Girdwood Day Cruises

Girdwood is the perfect launching point for a day cruise in nearby Prince William Sound. It’s a 45 minute drive or just over an hour train ride. If you chose to drive yourself, remember to consider the Whittier Tunnel schedule.

If you're going to be in Girdwood, the Portage Glacier Cruise is another option. It's the perfect tour if you’re looking to get up close to a glacier but don’t have a lot of time or don’t want to spend too much money. It's about a 30 minute drive and the tour lasts one hour.

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Day Cruises

Whittier Day Cruises View All

<p>Whittier • Best Glaciers • 1.5 hrs from Anchorage by car, 2 hrs by train</p>
Season: May 1 - Oct 8 $183.95+ 5.5 Hrs

Phillips 26 Glac­i­er Cruise, out of Whit­ti­er, will take you to 26 dif­fer­ent glac­i­ers in just 5.5 hours. Enjoy cozy com­forts on the high-speed cata­ma­ran and wan­der its out­door decks as you come with­in 300 feet of mas­sive tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers. In addi­tion to glac­i­ers, the cap­tain will be on the look­out for wildlife like otters, whales, har­bor seals, and marine birds. The trip takes place in the after­noon, and a hot lunch is includ­ed in your tour.   ...more

Season: May - September
$5,690+ (Inside Passage starting at $1,650)
5 days / 4 nights
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Sea Star

Set sail for 5 days and 4 nights with the crew of the M/V Sea Star for small ship adven­ture cruis­ing in Prince William Sound, Kenai Penin­su­la or along the Inside Pas­sage. The well-appoint­ed yacht accom­mo­dates just 12 guests, allow­ing for a per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence where you are the explor­er! Unplug from day-to-day life and soak up the won­ders of Alaska’s amaz­ing coast­line. All meals pre­pared by an on-board chef and fea­tur­ing fresh local  ...more

Season: Year Round Call for Rates

The team at Alas­ka Auto Rental offers rental cars for the most unique itin­er­ary: over grav­el high­ways, through win­ter weath­er, on one-way legs, or start­ing out from unusu­al loca­tions. It’s local­ly-owned, with employ­ees who know Alaska’s roads and their chal­lenges. You’ll get help­ful trav­el advice, a can-do atti­tude, and reli­able wheels.

Bald eagles. Brown bears. Black bears. Hump­back whales. Orcas. Stel­lar sea lions. Har­bor seals. Sea otters. Moose. Wolves. 200,000 seabirds of over 220 dif­fer­ent species. You can find this impres­sive col­lec­tion of icon­ic Alaskan ani­mals right in Prince William Sound. Here’s where to go in each town for the best wildlife-view­ing opportunities!

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $55+ 8 hrs - Full Day

Lazy Otter offers guid­ed kayak tours and trans­porta­tion to seclud­ed areas of Prince William Sound. The calm waters have a gor­geous back­drop of the Chugach Moun­tains’ ser­rat­ed peaks. Keep an eye out for the crea­tures that walk the shores and swim in the sea: orcas, hump­back whales, sea lions, puffins, seals, sea otters, eagles, goats, and bears. 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 2 miles Elevation Gain: 700 feet

This leisure­ly, 0.75-mile trail begins just south of Whit­ti­er, a lit­tle sea­side town locat­ed some 2 hours south of Anchor­age. The trail doesn’t climb much, but it will take you high enough to get an unob­struct­ed view of numer­ous water­falls, includ­ing the long-drop­ping waters of Horse­tail Falls as it sheets over the sheer rock face of Black­stone Ridge. 

One of Whittier’s true gems is hid­den in plain sight. The Head of the Bay is lit­er­al­ly that: Where the shim­mer­ing waters of Prince William Sound meet the shores of this charm­ing town — and it’s a beau­ti­ful spot to vis­it. Come with a pic­nic and take it all in as you relax. You’ll also find a met­al fire ring, per­fect for a sum­mer evening bon­fire. Want to camp there? It’s more pop­u­lar with those dri­ving RVs or camper­vans than tent campers.

Whit­ti­er is not only gor­geous; it’s also full of fas­ci­nat­ing WWII and Cold War his­to­ry. And that past is easy to explore — the town pub­lish­es a map out­lin­ing an engag­ing walk­ing tour of the his­toric sites. (You’ll get a copy when you dri­ve through the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel; those arriv­ing by cruise ship can pick one up in any local business.)

Bik­ing, fish view­ing, a nat­ur­al his­to­ry cen­ter and a flat hike to a glac­i­er are with­in easy reach of this qui­et, inti­mate camp­ground in Portage Val­ley at the head of Tur­na­gain Arm in the Chugach Nation­al For­est. The 12 sites in the grav­eled, wood­ed Black Bear are yards from the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor.

