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How to Spend 1 Day in Sitka

How to Spend 1 Day in Sitka

From grizzly bear country to totem poles in Sitka National Historical Park, exploring Sitka is all about big landscapes, traditional culture, and Alaska wildlife. You can experience the highlights with one day in the compact island community, soaking up Sitka’s quirky culture along the way. Use these tips to plan the perfect day. 

 

Morning: Visit the Fortress of the Bear

Pay your respects to Sitka’s original residents at Fortress of the Bear, a nonprofit grizzly bear conservation organization that offers a home to orphaned and rescued bears. It's possible to get within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of the resident bears, but Fortress of the Bear is not a zoo. Instead, you see naturalists interacting with the bears, and learn about the challenges they face in the wild—Tongass National Forest comes right to the edge of the .75-acre (.3-hectare) preserve. Covered viewing areas make this a favorite stop in any weather, and the bear sanctuary is a featured stop on many shore excursions and Sitka tours.

Afternoon: Sitka National Historic Park Totem Poles

Northwest coast totem poles line the walking trails at Alaska’s oldest national park, which commemorates the 1804 Battle of Sitka. Tours and excursions may feature guided walks of the park, which is a great chance to spot salmon and other wildlife, so take advantage of your time with the guide to learn about Sitka’s fascinating nature. Other sites inside Sitka National Historic Park include the battlefield and the Tlingit Fort, which withstood a 6-day siege by Russian and Aleut forces. Some tours may offer these as included stops on park visits.

Night: Go Whale Watching off the Sitka Coast

Humpback whales flock to Sitka between July and December, and you can watch for their dark-blue silhouettes while cruising the coast here. Options for whale-watching in Sitka range from small-boat excursions to sailing trips aboard vessels with enclosed cabins and spacious decks. Most trips feature onboard crew that help spot humpbacks, as well as orca whales, minke whales, and grey whales.

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6 Tours and Activities

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Premium Sitka Scenic Tour: Alaska Raptor Center, Fortress of the Bears,Totems!

Premium Sitka Scenic Tour: Alaska Raptor Center, Fortress of the Bears,Totems!

star-5
47
Skip the impersonal, large-group bus tour and explore Sitka on a small-group day trip to the city’s top landmarks, with a range of departure times offered to fit your schedule. Your guide, who navigates for you, brings you to four highly-rated attractions, including Fortress of the Bear, the Alaska Raptor Center, and the Sitka National Historic Park. All entrance fees are included for your convenience.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.86
From
$85.86

Sitka Shore Excursion: Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour

Sitka Shore Excursion: Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour

star-5
15
Soak up gorgeous landscapes aboard a smooth-sailing 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran on this whale-watching shore excursion from Sitka. For two hours, a seasoned captain takes a small group limited to just six passengers to prime spots to watch for humpbacks, gray whales, porpoises, seals and an array of birds. Learn about the marine life you see, and return to your ship with memorable shots of wildlife in action.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$142.31
From
$142.31

Sitka Sightseeing Tour including Fortress of the Bear and Totem Poles

Sitka Sightseeing Tour including Fortress of the Bear and Totem Poles

star-4.5
47
Discover Alaska’s historic city of Sitka on this small-group tour limited to just 10 people. A comfortable van takes you across the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island. Pass Sheldon Jackson Museum, Alaska Pioneer Home, and St. Michael’s Cathedral, and listen to engaging commentary on the sites from informative guides. Enjoy up-close views of rescued bears at Fortress of the Bear, and take in the stunning scenery of Sitka National Historical Park and admire its towering totem poles.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$73.00
From
$73.00

Amazing Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Shore Excursion

Amazing Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Shore Excursion

star-5
10
Get up close with Alaskan wildlife on a 2-hour whale watching tour from Sitka. With maximum five passengers on board the 24-foot vessel, you’re guaranteed an intimate and immersive tour experience. After departure from Baranof Island, keep your eyes peeled for Humpback, Minke, and Gray whales. Keep your camera and binoculars ready, as you may also encounter otters, sea lions, and a variety of birds.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$138.47
From
$138.47

Sitka Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour including Fortress of the Bear and Totem Poles

Sitka Shore Excursion: City Sightseeing Tour including Fortress of the Bear and Totem Poles

star-4.5
32
Get to know Alaska’s historic city of Sitka on this small-group shore excursion limited to just 10 people. Aboard a comfortable van, cross the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island. See Sheldon Jackson Museum, Alaska Pioneer Home, and St. Michael’s Cathedral, and hear informative commentary on the sites from seasoned guides. Meet the rescued bears of Fortress of the Bear, and take in the marvelous scenery of Sitka National Historical Park. Port transport included.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$73.00
From
$73.00

Sitka Shore Excursion: Sitka Harbor & Islands Guided Kayaking

Sitka Shore Excursion: Sitka Harbor & Islands Guided Kayaking

Learn to kayak while exploring the Sitka sounds on this shore excursion. When your cruise ship docks in port, avoid the last-minute scramble for shore excursions by prebooking this adventure tour. With all instruction and equipment provided, even beginners can feel comfortable exploring the waters around Sitka in the company of a guide. Along the way, learn about the local environment, history, flora, and fauna.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$154.79
From
$154.79