Things To Do In Whittier
1. Take a Day Cruise
With the world’s densest concentration of tidewater glaciers, a day cruise in Whittier is perfect for getting out on the water and experiencing the thrill of seeing glaciers calve. Choose a shorter or longer day cruise and head out onto the calm waters of Prince William Sound to see glaciers and look for wildlife while surrounded by towering cliffs and waterfalls.
2. Paddle a Kayak
The calm waters of Prince William Sound make for the perfect place to take out a kayak and paddle among the spectacular glaciers. Plus, because kayaks cause less disturbance, it’s easier to get close to wildlife like sea otters, sea birds, and even whales. Launch from a dock or drop-off point and enjoy the view of shimmering waters backdropped by snow-capped peaks.
3. Pilot a Jet Ski
A Jet Ski is one of the best ways to explore the glaciers around Whittier—you’ll get the close-to-the-water intimacy you won’t find with a day cruise, and you can cover more territory than you would in a kayak. And if you love to Jet Ski (or want to try it), this is the only place in Alaska to do it!
4. Try a Small Ship Expedition
If you have a few days and really want to explore this scenic area of Alaska, an expedition on a yacht offers an intimate way to do it. With just a few other passengers (usually up to 12 or so), you’ll have the flexibility to relax while sailing around and enjoying sports like kayaking and fishing along the way.
5. Take a Hike
Whittier offers a couple short hiking trails that make for easy exploration of this scenic area. Walking Horsetail Falls and Portage Pass trails will give you some fantastic views of waterfalls, glaciers, and Prince William Sound.
6. Tour Historic Sites
Take a trip back through time to explore Whittier’s fascinating history. Drive the Whittier Tunnel, North America’s longest highway tunnel that cuts through the base of a mountain (just get the schedule first, as the tunnel is one-way and trains use it, too).
There’s also some WWII history here, as the town was built to transport food and supplies during the war. Learn all about it at the Prince William Sound Museum.
7. Stay in a Public Use Cabin
Get a real flavor of remote Alaska by staying in public use cabins, some of which are set on lush islands. Reserve well ahead of time, then reach these rustic spots by taking a water taxi with Lazy Otter Charters and spend your days exploring and relaxing.
Whittier Day Tours & Attractions View All
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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 also opt for 3‑day/2‑night outings or even 10-day/9‑night expeditions.
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.
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
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
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
$400+ Day-trip | $470+ 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.
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.
$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
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.
Whittier Parks & Trails View All
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.