12 Things To Do in Kodiak, Alaska

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Kodiak, Alaska is a beautiful island community known for its rich natural beauty and thriving commercial fishing industry. Located on the northeastern side of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, the city of Kodiak offers visitors breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, local seafood delicacies, and a variety of outdoor recreational activities perfect for adventure seekers.

Activity NumberDescriptionKey Highlights
1Kodiak National Wildlife RefugeWildlife viewing, nature exploration
2Alutiiq MuseumIndigenous culture, artifacts
3Fort Abercrombie State Historical ParkWWII history, scenic hikes
4Fishing ChartersWorld-class fishing, guided tours
5Bear Viewing ExcursionsWildlife spotting, guided trips
6Hiking TrailsDiverse landscapes, wildlife
7Downtown KodiakShopping, dining, history
8Kodiak Island Brewing Co.Local beers, brewery tours
9Holy Resurrection Orthodox CathedralHistoric architecture, cultural insight
10Baranov MuseumKodiak history, Russian influence
11Island HoppingRemote beauty, adventure
12Whale WatchingMarine life, scenic boat tours

Whether you want to go bear viewing, embark on a fishing charter, explore native Alutiiq’s history and culture, or simply soak in the island’s rugged, remote landscapes, Kodiak has something for every type of traveller. From the quaint downtown area lined with shops and eateries to the diverse state parks covering two-thirds of the island, there are plenty of things to see and experience in Kodiak.

Here are 12 can’t-miss attractions and activities to add to your Kodiak bucket list:

Go Bear Viewing and Wildlife Spotting

Name and Location: Bear viewing and wildlife spotting are popular activities on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which covers about two-thirds of the island, is home to the Kodiak brown bear, one of the largest bears in the world. Other wildlife commonly seen on the island include bald eagles, sea otters, and Sitka black-tailed deer.

History and Significance: Kodiak Island has been home to the Alutiiq people for thousands of years, and the island’s wildlife has played a significant role in their culture and subsistence. The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to protect the habitat of the Kodiak brown bear and other wildlife, and has since become a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts from around the world.

What to Expect: Visitors to Kodiak Island can expect to see a variety of wildlife, depending on the season and location. Bear viewing is best done with a guided tour, as the bears can be dangerous if approached too closely. Other wildlife, such as bald eagles and sea otters, can often be spotted from shore or from a boat. Guided wildlife viewing tours are available from several local operators, and can range from a few hours to several days in length.

Visitor Information: Bear viewing and wildlife spotting on Kodiak Island are best done during the summer months, when the weather is milder and the animals are more active. Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions and should dress in warm, waterproof layers. It is also recommended to bring binoculars, a camera, and insect repellent. Guided tours can be booked through local operators, and visitors should be sure to follow all safety guidelines and regulations to avoid disturbing or endangering the wildlife.


As home to the largest population of brown bears in Alaska, Kodiak is arguably the best place for bear viewing opportunities. Every year from mid-May to mid-August, thousands of visitors flock to the island hoping to catch sight of these massive predators in their natural habitat.

The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge protects the bears and other wildlife on the archipelago’s 16 islands. You can observe bears hunting for salmon from designated viewing platforms at places like the Frazer Fish Pass viewing area. Just be sure to follow proper safety protocols when bear viewing, like staying quiet and keeping your distance.

In addition to bears, the refuge hosts large populations of Sitka black-tailed deer, red foxes, mountain goats, puffins, bald eagles, and other Alaskan wildlife. Sign up for a guided hike or kayaking tour to maximize your chances of crossing paths with local fauna. Don’t forget your camera!

Go Fishing for Halibut and Salmon

Name and Location: Fishing for halibut and salmon is a popular activity in the waters around Kodiak Island, Alaska. The island is known for its abundant populations of Pacific halibut, which can grow up to 500 pounds, as well as its runs of king, silver, and red salmon.

History and Significance: Fishing has been an important part of life on Kodiak Island for thousands of years, with the Alutiiq people relying on the abundant marine resources for food and trade. Today, commercial fishing remains a major industry on the island, while sport fishing attracts visitors from around the world looking to catch trophy-sized halibut and salmon.

What to Expect: Anglers on Kodiak Island can expect to catch a variety of fish, depending on the season and location. Halibut fishing is best done in the deeper waters off the coast, while salmon can be caught in the island’s rivers and streams as well as in the ocean. Guided fishing charters are available from several local operators, and can range from half-day to multi-day trips. Anglers should be prepared for challenging weather conditions and should follow all local regulations and guidelines for catch limits and seasons.

