Photo Credit: Beth Fuller

Prince William Sound Day Tours & Attractions

Explore numerous day tours to experience the wonders of Prince William Sound. Departing from Valdez, you can kayak or take a day cruise to witness tidewater glaciers and spot wildlife in its natural habitat. Or leave from Whittier and enjoy day cruises, kayaking, or jet ski tours that explore the beauty of the sound from a different perspective. Whether you prefer a leisurely cruise or a more adventurous excursion, these day tours promise an unforgettable journey in Prince William Sound.

Glacier Cruises View All

Season: May 17 - Sept 15 $162+ 6 or 7.5 hrs

This fam­i­ly-run com­pa­ny oper­at­ing out of Valdez will show you the best glac­i­ers, with great cus­tomer ser­vice along the way. On any giv­en day trip you’ll like­ly see huge rafts of sea otters, horned and tuft­ed puffins, cor­morants, hump­back whales, or even bald eagles. Stan Stephens offers two dai­ly tours, one of which fea­tures Colum­bia Glac­i­er, the largest tide­wa­ter glac­i­er in South­cen­tral Alaska.

Season: May 4 - September 30 $173.95+ 3.75 - 5.75 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: Year Round $200+ 3.5 to 8 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

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Jet Ski Tours View All

Season: May–September $360 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.

Season: Mid-April – Late September $360+ 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.

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Sea Kayaking Tours View All

Season: May 15 - Sept 20 $89+ day tours, $579+ multi-day trips 3 hrs - 7 days

Through­out the decades, Anadyr has care­ful­ly tai­lored its trips to offer an option for just about any­one. Nev­er kayaked before? Try the Valdez Glac­i­er Tour for a relax­ing pad­dle on a lake with an easy hike to the glac­i­er. You’ll explore ice­bergs and even kayak into a glacial cave. Got a six year old that can’t wait to get out there? At 3 – 4 hours, the Duck Flats tour offers a mix of wildlife (sea lions and otters are com­mon) and Valdez history.  ...more

Season: May 15 - Sept 15 $375, Full Day 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. 

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Sailing & Private Yacht Charters View All

Season: June -  September $6,252+ 6 nights

Immerse your­self in a mul­ti-day Alaskan adven­ture that promis­es incred­i­ble views and jaw-drop­ping bear view­ing in Kat­mai Nation­al Park, along with a warm cama­raderie that only a small group expe­di­tion can cre­ate. Explore from your home base on the Island C, a research ves­sel that gets you close to the action while pro­vid­ing com­fort­able lodg­ing and deli­cious meals.

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.

Season: May - September
$5,850+ (Inside Passage $2,650+)
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

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Fairs & Festivals View All

Con­sid­ered one of Alaska’s top bird­ing events, this annu­al fes­ti­val dur­ing ear­ly May cel­e­brates the arrival of more than 5 mil­lion migra­to­ry birds on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta east of Cordova.

It’s only fit­ting that an Alas­ka fish­ing vil­lage throws a great salmon fes­ti­val. Every year in July, the town of Cor­do­va takes a break from fish­ing to turn out for the Cop­per Riv­er Salmon Jam. This fes­ti­val aims to cel­e­brate salmon and pro­mote the health and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of local salmon runs.

This annu­al three-day event cel­e­brates the Cor­do­va region’s abun­dant crop of wild mush­rooms with class­es, art and hand­craft ses­sions, expert talks, kid’s activ­i­ties and dai­ly-guid­ed trips into the rain for­est foothills and the Cop­per Riv­er Delta.

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!).

Cordova’s old­est fes­ti­val — which start­ed back in 1961 — is about offer­ing a cure for the win­ter blues. This week­long fes­ti­val hap­pens dur­ing the hope­ful time of year when the days are start­ing to get longer!

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Visitor Information Centers View All

Oper­at­ed by the U.S. For­est Ser­vice and open only in sum­mer­time, it’s staffed by guides who can help you under­stand the area. There’s also a stream that runs thick with pink and chum salmon when they return each sum­mer to spawn. Thanks to a foot­bridge over the stream and the clear Alaskan water, it’s easy to see the fish. (The best view­ing is from mid-July through Octo­ber.) You may also see black bears, who come to feast on the fish.