The Glac­i­er Dis­cov­ery Train departs Anchor­age with stops in Whit­ti­er (Prince William Sound), Gird­wood, Portage, and Spencer Glacier

Season: Mid-April – Late September $340+ per driver 4 hours

Tour­ing the spec­tac­u­lar tide­wa­ter glac­i­ers of Prince William Sound is even more excit­ing when you do it on a Jet Ski. Go with Alas­ka Wild Guides out of Whit­ti­er to expe­ri­ence the area’s unique sights and sounds while skim­ming across the top of the water on your own per­son­al watercraft.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 6 miles

This is a 6.6‑mile round-trip trail with very lit­tle ele­va­tion gain, mak­ing it a great option for the whole fam­i­ly. Along the way, you’ll glimpse amaz­ing views of Prince William Sound. It takes about 90 min­utes to hike halfway, out to the cove. And it’s worth the trip: Here you’ll find a lagoon fed by the tide and full of huge starfish.

Season: April - Sept
$580+ Day-trip | $935+ Multi-day
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: M/V Caroline

Spend the after­noon, or a few days explor­ing the waters of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Prince William Sound aboard the M/V Car­o­line, a beau­ti­ful cus­tom-built yacht set for adven­ture! It’s the per­fect set­ting for a fam­i­ly or small group vaca­tion. Fill your days loung­ing on the fly­bridge, fish­ing, kayak­ing, strolling beach­es and cruis­ing to your next fan­tas­tic destination.

Difficulty: Difficult Distance: 6 miles

This is a very steep, 6.4‑mile round-trip trail that’s most­ly unmarked and requires expe­ri­ence with scram­bling and climb­ing over rocks. Your reward for the effort, though, is some very dra­mat­ic views of Shot­gun Cove and the glac­i­ers in Black­stone Bay.

With 60 sites on paved loops, Willi­waw is suit­able for large motorhomes and offers great access to the Trail of Blue Ice — a non-motor­ized mul­ti-use trail that tra­vers­es the val­ley floor. Also near­by bik­ing, salmon view­ing, hikes, and glac­i­er viewing.

Season: May–September $340 4 - 4.5 hours

Faster than a kayak and more inti­mate than a day cruise, the Jet Ski is a great way to get up close and per­son­al with Alaska’s gor­geous scenery. Go with Whit­ti­er-based Glac­i­er Jet Ski Adven­tures and you’ll be tak­ing your machine out on the water to explore the stun­ning glac­i­ers and wildlife of Black­stone Bay. All equip­ment is pro­vid­ed and no expe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary on this unique 4.5‑hour journey.

Quick: what’s the longest com­bined rail and high­way tun­nel in North Amer­i­ca? It’s the Ander­son Memo­r­i­al Tun­nel, and you’ll dri­ve through it on the scenic and his­toric dri­ve to Whit­ti­er. The Kenai Moun­tains-Tur­na­gain Arm Nation­al Her­itage Area is a place whose val­leys and moun­tains, com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple tell the larg­er sto­ry of a wild place and a rugged fron­tier. This audio guide gives you the inside scoop on its fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry. You’ll…  ...more

Season: May - September $70 - $170

The only same-day ser­vice between Seward and Denali Nation­al Park! Enjoy the ride aboard a deluxe motor­coach with com­fort­able seats, pic­ture win­dows, in-seat pow­er out­lets, and an onboard restroom. Offer­ing reg­u­lar sched­uled sum­mer ser­vice con­nect­ing Seward, Whit­ti­er, Anchor­age, Tal­keet­na, and Denali, plus spe­cial cruise con­nec­tions on ship days.

The famous sur­vey­or Menden­hall named this glac­i­er for a min­er who was car­ry­ing mail from Cook Inlet to Whit­ti­er in 1896, dis­ap­peared in a snow­storm, and was nev­er seen again. His broth­er Willard (who gives his name to the near­by island) searched for him but found only the mail pack­et atop the glac­i­er which now bears his name. 

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $2,900
3 Days
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Explore the nat­ur­al won­ders of north­west­ern Prince William Sound Alas­ka in this 3‑day ver­sion of our Clas­sic Dis­cov­ery Voy­age. This is the per­fect cruise for those who don’t have time to do the whole Inside Pas­sage or wish to com­bine their Alas­ka cruise with more shore-based activities. 

In 1943, The Army Corps of Engi­neers built a mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rat­ing the effort of build­ing the 2.5 mile long tun­nel through the sol­id rock of May­nard to real­ize the vision of Whit­ti­er as a year-round ice-free port. The mon­u­ment was recent­ly restored in a new loca­tion with the orig­i­nal plaque. 

