What is there to do in Icy Strait Point? When booking our Alaskan cruise, we booked solely on the week we were available to go and not the itinerary. When I saw Icy Strait Point on the schedule I didn’t know what to expect or what to do in port. But I found 8 amazing things to do in Icy Strait Point and I’m sharing them with you.
Alaskan Cruise Port – Icy Strait Point
Our first two stops in Ketchikan and Juneau included pricey tours and nothing in Icy Point Strait jumped out at me as a must-do, especially as the tours are on the higher end cost-wise. Have I mentioned that we’re kind of cheap?
I did some research and read some reviews but still wasn’t sure what to do here and so we went into this day with an open schedule. I like to play it by ear occasionally but was apprehensive since we would be in there from 7-4. But there wasn’t a reason to worry as there are lots of things to do in Icy Strait Point and Hoonah.
Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island and is owned by the Huna Tlingit tribe and the Town of Hoonah. The Point is a man-made cruise stop and Hoonah, located 1.5 miles away, is the town where the Tlingit live.
Icy Strait Point – First Impressions
We said we were going to take our time getting off the boat, but we’re early birds and like to spend as much time off the ship as possible. I recommend getting off the ship early as it gave us the opportunity to explore the port area while there were only a few people. It also allows you to get some good photos. But if you don’t have anything planned, you might want to sleep in or enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the ship.
I was immediately struck with how clean the port is. I generally do not like what I refer to as ‘manufactured paradise’ but they have done a lovely job here. It felt like summer camp with campfires and the smell of the burning wood wafting through the air.
It’s stunningly beautiful here. The mountains include lush green pine-covered peaks as well as snow-covered peaks. Low hanging clouds give the entire area a moody feel. The water is clear and shimmers even without the sun. Just beautiful. You could easily spend your day in Icy Strait Point just admiring the beautiful scenery.
So, if you find yourself in Icy Strait Point and haven’t booked a tour or made any plans what is there to do? Here are eight amazing things to do in Icy Strait Point.
Book an Adventure Tour
“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.” John Muir
The Adventure Center is a modern space where you can book lots of Icy Point Strait activities including whale watching, kayaking, sightseeing and ziplining tours. The center combines high tech features such as tablet kiosks to complete tour forms with friendly locals that are eager to help you make the most of your visit.
Shop at the Warehouse Retail Shops
You’re covered for shops in Icy Strait Point. The Warehouse Retail Shops feature a variety of shops that include locally made arts, jewelry, and salmon as well as standard tourist items. I especially liked the Dei L’e.Aan Art Gallery and Tlingt Botanicals as they had some lovely artwork, jewelry, and locally made herbal remedies.
Have a Meal
There are several restaurants in Icy Strait Point right at the cruise dock that feature crab legs, salmon, fried fish, and other seafood options. If you want to try some local seafood this is a great place to do so. I heard that the bar served a mean bloody mary complete with a crab leg!
There are several coffee shops and restaurants in Hoonah as well. One of those would have been my choice of restaurants as they appeared more authentic and less expensive.
Eat Mini Donuts
Warm mini donuts can be purchased at a small building just outside the terminal. For me, a donut has to have something sweet covering it and you can select from a variety of flavored sugars. We chose blueberry since we were in Alaska. These little donuts are delicious, and we had to use a lot of self-control to stop ourselves from buying a second bag.
Play on the Beach
Access to the beachfront is just a couple of steps away and a stroll down it is a lovely way to spend some time. A basket of shovels and buckets are available for kids to play with and we saw lots of families doing the simplest of activities – skipping rocks.
Get on the Water
The water in Icy Strait Point is crystal clear and just begs for spending some time on it. Kayak, inflatable boats, and high-speed boat tours are available. I was really tempted to book a kayak tour. Especially after we saw a row of kayaks snaking their way around the bay. It looked like a wonderful way to explore this bit of paradise.
This is whale country and there are a lot of whale watching tours in Icy Strait Point. Most guarantee spotting a whale. However, I had heard that whales can often be seen from the beachline. And sure enough, my husband and others spotted one right from the pier. But stupid me was too busy trying to get an internet connection and missed it.
Go to Hoonah
Hoonah is the town at the Icy Strait Point cruise stop. You can be get there by walking 1.5 miles along the waterfront or by taking the shuttle from the Icy Strait Point adventure center. The shuttle costs $5 roundtrip and is good all day. We opted for the shuttle and were taken in a vintage bus to this town of 760 residents. The bus ride was a lot of fun and the drivers provide commentary about the area including shocking details like milk costs $9.00 a gallon!!!
Now, Hoonah is teeny. And it’s not fancy. If you go there expecting lots of shops and a sanitized experience you will be disappointed. But if you go and appreciate it for what it is you will have seen a true glimpse into how Alaskans live. And you will be able to see all of it in less than an hour. I heard several people on our cruise say they were disappointed with Hoonah, but I kind of loved it.
Our first stop in Hoonah was at a roadside stand where my new friend Jo was selling her handmade products made from rope. She was a character and a lot of fun and a hell of a salesperson! I bought two really cool products from her that I love. But it’s our conversation I’ll remember for years to come.
Another memorable stop was watching craftsmen carve a totem pole. So cool! We chatted with them for a while as they worked on a project commissioned by the town of Hoonah. Conversations with locals and seeing what they do was one of the things I really enjoyed about our visit here.
If you find yourself 1) lucky enough to be on an Alaskan Cruise, and 2) lucky enough to be in Icy Point Straight you’ll find plenty of activities to do as well as find yourself surrounded by incredible scenery.
Want More Alaska?
Check out these posts about other Alaskan Cruise ports:
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