Alaska – Thumb Cove State Marine Park

Thumb Cove State Marine Park is located on the east side of Resurrection Bay, approximately 9 miles south of Seward, Alaska. Tucked back into Resurrection Bay, Thumb Cove State Marine Park’s 720 acres are protected from the unpredictable Alaskan weather. Fresh water flows into the park as it runs off of the mountainous Porcupine Glacier and down into the bay. There are land-based as well as water-based activities available all year at this versatile park. The camp sites are free, but there is a small fee for daily parking.

Shoreline Beaches and Mooring Docks

The most popular part of the Thumb Cove State Marine Park is the miles of shoreline beaches that ring the cove. These beaches range from fine sand to large pebbles. The beaches are ideal for camping or as landing areas for kayak and fishing excursions in the bay. Visitors can take advantage of public mooring to tie up their personal water craft if they would like to camp in the park. The Thumb Cove State Marine Park is best accessed by water since there are no main roads that run directly through the park.

Forested Uplands

Some visitors prefer to stay on dry land when they visit Thumb Cove State Marine Park. Much of the park includes deep woods camping areas for anyone who likes to get completely away from civilization for awhile. Cleared camp sites are available throughout the back country of the park, with areas designed for building safe campfires and pitching traditional tents. Even in the middle of the summer, this area can be cold at night. Campers should bring clothes that they can layer so that they will be comfortable during all of the different temperatures of an Alaskan day and night.

Porcupine Glacier

By far the most striking element of Thumb Cove State Marine Park is the Porcupine Glacier. The glacier towers over the park, which creates a breathtaking backdrop for the cove. The park is designed to showcase the giant glacier to the fullest extent. The glacier provides campers with fresh water throughout the year from a stream that flows right through the park. Visitors do not have direct access to Porcupine Glacier, but it is a dramatic element of the park and always remains etched in the memories of everyone who has a chance to see it up close from Thumb Cove.

Recreational Boating

As a marine park, Thumb Cove State Marine Park offers quite a few options for people who enjoy water sports. The bay is a good place to enjoy kayak excursions as well as fishing trips. Most visitors prefer to come to Thumb Cove during salmon season when it is easy to catch your quota of fresh salmon in this quiet, scenic park. Boats are also available for fishing excursions out on the bay itself where the larger fish can be caught. Visitors can enjoy the cove in their own boats, or rent a boat for a day on the water.


There is no access for motorized recreational vehicles in the Thumb Cove State Marine Park. Campers must be prepared to bunk down in tents at one of the cleared camp sites unless they take advantage of one of the rental cabins that the park offers. The boat moors are also accessible for people who are interested in camping on their boats while they visit the park. Camp sites are well equipped for campers who are interested in pitching tents and building campfires for cooking and staying warm. Campers can choose to stay near the water or hike into the back country for a rougher experience.

Public Rental Cabins

Thumb Cove State Marine Park offers two cabins for public rental. The cabins should be reserved well in advance of any vacation at the park because they are very popular. One of the cabins is equipped for people with disabilities, including wheelchair ramps. The two mooring buoys are located in front of the two cabins, which means that everyone who docks at the park will need to pass near the cabins when they travel to and from their boats. The cabins are equipped with bunks, but campers need to bring their own mattresses. Campers should also bring any gear that they may need for splitting wood or cooking meals.