On Chichagof Island, just outside the village of Hoonah, Alaska, is the privately owned tourist hotspot known as Icy Strait Point. While the majority of Alaska cruise destinations are owned by the city or municipality in which they’re located, Icy Strait Point, Alaska, is unique in that it is the only privately owned cruise destination in the state – owned and operated by the Huna Totem Corporation. Approximately 1,350 Alaska Natives with aboriginal ties to the nearby village of Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area make up the Huna Totem Corporation. Many of these Natives are members of the Tlingit people.
Since its opening as a tourist destination in 2004, Icy Strait Point and the nearby native village of Hoonah have been steadily attracting more tourists and visitors, especially those arriving by cruise ship. The central focal point of this fascinating destination is easily the fully-restored salmon cannery, originally built in 1912, which now features a museum, various restaurants and craft shops owned by locals of the native community, and a unique display of a mid-1930s cannery line.
Near the cannery and museum, you’ll find the world’s largest and highest zip line that features an exhilarating, adrenaline-addled 5,330-foot long ride over a 1,300-foot vertical drop. In addition to these main features, Icy Strait Point offers fun activities for individuals and family members of all ages and interests, from traditional dance performances by Alaska Native communities to whale-watching and bear-spotting tours.
Hoonah and Icy Strait Point feature amazing fishing access that attract anglers, sport fishermen, and wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. With some of the best whale watching in the world, the shores of Icy Strait Point are an excellent location to spot humpback whales and orcas.
Sea kayakers visit the area specifically for the 40-mile wilderness paddle that skirts the shorelines of Port Frederick and Tenakee Inlet, winding from Hoonah to Tenakee Springs. This kayaking path, filled with awe-inspiring natural beauty, ends in the stunning Tenakee Springs natural hot springs. As eagles soar overhead, and with whales often spotted right from the shores of town, Icy Strait Point is the rugged and naturally majestic Alaska destination you’ve always dreamed of visiting.
Visit the Heritage Center Native Theater and discover the Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends performances that showcase the rich traditions and heritage of the native southeast Alaskan tribes. Proud Huna Tlingit performers, dressed in their traditional regalia, display the fascinating history and culture of their ancestry using dance, storytelling, and songs. Although no photography or videotaping is allowed during the performance, the performers are available after each show to take photos.
Spend an afternoon in the company of a friendly local Alaskan chef who will teach you about the amazingly diverse cuisine of Alaska. As he walks you through the special preparation for fresh-caught seafood and other specialty local dishes, you’ll learn the meticulous processes that Alaskan chefs follow to prepare and serve the seafood that has made Alaska famous worldwide. Next, you’ll gather around an enormous outdoor grill to witness more tricks of the trade as your host chef fillets and grills the catch of the day. You’ll get a chance to prepare your very own Alaska seafood with hands-on guidance from your culinary expert of a host.
Enjoy the sights on a scenic 2-mile tram ride around beautiful Icy Strait Point, winding through lush rainforest canopies and past the stunning whale-filled waters of the Icy Strait. Hear all about the local flora and fauna, spot humpback and orca whales off the coast, and explore a rocky beach. Then visit the Heritage Center Native Theater for a Tribal Dance and Cultural Legends performance by local Tlingit Natives, showcasing the rich heritage and traditions of these southeastern Alaskan people.
Take a relaxing drive through Hoonah, the largest Tlingit village in the world, and make your way to the Spasski River Valley, where you’ll navigate through the Tongass National Forest via an old logging road. Once you reach the Tongass National Forrest, you’ll set out on a 2-mile hike along an abandoned logging trail and through gorgeous, private Native-owned lands. Breathtaking 360-degree views of Chichagof Island and the surrounding waterways await you at the summit of your mountaintop hike. Along the way, learn all about the local flora and fauna, as well as the history of this rich and diverse area, from your knowledgeable expert guide.
Stay with your small group of Alaska adventurers and explorers in a caravan of Jeeps, led by your friendly tour guide in the lead Jeep. Wind along back roads in search of wildlife, including bald eagles, brown bears, and Sitka black-tailed deer, and enjoy spectacular views of the natural beauty that surrounds you along the way.
Freddy, a solo bubble-net feeder, has become Icy Strait Point's most famous humpback whale. Freddy was once attacked by a pod of orca whales and since then has not done the normal seasonal migration that whales usually do. Instead he chose to stay in the bay by Icy Strait Point year-round. When you cruise to Icy Strait Point on Celebrity Millennium or Celebrity Eclipse, you may get the chance to see Freddy solo bubble net feeding and breeching the water just offshore, offering a uniquely Alaska whale watching cruise experience.
You’ll set off on an exhilarating high-speed boat ride around Icy Strait Point with a friendly and welcoming crew. Scan the horizon for whales and breathe in the fresh Alaska air while you take in the spectacular natural landscapes that surround you. Climb up to the boat’s open-air observation deck and listen to a local naturalist explain the migratory and behavioral patterns of the area’s cetaceans. Make your way to Point Adolphus, an active whale-feeding spot and wait to spot breaching humpback whales, sea lions, and bald eagles soaring overhead.
Enjoy a little time outdoors during a peaceful walking tour of the lush Spasski River Valley where you’re likely to spot bears and other native local wildlife. As you walk through the natural beauty of Icy Strait Point’s natural splendors, hear about the history and heritage of the nearby village of Hoonah. You’ll explore the rugged natural wonders of the “trail of the bears,” while you actively look for bald eagles, Sitka black-tailed deer, and even Alaskan coastal brown bears.
