11 Exciting Things To Do In Icy Strait Point Alaska For Cruise Ship Passengers

Things To Do In Icy Strait Point Alaska

11 Exciting Things To Do In Icy Strait Point Alaska For Cruise Ship Passengers

If you’re thinking about taking a vacation on a luxury ship, Alaska might not be the first place that comes to mind. Despite this, Alaskan cruises have become increasingly popular over the past several decades. This is likely attributable to the fact that they are very inexpensive, feature breathtaking natural wonders and scenery, and offer a wide range of activities while in port.

There are some people who would be shocked to find that cruise ship passengers at Alaskan ports have access to special excursions, but for those who dock at Icy Strait Point cruise port, there is no shortage of exciting things to do when you come off the ship for a while to explore the surrounding area.

Alaska Cruise Ship Near Hoonah

Icy Strait Point, near Glacier Bay National Park, along with several other ports and private islands located throughout the state of Alaska, was developed specifically for the purpose of serving as a cruise ship port. It is the only cruise port owned and operated by the local indigenous community. These Alaskan cruise port locations provide services to cruise ship passengers who are interested in having fun and experiencing new things while they are away from the cruise line ship.

Do you want to know what to do in Icy Strait Point Alaska? If you are only going to be docked at Icy Strait Point cruise port for the day, here are some excursions you might want to think about participating in on your trip.

Activities Available In And Around Icy Strait Point

Be informed that Icy Strait Point cruise port is a place in Alaska that has a lot to do before making decisions regarding your off-ship excursions there. This area has much to offer, from cultural activities to amazing food and animal viewing.

You will have plenty of opportunities to participate in activities such as whale watching and learning about Alaska’s native culture on your visit. Cruise ships dock here from April through September, so check to see when yours will be in the area.

Moose - Animal Viewing Near Icy Strait Point, Alaska

1) Shopping In Icy Strait Point

There are many things to do in Icy Strait Point which is located in the town of Hoonah Alaska. This town that serves as a dock for cruise ships offers guests a variety of retail choices. If you really want to support the locally owned shops you have to make it to town which is a short mile away.  While the historical Cannery Complex has a few shops that are locally owned, the bulk of the shops are Icy Strait Point owned and situated all over the grounds.  

Even though there are just about 12 shops in the area, most all owned by Icy Strait Point, each one is distinct and caters to a different set of preferences.

The Shops by HTA is the don’t-miss shopping experience while docked at Icy Strait Point, in Hoonah Alaska.  It is located on the harbor downtown.  The Shops by HTA is more of a Hoonah destination than just another Icy Strait Point shopping area.  The Shops by HTA sells a variety of Alaska-made items, from locally hand-carved native art to foods such as smoked salmon, t-shirts with in-house designs not found elsewhere, locally sourced salves, jars of jellies and jams, and other basics for the kitchen. Don’t forget the tasty treats and unique keepsakes! The Shops also has a large park like area right next to the famous Eagles Nest with lots of seating to relax and take in the views. 

2) Wildlife In The Area

Icy Strait Point is a fantastic location for whale watching, and viewing bald eagles, and you might even spot a bear or two there. At Icy Strait Point, you can encounter the wildlife of Alaska in a number of different ways, including:

Brown Bear And Bald Eagle In Alaska

3) Learn About Tlingit Culture

The Huna Tlingit people were among the first to settle in Alaska and represent one of the world’s oldest populations of indigenous people. Icy Strait Point is owned by the local community and is administered by the Huna Totem Corporation.

The commercial activity in the region not only provides work opportunities for the region’s 1,500 locals but also contributes to the development of sustainability and ensures the tribe’s continued existence.

Visitors can take in a performance at the Hoonah Heritage Center with the Tribal Dance & Cultural Legends demonstrations, experience indigenous festivals, and purchase crafts and items manufactured by members of the local tribe who make Icy Strait Point their home.

Tlingit Totem

4) Gondola Rides In Icy Strait Point

Tram rides can be taken to the summit of Hoonah Mountain by riding the Mountain 360 Tram. This tour lasts for about an hour and a half from start to finish, and it functions in a manner that is analogous to that of a hop-on-hop-off experience.

Guests ride an open-air tram around the mountain ranges of Icy Strait Point to get a glimpse of the diverse natural landscape and wildlife that can be found in the region.

All of the gondolas are completely powered by electricity in order to reduce their overall impact on the environment. All of the seats in the gondolas can be folded, making them accessible for people with disabilities who may be concerned about getting around.

5) Museums In Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point is home to its very own museum, the Cannery, and Hoonah, Alaska, not far away, features a number of historical and cultural attractions of its own.

  • The Historic Museum and Cannery at Icy Strait Point is a good place to learn about the region’s salmon cannery industry, which employed many native Alaskans, and the museum features several historical artifacts from the trade, including fishing paraphernalia and exhibits.

  • The Culture and Heritage Center at Hoonah serves not only as the primary office for the nearby indigenous community, but also as a museum and a site to experience tribal dance, music, exhibits, and festivals.

