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How to Spend 3 Days in Sitka

How to Spend 3 Days in Sitka

From grizzly bears to the forest canopy, Alaska’s natural wonders are some of the best in North America. Three days in Sitka give you time to discover the area by both land and water. Whether you’re looking for active adventures or a cultural immersion, use these tips to plan a 3-day trip to Sitka.

 

Day 1: Leave Land Behind

The humpback whales that arrive in Sitka between July and December aren’t the only marine life to call Alaska home. On your first day, take to the sea by small boat, sea kayak, or sailboat to increase your chances of encountering minke whales, orca whales, grey whales, puffins, sea otters, and more. Tours that explore by small boat grant you access to some of the sheltered coves and inlets that surround Sitka. These range from 2-hour outings to all-day wildlife tours, and should be booked in advance as the popular excursions are likely to sell out. In the evening, join a local crowd at Pioneer Bar, a favorite with the Sitka fishing fleet. You might just hear tall tales of life at sea as you sip an Alaska craft beer under a wall of fishing snapshots.

Day 2: Essential Alaska Wildlife

See grizzly bears from just 25 feet (7.6 meters) away at Fortress of the Bear, a non-profit conservation center on the edge of Tongass National Forest. Onsite naturalists share stories of the rescued and orphaned grizzly bears that live here, while regular feedings offer the chance to see the bears dine on their favorite foods. Options include bear-only and combo tours that cover nearby totem poles and wildlife highlights such as the Alaska Raptor Center, a rehabilitation site for bald eagles, golden eagles, snowy owls, and more. Only those birds that cannot be rereleased into the wild stay on as permanent residents so you’ll encounter a constantly-evolving roster of species. 

To complete your wildlife experience, make a final stop at the nearby Sitka Sound Science Center, whose salmon hatchery, touch tanks, and aquariums are a glimpse of animals that are often hard to spot in the wild.

Day 3: Sitka History and Culture

Delve deeper into Sitka history at Sitka National Historical Park, where hiking trails pass a lineup of exquisite totem poles—the park is roughly a mile from the cruise port and downtown, but the pickup and drop-off service that many tours offer is great insurance against unpredictable Alaskan weather. The Tlingit Fort tells the story of the people who once defended the site against an invasion from the East, while the Russian Bishop’s House offers a unique glimpse of historic Russian architecture. There’s plenty to see in the 113-acre (45-hectare) national park; many tour options include orientation by car and time to walk along park trails. Next, head to the Sheldon Jackson Museum, whose small collection features treasures from a wide range of Indigenous tribes in Alaska, including tools, canoes, and ceremonial dress.

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11 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
44
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.
More
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$80.77
From
$80.77
Taking safety measures

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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$142.31
From
$142.31
Taking safety measures

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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.52
From
$70.52
Taking safety measures

Sitka Shore Excursion: Alaskan Wildlife by Land and Sea

Sitka Shore Excursion: Alaskan Wildlife by Land and Sea

star-4.5
7
While your ship is docked in port, get to know Sitka’s historical sites and enjoy wildlife sightings on this land and sea combo shore excursion. First, hop aboard a catamaran and watch for whales, otters, porpoises, and birds. Then, discover by comfortable van Sitka’s top attractions, like Sitka National Historical Park, Japonski Island, and Fortress of the Bear, a habitat for rescued brown bears. Enjoy personalized attention on this small-group experience limited to 12 people.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$203.85
From
$203.85
Taking safety measures

Sitka Shore Excursion: Sitka Bears, Raptor Center, and Totem Park Tour

Sitka Shore Excursion: Sitka Bears, Raptor Center, and Totem Park Tour

star-5
4
Explore Sitka without the hassle of navigating on your own on a half–day tour to the city’s top landmarks, including the Fortress of Bears, National Historic Park, and Raptor Center. No need to plan logistics: Entrance fees are included for all stops on the itinerary. In addition to round–trip transportation from the Sitka cruise port, your guide provides live commentary about landmarks passed along the way.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$134.39
From
$134.39
Taking safety measures

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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$70.52
From
$70.52
Taking safety measures

Sitka Super Saver: Whale-Watching Cruise and City Sightseeing Tour

Sitka Super Saver: Whale-Watching Cruise and City Sightseeing Tour

star-3.5
3
This Sitka Super Saver gives you two best-selling tours at a discounted price. Aboard a catamaran, enjoy two hours of gorgeous natural scenery and keep watch for whales, porpoises, otters and birds. Back on land, explore by comfortable van Sitka’s top attractions like Japonski Island and Sitka National Historical Park. Your 2-hour Sitka city tour includes a visit to Fortress of the Bear, where you’ll see adorable bear cubs from a short and safe distance.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$203.85
From
$203.85
Taking safety measures

Private Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Tour

Private Whale Watching and Marine Wildlife Tour

star-5
1
Taking a shared-group whale-spotting cruise from Sitka may mean people restricting your views of marine life in the wild. Enjoy a more personalized experience with your own boat, a customizable itinerary, and a captain providing commentary tailored to you on this private trip. Cruise the waters off Baranof Island looking for whales, seals, otters, and other species in their natural habitat. Flexible departure times and hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$367.95
Price varies by group size
From
$367.95
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Private Sitka Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour

Private Sitka Whale-Watching and Marine Life Tour

star-5
14
Be wowed by gorgeous landscapes aboard a smooth-sailing 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran on this private whale watching tour from Sitka. An experienced captain takes you and your private party of up to six passengers to excellent locations to watch for gray whales, humpbacks, porpoises, seals, sea otters, and an array of birds. Learn about the marine life you spot along the way, and snap plenty of frame-worthy photos to take home.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$833.34
per group
From
$833.34
per group

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
  • Taking safety measures
From
$157.30
From
$157.30
Taking safety measures

Alaska Side By Side Nature Safari

Alaska Side By Side Nature Safari

star-5
10
Get off the beaten path - literally - on a 5-hour safari through Tongass National Forest. Courtesy round-trip transportation from your Sitka hotel takes you to the lush forest. Hop on your Yamaha Rhino OHV and let the wildlife adventure begin. Animal sightings can include brown bears, blacktail deer, and the American bald eagle. Be sure to also keep your eyes peeled for seals and sea otters on the boat journey to Kruzof Island.
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  • 5 hours
From
$282.06
From
$282.06