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It was a little overcast on the boat tour, but clear enough to see the bay and glaciers. The water was placid as well.
Glacier Bay National Park
Closest available address
1 Park Rd, PO Box 140, Gustavus, AK 99826
Park is open all year. Staffed visitor center is open in summer 11-9.
Best time to visit
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is 3,283,000 acres and located in Southeast Alaska. It is famous for tidewater glaciers, extensive mountains and a long sheltered bay. The park is primarily wilderness with access by air or sea.
Glacier Bay was first protected as a national monument in 1925 mostly due to William Cooper, a plant ecologist. The monument expanded in size and later became a national park in 1980. Glacier Bay is now part of a vast protected area in the US and Canada covering 32,000,000 acres. The most popular way to see the park is by cruise ship. However, the number of cruise ships permitted in the bay is limited and the ships are too big to get close to shore. A better option is a smaller tour boat from the park’s main facility in Bartlett Cove. Since it’s an all day trip, plan on at least one overnight stay. The Glacier Bay Lodge is the most convenient hotel, but it is dated and average in quality. If you want more choices and comforts, here is a link for the B&Bs and inns in nearby Gustavus:
Touring Glacier Bay is a great way to see tidewater glaciers and plant succession on lands uncovered by the retreating glaciers. As far as animals, there is a reasonable chance to view brown bears foraging along the shore and sea otters and seals in the water. Also humpback whale tours are available in summer outside the park in Icy Straight. Glacier Bay is a popular place; it will chiefly appeal to those who enjoy nature, natural wonders and the outdoors. Two days is enough to get a good sense of the park but if you want to go camping or relax at a B&B in Gustavus for a while, you could easily stay a week.
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