A Cruise Passenger’s Guide to Wrangell

Alaska cruise ports - Wrangell
Alaska cruise ports – Wrangell

Experience the Best of Wrangell, Alaska: Top Things to do for Cruise Ship Visitors

Visiting Wrangell, Alaska, by cruise ship is rare! As you can see from Wrangell’s Cruise Ship Calendar. If you’re lucky enough to visit this charming town, Wrangell offers an array of unique experiences. The town of Wrangell is perched on the northern tip of Wrangell Island and is only accessible by boat or plane. From exploring ancient petroglyphs to engaging with local wildlife, there’s something for every traveler. This guide covers the best activities to do in Wrangell and provides tips on what to wear for each adventure.

Finding information about tours in Wrangell can be difficult. We suggest following their Facebook Page, to start!

NOTE: You may find it easiest to book your excursions in Wrangell through your cruise ship operator, as local tours are rare. But, here’s some inspiration to get you started!

Explore Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park

  • Activity Description: Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. The beach is home to numerous ancient rock carvings believed to be over 8,000 years old. These petroglyphs provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Tlingit people who once inhabited the area. Petroglyph Beach in Wrangell has the highest concentration of petroglyphs in Southeast and is easily accessible for exploration.
  • What to Wear: Comfortable walking shoes, a light waterproof jacket, and layered clothing. The weather can be unpredictable, so layers are essential for staying comfortable.

Visit the Wrangell Museum

  • Activity Description: The Wrangell Museum offers a deep dive into the rich cultural and natural history of Wrangell. Exhibits include artifacts from the Tlingit people, the gold rush era, and the early American settlers. It’s a perfect stop for those interested in understanding the historical context of the region.
  • What to Wear: Casual clothing suitable for indoor activities. A light sweater or jacket may be useful, as indoor temperatures can vary.

Enjoy a Wildlife Viewing Tour

Alaska cruise ports - Wrangell
Alaska cruise ports – Wrangell James and Elsie Nolan Center
  • Activity Description: Wrangell is an excellent location for wildlife enthusiasts. Join a guided tour to see bears, eagles, sea lions, and possibly even whales. Tours often include visits to Anan Wildlife Observatory, where you can witness bears fishing for salmon up close.
  • What to Wear: Waterproof outerwear, sturdy hiking boots, and insect repellent. Bring a hat and sunglasses for sun protection, and don’t forget your camera!

Take a Jet Boat Tour to Stikine River

  • Activity Description: A jet boat tour up the Stikine River offers breathtaking views of the Alaskan wilderness. You’ll navigate through pristine waters, spotting glaciers, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. It’s an exhilarating way to experience the natural beauty of Wrangell.
  • What to Wear: Warm, waterproof clothing, including gloves and a hat. The temperature can drop significantly on the water, so dress in layers to stay warm.

Hike to Rainbow Falls

  • Activity Description: For the adventurous, a hike to Rainbow Falls is a rewarding experience. The trail is moderately challenging and offers stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding forest. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Wrangell.
  • What to Wear: Sturdy hiking boots, moisture-wicking clothing, and a rain jacket. Bring a small backpack with water, snacks, and a map or GPS device.

Discover Chief Shakes Island and Tribal House

  • Activity Description: Chief Shakes Island features a reconstructed Tlingit tribal house and totem poles. It’s a short walk from the cruise ship dock and provides insight into the local indigenous culture. Guided tours are available for a more in-depth understanding of the site.
  • What to Wear: Comfortable walking shoes and layered clothing. A windbreaker or light jacket is recommended, as it can be breezy near the water.

