A Cruise Passenger’s Guide to Icy Strait Point

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Alaska cruise ports - Icy Strait Point
Alaska cruise ports – Icy Strait Point

Top Things to Do in Icy Strait Point, Alaska – A Cruise Passenger’s Guide

Icy Strait Point, Alaska, (also referred to as “ISP) offers an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, wildlife, and indigenous Tlingit culture. Did you know, the whale watching tours here GUARANTEE you’ll see whales, or they’ll refund your money? Whale watching is very popular but we love to just walk around, take the free tram that moves between cruise ship docks, or better yet – ride worlds LARGEST zip rider for a safe, wonderful thrill! HOT TIP: Don’t want to spend any money on your visit to ISP? Simply exit your cruise ship, an wander the port area. There’s crackling fires, nature trails and stunning views all around!

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This remote locale, accessible primarily by cruise ship, is perfect for those looking to experience the serene, untouched charm of Alaska in an EASY, easy-to-walk setting. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or a culture enthusiast, Icy Strait Point provides a range of activities to enhance your visit. Below, we explore the must-do activities, typical weather conditions, and recommended attire for each, ensuring your trip is comfortable and memorable. This map will familiarize you with the area, and where you may dock relative to varying activities at ISP.

Weather Overview in Icy Strait Point

During the cruise season, temperatures in Icy Strait Point are relatively cool, with averages ranging from 40°F to 60°F (4°C to 15°C). The warmest months are usually July and August, where temperatures can occasionally peak in the mid-60s°F (around 18°C).

Rain is a common occurrence in Icy Strait Point, as it is in many parts of Southeast Alaska. Visitors during the cruise season should expect a good number of rainy days, with June often being the driest month of the season. The rain contributes to the lush, green landscapes that make the area so picturesque but also means that waterproof clothing is essential for outdoor activities. Pack a raincoat and waterproof shoes or boots.

Experience World-Class Whale Watching

  • Activity Description: Whale watching is a not-to-be-missed experience in Icy Strait Point. The nutrient-rich waters are home to humpback whales, orcas, and even the occasional grey whale. Board a small boat that takes you into the waters where these majestic creatures are often found. Depart directly from Icy Strait Point on your comfortable whale-watching vessel to the renowned Point Adolphus area, home to Alaska’s largest summer population of humpback whales. Your onboard naturalist will describe the the diverse species that gather every summer to indulge in Alaska’s nutrient-rich waters. The whales are so plentiful that Icy Strait Point that the tour operator will offer a 100% refund if a whale is not spotted on the trip. However, don’t anticipate a refund! Whales have been sighted on every tour conducted since they opened in 2004.
  • What to Wear: Dress in layers. Opt for a waterproof outer layer, and don’t forget gloves and a hat to keep warm against the chilly sea breeze. Don’t forget your camera!

Explore the Pristine Wilderness on your OWN!

  • Activity Description: Hiking in Icy Strait Point offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests. Various trails cater to different fitness levels, offering everyone a chance to enjoy the landscape. However, the gentle hike (see the “Nature Trail” photo below) between cruise ship docks is a wonderful alternative if you’d like a safe, easy hike with some lovely views and gorgeous flora and fauna.
  • What to Wear: Waterproof hiking shoes or boots are a must, along with moisture-wicking clothing and a waterproof jacket. Always carry a lightweight backpack with essentials like water and snacks.

Visit the Historic Cannery

  • Activity Description: The restored Hoonah Packing Company cannery is now a fascinating museum that provides insight into the local fish processing industry, which played a pivotal role in the region’s history. Guided tours are available, showcasing antique machinery and historic photos.
  • What to Wear: Comfortable walking shoes and a warm jacket for the cool indoor environment and potentially windy conditions outside.
Alaska cruise ports Icy Strait Point - Hoonah Cannery
Alaska cruise ports Icy Strait Point – Hoonah Cannery

Take a ZipRider Adventure

  • Activity Description: For the thrill-seekers, the Icy Strait Point ZipRider is one of the world’s longest and highest zipline rides. Experience exhilarating speeds up to 60 mph as you descend 1,300 feet over the stunning forest. HOT TIP: The ZipRider is a hands free experience, meaning, it’s okay to pack your camera! Just be sure it’s secure to your hand or body, because you’ll be ZOOMING down the mountain, and you don’t want to drop your camera!
  • What to Wear: Secure, closed-toed shoes are mandatory. A windbreaker over warm clothing will help guard against the brisk wind during your descent.
Alaska cruise ports - Icy Strait Point ZipRider excursion
Alaska cruise ports – Icy Strait Point ZipRider excursion

Cultural and Historical Tours

  • Activity Description: Learn about the rich Tlingit heritage through a variety of cultural exhibits and performances. Demonstrations, dances, and stories are integral to these tours, offering deep insights into the local indigenous culture.
  • What to Wear: Comfortable, casual clothing and shoes that are easy to walk in, with a light rain jacket handy.