The Alas­ka Avalanche Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter works to increase pub­lic aware­ness and safe­ty through avalanche edu­ca­tion, and the net­work­ing of avalanche pro­fes­sion­als. It is entire­ly run by vol­un­teers who are pas­sion­ate about the outdoors.

Why go The For­est Service’s Begich, Bog­gs Vis­i­tor Cen­ter is locat­ed in Portage Val­ley, one of Alaska’s most vis­it­ed recre­ation areas. The val­ley is a show­case of glacial activ­i­ty with a num­ber of hang­ing” glac­i­ers grac­ing the encir­cling moun­tains. The vis­i­tor cen­ter is locat­ed on the north­west­ern shore of Portage Lake, and was built on the ter­mi­nal moraine left behind by Portage Glac­i­er almost a cen­tu­ry ago. The Trail of Blue Ice, Byron…  ...more

Stuffed bears and musk ox: The Valdez Vis­i­tors Cen­ter serves up some unex­pect­ed exhibits, along with all the infor­ma­tion you need to know to have a great expe­ri­ence in town. The knowl­edge­able locals who staff the cen­ter can help answer ques­tions, hand out town maps and vis­i­tor guides, and direct you to the wealth of brochures on tour oper­a­tors and hotels.

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Historic Parks & Sites View All

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. 

Con­struc­tion of this ear­ly-1900s bridge cost a whop­ping (at the time) $1.4 mil­lion, which earned it the nick­name Mil­lion Dol­lar Bridge. But the bridge quick­ly earned its keep, allow­ing the rail­road to haul cop­per from Ken­ni­cott to the port of Cordova.

This rail­road tun­nel was hand-cut start­ing in 1905. Nine com­pa­nies were bat­tling to take advan­tage of the short route from the coast to cop­per coun­try. Progress on the tun­nel was inter­rupt­ed and after a gun bat­tle, con­struc­tion halt­ed and the tun­nel was nev­er fin­ished. You can read about the tun­nel and these events in Rex Beach’s nov­el, The Iron Trail.

Believe it or not, but this area used to be cov­ered by tall trees!

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.

About 75 Miles South­east of Anchorage

Glac­i­ers are formed when more snow accu­mu­lates than melts through the sea­sons. The weight of the snow cre­ates pres­sure that turns snowflakes into dense, rivers of ice that shape the land.

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.

This was the orig­i­nal port and city of Valdez. The city was moved to its cur­rent loca­tion 4 miles down the road after it was dev­as­tat­ed by the 1964 Good Fri­day Earthquake.

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Museums & Cultural Centers View All

With exhibits, lore and its own orca whale skele­ton, this muse­um on the Cor­do­va water­front cel­e­brates the cul­ture, art, his­to­ry and eco­log­i­cal wis­dom of the region’s rich Native heritage.

This cozy, well-regard­ed muse­um in the heart of down­town Cor­do­va will bring you up to speed on the community’s nat­ur­al his­to­ry, Native and pio­neer her­itage, and a tumul­tuous mod­ern era that includ­ed the Great Alas­ka Earth­quake of 1964 and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound.

The muse­um por­trays the com­mu­ni­ty’s unique and col­or­ful his­to­ry from Euro­pean explo­ration in the 1700s to con­tem­po­rary oil trans­porta­tion. Per­ma­nent exhibits are accent­ed by tem­po­rary exhi­bi­tions of arts and crafts. Major arti­facts include a 19th cen­tu­ry Fres­nel Light­house Lens, a beau­ti­ful­ly restored 1907 Ahrens Con­ti­nen­tal” steam fire engine and a com­pan­ion 1880s Glea­son & Bai­ley hand-pumped fire engine, salt­wa­ter aquar­i­ums with the…  ...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 Max­ine and Jesse Whit­ney Muse­um has one of the world’s largest col­lec­tions of Native Alaskan art and arti­facts. Dis­plays include Tro­phy Class Taxi­dermy mounts, Native Alaskan dolls, bead­work, bas­kets, masks, archae­o­log­i­cal arti­facts, and a large col­lec­tion of ivory carv­ings and tools. Hours Sum­mer: Dai­ly 9am-7pm Win­ter: Mon-Fri 9am-12pm, 1pm-5pm, exclud­ing col­lege hol­i­days. Admis­sion Adults: $5, Seniors over 60 and mil­i­tary: $4, Children…  ...more

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Points of Interest View All

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. 

