Things To Do In And Around Sitka, AK
We love living in Sitka and know that you’ll love staying here. Sitka itself is a relatively small, cozy town of about 8,000 people located on Baranof Island in Southeastern Alaska. Overlooking the pristine and beautiful Sitka Sound, Sitka boasts an interesting fact: despite the small population, in terms of area, Sitka is the largest city-borough in the U.S., covering almost 3,000 square miles.
On October 18, 1867, the U.S. acquired the Alaskan Territory from Russia in what came to be called the Alaska Purchase, which was signed in Sitka. To commemorate the event, Alaska celebrates Alaska Day every year on October 18 and the city of Sitka holds the famous Alaska Festival. It’s a fun and exciting, week-long event that includes historical reenactments, programs and exhibits, along with film showings, tours, contests, native dancing demonstrations and of course wonderful food.
Here are some more of the fun and exciting things to do when you’re staying at An Otter’s Cove.
- Sitka Whale FestivalThe Sitka Whale Festival is an annual, weekend-long science symposium that celebrates marine life. The event blends local knowledge with scientific inquiry to provide visitors with unique insights into the the marine environment of the Sitka Sound and northern oceans. Visitors enjoy lectures, wildlife cruises, an artisan market based on marine themes, local foods, an art show a run/walk race.
- Sitka Music FestivalThe Sitka Music Festival is Alaska’s preeminent classical music celebration. Every year since 1972, renowned musicians from around the world gather in Sitka for four weeks of music and events, immersed in the pristine beauty of Sitka. The festival is held in late May and June and includes free concerts, dinner cruises with live music, movie nights and lots of wonderful food.
- Sitka Salmon DerbyThe Sitka Salmon Derby, a fun and popular fishing contest, has been held in Sitka every year since 1956. Starting on Memorial Day weekend and continuing for 5 days, anglers from around the world flock to Sitka to compete for a chance to land a prize-winning salmon. There are a wide range of age groups and skill levels so that anyone who enjoys fishing can compete.
- World Class FishingSitka Sound, home of the Dungeness Crab Fisheries, is a fisherman’s paradise. Naturally beautiful and unspoiled, Sitka Sound teems with salmon, halibut and just about every other species of cold-water fish imaginable. Located in the relatively temperate waters of south eastern Alaska, Sitka Sound will delight fishermen and naturists alike.
- Sea KayakingWhether you are going for a few hours or a few days—or more—Sitka is the perfect place to launch a sea kayaking expedition. All of the equipment and supplies you need can be found in town, as well as an experienced guide, if you need one. Sitka is also relatively easy to get to, but not so easy as to attract the casual and less committed travelers that can completely ruin a fun sea kayak excursion.
- Hiking There are many great trails and hike destinations in the Sitka area, but due to unpredictable weather, it is a good idea to hike with an experienced local guide. The Baranof Cross-Island Trail will take you across Baranof Island to the hamlet of Baranof Warm Springs. There are also a multitude of well-maintained trails in the Sitka region, most of which are accessible from the road system.
- Exploring Mt. EdgecumbeMt. Edgecumbe, often referred to as Alaska’s Mt. Fuji, is an inactive volcano located across the Sitka Sound. It is a popular and relatively easy mountain to summit via a 7-mile (11km) trail that winds its way up the slope of the mountain. It is a relatively easy hike that even a marginally experienced group of hikers can undertake by themselves, although expert, seasoned guides are also readily available.
- Recommended Local BusinessesThe best way to experience the Alaskan grandeur of Sitka and the wild beauty of the Sitka Sound is to take a tour guided by local experts. Here are two of our recommendations for touring Sitka.Sitka Tours—Sitka Tours offers group and private land tours around Sitka. Sitka Tours provides shuttle pick up and drop off right from An Otter’s Cove. www.sitkatoursalaska.comEsther G Sea Water Taxi—Esther G Sea Water Taxi is the best way to see Sitka Sound, or just to get around the area by boat. They provide wonderful service as well as group and private water tours. www.puffinsandwhales.com