Bear and Wildlife Viewing

  • Activity Description: The area around Icy Strait Point is teeming with wildlife, including brown bears, bald eagles, and Sitka deer. Guided tours offer a safe way to observe these animals in their natural habitats. Book a tour to “Bear Island” on this exclusive tour. Chichagof Island has been named “Bear Island” by National Geographic because it has the highest concentration of bears in the world at 1-2 brown bears per square mile. This Exclusive Wildlife and Bear Search small group tour will give you a flexible, up-close experience that the large group tours simply cannot offer.
  • What to Wear: Durable, water-resistant outdoor gear, binoculars for a closer look, and layers to adjust for temperature changes during the day. HOT TIP: A must- pack bug spray! Mosquitos love to congregate near bears!

Local Cuisine Sampling

  • Activity Description: No visit to Alaska is complete without trying some local delicacies like fresh salmon, halibut, or crab. Seafood is fresh and often prepared using traditional methods.
  • What to Wear: Casual dining attire is appropriate; however, always have a jacket for the journey there.

Kayaking and Fishing

  • Activity Description: For a quieter adventure, kayaking and stream fishing provide a peaceful yet engaging experience with nature. Get close to water-level views of marine and shoreline wildlife. On this Icy Strait point fishing expedition, you will be provided with an ultra-light spinning rod casting artificial lures. Gear, tackle and assistance for any experience level are also provided to guarantee that this trip will be a highlight of your trip to Alaska.Depending on the time of year, angling opportunities include Dolly Varden trout, Cutthroat trout, Pink (Humpy) salmon, Chum (Dog) salmon, Coho (Silver) salmon, and Steelhead.
  • What to Wear: Waterproof gear and layers; neoprene gloves can keep hands warm while paddling or handling fishing gear.
Alaska cruise ports Icy Strait Point Kayaking
Alaska cruise ports Icy Strait Point Kayaking

Conclusion

Visiting Icy Strait Point by cruise ship is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of Alaska. Each activity offers a unique way to connect with nature and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the area. Dressing appropriately for each activity will ensure comfort and enhance your overall experience, making your Alaskan cruise a truly memorable one.

Conclusion

Visiting Icy Strait Point by cruise ship offers a rare and enchanting glimpse into Alaska’s pristine wilderness and rich cultural heritage. This hidden gem provides a perfect blend of adventure, wildlife encounters, and immersive cultural experiences, all set against the backdrop of stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re soaring down the world’s longest zipline, exploring the dense, mossy forests on a hike, or witnessing the majesty of humpback whales breaching in the icy waters, Icy Strait Point promises memories that will last a lifetime.

By preparing for the typical weather conditions and dressing appropriately, you can fully embrace the spirit of adventure and discovery that defines this extraordinary destination. So pack your sense of wonder, and embark on a journey to one of Alaska’s most captivating cruise ports.

FAQs about Icy Strait Point, Alaska

What is the best time of year to visit Icy Strait Point? The best time to visit Icy Strait Point is during the cruise season, which runs from May through September. This period offers the mildest weather and the best opportunities for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing.

Are there any age restrictions for the ZipRider? Yes, the Icy Strait Point ZipRider has specific age and weight restrictions for safety reasons. Participants must typically be at least 10 years old and weigh between 75 and 275 pounds. It’s always best to check with the operator for the most current requirements.

How long are the guided cultural tours? Guided cultural tours at Icy Strait Point generally last between one to two hours. These tours provide an insightful look into the Tlingit culture, including traditional performances and historical exhibits.

What type of wildlife can I expect to see during bear viewing tours? During bear viewing tours, you can expect to see brown bears in their natural habitat, especially during the salmon spawning season. Additionally, you might spot other wildlife such as bald eagles, Sitka black-tailed deer, and a variety of bird species.

Do I need special permits for fishing in Icy Strait Point? Yes, if you plan to fish in Icy Strait Point, you will need an Alaskan fishing license. These can often be purchased online or at local shops in the area. Specific regulations and guidelines will apply, so it’s important to be informed about local fishing laws.

What clothing should I pack for a visit to Icy Strait Point? Packing layers is essential for a visit to Icy Strait Point due to the variable weather. Bring waterproof outerwear, warm layers, sturdy hiking boots, and accessories like hats and gloves. It’s also advisable to pack binoculars and a camera to capture the stunning scenery and wildlife.

Enjoy your adventure to Icy Strait Point, where every moment is a step further into the heart of Alaska’s natural and cultural treasures!

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Sheri
Sheri and her family are cruise content creators focused on providing practical tips and advice to new and seasoned cruisers. CruiseTipsTV’s audience enjoys following Sheri and her family as they travel the world by ship creating travel films. Sheri has visited destinations like Japan, Mexico, Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean, and has experienced 33 cruises on 6 cruise lines. She was named one of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 10 Travel Influencers Changing How We Vacation in 2018 and 2019. Sheri has been quoted in the New York Times, CNBC, Forbes, Prevention, and Business Innovator Radio. Her YouTube Channel, CruiseTipsTV has over 87,000 subscribers and 17 million views.