With two days to explore Sitka, branch out beyond must-see sites to discover the wild coast, soak in some history, and experience larger-than-life Tongass National Forest. Choose from tours and excursions that are tailored to you, taking care of adventure planning well in advance. Here’s how to make the most of your trip.
Start the day on the water, where you can watch for whales, sea otters, puffins, and other marine wildlife as you explore the coast. Options include kayak trips, sailing excursions, small-boat whale watching tours, and more, so you can find a coastal trip that’s a good fit for you.
Go eyeball-to-eyeball with a grizzly bear—almost—at the Fortress of the Bear, a nonprofit bear rescue next to Tongass National Forest. On-site naturalists feed the bears, share info on the challenges they face in the wild, and introduce orphaned and rescued bears living the good life in the conservation center.
If Sitka seems quiet at night, that’s because the locals are packed into Pioneer Bar, a local institution lined with faded photos of fishing trips. Choose from a wide selection of craft beers made in Alaska, and perhaps stay for a meal of hearty pub food.
There’s more to Sitka than wildlife, so kick off your second day on a tour that highlights the area’s fascinating history, from Indigenous culture to battles with Russian troops. Local landmarks include St. Michael’s Cathedral, the Russian Bishop’s House, and Baranof Castle Historic Site.
After a hearty salmon lunch, head to Sitka National Historical Park to stroll past totem poles from all around the northwest coast. Join a tour or excursion for a guided intro to the park’s trails and wildlife-watching opportunities.
To experience the living culture of the Indigenous Tlingit people, spend your final night in Sitka at a Sitka Tribe Dance Performance, a demonstration that’s held in a reconstructed Tlingit Clan House. Listen for the sound of traditional box drums as the dancers perfume the room with burning cedar.