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! 

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 3 miles

This 1.5‑mile hike is an easy stroll down to the lake that offers a great pay­off in the form of a gor­geous glac­i­er. If you’re here in win­ter and the con­di­tions are right, it’s a great spot for wilder­ness ice skat­ing, fat bik­ing, or cross-coun­try skiing!

If you’ve yet to set eyes on an ice­berg, this is your chance: Gor­geous Valdez Glac­i­er Lake is often home to large chunks of float­ing ice that have calved off from the Valdez Glac­i­er. Appre­ci­ate the chunks of ice from shore, or join a guid­ed kayak expe­di­tion to pad­dle around the ice

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!

One of the most vis­it­ed nat­ur­al attrac­tions along the Richard­son High­way, this four-mile-long glac­i­er descends almost to pave­ment and is easy to approach on foot. The state recre­ation site fea­tures park­ing, pit toi­lets, and a cov­ered pavil­ion with a mod­el of the glac­i­er and inter­pre­tive signs, all close to small lake.

This point sep­a­rates Col­lege Fjord and Bar­ry Arm. You can see dead spruce trees which stand as silent tes­ti­mo­ny to the destruc­tion of the 1964 earth­quake. The land sunk more than 6 feet expos­ing the roots to salt­wa­ter and drown­ing the trees.

This very active glac­i­er forms a wall along the fabled Cop­per Riv­er near a his­toric rail­road route that once ser­viced the world’s largest cop­per mine. NOTE: A bridge at Mile 36 of the Cop­per Riv­er High­way is cur­rent­ly (2020) impass­able, with repairs not expect­ed for sev­er­al years. Child’s Glac­i­er is not cur­rent­ly acces­si­ble by road. Con­tact Cor­do­va Ranger Dis­trict for cur­rent venders pro­vid­ing trans­porta­tion options to the far side.  ...more

Coghill Point is the ter­mi­nus of the Coghill Riv­er, a world-famous red salmon fish­ery. Dur­ing the sock­eye salmon open­er (mid-July to ear­ly-August), hun­dreds of com­mer­cial gill net­ters scat­ter across the area pulling in the bounty.

In 1899, the Har­ri­man Glac­i­er extend­ed all the way to here, leav­ing only a tight pas­sage through which the ship could fit. Har­ri­man made the gut­sy deci­sion to sail through it, allow­ing them to be the first explor­ers and prob­a­bly the first humans to see this mag­nif­i­cent fjord. The glacial moraine still extends from the shore out to this point and you can see it just 6 feet below the sur­face at low tide.

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.

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.

Con­struc­tion of this ear­ly-1900s bridge cost a whop­ping (at the time) $1.4 mil­lion, which earned it the nick­name Mil­lion Dol­lar Bridge. But the bridge quick­ly earned its keep, allow­ing the rail­road to haul cop­per from Ken­ni­cott to the port of Cordova.

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.

It’s free to go this far by car, and you’ll get a pic­ture-per­fect shot of Portage Glacier.

Cor­do­va is the sea otter capi­tol of the world. They pup year-round, and there are many great places to see them!

Every year, mil­lions of shore­birds migrate from South Amer­i­ca to Alas­ka, where they stop to rest and feed on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta mud flats at Hart­ney Bay. This area also has poten­tial for great bear view­ing when the salmon are running.

Dri­ving from Anchor­age to Whit­ti­er to play in Prince William Sound? You’ll go through Anton Ander­son Memo­r­i­al Tun­nel — the longest (2.5 miles) high­way tun­nel in North Amer­i­ca, and the first designed for ‑40 Fahren­heit tem­per­a­tures and 150 mph winds! The one-lane tun­nel must be shared by cars and trains trav­el­ing in both direc­tions, and it usu­al­ly needs to be aired out in between trips (with jet tur­bine ven­ti­la­tion, anoth­er first!). This unique…  ...more

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