Visitor Information: Fishing on Kodiak Island is best done during the summer months, when the weather is milder and the fish are more active. Visitors should be prepared for cool, wet conditions and should dress in warm, waterproof layers. It is also recommended to bring polarized sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen to protect against glare on the water. Fishing licenses are required for all anglers aged 16 and older, and can be purchased online or at local sporting goods stores. Guided fishing charters and equipment rentals are available from several local operators.


It’s no secret that Kodiak is a legendary sportfishing destination. Nicknamed “Alaska’s Emerald Isle,” Kodiak sits in the middle of nutrient-rich waters teeming with prize catches like halibut, salmon, rockfish, lingcod, and more. Fishing charters abound on the island, ready to take anglers out in pursuit of their own trophy catch.

The summer months offer superb ocean fishing conditions. Try jigging for halibut or trolling for salmon along the coastline or around the Afognak and Shuyak Islands. You can keep some of your catch as dinner or opt for catch-and-release fishing. If you’re not into boats, you can also cast from the Buskin River or Island Lake and reel in rainbow trout or Dolly Varden.

Embark on a Guided Tour of Katmai National Park

Name and Location: Katmai National Park is located on the Alaska Peninsula, just southwest of Kodiak Island. The park is known for its stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and world-class bear viewing opportunities.

History and Significance: Katmai National Park was established in 1918 to protect the area around the Novarupta volcano, which erupted in 1912 in one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century. The eruption created the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a stark and otherworldly landscape that is now a popular destination for hikers and photographers. The park is also home to a large population of brown bears, which gather at Brooks Falls each summer to feed on spawning salmon.

What to Expect: Visitors to Katmai National Park can expect to see a variety of wildlife, including brown bears, wolves, moose, and caribou. The park is also home to a diverse array of birdlife, including bald eagles, puffins, and peregrine falcons. Guided tours of the park are available from several local operators, and can range from day trips to multi-day backpacking expeditions. Bear viewing at Brooks Falls is a popular activity, and visitors can observe the bears from designated viewing platforms or from guided boat tours on the Brooks River.

Visitor Information: Katmai National Park is remote and can only be accessed by plane or boat. Visitors should be prepared for rugged, backcountry conditions and should have appropriate gear and supplies. Camping is allowed in designated areas, and visitors should follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment. Guided tours and bear viewing opportunities can be booked through local operators, and visitors should be sure to follow all safety guidelines and regulations to avoid disturbing or endangering the wildlife.


Across the Shelikof Strait from Kodiak sits ruggedly beautiful Katmai National Park, home to the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the largest concentration of brown bears in the world. Daily flights and boat charters provide transportation from Kodiak to Katmai for guided day trips and overnight camping adventures in the park.

Follow expert guides to prime bear viewing spots along the Brooks River and falls, where the massive coastal creatures congregate to feed on migrating salmon between June and September. Marvel at the park’s unique landscape, forged by the historic Novarupta volcano eruption of 1912.

The ashes formed the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, which remains geologically active with steaming fumaroles. Experiencing Katmai’s bears and geology on a guided tour from Kodiak makes for an unforgettable Alaskan adventure.

Hike to Termination Point

Name and Location: Termination Point is a popular hiking destination located on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The trail leads to a scenic overlook with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

History and Significance: The Termination Point trail has been a popular hiking destination for locals and visitors alike for many years. The trail gets its name from the fact that it ends abruptly at a cliff overlooking the ocean.

What to Expect: The Termination Point trail is a moderate to strenuous hike, with an elevation gain of about 1,500 feet over 2.5 miles. The trail can be muddy and slippery in places, so sturdy hiking boots are recommended. At the end of the trail, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Chiniak Bay and the distant mountains of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.

Visitor Information: The Termination Point trailhead is located about 20 miles south of the city of Kodiak, and can be accessed by car. The trail is open year-round, but the best time to hike is from May to September when the weather is milder and the trail is less muddy. Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions and should bring plenty of water, snacks, and appropriate clothing and gear. It is also recommended to hike with a partner or group, as the trail can be remote and cell phone service may be spotty.


Adventurous hikers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to conquer Termination Point when visiting Kodiak. This renowned trek brings youalong a stretch of coastal cliffs and mountainous terrain to a rocky point overlooking the Sitkalidak Straits. You’ll traverse 6.5 miles of Kodiak’s picturesque landscape, through marshes, wooded groves, berry thickets, and fields of wildflowers. The payoff is one of the island’s most spectacular views.

