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The Best Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours in 2023

If you’re looking for the best Glacier Kayaking tours in Alaska in 2023, you’ve come to the right place! During our road trips through Alaska, we opted for kayak and canoe tours a couple of times. We were particularly excited about Alaska glacier kayaking and sea kayaking. Paddling while watching the vast tongues of the glacier or admiring seals basking on the rocks is a fantastic and thrilling experience. Kayaking is one of the best water activities in Alaska that we can recommend from our first-hand experience. Here are the top Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours that’ll make your vacation unforgettable.

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Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours
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Our Top 3 Picks: Best Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours

To get started, quickly check out our top 3 Alaska kayak tours, where we’ve also listed the locations. No matter what part of Alaska you want to visit, you’ll find fantastic paddling trips for you. Then we give a motivation for each of our choice.


4 hours kayak tour at Resurrection Bay.
Suitable for beginners and experienced kayakers.
Marine wildlife watching.


5.5 hours Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour combines two activities – canoeing and glacier hiking, to explore the glacier up close.

Anchorage Kayaking

11 hours (full-day) adventure:
Kayak tour on Spencer Glacier Lake and a scenic ride on the famous Alaskan Railway
(train ticket included).

Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours

Kayaking in Alaska – Our Experiences

Below is our list of the most exciting kayak trips in Alaska in 2023. They are mainly glacier and sea kayaking tours from different regions of Alaska.

Why is it worth taking advantage of our recommendations? We’ve had kayak tours and canoe tours in Alaska several times. During a recent trip via Dalton Highway, we had the chance to kayak on a lake in the most remote US national park – The Gates of the Arctic National Park. We also have terrific memories of glacier kayaking in Valdez with a glacier hike, which we highly recommend. One of the most exciting things to do in Homer is sea kayaking, which we also had the opportunity to experience on our skin. And finally, kayaking in Seward, a fantastic place where you can kayak with views of the icy fjords and marvel at the marine life.

So we have experience kayaking in Alaska and know what to look for when choosing a trip and what criteria to follow. Hence, we have prepared our subjective ranking of the most exciting and best-rated offers available for the 2023 season.

Chris during Kayaking Alaska Tours in Homer
Chris during glacier kayaking in Alaska
Agnes during glacier kayaking and hike in Alaska

The Best Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours Recommendations

Seward Kayaking: Resurrection Bay Kayaking Adventure

If you plan a dream vacation in Alaska, Seward should be on your bucket list. And also, Resurrection Bay Kayaking Adventure from Seward should be among your water activities while on the Kenai Peninsula. Resurrection Bay is full of wildlife and spectacular scenery, so you can admire sea otters, harbor seals, and bald eagles while paddling in your kayak. This place is often called the “Gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park” because many water cabs, kayak tours, and anglers use the bay to access nearby Kenai Fjords. This kayak-guided tour from Seward is suitable for beginners and experienced kayakers, and it gives you a lot of joy, as the scenery of the Bay is breathtaking.

What’s included?

What’s essential – tour organization provides a two-person kayak, waterproof boots, personal flotation device, spray skirt, dry bag, splash jacket & pants (if needed), and neoprene mitts (if needed). So you don’t have to pack water gear while packing for your Alaska trip, as you will be equipped with all necessities.

Important Info about this Alaska Kayak Tour from Seward:

  • Minimum age 8 years old and 50 lb (22.7 kg)
  • Maximum weight 250 lb (113.5 kg) and 44″ waist (111.8 cm)
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
What Other Travelers Said About This ALASKA KAYAK Tour?
Danis_A said:

“Kayaking in the Fjords was truly amazing. The guides were great! Very clear with the instructions and they make sure you have all the necesary gear to stay dry and warm while you are kayaking. We were lucky enough to see Orcas, sealions and sea otters. One of the best Alaska tours we did. Worth every penny.

Seward Alaska Tours

Kayaking Anchorage or Girdwood: Glacier Blue Kayak & Grandview Tour

If you plan your Alaska adventure in Anchorage or Girdwood area, add this amazing Glacier Blue Kayak & Grandview Tour to your itinerary.

