unforgettable experience filled with natural wonders, outdoor adventures, and a rich history waiting to be explored
From glacier tours to wildlife encounters, this remote Alaskan town offers a wide range of activities for every traveler. So, pack your bags, embark on your cruise, and get ready to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Whittier. It’s a destination that will leave you with lasting memories of Alaska’s pristine wilderness.
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Read the previous blog posts on things to do when cruising to Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Seward , Anchorage, Sitka, and Icy Strait Point. Coming soon to the blog, Haines. Be sure to subscribe to be notified when the posts are available!
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