The 2000 pho­to­graph doc­u­ments the con­tin­u­ing advance of Har­vard Glac­i­er, which has com­plete­ly obscured the view of Rad­cliff Glac­i­er. Bal­ti­more Glac­i­er has con­tin­ued to retreat and thin. Alder has become estab­lished on the hill slopes, but is dif­fi­cult to see from the pho­to loca­tion. Har­vard Glac­i­er has advanced more than 1.25 kilo­me­ters (0.78 miles) since 1909. (USGS Pho­to­graph by Bruce F. Molnia). 

The mon­u­ment, a plaque on a 13-ton rock, can be found in the town’s Tri­an­gle busi­ness dis­trict amidst a wild rose gar­den. It’s a trib­ute to those who It’s a fit­ting trib­ute to those who lost their lives dur­ing the 1964 earthquake. 

Season: Year Round $175+ 3.5 to 9 hrs

Lazy Otter offers clas­sic tours, but this is a water taxi, so they’ll also take you any­where you want to go with­in Price William Sound — or just cus­tomize a tour to what­ev­er you want to see. Maybe that’s glac­i­ers, or whales, — or maybe it’s qui­et time on a seclud­ed beach. Lazy Otter can also help facil­i­tate tak­ing you and your fam­i­ly on a camp­ing trip. You’re not held to any strict sched­ule, either: if, on a day tour, you can spend more time in one  ...more

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $8550*
5 days / 4 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Prince William Sound, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Explore a wildlife rich slice of Alas­ka, set in the scenic wilder­ness set­tings of Lake Clark Nation­al Park, and the Chugach Nation­al For­est Wilder­ness of Prince William Sound.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 1 mile

Whittier’s newest trail is a gem — a gen­tle, ¾‑mile stroll that fol­lows Whit­ti­er Creek from the rail­road cross­ing up to the water­fall. Locals love it: It’s right in the mid­dle of town, but the lush green­ery makes you feel like you’re far from civilization.

Season: May 14 to Sep 11 $71 to $148

The train can be used as a mode of trans­porta­tion, how­ev­er it can also be a round-trip sight­see­ing excur­sion. This pri­ma­ry des­ti­na­tion is the town of Whit­ti­er, a major cruise ship and after­noon day cruise hub. Day Trips from Anchor­age: Whit­ti­er, Gird­wood, Spencer Glac­i­er, Grandview

Season: May 15 to Sep 15
Call for Quote
Custom
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: The Sea Mist

Design your exclu­sive itin­er­ary then set sail into the vast open waters and wildlife-rich shore­lines of Prince William Sound aboard your own spa­cious and pri­vate yacht. Up to six pas­sen­gers can sit back, relax, and expe­ri­ence an inti­mate tour. Most guests enjoy the 5‑day/​4‑night trips, but you can book longer 10-day/9‑night expeditions.

In Prince William Sound you’ll find some 150 glac­i­ers packed into an area just 70 miles wide. These are the few that you shouldn’t miss! 

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $4,500+
5 days/4 nights or 6 days/5 nights
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Cordova, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Per­fect for the adven­tur­ous trav­el­er, the Hike and Kayak voy­age sees all the same sites as on our Clas­sic voy­age, but with more excur­sions. Kayak among ice­bergs, hike through moun­tain mead­ows, and take in the scenery on this unique trip. Activ­i­ties can be cus­tomized to suit the inter­ests and activ­i­ty lev­el of those on board.

Difficulty: Moderate Distance: 2 miles

This 2‑mile-long, fam­i­ly-friend­ly trail, which begins 90 min­utes south of Anchor­age at the far end of the Whit­ti­er Tun­nel, remains the only easy way to see Portage Glac­i­er on foot. And it’s has a spec­tac­u­lar con­clu­sion: After crest­ing Portage Pass, the trail drops through glacial scrub before pop­ping out on the wide grav­el shores of Portage Lake, direct­ly across from the snout of gor­geous Portage Glacier.

The Pio­neer Mon­u­ment com­mem­o­rates res­i­dents of Whit­ti­er who have passed away. Flags fly above the mon­u­ment and names are added peri­od­i­cal­ly, as long-time res­i­dents pass. 

Season: Year Round Call for quote

Hire a pro­fes­sion­al dri­ver to take up to 4 pas­sen­gers (plus lug­gage) any­where with­in the Talkeetna/​Seward/​Soldotna/​Kenai cor­ri­dor — basi­cal­ly, any­where with­in a 2.5- to 3‑hour radius of Anchor­age. Use for day trips (they’ll wait while you do your tour), trans­fers to your cruise ship, a pri­vate dri­ver for your whole vaca­tion, and more.