Why do we recommend this full-day adventure? Because for one price, you get two amazing, one of the best activities in Alaska: a kayak tour on Spencer Lake and a ride on the famous Alaskan Railway, one of the most picturesque Alaskan routes. During this guided Alaska glacier kayaking tour, you’ll paddle around icebergs in Spencer Glacier Lake and enjoy views of hanging glaciers and even cascading waterfalls. We have visited Alaska many times and sincerely recommend Scenic Train Ride to Grandview thru the Upper Placer River Gorge Canyon is one of the most scenic sections of the Alaska Railroad.

What’s included?

It’s great you have a train ticket included in the trip’s price. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about snacks and lunch, as they are included in the price. Also, kayaking gear (paddle, spray skirt, and splash jacket) is provided.

What matters when deciding on this Glacier Blue Kayak & Grandview Tour, you must remember about punctuality – you don’t want to miss your train. Also, this is a full-day trip, so dress very warm in rapidly changing weather. Be prepared for the wind, rain, and chill regardless of the weather forecast. The wind from the water and the chill from the glacier will be very noticeable, and you may feel cold. Wear layers, thermal underwear, and waterproof clothing. Check out our detailed list of what to pack in Alaska based on our years of experience traveling the Last Frontier State.

Agnes during glacier kayaking in Alaska

Important Info about this Alaska Kayak Tour from Anchorage:

  • Recommended for people with a moderate physical fitness level
  • Not recommended for people with back problems
  • Max Weight – 240 lbs (108.9 kg) and Max Height – 6’3″ (190.5 cm). However, the tour operator can provide the same tour by raft for travelers that don’t meet weight and height restrictions
What Other Travelers Said About This ALASKA KAYAK Tour?
Shay_S said:

“Magical” is the perfect description of this tour. Kayaking to the glacier was surreal. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who is physically capable & the water is very cold; I recommend wearing quick-drying/wool layers and a waterproof coat and waterproof boots. I did get wet on both portions of the tour, but wasn’t cold because I was wearing quick-drying pants and wool base layers/socks.

Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours

Juneau Kayaking: Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour

This Mendenhall Glacier Adventure Tour from Juneau is on our top to-do list for our next visit to Alaska (yes, we are already planning another Alaska journey because we love the state). Why it’s our choice? This kayaking adventures combine two activities – glacier kayaking and glacier hiking. And we love both those activities. We experience kayaking in Valdez with a glacier hike, and we know how exciting this trip from Juneau might be. Mendenhall Glacier is spectacular and one of the most visited Alaskan glaciers. We also experienced hiking the Matanuska Glacier and hiking Root Glacier while visiting Kennecott Copper Mine in Wrnagel – St. Elias National Park.

This is a fabulous experience because you’ll be canoeing across a Mendenhall glacier-fed lake surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. You’ll also hike on the rocky moraine and explore the famous Alaskan glacier up close.

What’s included?

During this professionally guided, all-inclusive glacier kayaking adventure tour in Alaska, you will get roundtrip transportation from Juneau’s cruise ship terminals. You will receive a raincoat, rain pants, rain boots, and paddling gloves. Moreover, you will get a life jacket, helmet, and trekking pole. Renting a dry bag is also included in the price, so you won’t have to be worried about your belongings. The price also includes the United States Forest Service Permits, as The glacier is protected as part of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area. You will get snacks and beverages. Enter your trip dates below to check the availability and book your trip.

Important Info about this Alaska Canoe Adventure Tour from Juneau

  • This canoe tour is not suitable for children under 12 years, people with back problems, pregnant women, people with mobility impairments
  • The minimum weight is 88 lbs (40 kg); the maximum weight is 250 lbs (113 kg)
What Other Travelers Said About This ALASKA Canoe Adventure Tour?

“It was one of my favorite adventures I’ve ever done! Canoeing across Mendenhall Lake was so exciting! We saw a Seal swimming. Beautiful scenery all around and floating icebergs! The hike to get to the glacier was a great! The guides Kelsie and Kelby were the best! Touching the actual glacier ice was awesome!”

Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours

Juneau Kayaking: Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour

If you plan to visit Juneau during your Alaska vacation, consider Mendenhall Lake Canoe Tour. As this tour is limited by permits issued by the National Parks Service is worth booking it ahead of time. Mendenhall Glacier is about 13.6 miles (21.9 km) long and is located in the Mendenhall Valley. Moreover, it’s almost 3,000 years old, half a mile wide, and up to 1,800 feet deep. The glacier is protected as part of the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, a federally designated unit of the Tongass National Forest. During this canoe tour, you will admire icebergs, waterfalls, and cliffs carved by ice.

What’s included?

During this guided canoe tour, you will receive proper gear: a rain jacket, rain pants, rain boots, paddling gloves, and a dry bag for personal items. Moreover, roundtrip transportation is in the ticket price. And finally, you don’t have to worry about snacks and beverages.

Important Info about this Alaska Canoe Tour from Juneau

  • This canoe tour is not suitable for children under 12 years, people with back problems, pregnant women, people with mobility impairments
  • You need to be able to paddle for up to 2 hours
  • The minimum weight is 90 lbs (40.8 kg); the maximum weight is 240lbs (108.9 kg)

Enter your trip dates below to check the availability and book your trip.

Glacier Kayaking Alaska Tours

Juneau Kayaking: Mendenhall Glacier View Sea Kayaking

This Mendenhall Glacier View Sea Kayaking trip enjoys excellent interest and great ratings among families traveling around Alaska with kids. It’s a great choice for beginners as well. Moreover, it is very affordable, so it’s worth considering when traveling with several people. You will paddle in the waters around Mendenhall Glacier. You will have a chance to see Fritz Cove and the protected Mendenhall Wetlands to spot bald eagles and humpback whales (if lucky). Other wildlife in the area includes porpoises, seals, sea lions, and herons.

What’s included?

It’s a professionally guided tour. The price included all equipment (also rain gear, boots, and spray skirt) and transportation from the Juneau cruise port. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about snacks and beverages.

Important Info about this Alaska Kayak Tour from Juneau:

  • An adult must accompany kids 7-12
  • Travelers should be in good health and will need to paddle for approximately 2 hours
  • It’s not recommended for people with back problems
What Other Travelers Said About This ALASKA KAYAK Tour?
Benjamin_H said:

“Great family activity. Nisha was knowledgeable and great with my 10 year old! Top marks. We brought our family of 6. We paddled for 1.5 hours. They provided gear to keep us warm and dry and snacks and water”.

bald eagle wildlife alaska

Ketchikan Kayak Tours in Alaska: Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking

If you dream of seeing orcas in Alaska, the best chance (but never a guarantee) of spotting them is during Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking from Ketchikan. During this kayak tour, you can admire Alaska wilderness and marine wildlife. Moreover, the Ketchikan area also has old-growth rainforests in southeastern Alaska. During this professionally guided tour, you will paddle, explore the shoreline, and spot wildlife like bears, whales, eagles, and more. However, keep in mind that wildlife has its own rules. It’s not a zoo, and you can encounter a lot of animals, but there is no guarantee. But for sure you will experience a lot of thrill and fun.

What’s included?

Moreover, during this Ketchikan Kayak tour, you will try delicious Alaskan smoked salmon, dip, hummus, crackers, veggies, and hot & cold beverages. We ate the best-smoked salmon while visiting Homer and during our Alaska bear-viewing trip to Katmai National Park. And we assure you that locally caught and smoked salmon should be on your Alaskan bucket list! You will also receive waterproof jackets, spray skirts, and pogies. Moreover, you can get for a trip drybags for your camera. However, remember that Rain Pants are not included in the price of this glacier kayaking Alaska tour. So you should wear quick dry shorts or rain pants for this kayak tour.

Important Info about this Alaska Kayak Tour from Ketchikan:

  • According to the official website, this sea kayaking tour from Ketchikan requires moderate physical activity. It’s not recommended for guests with back problems, limited upper body strength, or those prone to seasickness. In addition to paddling a kayak, you must be able to climb short flights of stairs, walk to the departure point, climb on and off the office boat, climb up and down a short ladder, and sit on the dock or loading platform to get in and out of the kayaks.
What Other Travelers Said About This ALASKA KAYAK Tour?
Gregory_S said:

“We had a great experience, awesome trip, amazing wildlife. Tour guide was very knowledgeable and very accommodating. Highly recommend doing this tour”.