6) Point Adolphus

In addition to being an excellent location for whale watching, Point Adolphus on Chichagof Island is also a beautiful location for bird watching and picnicking.

Even though the stretch of beach is in no way comparable to what you would find on a tropical island, during the summer months, it is a great place to bring the family to get away from the hustle and bustle of ship life and enjoy nature in a park-like atmosphere.

Those who are interested in the area birds may have the opportunity to witness the Pacific loon, the Pelagic Cormorant, or the Pigeon Guillemot as they roam around. In addition, there are camping facilities for overnight stays, kayak exploration tours, and day outings available in this area.

Whale Watching Near Icy Strait Point, Alaska

7) Icy Strait Point Zipline

Do you enjoy engaging in activities that get your heart racing and your blood pumping?

If you don’t mind traveling from the summit of Hoonah Mountain all the way down to the valley floor at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, then the Icy Strait Point Ziprider is the activity for you.

On the longest zip line in the world, you will make a quick descent of more than 5000 vertical feet to the base of the mountain, which is located high above an Alaskan spruce tree forest. Those who crave excitement are going to adore this one!

Zipline - Things To Do In Icy Strait Point Alaska

8) Chichagof Island

The little island is not only the location of Hoonah and Icy Strait Point cruise port, but it also stands on its own as a fantastic destination for those who want to spend time in the great outdoors, especially whale watching.

Chichagof Island offers excursions that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the native flora and fauna. It is ironic that the island is named after Admiral Vasili Chichagov, a Russian explorer of the Arctic who never came to Alaska, much less gorgeous Chichagof Island that is named after him.

Part of Glacier Bay National Park, the island offers beautiful scenery and majestic wildlife viewing year round.

Beautiful Scenery In Alaska

9) Fishing Adventures

Fishing is a skill that many of the people who live at Icy Strait Point cruise port have honed to a high level. The fishing industry has been the primary source of income for the local people for countless centuries, and it plays a significant role in the indigenous traditions of the area.

Those who are interested in trying their luck at landing some of the local fish in the region can choose from a wide variety of fishing charters and trips that are offered in Hoonah.

90% of local tour operators have formed a co-op of sorts with The Shops by HTA.  Visitors can purchase a variety of experience tours, from companies owned and operated by Hoonah locals, right inside the store at the “Tours Desk”.  

Some of the local companies in the area include the following:

Fishing Adventures Near Icy Strait Point, Alaska

10) Experience Nature

The migration of humpback whales, which takes place right in this region, is at its peak from the end of April to the beginning of October, making this the ideal time for whale watching.

During the summer months, the whales travel from Hawaii to Alaska and back again. Visitors to the Alaskan wilderness can embark on whale-watching trips to witness these massive and majestic animals.

Visitors to this wilderness landing have the opportunity to see native birds, small fauna, bald eagles, Alaskan brown bears, and even a moose or two by booking a tour on a kayak and paddling around the area’s miniature inland rivers or the bay itself.

Bald Eagle Near Icy Strait Point, Alaska

11) Dining In Icy Strait Point

It’s possible that when you think of a pleasant dining experience, a tourist hamlet on the coast of Alaska is not the first place that comes to mind. However, Icy Strait Point boasts a number of restaurants from which to pick:

  • The don’t-miss foodie sensation is the Oso Gordito in downtown Hoonah, Alaska.  Located in the heart of it all, a mile from Icy Strait Point, next to The Shops by HTA, and across the street from the Seawalk. Oso Gordito is Hoonahs #1 spot for locally sourced Halibut Fish & Chips, Halibut Tacos, and a variety of other mouth watering, Mexican Fusion inspired specialties!

  • Fisherman’s Daughter is also a great spot to go for lunch with a varied menu and a unique Salmon Bites offering that is a locals fav. Located across from the Oso Gordito it too is a local gem.  

  • In addition to reasonably priced meals, such as burgers, French fries, chicken fingers, and other American classics, the Cookhouse Restaurant also features regional seafood and a bar. Cannery Beer, a locally crafted ale, is best experienced at the Cookhouse Restaurant, which is also the place to go if you want to savor traditional Tlingit cuisine and local brews.

  • At Alaska’s Wild Kitchen, guests get the opportunity to learn about this history and participate in an experience that lasts for an hour and a half and teaches them how to prepare fresh catch from the bay as well as local wildlife. You will be able to take an interactive tour to discover various recipes for preparing your catch, and you will also be able to learn how to cook on a genuine Adler grill.

Prepare Your Own Catch - Grilled Salmon

Don’t Miss It!

Icy Strait Point is a wonderful place to experience Alaska all in one location and sets itself apart from other Alaskan cruise ports. Icy Strait Point offers much to the seafaring traveler who arrives at its docks.