Season: Jun 05 to Sep 20
From $4,850+
5 to 7 Days
Ports of Call: Anchorage, Whittier, Valdez
Cruise Ship Type: Small Ship Cruises
Ship Name: Discovery

Our Clas­sic Dis­cov­ery Voy­age is the per­fect wilder­ness sam­pler. We take in the most spec­tac­tu­lar sights of Prince William Sound — moun­tains, fjords, glac­i­ers and wildlife — with the num­ber of dai­ly excur­sions (ashore or by kayak) tai­lored to the inter­ests and activ­i­ty lev­el of the group.

This 500-foot cas­cade plunges into a cove sur­round­ed by immense cliffs along the north­west wall of the inner fiord for Black­stone Glac­i­er in Prince William Sound. One of the most pho­tographed in the region, this water­fall is eas­i­ly viewed dur­ing a day cruise from Whittier.

Phone: 9074402847 Address: Lot 8 Small Boat Hbr, Whit­ti­er, AK Hours: Sun 8am — 5pm, Mon 8am — 8pm, Tue-Fri 8am — 5pm, Sat 8am — 8pm (Open May 15 — Sep 20)

There’s no bet­ter deal on fresh fish and chips in Whit­ti­er. Choose from hal­ibut or rock­fish, light­ly bat­tered and served hot, fast, and in gen­er­ous por­tions. The fish is fresh from Prince William Sound, which is what you’ll be look­ing out on from their deck. They also have house-made clam and seafood chow­ders, local striped shrimp, and even burg­ers and chick­en strips. Eat on the cov­ered deck, with a view of the moun­tains and har­bor, or sit…  ...more

Whit­ti­er was built as a deep­wa­ter port and rail­road ter­mi­nus to trans­port fuel and sup­plies dur­ing World War II. Come inside the Anchor Inn where a small but fas­ci­nat­ing muse­um gives a glimpse of Whit­tier’s inter­est­ing history.

The area of Whit­ti­er has long served as pas­sage between Prince William Sound and Tur­na­gain Arm. The Alas­ka Engi­neer­ing Expe­di­tion envi­sioned a rail line out to this large­ly unset­tled area back in 1914, but it was the U.S. Army that made Whit­ti­er where and what it is.

Height: 50 ft.

Every town has their 4th of July tra­di­tions, and while small, Whittier’s is lots of fun. And, it’s the main com­mu­ni­ty event of the year. It also doesn’t take itself too seri­ous­ly! There’s a tiny parade through the down­town tri­an­gle” (blink and you might miss it!).

Har­bor seals and sea otters are com­mon sights in the Whit­ti­er Small Boat Har­bor. You might also see salmon enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly leap­ing from the water, a sight that cues locals to run for their fish­ing poles. King salmon run from May through ear­ly-July. From late-July through ear­ly-Sep­tem­ber, a run of sil­ver salmon brings anglers from through­out South­cen­tral Alaska.

Built dur­ing WWII as a top-secret mil­i­tary project, today Whit­ti­er is a great jump­ing-off place to explore Prince William Sound. To con­nect Whit­ti­er with the rest of the Alas­ka Rail­road, dur­ing the war the mil­i­tary con­struct­ed a mas­sive tun­nel. Today the expand­ed tun­nel is the longest com­bined rail and high­way tun­nel in North America.

Known as Alaska’s Play­ground, the Kenai Penin­su­la is one of the state’s most beau­ti­ful and acces­si­ble areas. A wealth of roads and trails offers the poten­tial for amaz­ing wildlife view­ing: birds, seabirds, whales, bears, moose, and cari­bou are all here. Of course, these crit­ters don’t just mag­i­cal­ly appear when you walk by. So we con­sult­ed long­time wildlife biol­o­gists to put togeth­er an audio guide to three dozen hot spots that offer the best…  ...more

The Sug­pi­aq are mar­itime peo­ple of south and south­west Alas­ka, adept at uti­liz­ing water-based resources and han­dling intense coastal weath­er. The name Sug­pi­aq comes from the word Suq,” mean­ing real peo­ple.” Alu­ti­iq, the Sug­pi­aq term for the Russ­ian name Aleut” has been adopt­ed by many con­tem­po­rary Native peo­ple of this diverse her­itage; both terms are com­mon­ly used today. The Sug­pi­aq who inhab­it the out­er coast­line of the Kenai Peninsula…  ...more

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Portage Day Cruises

1 hr from Anchorage by car
Season: May 14 to Sep 15 $45+ 1 hr

Just an hour’s dri­ve from Anchor­age, the MV Ptarmi­gan let you get with­in 300 feet of the tow­er­ing ice wall called Portage Glac­i­er. You can also book a nar­rat­ed motor­coach tour to take you to Portage Glacier. 

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