Beach camping near Whittier with hiking

Set amid towering glaciers, Whittier is a must-visit destination on the Alaska marine highway system.

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Top beach campgrounds near whittier with hiking

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Historic Wharfsite at Sunrise AK

10 sites · Tents10 acres · Sunrise, AK
Learn more about this land: Sixmile Creek empties into Turnagain Arm next to this picturesque area. River rafting and fishing is nearby as well as the goldrush town of Hope just eight miles away. High tides twice a day can turn this into an island if they are over 29 feet. This property is about a half mile walk down a gold-rush era road to the wharf site of the gold rush town of Sunrise City. The buildings and tents of the approximately 10,000 miners who lived in this area are long gone. But the scenic views, peacefulness and quiet of this rugged area of south central Alaska are not soon forgotten. There are no paved trails or boardwalks. No crowds or hot dog vendors. Imagine fishing without crowds--catching pink and silver salmon or trout with awesome views of the Chugach National Forest. Don't expect amenities. This is camping outdoors in Alaska. There is a communal firepit with a portable firepit and grill that can be moved to whereever you set up your tent. Usually your group will be alone on your adventure here. There is nothing like this location anywhere else along Turnagain Arm.
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Beach camping near Whittier with hiking guide

Overview

Glaciers are prominent in many parts of Alaska but Whittier is a favorite for viewing multiple large glaciers from the water. The idyllic town is situated on the marine highway system with access to Prince William Sound. Having a large waterfront makes for excellent recreational opportunities in the sound. That’s not all you will find here, however. Trails into the mountains will keep you busy on land with amazing hikes and places to mountain bike, cycle, and go camping.

Where to go

Alaskan Glaciers

Take a glacier cruise to really see the numerous glaciers up close. You can visit an astounding twenty-six glaciers in the sound on a single trip. While cruising the glaciers, you can also see marine life and forested mountains between the ice. If you want a truly unique glacier viewing experience, consider a jet ski tour that combines a thrilling ride through the sound with glacier viewing. You get an up-close and intimate experience from a jet ski.

Prince William Sound

Hit the water in Prince William Sound on a sea kayak and paddle quietly through the wilderness. The sound is full of quiet coves and bays to explore and paddling is a great way to see the marine life up without a motor. Grabbing a motorized boat tour is also fantastic and you might even consider fishing in the sound. Charter boats are available and they catch some very large halibut in this area.

Whittier Area Hiking Trails

Hiking trails are convenient to town with a variety of skill levels available. Beginner friendly hikes still afford magnificent views and steep climbs test the limits of experienced hikers. Portage Pass Trail is a local favorite and it climbs to a great lookout over the bay. The Blackstone Bay Vista Trailhead is a difficult climb but the big views of a massive area are very rewarding. The Emerald Cove Trail is another great option and you can fish or paddle the area as well.

When to go

Whittier is accessed by road via Anchorage, train or water and it has year-round adventure. Summer is the best season to visit for nice weather, great fishing and opportunities to paddle, boat, hike and really dig into the nature in the region.  Cruise ships stop in Whittier and you can expect an influx of summer visitors. If you want to avoid the crowds, try visiting in the fall as the days shorten. The vibrant night sky makes for nice fall visits. Winter has low crowds and short days but you can still enjoy the harbor and have many of the best places to yourself.

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