Welcome to Whittier


Founded in 1941 as a deep-water military base, Whittier was heavily fortified in the early years of the Cold War, before the military pulled out in the 1960s. In danger of becoming a ghost town, the settlement somehow survived and is now a popular cruise-ship port and day-trip destination from Anchorage (a shared road-rail tunnel links it to the Seward Hwy). Serious outdoor enthusiasts revere it for its kayaking, fishing and glacier-viewing – inclement weather and ugly architecture be damned!


Top experiences in Whittier

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Whittier activities

$134 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Prince William Sound Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise

Departing from Whittier, the Blackstone Bay Glacier Cruise travels through Passage Canal and Decision Point on its way to Blackstone Bay, a fjord located in the peaceful waters of Prince William Sound. A fjord is a deep, U-shaped valley that has been formed by glacial erosion. Prince William Sound is located in a temperate rain forest and receives a vast amount of rainfall that feeds the many overflowing waterfalls that you will see in the area.As you cruise into Blackstone Bay, you'll soon get the first glimpse of the gigantic ice field that feeds the Blackstone, Beloit, and Northland glaciers. Blackstone and Beloit are actively calving tidewater glaciers, which means that they flow from the mountains all the way down into the ocean, where they calve or break off into the water. Northland Glacier is an actively calving hanging glacier; it hangs off cliffs overlooking Blackstone Bay.As you approach the glacier, you'll begin to see chunks of ice called icebergs floating in the water. You'll come to a stop, floating among the icebergs as the glaciers tower 700 feet above the 77-foot vessel. Here, the captain will turn off the engines so you can hear the ice crack and groan. Often you will see harbor seals and sea otters lounging on the floating ice. You'll spend about an hour watching these glaciers so you have as much time as possible to see them actively calving. As you head back towards Whittier, watch for sea otters and the numerous amounts of bald eagles that nest along the coastline. Sea otters are the smallest marine mammal in Alaska, weighing 80-100 pounds. They do not have blubber, so to stay warm they have thick fur, with up to 600,000 hair follicles per square inch. Sea otters are one of the few animals that use tools, utilizing rocks to break open the shells of crab, clams, shrimp and other seafood, which they eat 20-25 pounds of each day!Next, you'll visit Hidden Falls, where the boat stops within feet of the mist of the falls, providing a wonderful photo opportunity. Before ending the cruise you'll visit the second-largest black-legged kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound, where thousands of black-legged kittiwakes have built their nests on the steep sea-side cliffs. These migratory birds, part of the gull family, travel as far south as Baja California and Costa Rica every year. During the summer they mate, lay eggs, and raise their young in rookeries built into rocky cliffs. After leaving the rookery you'll return to the Whittier harbor.

$164 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Prince William Sound Surprise Glacier Cruise

Departing from Whittier, the Surprise Glacier Cruise travels through Passage Canal and into Port Wells, featuring waterfalls, bird rookeries, sea otters, sea lions and other wildlife. Cruise along the rocky cliffs of Prince William Sound, inhabited by over 7,500 birds.To your right, before entering Barry Arm and Harriman Fjord, you will see College Fjord, which was named by Edward Harriman in 1899. The glaciers in College Fjord are named after elite East Coast colleges such as Harvard and Yale.As you enter Harriman Fjord, you'll see several glaciers, including Harriman and Surprise Glacier. These are active tidewater glaciers, meaning that they flow down from the mountains all the way into the water. You will also see other types of glaciers in the nearby mountains, including alpine or cirque glaciers and valley glaciers.As you travel farther into Harriman Fjord, you'll begin to see chunks of ice called icebergs floating in the water. You will come to a stop in front of the towering Surprise Glacier, where the Captain will turn off the engines so you can hear the ice crack and groan. Often you will see harbor seals and sea otters lounging on the floating ice. You'll spend about thirty minutes watching the glacier so you have as much time as possible to see it actively calving.Your return to Whittier takes you through Esther Passage, a small waterway that only small vessels can navigate through. Watch the shoreline for possible bear and bald eagle sightings as you cruise through this spectacular marine waterway. The high mountains of Esther Passage provide protection from high winds, making this a very calm cruising area.While in Esther Passage, you'll visit a salmon hatchery on Esther Island. This is the largest salmon hatchery in North America, where 300 million salmon fry are released every year. At the hatchery, salmon eggs are fertilized, baby salmon are born and are raised until they are two inches long, and then they are released into the wild. The salmon’s natural instinct causes them to return to the exact freshwater where they were born to spawn and die. About 20-25% of the salmon originally released return to this area.Before ending your cruise, you'll visit the second-largest black-legged kittiwake rookery in Prince William Sound, where thousands of black-legged kittiwakes have built their nests on the steep sea-side cliffs. These migratory birds, part of the gull family, travel as far south as Baja, California and Costa Rica every year. During the summer they mate, lay eggs, and raise their young in rookeries built into rocky cliffs. After leaving the rookery, return to the Whittier harbor to end your cruise.