Agnes kayaking in the gates of the arctic national park

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Alaska good for kayaking?

Kayaking in Alaska is one of the best water activities, where you can admire marine animals and landscapes with glaciers and mountains. The paddle splash and fresh air will calm your mind and soul.

Can you kayak with whales in Alaska?

If you dream about kayaking with whales in Alaska, go to the capital of the Last Frontier State – Juneau, and choose the Paddle With Whales Kayak Adventure. Alaska’s peak whale season is May through September.

Can you kayak with orcas in Alaska?

If you dream about kayaking with orcas in Alaska, go to Ketchikan between May and September and choose the Orcas Cove Sea Kayaking adventure.

Do you need a license to kayak in Alaska?

Alaska doesn’t have any licensing requirements for boaters/kayaking. And the tours we recommend are guided kayaking trips, which are also suitable for beginners.

What month is best to kayak in Alaska?

Alaska kayaking season starts on May 1 and last till mid-September. The peak of the season is July and August. June and mid-August to mid-September are great for kayak trips.

When can you kayak in Alaska?

You can go kayaking in Alaska as early as the beginning of May, but remember that May is still a chilly month. However, prices are lower than in the high season.

glacier kayaking in alaska

Best Glacier Kayaking Tours in Alaska in 2023 – Final Thoughts

Alaska is the best state for glacier kayaking. No matter what region of Alaska you plan to visit, you have plenty of kayaking options here. Of course, there are many more offers than in the presented article. We have chosen only those we would gladly use when planning our 2023 summer vacation in Alaska.

If you decide to go on one of the glacier kayaking excursions, dress warmly regardless of the weather forecast. Check out our Alaska packing list based on our many years of experience traveling around the state.

root glacier in alaska

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Best Glacier Kayaking Tours in Alaska


  1. I have never done kayaking so this is something new for me. My first thought was how I hate to capsize in the freezing cold water and that would definitely put me off. however, if risks aren’t taken then I would never see the beauty of the area from the river perspective.
    Great info on what to wear as I would have had no idea and its appreciate that you give your views on the different companies operating in the activity.
    The views must be stunning from the river and entering those ice caves looks captivating.

  2. You know we would be checking out glacier kayaking when we finally get to Alaska. Great to know there are options from different spots in Alaska. Thanks for including all the information for the different spots. But even with that I am not sure we could pick only one kayak experience. But I sure would check out Juneau to kayak with whales or Ketchikan for orcas!

  3. We love kayaking but have never kayaked around glaciers. This looks absolutely wonderful! We would love to kayak amongst the wildlife in Resurrection Bay and to see the icebergs and cliffs of the Mendenhall Glacier. The prospect of seeing humpback whales or orcas really appeals as well. This post had great practical advice on each tour, so it was good to know what was included and what you need to bring along. All your Alaska articles move this remarkable and beautiful region higher and higher up our to-visit list. Great post!

  4. Now this would be the ultimate Alaska adventure! I have seen glaciers and fjords in Iceland and Norway but kayaking in those waters would be next level! I love how detailed and informative your post and I feel like I could easily choose a tour based on your recommendations. Great post.

  5. Even though Alaska is quite the remote place with very cold weather, I’m surprised to hear about all your adventures and the many activities you can do there. This is definitely a region for thrill seekers and advanced travellers. I’m sure your comprehensive guide on the best glacier kayaking tours in Alaska will be helpful for hardcore adventurers planning on exploring the region from the water perspective. I tend to get wet a lot when kayaking without moving forward much, so I have finished my kayaking career a couple of years ago.


  6. These kayaking tours all sound like fun, and I’d love to take the train ride too. I’ve done a whale-watching kayak trip and I’d love to see some icebergs at the same time. When you book with Get Your Guide, do you know the name of the organization you’re using?

  7. Honestly all of these kayaking tours sound awesome. But as a complete beginner, I’m not sure I could do it for a few hours? From the list the one with the orca watching really caught me eye. It’s a dream of mine to see whales in the wild one day so I’d choose this one to say I saw some!

