Photo Credit: Sunny Cove Kayaking

Alaska Sea Kayaking Tours

Even if you're taking a cruise to see Alaska, climbing into a sea kayak takes your water exploration to a whole new level—namely, eye level. Do a saltwater paddle and you'll quietly slice through the waves as you approach a rookery of puffins or a raft of sea otters.

Kayaking may require a little more effort than rafting, but if you've never lifted a paddle before, don't worry. Here's what you should know:

Alaska Sea Kayaking Tours  (:48)

You Can Do it For Three Hours, or Five Days

The typical trip is just a half-day, and will start with a quick primer on paddling technique and safety. Some trips include a stop for hiking or a lunch ashore. Other trips last all day, geared toward more athletic paddlers, or even last for days, with overnight camping or lodging on a private boat from a mothership trip. Or take a multi-day private yacht or small boat charter where you'll launch kayaks right from the boat!

Or tuck into a yurt with unlimited access to kayaking. There are two outside of Seward, Alaska. The first is Orca Island Cabins which boasts 7 yurts located on a private island in picturesque Humpy Cove, each with a private deck and bath. The other is Shearwater Cove, where you'll find two yurts tucked into a picturesque cove.

You'll See Marine Wildlife—Up Close

Unlike rafting trips, where you're more likely to see land-based animals ashore, sea kayaking tours offer marine life views: sea lions, otters, seals—maybe even whales—and, of course, fish just below the surface. You'll typically stay pretty close to shore, too, so you might also see goats or bears. Sea kayaking excursions also offer a nice alternative to day cruises, as kayaking lets you go where cruise ships cannot. Kayaks also lack the loud engines that larger boats are equipped with, and moving quietly allows you to get closer to marine birds and mammals.

It's Not Super Strenuous

If you can handle a good walk, you can handle sea kayaking. Experienced guides will coach you on safety and the basic techniques While there is some strength and flexibility involved (the latter mostly for getting in and out of the kayak), there's a good reason that most operators use stable, two-seater kayaks. If you're a beginner, you can share the paddling work, and have more time for enjoying the views.

You're Away From the Crowds

Most Alaska sea kayaking outfitters pair a maximum of six paddlers with a guide - and as few as two. That's a drastically different feel in comparison to a day cruise boat where you will enjoy the scenery with a hundred fellow passengers.

Typical Price Range

As little as $65 for a half day, or $400 for a full day if it involves a remote drop-off; most are about $100 to $150.

Where to Go

Almost any port city along a cruise itinerary will offer some kayaking options, but Seward and Homer make especially good sea kayaking choices—for the variety of options, the abundant wildlife, and as a great place to stay for a few days, too.

Juneau View All

Mendenhall Glacier • Wetlands • Smuggler's Cove

Season: May 01 to Sep 30 $112 3.5 hours

Glac­i­erview Sea Kayak­ing with Alas­ka Trav­el Adven­tures offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to kayak through Auke Bay while enjoy­ing views of Menden­hall Glac­i­er. You’ll also have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see wildlife like whales, sea lions, seals, and bald eagles. Kayak­ing offers a much more inti­mate and qui­et expe­ri­ence than oth­er boat tours; at the same time, it is per­fect for trav­el­ers who want an adven­ture. And even if you’ve nev­er pad­dled a kayak before, a  ...more

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Valdez View All

Prince William Sound • Large Glaciers • Day Trips & Overnight Trips

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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Homer View All

Kayaking in Kachemak Bay

Season: May 09 to Sep 06 $125+ 4.5 to 8.5 hours

Explore a qui­et coast­line just a few miles from Homer, where you’ll kayak through the pro­tect­ed waters of Tut­ka Bay in search of amaz­ing views, wildlife and adven­ture! Your guide leads the way on a half-day or full-day tour, glid­ing past dense woods, rugged shore­line and hid­den coves. Add on fish­ing for the fresh­est in Alaskan salmon or rockfish!

Season: Mid April to September $195+ 3/4 to Full Day Excursions

Homer is the hal­ibut cap­i­tal of Alas­ka, and this long­time char­ter com­pa­ny offers a blue-chip way to get to the fish. They have high-qual­i­ty boats, expe­ri­enced cap­tains, and enthu­si­as­tic crews — as well as an inside line on find­ing hal­ibut, rock fish and sil­ver salmon. But they also offer a vari­ety of oth­er ways to enjoy the waters off Kachemak Bay, from wildlife cruis­ing to pad­dling a kayak or hik­ing in Kachemak Bay State Park. 

