Everyone knows that there is a ton of wildlife to see in the state of Alaska. However, you might be surprised to know you can see a bunch of that wildlife when you are taking an Alaskan cruise. That means you can have a perfect vacation with your family without losing out on all the luxuries you have grown accustomed to! After all, Alaskan cruises guarantee you have a comfortable bed and meals prepared for you. Plus, all those other little amenities that will make you feel like the Queen you truly are!
You will be amazed at how much wildlife you will see on an Alaskan cruise. Some of the animals you will be able to see from the deck of the ship. Other animals will be out of sight until you are on land during an excursion. And there are some animals that may elude you for your entire trip, no matter how hard you try to find them!
Some of the animals you might see in the water may also be spotted on land. Harbor seals, sea lions, and puffins spend their time between the water and the shoreline. Obviously, you can see bald eagles flying over the water too.
You may even be lucky enough to see a bear down by the rivers and streams. They spend their time there grabbing salmon to eat.
Oh, and if you are wanting to see polar bears when you are in Alaska, you must plan carefully. These animals only live in the Arctic. That means you must visit one of the coastal Arctic villages to see them in their natural habitat.
Honestly, there isn’t a “best” time of year to see wildlife on an Alaska Cruise! The animals are out and visible throughout the year. But you will have an easier time seeing some animals at certain times of the year.
The months of March, April, and May are considered spring in Alaska. The vegetation has not grown thick after the long winter yet. That means it is much easier to spot animals like caribou, bears, Dali sheep, and mountain goats. This is also when marine life like whales, seals, and walruses can get closer to the mainland since the ice is melting.
Bears and other animals can easily be found down by the rivers and streams during the month of June, July, and August. There is an abundance of salmon in those waters and the animals want their fill. Sea lions and seals give birth during these months too. And that means you will have lots of little baby animals to see!
September and October make up the short season of fall in Alaska. The bears are still down by the rivers catching the last of the salmon for the year. The goats, moose, caribou, and muskoxen spend this time of the year mating before heading off to their winter destinations.
Some of the wildlife in Alaska will move to new areas during the winter months of November, December, January, and February. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see them or at least know they are close by. You will be amazed at all the tracks you find in the snow. You should always keep your eyes open for these animals. You never know where these animals will startle you, as they are looking for a meal in the winter.
If you are craving whale watching opportunities in Alaska, you must visit during the months of April through September. April and May are when the grey whales will begin to arrive in the area. Killer whales are seen the most in May and June. Beluga whales can be seen quite often during any of the whale watching months in Alaska.
Below are several of the stops you will enjoy seeing wildlife on an Alaska Cruise.
There are so many places to see wildlife in Anchorage. But if you know the best wildlife viewing spots in Anchorage, you will have a better chance of seeing the animals you want to see. Point Woronzof Road is a secluded area that offers multiple scenic viewpoints. It is also one of the best places to spot a moose in Alaska. You can also see moose over in Kincaid Park. That fourteen-hundred-acre park is also home to bald eagles and bears.
The Campbell Creek Estuary and Potter Marsh are two other locations the locals recommend. Don’t forget to venture over to Turnagain Arm in Anchorage too. That is where you will see Dali sheep up on the cliffs and beluga whales in the water.
Marine life is commonly spotted in Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. The bay is where sea otters, seals, sea lions, and humpback whales spend their time. You can even see some of those animals from the shoreline.
When you are spending time in Icy Strait Point, you may want to consider heading over to Chichagof Island. The island is part of the Spasski River Valley. This area is known for the large number of brown bears that live there.
In Juneau, it is common to see bears and other wildlife walking right in town. But you may also want to check out the wildlife you can see at the Macauley Salmon Hatchery, Mendenhall Wetlands, Tracy Arm, and Point Bridget State Park.
Over in Ketchikan, you can also see wildlife right in the downtown area. But I prefer to spend my time checking out the wildlife on Brown Mountain Road, Settlers Cover State Park, and the Ward Lake Area.
Dyea is still the best area to see wildlife when you are visiting Skagway, Alaska. I recommend starting there and then venturing over to the Dewey Lakes Trail System or the Yakutania Point Trail.
Numerous parks are scattered throughout Alaska. Any one of them would be a perfect spot to see wildlife on an Alaska Cruise. However, there are five parks near Anchorage that offer the best wildlife viewing in Alaska.
Denali National Park is often the top choice for many visitors like yourself. After all, who can resist seeing the massive 20,310-foot mountain inside the park??! If you can manage to tear your eyes off the mountain, you will have the chance to see more than two hundred animal species. A few animals inside Denali National Park are moose, Dali sheep, wolves, caribou, and black bears.
In Kenai Fjords National Park, it is best to spend most of your time down by the water. The coastline is the perfect spot to see humpback whales, orcas, sea otters, and sea lions. You will also see quite a few puffins and bald eagles in this part of Alaska.
The other three parks that are good options for spotting wildlife include Chugach State Park, Katmai National Park, and Glacier Bay National Park. The latter is the best option if you want to combine wildlife and glacier viewings.
There are so many ways to see wildlife in Alaska. If you are taking an Alaskan cruise, you can see some of the marine animals right from the ship. When you want to see the wildlife on land, your best option is to sign up with one of the multiple tour groups. Each tour group specializes in certain areas and animals. Therefore, we can discuss what you are interested in seeing, so I can find you the perfect tour group for your Alaskan vacation.
It is very difficult to not see animals when you are taking an Alaskan cruise. There is always going to be wildlife outside your room’s window and nearby when you are in port.
One of the best ways to maximize your animal viewing on an Alaskan cruise is to go out early or late. The animals are the most active early in the mornings and then again later in the afternoons. Just like us humans, the middle of the day is for napping!
You should also plan your Alaskan cruise for the time of the year when the animals you want to see are in Alaska. I shared many tips above for when you can see the most whales and other animals.
Yes, you can take both a large ship and a small ship when going on an Alaskan cruise. There are pros and cons to each option. However, in my opinion, a small cruise ship is so much better for viewing wildlife.
When I went on my small Alaskan cruise, we ended up spending hours watching a pod of whales in the water. The captain of our ship was more than happy to go out of our way a little bit to be near the whales. And he wasn’t stressed about not moving at a certain speed to reach our next destination.
This never would have happened if I had booked with a larger cruise line because they have a schedule to keep. I will definitely be doing more small ship cruises in the future for this reason!
Other reasons why the smaller ships are better include the fact they can fit into those smaller areas of Alaska. If a lot of seals or puffins are hanging out in a shallow harbor, only a small ship will be able to access that area.
Join your passion for seeing wildlife with your joy of travel by taking an Alaskan cruise. Your family will be thrilled with the memories you will make. At the same time, you will be happy with all the quality time you get with your kids. After all, you know they are going to be leaving the nest before you are ready, so cherish this time now.
Contact me today or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s discuss your options for Alaskan cruises. You will be surprised at how many different options you actually have. And all those options will keep your kids from rolling their eyes and groaning when you say the words, “family vacation”!
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