Brace yourself for an Alaska adventure unlike any other as you soar above Icy Strait Point on the “world’s longest zip line ride.” Your tour starts with a peaceful drive through the village of Hoonah. When you reach the mountaintop, you’ll set off on a 1,300 foot harnessed drop and soar over the top of lush rainforests at speeds that exceed 60 mph at times before reaching your soft, gentle landing on the beach at the bottom.
Enjoy a calm guided kayak tour of the peaceful waters of Port Frederick. You’ll set off from the beach in a stable, 2-person kayak and follow your safety-certified guide on a scenic path along the stunning waterfront of Hoonah, Alaska. Make your way to protected waters where wildlife, such as majestic bald eagles, orca whales, and humpback whales can be seen en route.
Hop on a Zodiac and explore the surrounding waterways. You’ll get fitted for some Alaska-ready rain gear, a life jacket, and rubber boots, and after a quick safety briefing, set off from Icy Strait Point. You can captain the boat yourself and traverse these protected waterways on the four-passenger boat. Navigate the scenic coastlines of Port Frederick and Icy Strait, and depending on the weather and possible wildlife sightings, your guide will select the best route to take for the day.
The Crab Station
Boasting “Alaska’s best King, Snow, and Dungeness Crab,” the Crab Station is the place to go for the freshest, most delicious crab dishes in Icy Strait Point. For something extra unique, try the Crab Station’s Alaska Crabby Bloody Mary – garnished with a snow crab leg and packed with crab meat, this special treat makes a great appetizer and cocktail combined.
The Cookhouse Restaurant
The Cookhouse Restaurant is the place to be for fresh seafood lovers. Don’t miss their halibut and chips, made from halibut that is freshly purchased from the local dock and hand cut before it is cooked to perfection and served with piping hot French fries.If seafood isn’t your thing, but you want to try a local Alaska specialty, give the Cookhouse Restaurant’s Alaska Blue Burgers a try.
Duck Point Smokehouse Restaurant
Mere steps away from the cruise terminal, the ZipRider zip line attraction, and the Adventure Center, the Duck Point Smokehouse Restaurant offers an ideal spot for relaxing, taking in the stunning views, and sipping a cold local beer or signature cocktail. The ocean-facing covered deck is perfect for soaking up the surrounding sights and sounds of Icy Strait and the nearby Port Frederick. While you’re there relaxing for the afternoon, try their famous Icy Strait Point Surf and Turf, featuring savory house-made crab tator tots next to flavorful Alaskan Blue Sliders.
Originally built as a Salmon Cannery in 1912, Icy Strait Point is – and always has been – an important functioning part of the surrounding community. When the Hoonah Packing Company built the very first cannery in the area that is known today as Icy Strait Point, ownership of the cannery passed through several different hands before the Icy Strait Salmon Company purchased the highly coveted property in 1932.
The cannery continued to play a central key role for the community throughout the years, providing much-needed employment for residents of the surrounding area. When a devastating fire destroyed the majority of the town of Hoonah on June 14, 1944, many residents of the town were forced to live in the cannery until their homes and the rest of the city was rebuilt.
Finally, in the mid-1990s, the Huna Totem Corporation purchased the cannery and transitioned it into what you see today – Icy Strait Point. Approximately 85% of the staff that are currently employed at Icy Strait Point today are local Tlingit Natives from Hoonah, Alaska.
Port Frederick is a 400-foot floating dock where cruise ships can dock alongside Icy Strait Point so passengers can disembark directly in the port, without the need for a tender. Economically built and managed with sustainability in mind, the port does not feature unnecessary luxuries that may negatively impact the land, water, or wildlife.
The Shuttle Bus that runs from Icy Strait Point to Hoonah is a $5 ticket for a round-trip ride, or you can purchase one-way for only $3. In town, you can purchase your shuttle bus tickets at Huna Outfitters/Longbottom Coffee Shop next to City Hall.
Walking Distance & Times From the ship to:
- Adventure Center: 3 minutes
- Excursion Hub: 5 minutes
- Cannery, Shopping, Restaurants: 7 minutes
- Pilot House: 8 minutes
- Crab House Restaurant: 8 minutes
- Theatre, Ticket Booth & Bus return (Town Shuttle): 9 minutes
- City Hall, Hoonah: 1 minutes
It’s also important to note that there are no taxis and no Uber or Lyft available while in port in Icy Strait Point.
You’ll have plenty of options for shopping for the ideal Alaska gifts or souvenirs at the 12 shops located in the historic Cannery complex. Every store in the complex is 100% Alaskan-owned and filled with unique authentic Alaskan treasures.
From fine gold jewelry to warm, authentic Alaskan fashions and home décor, you’re sure to find the perfect handcrafted treasure to take home with you from these adorable little shops located only five minutes from the cruise port.
Souvenir hunters will also find plenty of unique treasures at the Icy Strait Point shopping center, surrounding the Icy Strait Museum. There, you’ll see everything from smoked Alaska salmon and preserves made from locally grown berries, to hand-made crafts like paintings, wood carvings, glassware, and authentic native jewelry.
Currency in Icy Strait Point is the U.S. Dollar (USD). There is no bank in Icy Strait Point, and therefore, no ATMs, so you may want to get cash while you are still on board the ship. Most vendors will accept credit cards, but it is a good idea to keep some cash on hand for small restaurants or local boutiques that may only accept cash.
To explore further into Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, you can extend your cruise with a Cruisetour. This allows you to travel inland via motorcoach and railway exploring Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska, Talkeetna, Girdwood (Alyeska) and Denali National Park, taking in the views of the highest mountain peak in North America. Cruisetours include the finest hotel accommodations, a local dedicated Alaskan/Canadian Tour Director, luxury transportation, and some activities.