As a more challenging hike with steep sections and potentially wet or muddy conditions, make sure to wear good hiking shoes or boots and don’t attempt the route in inclement weather. Give yourself plenty of time—it takes about 5 to 7 hours round trip. The hike begins at Old Mill Bay Park near the town of Ouzinkie.

Explore Downtown Kodiak

Name and Location: Downtown Kodiak is located on the northeastern tip of Kodiak Island, Alaska. The area is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, galleries, and historical sites, and is a popular destination for visitors to the island.

History and Significance: Kodiak has a long and rich history, with significant influences from both Russian and American colonization. The downtown area is home to several historical buildings and sites, including the Baranov Museum, which is housed in the oldest building in Alaska, and the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral, which was built in the early 19th century.

What to Expect: Visitors to downtown Kodiak can expect to find a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants, many of which showcase local art, crafts, and cuisine. The area is also home to several parks and public spaces, including the Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, which offers information and resources for visitors to the island. Guided walking tours of the downtown area are available from several local operators, and can provide insight into the history and culture of the area.

Visitor Information: Downtown Kodiak is easily accessible by foot or by car, and parking is available in several public lots and on-street spaces. Many of the shops, galleries, and restaurants are open year-round, but some may have limited hours during the off-season. Visitors should be prepared for cool, wet weather and should dress in layers. It is also recommended to bring comfortable walking shoes, as many of the attractions and sites are best explored on foot.


Kodiak’s quaint downtown district offers visitors a taste of local island culture. Stroll the streets to uncover an array of shops, boutiques, galleries, museums, bars, cafes, and restaurants frequented by Kodiak’s commercial fishing community. Snap photos of the iconic harbor lined with trawlers and processing plants. Stop in places like the Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository to learn about indigenous heritage. Grab a bite from a local favourite like Henry’s Great Alaskan restaurant.

Don’t miss connecting with Kodiak’s arts scene—galleries like the Kodiak Arts Council showcase regional artists, while venues like the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium host concerts and performances year-round. And be sure to try some fresh seafood straight from the source or check out the Saturday Market’s array of local goods and crafts during the summer months.

Go Sea Kayaking

Name and Location: Sea kayaking is a popular activity in the waters around Kodiak Island, Alaska. The island’s rugged coastline and sheltered bays provide a variety of paddling opportunities for kayakers of all skill levels.

History and Significance: The waters around Kodiak Island have been used for transportation and subsistence by the Alutiiq people for thousands of years. Kayaks, or qayaqs in the Alutiiq language, were an essential tool for hunting, fishing, and travel. Today, sea kayaking allows visitors to experience the island’s stunning beauty and rich cultural heritage from a unique perspective.

What to Expect: Kayakers on Kodiak Island can expect to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and wildlife. The island’s sheltered bays and inlets provide calm waters for beginners, while more experienced paddlers can explore the rugged outer coast. Guided kayaking tours are available from several local operators, and can range from a few hours to several days in length. Kayakers may also have the opportunity to view wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals, and whales.

Visitor Information: Sea kayaking on Kodiak Island is best done during the summer months, when the weather is milder and the days are longer. Visitors should be prepared for cool, wet conditions and should dress in warm, waterproof layers. It is also recommended to wear a life jacket and to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection. Guided tours and kayak rentals are available from several local operators, and no prior kayaking experience is necessary. Visitors should be aware of tides and weather conditions, and should always paddle with a partner or group.


Paddling across the emerald waters surrounding Kodiak provides an intimate vantage for taking in the island’s breathtaking scenery. Guided sea kayaking tours cater to beginners and experts alike. Most outfitters provide gear and transportation to prime kayaking locations around Kodiak.

Popular paddling spots include scenic bays like Ugak and Pasagshak Bay, where sea lions, puffins, and other marine wildlife are plentiful. Multi-day tours allow for camping and fishing along the route for the ultimate ocean adventure. Kayaking whale-watching tours held in late summer offer visitors a chance to paddle alongside humpbacks and other marine mammals.

Visit the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Name and Location: The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is located in the city of Kodiak, Alaska, on the northeastern side of Kodiak Island. The visitor center serves as a gateway to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which covers about two-thirds of the island and is home to a diverse array of wildlife and ecosystems.

