A visit to Summer Bay beach reveals a wild and rugged vista. All thoughts and sounds of the busy port of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska are swept away as the ocean waters of the Bering Sea enter the bay and pound the shoreline with mesmerizing force. Rolling green hills surrounding the bay are carpeted with wildflowers in summer and berries in the fall.

This is Unalaska’s only sandy beach that is accessible by car – and you do need a ride to get here, as Summer Bay is about 4.5 miles from town. In addition to impressive landscape along the drive, watch for large rafts of otters on the coast, eagle nests in the cliffs, and military remnants from Dutch Harbor’s World War II coastal defense system.

Today the beach is an important recreational site for local residents, who come here to picnic, hike, swim, surf, beach comb, tidepool, harvest clams, and visit the small band of feral horses that inhabit this part of the island. Fishing for salmon is another popular activity – and an island tradition going back at least 2,500 years. Archeological findings suggest that this wide, shallow bay was used by the Unangan people during the summer months as a fish camp. Remnants of that long-ago life – decorative pendants from bone and ivory, grinding stones, and adz blades – are on display in the Museum of the Aleutians in town.

Take Summer Bay Road (constructed by the military in 1942 to provide access to Fort Brumback in Morris Cove, beyond Summer Bay beach) past Priest Rock, over the bridge and then park to access the beach.

Winds can be quite strong here, so bring your layers. And be sure to get a land use permit from the Ounalashka Corporation if you’re going to hike around.

Getting There

Summer Bay Road
Unalaska, AK 99692
Driving Directions