From this small tourist destination, you can experience local wildlife, including humpback whales, dolphins, and native birds. You can have an adventure on the longest zip line in the world or take a nature walk through the forest. Shop at the Cannery Museum and eat like a local, learn about the native people, and take an exciting trip in a kayak to see the surrounding landscape.

Although it might be small, Icy Strait Point is jam-packed with a lot to do for travelers, and best of all, you are providing support for the local indigenous people and their communities with every dollar you spend there.

Don’t delay, head over to Hoonah Travel Adventures today to begin planning your Alaskan adventure!

Icy Strait Point Kayaking Adventure


3 hours
Group Size
Up to 30

Guaranteed Whale Watching in the Icy Strait Point, Alaska Area - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

Our Hoonah whale watching tour begins when we pick you up at the Icy Strait Point Excursions Hub. We drive along Shaman Point to the Hoonah City Harbor where our charter boat is waiting. Along the way, you may spot some of our local wildlife, including bald eagles, blacktail deer, and more. Hoonah is home to the largest concentration of Alaskan brown bears in the world, so keep your eyes open!

We then board the boat and leave Hoonah Harbor. While traveling along the shorelines, sightings of bears, deer, coastal ducks and geese, blue heron, puffin, terns, cormorants, and more are common. In the water, you may get a chance to spot humpbacks, orca, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, and seals.

Large numbers of humpback whales come to Hoonah to feed in the nutrient-rich waters of Point Adolphus, Glacier Bay and Icy Strait every summer before migrating south again in the winter. The whale population begins to arrive in Hoonah in May and stays through September. Humpback whales are large baleen whales that can reach over 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 50 tons. They are most famous for their whale songs, thought to be used by males as a mating call. Humpbacks are amazingly active and typical whale sightings include diving, blows, and flukes (tails). Lucky whale watchers may get to see breaching or bubble-net feeding, a cooperative feeding method where a pod forms a circle and dives under the water. They blow air to create a wall of bubbles that force krill and plankton to the surface where the whales can eat them. Observing humpbacks practice bubble-net feeding is a real treat and a truly thrilling experience. We have a $100 whale sighting guarantee! If a whale is not sighted on your tour your will be credited $100.

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3 hours
Group Size
Up to 10

Wilderness Tour and Brown Bear Search - LEO, Military, Teacher Discount!

Chichagof Island, or Shee Kaax, is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Alaska Panhandle. At 75 miles long and 50 miles wide, it has a land area of 2,048.61 square miles, making it the fifth largest island in the United States. Chichagof Island has the highest population of bears per square mile of any place on Earth and its dense rain forests are some of the last grizzly strongholds!

The community of Hoonah, with a year-round population of approximately 750, is located in the northern part of Chichagof Island. The vast majority of the island is made up of pure, uninhabited Alaskan wilderness teeming with wildlife! The Ursus arctos, or brown bear, is the king of the forest, but Sitka black-tail deer, bald eagles, minks, martens, beavers, ducks, and seabirds thrive on the island and are sometimes spotted on this tour.

This Alaskan wilderness and bear search tour is only offered May through September because those are the months that afford the highest probability of bear sightings. In late April and May, the bears are coming out of hibernation and looking for food. In June, the bears are mating and eating grasses on the tidal flats. Older males fight each other for dominance and mating rights with the females, who at times are not receptive and force the male to give chase.

In July, the salmon start their migration from the ocean up the rivers and we find the bears feeding in coastal rivers and streams. In August and September, the salmon have made it further up the rivers to shallow streams where the bears chase them.

Depending on the month and the weather, the wildlife can be found in different locations throughout the island. Your guide spends a lot of time in the forest and knows where to look.

Join us as we search for these amazing creatures!

This tour is located on the Tongass National Forest under special use permit from the Forest Service, USDA.
Hoonah Travel Adventures LLC is an equal opportunity provider.

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3 hours
Group Size
Up to 6

Icy Strait Fishing Adventure

Fishermen come from around the world to cast their lines in the waters of Southeast Alaska in search of halibut and salmon. Join the ranks of these traveling fisherman and book a trip with us today!

3 hours
Group Size
Up to 12

Icy Strait Kayak Adventure

The reasons to Kayak with us are endless! A few reasons might be to experience unspoiled nature and stunning scenery amid a mountainous back drop! Or simply the serenity and peace that speaks to ones soul while gliding silently across the water in this majestic, remote location.

3 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
2 to 10

Chichagof Island Birding & Nature Adventure

In the lush vegetation of Chichagof Island, near Hoonah, Alaska, where Brown Bears outnumber humans, birding is an adventure! Your expert bird guide is also a naturalist, and you will learn about the natural and human history of the area, the plants, animals, fish, forests, and rivers. Pigeon Guillemots, Bald Eagles, Varied Thrushes, Steller’s Jays, Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Red-breasted Sapsuckers are some of the favorites, but this is so much more than just another birding tour. Come experience the vibrant ecological web created here, in Hoonah, Alaska, near Icy Strait Point where the towering temperate forests of Chichagof Island tangle with the rich marine life of Icy Strait.