What to do in Sitka on Your Alaskan Cruise
Congratulations, you’re going on an Alaskan cruise. You’re going to love it.
But, what to do in Sitka on your Alaskan cruise? Simply walk about the town, or take an adventurous excursion?
While it would be difficult, if I were forced to pick my favorite town on our Alaskan cruise, my answer would be Sitka.
First of all, with the scores of cruise ships sailing Alaska’s waters on any given day, most of the itineraries tend to be roundtrips from Seattle or Vancouver that stay within the protected waters of the Inside Passage. Therefore, with Sitka’s position on the Gulf of Alaska, the town sees far less traffic than the towns of Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.
This is immediately noticeable the moment you step ashore. Absent are the rows of Caribbean jewelers that you’ll find in the other Alaskan cruise destinations, and the romance of this historic fishing town is all yours to enjoy.
For this reason, we decided to spend our day exploring the town of Sitka, and saved some of the more adventurous pursuits for our other Alaskan ports of call.
Top 10 Things To Do in Sitka, Alaska
- Explore the historic town of Sitka – the only way to get to Sitka is by plane or boat. Therefore, simply walking about this charming fishing village is an experience all by itself. Less than 10,000 people make Sitka their home, and most of them make their living in businesses revolving around the fishing industry. Stroll through the marina and enjoy the activities of the local fisherman. Sitka is easily walkable, so take a stroll through the town. Before you go, take a peek at our article: 10 things you probably didn’t know about Sitka, Alaska. There’s quite a bit of Alaskan history in this town.
- Wildlife Boat Tours – One of the first things you’ll notice as your ship pulls into the Sitka harbor is the abundance of small islands in every direction. Because of this, wildlife boat tours are a very popular half-day adventure. A new friend I met on the boat took a Sea Otter & Whale Quest tour and loved it. To explore the Sitka wildlife boat tour options, click here.
- Lunch with the locals – as you might imagine, Sitka has the freshest of seafood available to its visitors. If seafood isn’t your bag, then you are certain to enjoy the Pacific Northwest Frontier cuisine available in various restaurants around town. We enjoyed a quick sandwich at the Homeport Eatery. To explore 15 restaurants available in Sitka, click here.
- St. Michael’s Cathedral – for a taste of Sitka’s Russian history, take a quick stroll through St. Michael’s Cathedral. The moment we walked in the door, our senses were aroused with the sound of Russian choral music playing on the loudspeakers, the smell of incense in the air, and stunningly beautiful icons, religious objects, and beautiful oil paintings hanging on the walls. To see a list of 25 attractions in Sitka, click here.
- Sitka National Historical Park – perhaps our favorite Sitka experience was strolling through this beautiful park. On an island amid towering spruce and hemlock, this park has preserved the site of the battle between invading Russians and the indigenous Tlingit peoples. Here you can enjoy the restored Russian Bishop’s House, enjoy scores of totem poles, and best of all, take a stroll through the aromatic forest and enjoy bald eagles peering down from the treetops above. The park is a nice stroll from the downtown area, and is a must see if you’re exploring the town. For more information, click here.
- Shopping – for those of you who love shopping, click here to see a list of small shops offering locally made art, jewelry, clothing, keepsakes, and more.
- Saltwater Fishing – care to try your hand at landing a king salmon, or perhaps a tasty halibut? Click here for a list of charter fishing boats.
- Kayak the Sitka Sound – I bet exploring the protected bays, inlets, and islands of the area would be a blast. For kayak tours, click here.
- Hiking – take a strenuous hike up Mount Edgecumbe Volcano, or perhaps an an easier hike winding through alpine forest and meadows to the peak of Harbor Mountain where you enjoy incredible vistas of the mountains surrounding Sitka. Click here.
- Flightseeing – enjoy the beautiful sights from one of Alaska’s famous floatplanes. Click here.
For even more options for your stay in Sitka, Alaska try exploring the website from our friends at the Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, Sitka won our hearts because of the laid-back charm of this small fishing village. The town is rich in history, is set in a stunning location, and is devoid of any touristy feel. We felt as though we had stepped back in time, and our hearts desire to go back for more.
Although we don’t regret our decision to explore the town, instead of the environs, we sure would like to go back and witness the surrounding area.
As I think about Sitka in my closing paragraphs, I could see myself renting a house in Sitka for a week and simply taking in a deep drink of this beautiful Alaskan town. We loved Sitka that much! 🙂
I hope our Top 10 list has helped you plan a marvelous visit to Sitka, Alaska while you’re on your Alaskan cruise. As we continue to explore the world, why not subscribe to our free newsletter. Who knows, perhaps we can help you plan another fabulous day in another fabulous location.
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I tried clicking on several links to tour operators you provided, but none of the links worked. I tried in Chrome and Internet Explorer.
Sorry about that. Clearly, the Sitka Tourism board has made changes and thereby made our links bad. Go here: http://www.sitka.org/
The link for 15 restaurants does not work. I’ll be there in 6 weeks and really interested.