Few places in the world offer a better escape than Kodiak, Alaska. It’s located on Kodiak Island, 410 miles southwest of Anchorage, which is home to some of the most pristine wilderness on the planet. It’s best known for the mighty Kodiak Brown Bear, with about 3,000 of the giant animals estimated to live in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, but there are plenty of other things to do on Alaska’s largest island.
Kodiak is also home to rich Alaska Native culture, fascinating WWII history, and excellent fishing. Trust us when we say it’s the ultimate place to unplug for a few days.
How to get to Kodiak, Alaska
There are two ways you can get here, each offering a spectacular journey that will help you shake off stress and embrace a sense of adventure. Most people fly to Anchorage, then enjoy the scenic views on a second flight to Kodiak. However, you can also drive and take a ferry. Rent a car at the airport and head south from Anchorage along the spectacular Seward Highway until you get to Homer. The drive takes about four hours, and from Homer you can use the Alaska Marine Highway System. The ferry ride to Kodiak takes just over nine hours, giving you plenty of time to relax and look for wildlife.
Things to do in Kodiak, Alaska
Kodiak is sometimes referred to as Alaska’s “Emerald Isle,” because it turns a spectacular shade of green in the summer months. It’s a hive of activity, as the commercial fishing season is in full-swing, and we welcome many visitors from all over the United States, and there are plenty of things to do.
Here are the top five things we recommend everyone tries.
- Sample the world-class Alaska fishing.
Reel in the catch of a lifetime! Whether you’re looking for salmon, halibut, lingcod, black bass or grey cod, Kodiak Island is the place to be. Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge is located at Old Harbor, a short flight from Kodiak City, offering a range of all-inclusive fishing packages that you’ll never forget.
May through June is trophy king season, with 30 to 90-pound king salmon feeding in the waters just off the lodge. July is perfect for reeling in a variety of fish and making the most of the stunning wildlife viewing opportunities, while the silver salmon are running in full strength in August. If you come in September, you can snap up some silvers and enjoy some great action in the local rivers.
Escapes at Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge start from $3,300 per person for a three-day/four-night trip. That includes a round-trip airfare from Kodiak City to Old Harbor, lodging, all meals and snacks, soda and juices, all fishing gear, all rain gear, fish processing, fishing licenses, and all local taxes.
- See Kodiak Brown Bears in their natural habitat.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a mighty Kodiak Brown Bear with your own eyes, but if you visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, you might be lucky enough to spot one of the 3,000 locals fishing for lunch. The isolated refuge includes pristine wilderness and waters spread over about 1.9 million acres, and it’s home to rich and diverse wildlife. Aside from the majestic bears, you should keep an eye out for red foxes, river otters, tundra voles, bald eagles, salmon, and much more.
- Learn about the island’s World War II history.
Kodiak Island was a strategic military outpost during World War II. The defense system included two eight-inch guns that could fire up to 20 miles and a series of concrete bunkers, as well as nets and magnetic cables below the surface of the water. Fort Abercrombie housed between 150-200 soldiers, although the island had up to 11,000 troops at a time, but they never saw action.
The gun mounts were destroyed in 1948 and the site became an Alaska State Historical Park in 1969. Today, you can camp at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park or visit the Kodiak Military History Museum to learn more about the troops that stood ready to repel an invader in the North Pacific.
- Immerse yourself in Alutiiq culture and heritage.
Alutiiq people have called Kodiak Island home for more than 7,500 years. The Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository is a cultural centre where visitors can explore the history and heritage of Native Alaska. Alutiiq/Sugpiaq people have always lived in coastal communities, and they survived by hunting sea mammals from skin-covered boats and harvesting the abundant summer resources.
The museum is a great way to learn about the subsistence lifestyle, and immerse in the cultural arts, including carving, dancing, sewing, singing, storytelling and weaving. The museum is located at 215 Mission Road in Kodiak and has a fascinating array of different exhibitions and events all summer.
- Escape the crowds on a scenic hiking trail.
The ultimate escape, of course, is to leave civilization behind and to on a long hike. Kodiak Island is a hiker’s dream, because the road system gives you easy access to both quiet beaches and rugged mountains. There are lots of active sea life in the island’s rockpools, if you’re looking for something flat and relatively easy, and plenty of tough trails for those who want to work hard for the views. Make sure you do your research, carry plenty of layers, bring enough food and water, and don’t forget your camera. This is some of the most magnificent scenery you’ll ever see.
If you’d like to learn more about things to do in Kodiak, Alaska, or book a once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip, contact the friendly team at Kodiak Sportsman’s Lodge to start planning your vacation.