Whittier is a small community about an hour outside of Anchorage to the south. The only way you can access this town, other than by boat, is through a one lane tunnel that runs through Maynard mountain. This quaint town, with only about 200 residents year-round, is the gateway to the beautiful portage canal and has a picturesque harbor. We recommend spending one to two days here, more if you want to do a multi-day kayaking trip or fishing trip. Here is our quick guide on Whittier, Alaska.
FYI: This post was written based on a trip taken in mid August
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What to do in Whittier, Alaska
We absolutely loved our day trip kayaking on the Passage Canal! The water was so clear and the views throughout the trip were stunning. The company we used for our tour, Alaska Sea Kayakers, was wonderful. Our guide was fantastic–knowledgeable, friendly and flexible–and we had a small group of only six people. The tour we did–The Passage Canal Tour–was an all day tour and included a delicious lunch we ate along a remote beach we stopped at while kayaking. If you do one thing in Whittier, do this!
Tip: We would highly recommend doing the tour we did but if you have more time, you may consider one of their multi-day tours where you do some remote camping as well.
Hike Portage Pass (4 miles round trip, 1,578 feet of elevation gain)
This trail is a great hike–relatively short and affords you pristine glacier views. The trailhead is right after you go through the Whittier tunnel before you enter the town. Please see Top 5 Most Picturesque Alaska Hikes post for more details
Looking for great hiking boots? Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 7+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots
Where to Eat in Whittier, Alaska
Inn At Whittier Restaurant
This restaurant is located at the main hotel in Whittier, Inn At Whittier. The dining room has excellent views of the harbor and passage canal. The seafood here was delicious. This place was the most expensive restaurant in Whittier we ate at but a main dish was only about $5 more per plate than most of the other restaurants in town and we thought the food was worth this small extra cost.
Varly’s Ice Cream Parlor
Quaint Ice Cream Parlor in-town. Perfect after a long day of kayaking or hiking.
The menu here was your typical Chinese restaurant menu in addition to some fresh seafood. Natalie actually got some surprisingly good Salmon with some Chinese prepared vegetables. Chinese with an Alaskan twist? If you only eat at one place in Whittier, eat at the Inn but this is a good option for another meal.
Tip: Food in Alaska, especially in remote Whittier, costs more than everywhere else in the US so do not be surprised that most meals are about $20-$30/plate even if it is very simple.
Where to Stay in Whittier
June’s Whittier Condo Suites at Begich Towers
We stayed in one of the budget first floor rooms. This place is quirky, the decor is very random and everything is just as nice as it needs to be. Some of the other accommodations in this building are more luxurious, with passage canal views, but also more costly. We were happy with our decision to stay in one of the budget rooms with how little time we spent there.
Tip: Since this town is so small, there are very limited accommodation options. Make sure you book early if you want to stay in Whittier. Otherwise, you will have to drive into the town each day through the Whittier tunnel.
We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Whittier, Alaska. Anything else you’d add to our Whittier, Alaska guide? We’d love to hear your feedback or questions. Please leave us a comment! For more Alaska information, please see Alaska Road Trip: The Perfect Guide.
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