History and Significance: The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to protect the habitat of the Kodiak brown bear, one of the largest bears in the world. The refuge is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including bald eagles, sea otters, and Sitka black-tailed deer, as well as important spawning streams for salmon. The visitor center was opened in 1997 to provide information and educational resources about the refuge and its inhabitants.

What to Expect: Visitors to the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center can expect to find a variety of exhibits and displays about the natural and cultural history of the refuge, including information about the Kodiak brown bear and other wildlife. The visitor center also offers educational programs, guided walks, and other activities throughout the year, as well as a gift shop with books, maps, and other resources for exploring the refuge.

Visitor Information: The Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is open year-round, with reduced hours during the winter months. Admission is free, and the visitor center is fully accessible to visitors with disabilities. Visitors can also pick up maps, brochures, and other information about the refuge and its recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The visitor center is located just outside of downtown Kodiak, and is easily accessible by car or public transportation.


This educational visitor center lies in the heart of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, providing an essential orientation for visitors aiming to explore Kodiak’s expansive wilderness. Interactive exhibits detail the area’s wildlife inhabitants and ecosystems as well as outdoor ethics for preserving refuge lands. A large observation deck grants panoramic views of the Chiniak Bay wetlands—a prime birdwatching spot.

Expert naturalists are on hand to answer questions about the refuge and lead guided walks when available. Films screenings, educational programs, and seasonal celebrations also take place at the visitor center throughout the year. Whether planning a DIY refuge adventure or a guided tour, be sure to stop here first for maps, permits, and Leave No Trace information.

Go Charter Fishing for Halibut

Name and Location: Charter fishing for halibut is a popular activity in the waters around Kodiak Island, Alaska. Several local operators offer guided fishing trips that depart from the city of Kodiak and other nearby communities.

History and Significance: Halibut fishing has been an important part of life on Kodiak Island for thousands of years, with the Alutiiq people relying on the abundant marine resources for food and trade. Today, halibut fishing remains a major industry on the island, with commercial and sport fisheries attracting visitors from around the world looking to catch these prized fish.

What to Expect: Charter fishing trips for halibut typically include all necessary equipment, including rods, reels, and bait. Depending on the weather and location, trips may range from a few hours to a full day in length. Anglers can expect to fish in the deeper waters off the coast of Kodiak Island, using heavy gear and large bait to target these bottom-dwelling fish. Halibut can grow to be very large, with some fish weighing over 500 pounds, so anglers should be prepared for a challenging fight.

Visitor Information: Charter fishing trips for halibut can be booked through local fishing lodges, charter companies, and other outfitters. Trips are typically available from May through September, when the weather is milder and the fish are more active. Anglers should be prepared for cool, wet conditions and should dress in warm, waterproof layers. It is also recommended to bring polarized sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen to protect against glare on the water. Fishing licenses are required for all anglers aged 16 and older, and can be purchased online or at local sporting goods stores.


Charter fishing for halibut is exceptionally popular in Kodiak thanks to the prolific fishery surrounding the island, known for producing some of the largest specimens on the planet. Halibut weigh over 100 pounds on average in these parts—an enticing challenge for sport anglers. Fully outfitted charters provide all the necessary gear for a day (or multi-day) fishing adventure focused on reeling in that trophy “barn door.”

The season runs from May through September when calm waters and plentiful bait fish make for ideal conditions.

Phenomenal success rates mean you have an excellent chance of catching your limit within a few hours. Your fresh halibut fillets then get cleaned, vacuum sealed, and boxed to take home. Or for ultimate convenience, some charters offer a catch, clean, and deliver service straight to the airport on your departure.

Soak in Scenic Surf Beaches

Name and Location: Kodiak Island is home to several scenic surf beaches that offer stunning views and a variety of recreational opportunities. Some of the most popular beaches include Surfers Beach, Middle Bay Beach, and Fossil Beach, all of which are located on the southern end of the island.

History and Significance: The surf beaches of Kodiak Island have long been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, offering a chance to enjoy the island’s rugged natural beauty and connect with the power of the ocean. Surfing on the island dates back to the 1960s, when a group of adventurous locals first started riding the waves at Surfers Beach. Today, the island’s surf scene has grown to include a dedicated community of local and visiting surfers.

What to Expect: Visitors to Kodiak Island’s surf beaches can expect to find a variety of conditions, from gentle rolling waves to powerful overhead swells. The beaches are known for their stunning scenery, with dramatic cliffs, rocky outcroppings, and dense forests providing a stunning backdrop to the ocean. In addition to surfing, visitors can also enjoy beachcombing, picnicking, and wildlife viewing, with the chance to spot whales, sea lions, and other marine life from shore.

