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Icy Strait Point port guide: What to do & see

our guide

The vibe

Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island near the town of Hoonah, which was settled 2,000 years ago by the Tlingit and today is the largest Tlingit settlement in Alaska.

Fur traders arrived in the 1880s, and in 1912, the Hoonah Packing Company opened the area's first cannery. In 1944, when a fire destroyed major parts of Hoonah, many people called the cannery buildings their temporary home while the city was rebuilt.

Icy Strait Point is built around the historic cannery buildings. Owned by the Huna Totem Corporation, it's the only privately owned cruise-ship destination in Alaska. The corporation's goal is to preserve the character of the local village and culture despite the influx of visitors, and to support the local economy. Icy Strait Point also gives cruise passengers insight into authentic Tlingit culture. 

While there are shops and restaurants in Icy Strait Point, the real draw is Chichagof Island, which is located within Tongass National Forest, the largest national forest in the United States. 

Cruise ships that call on Icy Strait Point

Top reasons to go

  • Chichagof Island is known for its significant population of brown bears, making bear viewing not just popular but frequently successful.
  • The site includes the 1930s Hoonah Packing Company facility, now converted into a museum, restaurants and shops.
  • So many whales frequent the waters off the coast of Icy Strait Point in summer that whale sightings are guaranteed on every whale-watching tour.

Top things to do & see in Icy Strait Point

The Icy Strait Point cannery has been repurposed and now houses shops and restaurants. A variety of excursions are available throughout the area, from zip-lining to bear and whale viewing, which can be booked through your cruise line. View the list of excursions on the Icy Strait Point website (look in Plan your Trip).

Whale watching near Icy Strait Point.
Courtesy of State of AlaskaWhale watching near Icy Strait Point.

Fun facts

  • Huna Totem Corporation is owned by about 1,350 Alaskan natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area.
  • On May 23, 2004, the Celebrity Mercury became the very first ship to call at Icy Strait Point.
  • Chichagof Island is home to more than 3,500 coastal brown bears (aka grizzlies), making it an excellent place for viewing some of Alaska's most famous residents.

When you arrive

Docking information

Cruise ships anchor near the pier and Icy Strait Point is a short tender ride away. Yes, you get to go ashore.

Getting around

Taxis are not necessary. Everything pertinent to cruise passengers is within a 20-minute walk from the pier.

A shuttle bus service is offered to Hoonah, a mile to the southeast; however, the sights of interest to passengers are not in town but at Icy Strait Point and on tours originating there.

Need to know

Tipping: A 10% to 15% tip for service in a restaurant is customary.

Store hours: Shops are open when a cruise ship is in port. 

Special dress code: Winds can be quite strong on this small island. Even a simple stroll in the sun can turn cold, so bring a jacket!

Safety: Icy Strait Point/Hoonah is considered a safe and peaceful area.

ShoreFox contributed to this guide.

Your take

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