You don’t need to pack a swimsuit and sunscreen to enjoy a day at the beach in Southeast Alaska. (You will want that swimsuit for our outdoor Jacuzzi!) Although you probably won’t want to hit the waves or take up surfing while you’re here, there are a number of beach activities to tempt everyone from the most adventurous outdoorsman to the casual nature lover.
With almost 1,000 miles of coastline, Prince of Wales Island offers plenty of locations to enjoy beachcombing, tide pool exploration, and marine wildlife viewing. Most of the coastline is made up of rocky juts and towering fjords, but there are locations with stretches of sandy beach to explore as well. If you’re interested in marine biology, in seeing a unique ecosystem, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature, be sure to include some time at the beach on your itinerary.
Coastal Activities on Prince of Wales Island
The ocean atmosphere is everywhere you turn on Prince of Wales Island. It’s in the air you breathe and the ground underfoot, in the activities to enjoy during your time here, and in the incredible seafood. Because the coastline includes hundreds of small inlets, islands, and other waterways, it’s very easy to find uninhabited places to explore. Many of these are only accessible by boat or kayak, but others can be easily walked to on foot.
- Tide Pools: Most people who visit our shores talk about the incredible fishing or the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch migrating whales, orca and other marine life, but the small tide pools demand a closer look. Starfish, crabs, wolf eels, sea anemones, clams, and sand dollars can all be found here during low tide.
- Beachcombing: If you’re tired of looking at living examples of our marine life, don’t worry – there’s plenty to entertain the budding geologist, as well. Many beach visitors come across shells, fossils, quartz stones, limestone rocks, and even marine skeletons during their walks. Although the Forest Service kindly requests that you keep all your nature finds in place and intact, photography is more than welcomed.
- Kayaking and Canoeing: You don’t have to be a huge adventurer or experienced kayaker to enjoy a leisurely paddle through local waters. If you’d like to see the coast on your own terms and at your own speed, a few hours in a kayak will give you access to some of the most beautiful—and remote—locations in the world.
Areas for Shoreline Exploration
Although you can find any number of private, untouched beaches if you hop in a kayak and start exploring the coastline, there are some beaches that provide easy access.
Sandy Beach Recreation Area offers just what the name says: a sandy beach and recreation area. In addition to serving as a favorite feeding ground for whales and other marine mammals, this is one of the only sand beaches in this part of Alaska. This means it’s ideal if you want to try your hand at beachcombing. It’s also part of a beautiful drive that makes the most of ocean views and mountain backdrops.
Beachfront at Kasaan Totem Village extends from the Kasaan Dock, down to the chief Son-I-Hat Whale House. If you’re walking the breathtaking forest path to the longhouse and totem park, you can take another side path, breaking through the trees, down to the beach. You’ll find beachfront with some beautiful drift wood and shells of all sorts. If you’re here during the salmon runs, you’ll find a sea of salmon waiting for tides to take them spawning up small creeks.
Perhaps the most convenient beachcombing can be done right here on the property. At low tide, you’ll find pools right around the boardwalk. It’s amazing what you can find so close.
Whether you want to spend all day exploring the shoreline or take a break from fishing for a few hours to see what else the island has to offer, beach activities on Prince of Wales Island are sure to please the whole family!
Book your stay at Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge now, and consider taking some time to explore some of the island’s beaches — there are plenty of Beach Activities that could occupy several hours if not much of a day.