Glacier Bay National Park, AK


Glacier Bay National Park
Alaska Entrance Fee: No entrance fee
Getting there: Glacier Bay can only be reached by boat or plane. A small road connects the park to the town of Gustavus.

Whales are a common site in Glacier Bay National Park. (Adobe stock image)

By Nushin Huq

Between 2 Pines Magazine

People who set foot on Glacier Bay National Park come here with purpose. No one just ends up here, our kayak guide said. In fact only two percent of visitors to the park step foot on the land. This results in a certain vibe in the park that sets it apart from the crowded parks in the lower 48.


The parks main attraction is tidewater glaciers. While majority of visitors come see these beauties from cruise ships, the park offers small boat tours as well. But the park has so much more to offer including wildlife watching, hiking the temperate forest and visiting the Huna Tribal House.


For families that would like to camp, you can set up your tent at Bartlett Cove campground. If you have a kayak and are able to wilderness camp, there are numerous backcountry options. For families that would like a bit more comfort, Glacier Bay Lodge is the only hotel in the park.


Food options are very limited in the park. Glacier Bay Lodge has a full service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.


There are a number of trails near Glacier Bay Lodge and all of them are great for families. The first trail is a great 1 mile loop to explore the temperate rainforest. The Tlingit Trail goes pasts displays of a Tlingit canoe, a whale skeleton and ends at the Humanitarian's Tribal House, where you can learn all about Tlingit culture.


An all-day boat tour, offered by the lodge, is fun for the entire family. Your guide is a NPS interpretation ranger. Lunch and snacks are served. Families will love viewing wildlife and looking at the tidewater glaciers. Kids can complete and earn a junior ranger badge. Other fun activities include kayaking along Bartlett Cove. Attend a ranger program at Huma Tribal House and listen to a ranger teach about the Huna Tlingit Clans, whose ancestral home was Glacier Bay. When its low tide, explore the tide pools along Barlett Cove.

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