  8. I’ve always wanted to do this. I travel solo and most, if not all kayaks are for 2 people. I did the Mendenhall glacier hike on a cruise stop and I was so envious of the people up close in their kayaks.

  9. I recently started kayaking myself and my partner and this would be one adventure in the glaciers. I would worry about the cold however as I prefer warmer weather. I’m sure the adrenaline would kick in and it would be fine! Great in-depth post!

  10. I have a fear of tipping over in a kayak but still would chance it for a chance to see Mendenhall Glacier from that viewpoint. Getting to glimpse wildlife would be something I would love especially getting to spot whales and orcas would be cherry on top. Great post for introducing the spots.

  11. I have done a very small ride in a kayak in Kerala, India. The glacier ride in a kayak sounds so dreamy. I have also looked up canoe and rafting ride on YouTube. What a perfect holiday. And you have mentioned the weight and height too, so that’s inspiration to maintain the correct body weight for these trips.

  12. We are kayak fanatics and have our own here at home (including a SUP). BUT we’ve always wanted to do a kayak adventure in an arctic place. Initially we were thinking in Antarctica one day, but after reading your article, I think Alaska would be more feasible and realistic to start with. I can just imagine how amazing rowing through the glaciers would be. Thanks for convincing us to go!

  13. Glacier kayaking is an activity that interests me because I haven’t done it before. I can only imagine how enjoyable it must be to paddle while taking in the breathtaking scenery around you. If I were to visit Alaska soon, I would probably schedule time to do this. I appreciate your recommendations for tours; I will definitely take them into account.

  14. I can only imagine how incredible must be to kayak on a glacial lake, especially when you can get so close to the ice. What a feeling that must be! I like that you have recommended tours which you have personally went on and described your experience. This is so important to me when I pick a tour – I want to know what to expect, as well as the safety of the tour operator I am picking. Also when it comes to activities on water, it’s great to know that the gear is included as well, so you don’t get wet.

  15. This looks awesome fun! Love kayaking, and this would be the ultimate adventure (unless I capsise)

    Some excellent tips and tours to choose from, making it perfect for lost-looking tourists like me. I love your first recommendation – Anchorage or Girdwood: Glacier Blue Kayak & Grandview Tour. It seems they’ve got everything covered, from snacks to the train. Kudos to those guys!

    Long day but worth it!

    Thanks for the info, guys.

  16. Kayaking is one of my favorite activities – and doing it in Alaska would be an incredible experience. Definitely saving this for my trip whenever I go. Your recommendations are great. Resurrection bay sounds perfect for me with all the wildlife to be spotted!

  17. I’ve never been cold water kayaking, but Alaska seems like the perfect place to go. I’m not even familiar with some of the equipment (such as a spray skirt!), and it would be a fun experience just to see how different it is from warm weather kayaking in a bathing suit. The sights also look SO gorgeous, and I’ll definitely look into these companies when we head to Alaska soon. I appreciate the recommendations!

  18. First of all, I didn’t know Glacier Kayaking was a thing. I just stumbled here looking for Alaska things and I’m glad I did. I’ve always thought of kayaking as a summer weather activity. This is super cool. Good to know that all these 3 tours give all the things needed for kayaking included in the tour and we don’t have to really pack & bring anything. That said, I might have to wait a couple more years for my daughter to be able to join us too. I might choose Mendenhall because, ‘admire icebergs, waterfalls, and cliffs carved by ice’? You got me hooked.

  19. All of these sound fantastic, but as a relatively inexperienced kayaker I would likely go with one of the shorter trips to start. That said the idea of combining a kayak tour with the train ride does sound like my kind of fun day. It’s good that so many of the companies include the waterproof gear you might need – much easier than having to pack that in your luggage

  20. I have only kayaked once in my life, on a river, and the experience was fantastic. I believe that doing this activity in the middle of glaciers is a dream. This activity seems to be a lot of fun and allows contact with nature in a very unusual way. As always, the post is extremely complete and with all the necessary information for those who want to do this activity.

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