The Icy Strait Point is the divider between mainland Alaska in the north and the Chichagof Island in the south. As a tourist, you have a lot to do at Icy Strait, thanks to Alaska’s rich history, wildlife, and native cultures. For example, a trip to Chichagof Island will allow you to explore the native Tlingit village in the town of Hoonah and interact with the Tlingit tribe.
On the other hand, if you love to watch wild animals, you can take a boat or seaplane to the Glacier Bay National Park and go on a bear search. Wondering what more you can do in your Icy Strait Point tours? Here are seven things that you shouldn’t miss.
Watch humpback whales
The Icy Strait is one of the best places on Earth where you can watch humpback whales. May is the peak month when humpback whales come near the Icy Strait Point to feed on the nutrient-rich water. The whales stay until September before migrating back to the south.
You can take a charter boat and go whale watching during May to September. Apart from the whales, you can also see sea lions, various types of turtles, and thousands of colorful fishes. The best part about these Icy Strait Point tours is that you can be certain that you’ll see whale sightings. If you don’t see a whale during your tour, you will get your full money back.
See bears at Chichagof Island
National Geographic named the Chichagof Island Bear Island because of the massive number of bears found on the island. In fact, you may come across at least one to two bears every square mile.
Get tickets to your Icy Strait Wildlife and Bear Search Tour where you will be taken to potential bear-sighting locations. It’s a four-hour tour where you will not only see bears but also other Alaskan wildlife.
Learn about the history of the Tlingit village
The Tlingit Canoe and Culture Tour is a wonderful way to know about the history of the Tlingit village in the town of Hoonah. A guide will take you on a canoe and tell you about Tlingit’s rich cultural heritage. The hand-carved canoe is a piece of art, and you can buy miniature versions from the village. During your tour, you will come to know more about the culture of the tribe through their songs and music.
Once you finish the canoe tour, you can explore the town of Hoonah. Visit some of the local pubs and restaurants and try their foods and drinks. The local seafood and reindeer meat burgers will make you want to come back again.
If you are an avid angler and want to catch some huge trout and salmon, you can go on a fishing expedition during one of your Icy Strait Point tours. The waters of Icy Strait are full of fishes, such as steelhead, chum salmon, coho salmon, cutthroat trout, pink salmon, and Dolly Varden trout.
During the tour, you can visit areas that are particularly suitable for fishing. You can either bring your fishing rod or hire one before hopping on the boat. According to the local fishermen, no angler comes back empty-handed from the waters of Icy Strait Point.
Go on an adventure tour
The Adventure Center at Icy Strait is a one-stop destination for multiple adventurous activities, such as ziplining, bear watching, whale watching, kayaking, and many more. You can take a look at the itinerary and plan your tours accordingly. If you are not sure about what to expect from one of the tours, you can ask one of the friendly locals who would be more than eager to help you.
Visit the Yaakw Kihidi Cultural Center
The Yaakw Kihidi Cultural Center is the best place to know about the history and culture of the Icy Strait Point. A guide will explain how the Tlingit tribes came to Alaska and settled down in the town of Hoonah. There are various totem pole carvings through this cultural center with each one having its own meaning and significance. Ask the guide about the meanings of different totems to uncover the fascinating stories behind them.
Shop at the The Shops by HTA
If you want to take home some souvenirs from Icy Strait don’t forget to visit The Shops by HTA in downtown Hoonah! This shopping area offers a great mix things. You can find local sourced Halibut and Crab at the food truck court, local artisan goods, home décor items, jewelry, gifts, drinks and snacks. Step away from the “corporate” shops next too the ship and check out what the locals have to offer! Take time to explore and pick the best gifts that will best remind you of your visit. After you are done take the $3 shuttle back to the ship that leaves The Shops by HTA every 30 mins.
A trip to Alaska is incomplete if you don’t visit The Shops when at Icy Strait Point. Be sure to plan your itinerary well ahead of time so that you can accommodate these must-do activities when in Icy Strait Point.