Top 8 Things to Do in Sitka

A cruise vacation to Alaska is a definite bucket-list item. It’s the perfect way to explore the state known as “The Last Frontier,” and a cruise to Sitka puts a whole range of adventures at your fingertips.

So what activities should you plan to do on your Alaska cruise trip? If you’re traveling to Sitka for the first time, you’ll be glad to know that there’s plenty to choose from. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or prefer to spend your vacation learning about history and culture, here’s what to do in Sitka on your next cruise vacation.

On the Water

1. Jet-Cat Wildlife Quest & Beach Exploration

Take the Jet-Cat catamaran across the water to a hike on a remote island, where you and your expert wildlife guide will find native animals in their natural habitat. Each excursion is different depending on the tides and weather, but you could get up close and personal with whales, sea otters, puffins and bald eagles, to name a few of the local residents. This is a great way to take in both land and sea, for a well-rounded excursion.

jet-cat catamaran crossing the alaskan waters, headed towards a remote island

2. Sea Otter & Wildlife Quest

Looking for a great activity for all ages during a family cruise to Sitka? This water tour takes you through narrow island passages and guarantees you’ll see an otter, whale or a bear (or they’ll give you a $100 cash refund!). This excursion is great for all travelers, so consider it fun for the whole family.

sea otter floating face up off the shore of sitka alaska

3. Wilderness Sea Kayaking Adventure

Enjoy the gorgeous coastal scenery of Sitka at a paddler’s pace on this sea kayaking trip. Your guide will teach you how to paddle and steer before leading your small group to see Alaska from its best vantage point — the ocean! This is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and learn all about nature at the same time. It’s highly likely you’ll catch a glimpse of several of Alaska’s four-footed and winged favorites during your trip.

man kayaking off the shore of sitka alaska with a snow capped mountain in the background

Off the Beaten Path

4. Volcano Coast Exploration By Ocean Raft

Looking for an adrenaline rush? This motorized ocean raft hits speeds of up to 50 mph for a cool blast of fresh air as you head out to the volcanic coast of Kruzof Island. You’ll also whiz over the waves to the dramatic cliffs of St, Lazaria Island and have the opportunity to enter volcanic sea caves. This is a great way to satisfy your need for speed while enjoying a unique Alaskan scenery.

group of 7 people exploring the volcano coast on an orange ocean raft

5. Grizzly Coast 4×4 Adventure

After a high-speed boat ride to Kruzof Island, you’ll hop on your own Yamaha Rhino OHV for an off-road adventure through the Tongass National Forest. Here you’ll have the chance to see local wildlife, including brown bears and black-tail deer. There’s also a stunning wildflower meadow and plenty of opportunities to snap photos to record your grizzly adventure.

alaskan brown bear waving as he lays on a fallen log

In and Around Sitka

6. Historic Sitka

One of the best reasons to travel to Sitka is the charm of the town itself. On this eclectic tour you’ll learn about the history of the town from its early days as a Russian capital, see bald eagles at the local Alaska Raptor Center, explore Sitka National Park and attend a Russian folk dance performance. It’s a great way to get to know the area before you set out on your own to find local food or hunt for souvenirs in port.

view of the sitka docking port from across the water

7. Sitka Bike & Hike

Pedal along the Pacific Coast as you ride around Sitka on this hiking and biking tour. You’ll take a four-mile ride filled with amazing scenery and hear stories about the area’s history, wildlife and local legends from a knowledgeable guide. When you get off your bike, you’ll hike about a mile to take in the extraordinary mountain views. This outing is perfect for those who want to experience Sitka on two wheels.

couple gazing at the forest view during a biking tour in sitka

8. Tongass Rain Forest Nature Hike

If you’d prefer to explore Alaska’s natural wonders on your own two feet, this hike is the perfect outing. Walk through coastal rainforest scenery as your guide points out local flora and fauna. You’ll trek to Starrigavin Creek and walk through a local bird sanctuary. You can also expect mountain views and a pleasant walk along the beach as you emerge from the wilderness into the Old Sitka village.

woman hiking through the tongass rain forest in alaska

With so much to do in Sitka, it’s no wonder that it’s at the top of the must-see locations. Alaska is a landscape brimming with natural beauty and wildlife, and it’s one of the few places left in the world where you see volcanoes, ocean, bears, eagles, and whales, all in one spot. Sprinkle in the unique cultural threads woven together by native Tlingit, Russian and American settlers, and you have a once-in-a-lifetime combination of scenery and sensory experiences that you won’t experience anywhere else.