ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND GUSTAVUS
May and June are filled with migrating birds, king salmon, and ever-changing fields of wildflowers. Summer activities from May 15th through Labor Day include world class kayaking, hiking beaches and forests, whale-watching, ocean and fly-fishing, golf, eco-tours, bicycling, and so much more. The following is a list of the most popular tours, including the current prices. Think about what you would like to do, fill out the contact form, and together we will build a custom vacation that you can reserve via paypal from this site. What could be easier?
The Glacier Bay Boat Tour is the only seasonal day tour of Glacier Bay. An 8-hour boat ride takes it all in. A park service naturalist is aboard to make sure you see all there is to see, and understand what you’re seeing. You’ll share the Bay with whales---minke, orca, or humpback--porpoises, and sea otters. The islands provide a close-up view of the rookeries of guillemots, puffins, cormorants, and the bedrooms of seals and sea lions. Bears, moose, and mountain goats roam the shores and rock cliffs that this recent ice age has been leaving behind over the last 200+ years. On this spacious 200-passenger vessel, there’s room to move around, and snacks and lunch are provided. $205 per adult, $103 per child under 12.
The Whale-watching Tour on the 23-passenger MV Taz is an Alaskan family-owned business that runs twice daily from the Gustavus dock. Brad and his crew have developed a wonderful rapport with the leviathans that regard Pt. Adolphus as the best restaurant in town. On this three hour tour, you can be assured of some great photos, and a chance to listen via hydrophone to the submarine dinner conversation when he turns the engine off to drift among them. $122 per adult, $61 per child under 12, children under 3 are free.
And speaking of whales, how about the view from a kayak? There are two options for this, both of them a full-day guided trip (7 hours) with lunch and all gear provided:
Our local Spirit Walker Expeditions has been providing this tour for the longest, and their guides are well-tuned naturalists that can provide you with an educational adventure. A quick boat-ride deposits you and kayaks at Pt. Adolphus for your safety orientation and an opportunity to look into the old-growth rainforest there. Then you head out for a leisurely tour of the shoreline and the kelp line of seals and sea otters, while enjoying a close but respectable distance from the feeding whales and sea lions. $435 for 2-4 people, $375 for 5 or more. Kids love this trip!
The second option involves a “mother ship”. The MV Kahsteen, a 6-passenger vessel, leaves the dock at 8:30 am and heads for Pt. Adolphus. An hour later, you can be putting your kayaks in the water from shipboard. A guide helps you navigate from there. This is a good option for those of you who might think less time in the water could be a good thing. $435 per person.
Another kayak option from Gustavus is the Wilderness Isle tour. Spirit Walker guides you from our beach to Pleasant Island. After a hike into the old-growth forest and a gourmet lunch on the beach, you will understand where this island gets its name. You are likely to see deer, eagles, sea-birds, and any number of marine mammals on this 3-10 mile excursion. $150 per person for 6 ½ hours.
Or you can rent a kayak and head out on your own. Bartlett Cove, where Glacier Bay National Park has its headquarters, is a protected bay where you can rent a kayak for a half ($40) or full day ($50 per person). Orientation is given twice daily and all gear, including boots and raingear, is provided as needed. A half ($95) or full day ($150 per person, lunch included) guided trip is also available here. Moose and bear often roam the shoreline, and marine mammals feed among the boats anchored out . This is a good day to include a hike in the Park, and/or a lunch on the deck of the lodge there.
An all-day eco-tour to the “outer coast” in an enclosed 6-passenger boat is a photographer’s dream. Pt. Adolphus whales are the first destination, and then your local captain will show you the neighborhood. You’ll see sea lion rookeries, commercial trollers at work, explore hidden coves and passages, islands and arches, and stop for lunch in a quaint boardwalk village. A unique trip tailored to your desires, at $350 per person with a 2-person minimum.
What can I say about fishing? Halibut, salmon, rockfish, trout….they’re all here. Ocean or stream fishing days in a 6-passenger boat are an adventure in sport, with all the glorious views and animals as background. I can recommend the best local guides for this, and assure you will have something for dinner or to share with the friends back home. $315 - $350 per person for a full day on the water.
But then, enough about water! How about a flight over an ice-age? You can oversee the geology of the fastest ice retreat in recent time. Fields and rivers of ice are suspended between the mountains that separate Alaska from Canada, and create the spectacular landscape of Glacier Bay. A one-hour flight from Gustavus costs $470 for up to 5 passengers.
Of course these are just some of the things you can do while visiting Gustavus. Hiking our miles of wild beaches, now protected by the Nature Conservancy, or biking the flat expanses of our town looking for moose, fishing the Salmon River that runs by the Guest House, visiting galleries, enjoying a gourmet dinner at one of the local Inns….These are all other ways to expand the treasure of memories you’ll take back with you when your vacation in Alaska is over.