Photo Credit: Beth Fuller

Prince William Sound Day Tours & Attractions

Glacier Cruises View All

Season: May 15 to Sep 19 $140+ 6 or 8.5 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: 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: May 1 - Oct 2 $199+ 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

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Jet Ski Tours View All

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.

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.

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Sea Kayaking Tours View All

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

Lazy Otter offers offers dou­ble and sin­gle kayak rentals, and trans­porta­tion to seclud­ed areas of Prince William Sound. Not ready to kayak alone? Opt for a guid­ed trip. 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. 

Season: May 15 to Sep 20 $74+ day tours, $452+ 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

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Sailing & Private Yacht Charters View All

Season: May - September
$4,500+ (Inside Passage starting at $1,320)
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: June -  September $5,598+ 7 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.

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Fairs & Festivals View All

Season: Jul 15 to Jul 16

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.

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!).

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.

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!

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.

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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.

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.

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

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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. 

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.

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.

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

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.

About 75 Miles South­east of Anchorage

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.

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.

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.

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Museums & Cultural Centers View All

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.

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.

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

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.

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Points of Interest View All

How and where to find Alaska’s glac­i­ers — some of the state’s most beau­ti­ful nat­ur­al attractions

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

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!

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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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