Kodiak city is found of the southernmost coast of Alaska, on the island of the same name. Two-thirds of the island is taken up by Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge protecting the wild life living here.
It is an area known for its wildlife and fishing and this is why many visitors come here today. But it’s past is also an interesting feature of Kodiak town and beyond. The involvement in world war two gives another element to exploring the history of the Island.
So if you are looking for a quiet part of Alaska to view wildlife, sea life and enjoy the history then here are the best things to do in Kodiak.
1. Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park
Protecting the remains of World War two fortifications, this historic park affords visitors excellent scenery as well as its interesting past.
Persons with curiosities regarding the Aleutian invasion will be pleased to learn more about the defences that were placed in Kodiak, and explore the ruins still standing here today.
The coastal area is a great place for viewing puffins in their natural habitat. Just make sure you are respectful of the birds and don’t get too close.
2. Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
You should stop off at the visitor centre when on Kodiak Island as it has everything you need to know about the area. There’s a hands-on museum where you can see the famous whale skeleton display and touch real bear fur.
Learn about the wildlife you can find in the refuge area and the conservation efforts that are taking place to make sure this is protected for the future.
Visit the centre on Centre Avenue to plan your hiking trails, tours and anything else you want to do during your stay.
3. Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church
Not far from the harbour, upon the hill is the small and unique Russian Orthodox Church which is an historic building in Kodiak.
If the local priest is present, he will tell you about the history, the icons and picture present within the church. It is said that the remains of St Herman who was a Russian monk who came to Kodiak Island in 1794 is found in a wooden casket in the church. St Hermon is now the patron saint of Alaska for the Russian Orthodox Church.
Outside the pretty church is the graveyard, which was reserved for former priests and their wives. You will also enjoy some lovely views from the hillside location.
4. Alutiiq Museum
A small museum which showcases the culture of the native Alutiiq people, you will find a wealth of information within these exhibits.
There are activities for both kids and adults to enjoy so whilst you are learning about the native past the kids will be entertained too. There are a couple of films to watch which give you a more in-depth history of the Island.
Exhibits include indigenous masks, clothing and other artefacts from the native people who resided here. There are over 2500 items to explore and the work and discoveries are still being made.
Find the Alutiiq museum at 215 Mission Road, near to Kodiak harbour.
5. Kodiak Laboratory Aquarium and Touch Tank
This learning centre is open to the public at certain times of the year to show visitors the wonderful sea life found in the local waters.
There is a large aquarium tank where you can view the creatures which have been collected by the staff from the local area. The staff are very knowledgeable and will explain in great detail the answers to any questions you have.
The touch tank is a favourite with the children being able to get hands on with the sea creatures. Crabs, fish and seaweed are amongst the touch tank contents found here.
6. Kodiak Island Brewing Company
Beginning as a home brewing start up, the brewery now supplies both locals and tourists with excellent locally brewed craft beers.
The tap room offers customers a chance to sample new and well-established beers. You can enjoy trying the beers, bring in your own food and even perhaps take away some beers to enjoy another time.
The brewery and store can be located on 117 Lower Mill Bay Road, pick up a beer and a souvenir at the same time.
7. The Baranov Museum
Found opposite the visitor centre near to the cruise ship dock the Baranov museum is well worth a visit to learn more about the history of the Island.
It is said to be the oldest building in Alaska which was originally a Russian family home. Some of the rooms have been refurbished to replicate what it would have looked like at the time.
The museum itself has many photographs both from historical Kodiak and of the tsunami and its effects that struck the area back in 1964.
8. Kodiak Military History Museum
Located in the Ready Ammunition bunker at Miller Point in Fort Abercrombie, this museum is opened for either veterans or groups by appointment.
Learn about old communication devices, see a world war two jeep, original uniforms, bombs and firearms and much more.
It might not be widely known that after the attack on pearl harbour, Alaska became a prime target after this due to the close proximity to Japan. But Alaska’s involvement in the war is often not remembered as much as what happened in the rest of the country.
Kids will also enjoy the experience as they can get hands on, trying on clothes and touching the exhibits under supervision.
9. Fossil Beach
This beach is a bit of a long drive from Kodiak town but worth it to see the different fossils being under covered by time in the rock here. It is amazing to see such history developing and showing itself in front of your own eyes.
The scenery is spectacular from both the beach and the cliffs above. You can climb to the top of the cliffs, but it is a difficult climb and you should be experienced if you want to give it a go.
During your trip you may see bald eagles and bears, especially on the drive through to the beach.
10. Flightseeing Air Tours
Take a small group flight on a bush hawk floatplane and see Kodiak Island from a totally new angle. Book your custom tour and go wildlife hunting for bears and other native species.
Your pilot will also be your guide, telling you about what you can see during your flight and general information about the wildlife and topography.
The guide knows the best places to see the bears depending on the time of year. Spot them catching fish in the river and the bear cubs following their mother.
11. North End Park
A park with amazing views across the island and the coast, if you want to go out hiking by yourself without a guide then North End Park is a recommended place to do so.
The boardwalks are well maintained, and the area kept pristinely clean. There are plenty of viewing points and platforms with the opportunity to take fantastic photographs. There are also steps down to the rocky beach.
The hike is only short but a nice way to spend an afternoon whilst on Kodiak island.
12. Kodiak Water Sports
With all the water, both sea and lakes you must not miss the water sports on offer in Kodiak. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is the tour for you.
Half-day kayaking expeditions give you the chance to see the sea life up close and personal. Expect to see puffins, sea stars, sea lions, sea otters amongst others.
You may even want to choose the sunset tour which is a beautiful time of day to be out on the water. There are a few different tour companies in Kodiak, so choose the one that suits you the best.
13. Dolphin and Whale Watching
Another tour to take if you want to see the wildlife here but further out from the Island this time.
During the summer months you will almost certainly see whales feeding in the area. Orcas, humpbacks, and grey whales are all known to frequent the waters here. You also have the chance to see other creatures and birds along the way.
Ask around and find the best tour operator or private tour guide to suit your needs.
14. Sargent Creek
You may visit Sargent Creek to fish yourself, or to watch the fisher men and women catch the abundant salmon found here. Or you may want to just spot the wildlife that calls the creek home.
At certain times of the year you will find bears fishing in the river and the salmon jumping and swimming upstream. The area is lovely to look at though, even if you don’t get to see the native bears.
15. Fishing tours
Many people visit this area of the world for the great fishing tours. You can choose from one day to five-day tours making the most of the fishing areas within and around Kodiak.
You can expect to find the perfect places to catch salmon, halibut, and rock fish as well as others. Plus, you share the catch between the boat or keep your own catch for yourself.
The tours are also family friendly, so you can bring the kids along to enjoy the activity too.