Visitor Information: The surf beaches of Kodiak Island are best visited during the summer months, when the weather is milder and the waves are more consistent. Visitors should be prepared for cool, wet conditions and should dress in warm, waterproof layers. It is also recommended to bring a wetsuit, as the water can be quite cold even in the summer. Surfers should be aware of tides, currents, and other hazards, and should always surf with a partner or group. Parking is available at most of the beaches, but visitors should be prepared for rough, unpaved roads and limited facilities.


Kodiak boasts dozens of gorgeous surf beaches trimmed by the island’s rugged coastal terrain. Scattered among these stretches of windswept sand and rolling waves are secluded hideaways perfect for a peaceful afternoon. Pack a beach blanket and picnic lunch—sites like Pasagshak Beach on the eastern peninsula offer scenic backdrops of emerald bays framed by spruce forests marching down to the sea.

Pasagshak even provides beachcombing opportunities along its tidal flats. Or head to Monashka Bay near the southern end of Kodiak to comb the beach lined with rocky cliffs as bears graze on the grasses above. Just be bear aware in these remote areas and always supervise children. Most surf beaches remain undeveloped and without lifeguards.

Go Flightseeing over Kodiak Island

Name and Location: Flightseeing over Kodiak Island is a popular way to experience the island’s stunning natural beauty from a unique perspective. Several local operators offer flightseeing tours that depart from the Kodiak Airport and other nearby locations.

History and Significance: Kodiak Island has a long history of aviation, with bush pilots playing a crucial role in the development and support of remote communities throughout the region. Today, flightseeing tours allow visitors to experience the same sense of adventure and discovery that has drawn pilots to the island for generations.

What to Expect: Flightseeing tours over Kodiak Island typically last from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the route and operator. Visitors can expect to see a variety of stunning landscapes, including rugged coastlines


One of the most epic ways to take in Kodiak’s grand landscapes is by looking down on them from above. Flightseeing tours provide the ultimate bird’s eye views of the island’s lush green valleys, rugged mountains, braided rivers, gleaming lakes, frothy waterfalls, and deeply indented bays.

Most flights originate from the city of Kodiak, covering different portions of Kodiak Island based on interest before circling around the archipelago’s other islands.

In clear weather, you can gaze upon stunning vistas for miles in every direction. Have your camera ready to capture shots of mountain goats clinging to cliffs, bears roaming tundra meadows, and whales breaching in the sea below. Expert pilots even make tidy landings at remote sites so passengers can get out to explore areas accessible only by air. Flightseeing clearly offers an unforgettable perspective on Kodiak’s sweeping landscape.

Visit Kodiak Island Brewing Co.


Beer lovers visiting Kodiak can get a taste of local beer culture at this craft brewery founded in 2012. Their Githubwaterfront taproom (with stellar harbor views!) pours a rotating selection of brewmaster Ben Millstein’s latest concoctions, often featuring indigenous Alaskan plants and berries.

Flagship brews like the peppery Polar Bear Stout and crisp Island Amber are always on draft alongside seasonal offerings like blueberry ale or dark milds. Join one of their weekly tours for an inside look into Kodiak’s booming craft beer scene from grain to glass. Their downtown tasting room also hosts food trucks on occasion. It’s the perfect spot to sip a pint after a day of Kodiak adventuring.

Go Salmon Fishing on the Karluk and Ayakulik Rivers

Some of Alaska’s most abundant wild salmon runs attract anglers from around the world to Kodiak’s Karluk and Ayakulik Rivers. You’ll be amazed by the sight of thousands of mighty sockeye and silver salmon surging upstream to spawn from June through August.

Sign upfor a guided drift trip down one of these legendary fisheries for a shot at landing feisty Chinook (kings), sockeye, chum, pink, and coho salmon. Or book a remote wilderness lodge stay and spend your days wading the rivers’ crystalline waters casting for salmon from shore. Either way, expect epic action and pristine environments on a Kodiak salmon fishing adventure.

Conclusion

From epic bear viewing to world-class fishing to rugged scenic landscapes, Kodiak offers an abundance of outdoor attractions. Its protected parks and vibrant frontier fishing town create opportunities for thrilling wilderness adventures, immersive cultural experiences, local culinary delights, and frontier hospitality.

Whether trekking to an island summit or kayaking among breaching whales, visitors to the Emerald Island will surely collect unforgettable stories and sights to last a lifetime.

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