Few destinations are as adventure-packed as a yacht charter in Alaska. Where else could you cruise amongst orca whales, climb glaciers, and sea kayak through fjords all in the same day?
In short: The Final Frontier is the perfect destination for adventure-junkies and nature lovers.
While cruising Alaska’s fjords, inlets and stunning, glacier-lined bays, charter guests are treated to an array of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Watch eagles nesting along forested shorelines, experience the crash of a glacier calving, and explore fjords, rainforests and glaciers by kayak, foot or floatplane.
Are you ready for an adventure you won’t soon forget? Alaska never ceases to amaze. And if you’ll be cruising in Alaska, these are 10 adventures that you won’t want to miss.
The Inside Passage is Alaska’s primary yacht charter grounds. And in spring, the Passage is a haven for migrating whales. From May to July, an array of marine wildlife flock to the cooler waters of the passage, including humpbacks, orcas, gray and beluga whales. And that means one thing: Whale watching.
Yacht charter guests can cruise to the best whale watching destinations in Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park, for example, offers a beautiful backdrop for a whale watching trip, with its snowy peaks and crystal-blue glaciers. Orcas are a common sight in Glacier Bay. But across the region – from the Icy Strait to Prince William Sound – greys, humpbacks and Minke whales breach right next to charter yachts, offering guests plenty of chances for unforgettable wildlife encounters.
When to Go: Spring to early summer
Where to Go: Juneau and Glacier Bay
What to Expect: Spend an afternoon or week cruising to Alaska’s best and most beautiful whale watching locales, and see the Big 4: Orca, humpback, Minke and grey whales.
Alaska is boundless, with mountains, glaciers and pristine forests stretching as far as the eye can see. What’s the best way to see it all? A flightseeing trip.
In the Inside Passage, flightseeing is a bucket-list experience. Tours here offer incredible experiences: Follow bears in the region’s forests or soar over stunning glaciers via helicopter or floatplane. You can do it all. Mendenhall Glacier, outside Juneau, is a favorite flightseeing destination, with helicopter tours flying above and landing on the glacier. Bear-seeing trips are also a favorite experience, with Tongass National Forest a favorite destination.
When to Go: Summer
Where to Go: Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan
What to Expect: Fly by helicopter or floatplane to iconic destinations: Gold tours in Haines, glacier trips near Juneau, and wildlife excursions near Ketchikan.
Glacier Bay National Park sits at the northern reaches of the Inside Passage and it’s a must-stop on any Alaska yacht charter itinerary. The park – named a World Heritage Site – is a one of the world’s largest biosphere preserves, and offers a chance to do it all. Visitors can sea kayak, for an up-close-and-personal look at glaciers, see whales and hike forested trails.
One tip: Head to the Glacier Bay Lodge. The outpost offers the perfect jumping off point for yacht charter guests. You’ll find pristine hiking trails here like the Alaska Trail, a meandering hike through forest and around lagoons. Nearby Bartlett Cove offers the chance to see humpbacks, and the Brady Glacier is another nearby must-see near the lodge.
When to Go: Mid-June through Mid-August
Where to Go: Bartlett Cove and Glacier Bay Basin
What to Expect: Glacier Bay National Park is one of the country’s most beautiful parks, and it’s a playground for adventure-seekers. Hike, kayak, island-hop, you name it, there’s plenty to do and see here.
The Inside Passage’s protected waters are some of the most placid cruising grounds in America. Not only does that make for smooth sailing on your yacht charter, it also makes the Inside Passage a prime sea kayaking destination. Paddling is one of the best ways to experience the wildlife and nature up close.
Charter guests get the best of both worlds. Many opt to go on self-guided tours, taking the yacht’s kayaks out for lazy paddles to favorite spots like Misty Fjords, Lynn Canal or around Glacier Bay. Others choose to spend a half-day on a guided kayaking tour. Either way, an Alaska yacht charter wouldn’t be complete without a paddle or two on the icy waters.
When to Go: July or August
Where to Go: Misty Fjords National Monument, Chilkat Inlet, Haines
What to Expect: Calm paddling up to hidden beaches, fjord trips and glacier paddles. Plus, close encounters with glaciers and marine wildlife.
Alaska might be the world’s best whitewater rafting destination. And in summer, a river trip provides the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Many of the state’s raging rivers are inland, but you’ll still find moderately challenging rivers with Class II and Class III rapids on the coast.