$132 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez

Columbia Glacier is the headline destination of this tour, however there are many other attractions along the way that your local captain and crew will share with you such as; a water based tour of the Trans Alaska Pipeline Terminal, a chance to witness commercial salmon fishing operations, and cascading waterfalls along the shoreline. A visit to Columbia Bay is one of geologic significance. Columbia Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in southcentral Alaska is in the middle of a historic retreat into the Chugach Mountains. Each trip into this area is unique and our approach to Columbia is determined by the ice conditions we find. In addition to the amazing ice in Columbia Bay you will see wildlife along the way that calls the Sound home. Your guides will be on the lookout for seals, sea lions, sea otters, eagles, puffins, porpoise, whales and more!

$895 Private & Custom Tours

Anchorage to Whittier Cruise Transfer and Private Tour

On this private full-day tour, you'll see more sites than you would on an ordinary tour of Anchorage, Alaska. Your guide will show you the special things that make Anchorage and Turnagain Arm unique.After pickup in Anchorage, explore the area on an exciting city tour and soon after, soak up the sights along the incomparable Turnagain Arm. This stunningly beautiful peace of Alaska is home to a myriad of wildlife - such as Dall sheep, mountain goats, boose, beluga whales, black bears and migratory bird species. Other stops include Beluga Point, Bird Point, the Alyeska Scenic Tramway, and Portage Lake. For an extra cost, enter the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska's wildlife through conversation. This tour will end with drop-off in Whittier. You can customize both the day and start-time of your tour to accommodate your schedule and interests. This itinerary can also be reversed to accommodate groups traveling from Whittier to Anchorage.Your private tour guide can adjust the schedule, duration, and activities to meet your needs. Please make a note of any special requests you have.

$60 Tours & Sightseeing

Anchorage to Whittier Half-Day Transfer Tour with Hotel Pickup

HALF DAY TRANSFER TOURS This is the most popular transfer option which features live tour commentary from professional guides and photo stops at Beluga Point and Portage Glacier.  Also included on all sightseeing tour transfers is an approximately one hour visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to view Alaska's most famous animals in their natural setting. During this visit you'll get great pictures of real live Bears, Moose, Muskox, Caribou, Bison, and more. Admission to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is included.  This is the perfect way to start your Alaska cruise.AM Tour:Pick up at all major Anchorage hotels (beginning at 9:45am) or the Anchorage Airport (10:30am)Departure from Anchorage is 10:45am.  Arrival at Whittier terminal is 1:45pm.  PM Tour:Pick up at all major Anchorage hotels (beginning at 12:45pm) or the Anchorage Airport (1:30pm)Departure from Anchorage is 1:45pm.  Arrival at Whittier terminal is 4:45pm.  

$54.69 Transfers & Ground Transport

Anchorage Airport to Whittier Cruise Port Private Transfer

Upon arrival at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), you'll be met by your professional driver. Choose from either a sedan, for up to three passengers; an SUV, for up to five passengers; or a stretch limousine, for up to eight passengers. Once you’re settled comfortably in your spacious private vehicle, you’ll be driven straight to the Port of Whittier for your cruise departure.When making a booking for this private arrival transfer from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to the Port of Whittier, you will need to advise your flight details and your destination details to complete your reservation. Your transfer will be confirmed within 24 hours of booking, and you will be provided with a travel voucher to present to the driver. It's that easy!At time of booking, YOU MUST include the following details in the Special Requirements box: Airline Flight number Departing city/arrival city Arrival time Pier information Ship information Worry-free Shore Excursion:If your flight lands on time at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, we will ensure your timely arrival at the Port of Whittier for this transfer. In the rare event your cruise ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. However, if your flight is delayed, your transfer is no longer covered by our worry-free policy. See our terms and conditions for full details. Price is per person, based on three passengers per sedan, five per sports utility vehicle or eight per limousine.