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Seward & Kenai Fjords View All

Resurrection Bay • Glaciers • Wildlife

Season: About May 19 to Sep 07 $89+ 4 hrs - 7 days

Mem­bers of 1% For The Plan­et, Kayak Adven­tures World­wide strives to ful­fill their mis­sion to inspire an active stew­ard­ship of our nat­ur­al world. Through small group sea kayak tours in Res­ur­rec­tion Bay and Kenai Fjords Nation­al Park, they focus on safe­ty, edu­ca­tion, and con­nect­ing guests with the unique and frag­ile ecosys­tems you’ll visit.

Season: May 01 to Sep 26 $79+ Half day to full day excursions

For a clos­er, qui­eter, and more peace­ful ver­sion of the Alaskan glac­i­er and wildlife cruise, trav­el by sea kayak. Pad­dle the shore­line of Res­ur­rec­tion Bay, where encoun­ters with sea otters, seabirds, and spawn­ing salmon are com­mon. Choose from a vari­ety of three-hour excur­sions or take a full-day trip.

Season: May 1 – 3rd week of September $69+ 3-10 hrs

Take a bou­tique, small-group kayak­ing trip with expe­ri­enced guides at Liq­uid Adven­tures and get close to glac­i­ers in kayaks or pad­dle­boards while look­ing for whales and oth­er marine mam­mals. You can even com­bine your adven­ture with a jet­boat, heli­copter, or wildlife cruise. There’s noth­ing quite like it in all of Alaska!

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Anchorage View All

Drive an Hour or take a Train South for your Kayak Tour

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $50+ 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: Jun 06 to Sep 06 $349+

Enjoy a mag­i­cal morn­ing or evening kayak­ing the calm waters of Spencer Lake, in the awe-inspir­ing pres­ence of a jagged ter­mi­nus glac­i­er. Your time on the water is sand­wiched between two train rides that offer up some of Alaska’s most scenic rail miles. It’s a full day of unfor­get­table expe­ri­ences in our country’s sec­ond largest nation­al for­est – the Chugach.

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Sitka View All

Wilderness Sea Kayaking in the Sitka Sound

Season: Late April-early October $154 per person 3 hrs

Begin in down­town Sit­ka, where you’ll take a motor­ized, rigid-hull inflat­able on a 15- to 20-minute ride across beau­ti­ful Sit­ka Sound, with the mas­sive vol­cano Mt. Edge­cumbe pro­vid­ing a dra­mat­ic back­drop. Look for marine wildlife on your way to a unique float house in a small, pro­tect­ed bay where you’ll kayak across shim­mer­ing water.

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Girdwood View All

Kayaking at Spencer Glacier • Tours depart from Girdwood & Anchorage

Season: Jun 06 to Sep 06 $349+

Enjoy a mag­i­cal morn­ing or evening kayak­ing the calm waters of Spencer Lake, in the awe-inspir­ing pres­ence of a jagged ter­mi­nus glac­i­er. Your time on the water is sand­wiched between two train rides that offer up some of Alaska’s most scenic rail miles. It’s a full day of unfor­get­table expe­ri­ences in our country’s sec­ond largest nation­al for­est – the Chugach.

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Haines & Skagway View All

Easy Lake Paddles • Sea Kayaking in the Lynn Canal

Season: May - September $114+ 4 hrs - 8 days

Guid­ed sea kayak­ing in Alaska’s South­east opens up the mag­i­cal world of water-based tour­ing. Glide through a marine envi­ron­ment with gor­geous views in every direc­tion, and many oppor­tu­ni­ties to spot wildlife – from eagles and salmon to bears, whales and sea lions. Options include day tours for busy sched­ules and mul­ti-day immer­sions, all under the expert guid­ance of nat­u­ral­ists who help you under­stand the com­plex work­ings of a unique and amazing  ...more

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Whittier View All

Prince William Sound • Largest Concentration of Tidewater Glaciers

Season: May 15 to Sep 15 $50+ 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. 

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Ketchikan View All

Ocean Kayaking • Great Shore Excursion during a Cruise

Season: Apr 01 to Sep 30 $159+ per person 3+ hrs

Expe­ri­ence kayak­ing in Alas­ka the way it should be — away from the crowds — with these unique Ketchikan pad­dling tours that make you feel like a true explor­er. Your small group (usu­al­ly just 4 peo­ple) will board the company’s com­fort­able boat and set off from the Ketchikan cruise-ship dock, leav­ing the big ships and the crowds behind. Choose from a 3‑hour tour, or 5‑hour kayak and hike tour.

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