A favorite spot for yacht charters: the Mendenhall River. Not only does the Mendenhall offer world-class views of the namesake glacier, it combines equal parts lazy river trip with exciting river cruise. There are several mile-long stretches of Class III rapids to explore, matched with sections of lazy paddling.
When to Go: July
Where to Go: Juneau
What to Expect: Refreshing and exciting, guided river trips allow you to explore the Alaska’s raging rivers. The Mendenhall River is a favorite destination.
Alaska is home to some of the world’s most exciting ziplining courses. So get ready to escape to the canopy of Alaska’s forest for an exhilarating ride. You’ll soar through old-growth forests, walk along sky bridges, and see the forests through new eyes.
Tongass National Forest is a favorite ziplining destination. Here, you’ll find courses that will challenge your senses, flying several stories up through the forest’s evergreen canopy. Ziplining offers an afternoon adventure you won’t soon forget.
When to Go: Summer
Where to Go: Tongass National Forest or Ketchikan
What to Explore: Experience the excitement of ziplining courses, rope courses and treetop adventure parks in Alaska’s pristine wilderness parks.
At 17 million acres, Tongass is America’s largest national forest, and also one of its most unique. A massive temperate rainforest, the Tongass epitomizes the misty beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The park is one of Alaska’s No. 1 adventure destinations. It’s perfect for bear-viewing, fishing, seakayaking or even backcountry camping.
But if you go, Tongass is the best for wildlife viewing. The park is home to a large population of black and brown bear, as well as wolf. Stop by the Steep Creek Bear Viewing in Juneau area for the best bear viewing. The boardwalk overlooks Steep Creek and offers world-class views of bears out fishing salmon. The Pack Creek Bear Viewing area on Admiralty Island is another favorite spot.
When to Go: Spring and Summer
Where to Go: Juneau and Admiralty Island
What to Expect: Excellent hiking, fishing and the best destination for bear-viewing. See the forest’s northern reaches for the most accessible parts.
Ketchikan – known as the Salmon Capital of the World – is one of Alaska’s most historic towns. Built during the Gold Rush, the town has a rich Native history, and today, serves as an important cultural outpost in Alaska’s Southeast.
Visit Ketchikan to see the town’s totem poles. Ketchikan’s boardwalks are lined with handcrafted totem poles, as well as native history museums. Not to mention, the town is the best place to experience fresh salmon, chowder and other Alaskan specialties. When you’re in the area, you’ll also want to make a side trip to the nearby Misty Fjords National Monument, a stunningly beautiful, glacier-pocked inlet that yachties flock to.
When to Go: Year-round
Where to Go: Ketchikan boardwalk, Misty Fjords National Monument
What to Expect: A truly Alaskan experience. Sample local seafood, discover the region’s rich native history, and explore nearby natural landscapes.
Mt. Roberts towers over downtown Juneau, and the peak’s summit offers expansive views of the waters, peaks and forests. The good news: You won’t have to hike the 1,800-foot incline. The Mt. Roberts Tramway makes the trek in about 10 minutes. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Juneau, nearby glaciers and more. Plus, you’ll want to spend some time at the summit.
Moderate- to challenging alpine trails can be accessed at the top for short jaunts. And the espresso bar and Timberline Bar & Grill are perfect spots to warm up and enjoy conversation with friends.
When to Go: June or July
Where to Go: Downtown Juneau
What to Expect: The ride is incredible, and the views from the top even better. See nearby mountains, Juneau and glaciers or take a short hike.
Alaska is a major commercial fishing hub. But the excitement of the big catch isn’t wasted on visitors – this is a must-spot place for saltwater fishing. In particular, the area is home to some of the world’s largest Halibut, and the thrill of fighting one of these monsters is well worth the trip. Halibut charters are available throughout the region, or guests can go on self-guided trips with the crew via tender. Other species up for grabs include rockfish, cod and lingcod. You can also stock up on salmon or learn about crab fishing while you’re in the Great North.
When to Go: Spring through Summer
Where to Go: Sitka
What to Expect: A day full of catching fish. Be prepared to catch dozens of halibut on a charter or with the crew.
Get Ready for Adventure on a Luxury Alaskan Yacht Charter
There isn’t a charter destination in the world like Alaska. Here, yacht charter guests have access to it all: Amazing solitude, pristine nature, fresh-caught seafood and adventure around every corner. Whether you’re planning a two-night or week-long yacht charter, any of these must-do activities will provide plenty of excitement.
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