Go Kayaking in Wrangell Harbor

  • Activity Description: Kayaking in Wrangell Harbor is a serene way to explore the waters and see marine life up close. Guided tours are available and suitable for all skill levels. It’s a peaceful activity that offers a different perspective of Wrangell.
  • What to Wear: Quick-drying clothing, a waterproof jacket, and water shoes. A hat and sunscreen are essential for sun protection.
Alaska 2023 Seabourn Odyssey - Wrangell

Participate in a Fishing Excursion

  • Activity Description: Wrangell is renowned for its fishing opportunities. Join a fishing excursion to catch salmon, halibut, and other local fish. Local guides provide all necessary equipment and expertise to ensure a successful outing.
  • What to Wear: Waterproof gear, warm layers, and non-slip shoes. Bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen for sun protection.

Relax at City Park and Community Garden

  • Activity Description: City Park and the Community Garden offer a relaxing setting for a leisurely stroll. The park features walking paths, picnic areas, and beautiful gardens. It’s an excellent spot to unwind and enjoy the local flora.
  • What to Wear: Casual clothing and comfortable shoes. A light jacket may be needed, depending on the weather.

Weather Conditions in Wrangell

Typical weather in Wrangell during the cruise season (May to September) can vary. Summer temperatures range from 45°F to 65°F (7°C to 18°C). Rain is common, so waterproof clothing and sturdy shoes are recommended. Dressing in layers is advisable to accommodate changing weather conditions.


It’s clear that Wrangell, Alaska, offers a unique blend of tranquility, adventure, and cultural heritage that stands distinct among cruise destinations. From the thundering sounds of the Stikine River to the mysterious whispers of the petroglyphs, each moment spent here deepens the connection with nature and the rich history of this land. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a history enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Wrangell promises an unforgettable experience. So, as you sail away with memories of misty fjords and vibrant wildlife, remember that Wrangell isn’t just a stop on your itinerary; it’s a gateway to experiencing the heart and soul of Alaska. Don’t just take my word for it—come and see it for yourself!

FAQ about Wrangell, Alaska

Q: What are the top attractions in Wrangell, Alaska? A: Wrangell’s must-visit attractions include the Anan Wildlife Observatory, renowned for bear watching; the mysterious Petroglyph Beach with ancient rock carvings; and the mighty Stikine River, which offers spectacular scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Q: How do I get to Wrangell by cruise ship? A: Wrangell is accessible via several cruise lines that sail through the Inside Passage. Smaller cruise ships are more common, as they can easily navigate the narrower channels and provide closer access to Wrangell’s natural wonders.

Q: What activities can I do in Wrangell? A: Outdoor activities are plentiful in Wrangell. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, fishing, bird watching, and hiking. Guided tours to the Stikine River and Anan Wildlife Observatory are highly recommended for a more in-depth exploration of the local flora and fauna.

Q: What is the best time of year to visit Wrangell on a cruise? A: The best time to cruise to Wrangell is during the summer months, from May through September, when the weather is milder and wildlife is most active.

Q: Are there cultural experiences available in Wrangell? A: Yes, Wrangell is rich in Tlingit culture. Visitors can explore the Chief Shakes Island and Tribal House to learn about the local Indigenous history and traditions. Additionally, the Wrangell Museum offers insights into the area’s past, from its Tlingit roots to its Russian and American influences.

Q: What are the dining options like in Wrangell? A: Dining in Wrangell includes a variety of fresh seafood options, such as salmon and halibut. There are several local restaurants and cafes that offer delicious meals with a view of the harbor. Don’t miss trying the local delicacies like smoked salmon and crab.

Q: Is Wrangell suitable for families with children? A: Absolutely! Wrangell offers many family-friendly activities. The nature and wildlife tours are not only educational but also thrilling for children. Beachcombing on Petroglyph Beach can be a fun treasure hunt for kids of all ages.

Q: What should I pack for a day in Wrangell? A: For a day in Wrangell, pack layered clothing to adjust to changing temperatures, rain gear for unpredictable showers, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera or binoculars for wildlife and scenic views. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent!

By preparing with these FAQs, your visit to Wrangell can be smooth, enriching, and filled with adventure, capturing the essence of Alaska’s wild beauty.

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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.