Kayak Island State Marine Park is located on Kayak Island in the Alaskan Gulf, approximately 50 miles to the southeast of Cordova. The park runs along the northern coast of the island and offers visitors kayak excursions as well as an incredible backdrop of ocean glaciers and snow capped mountains. Since the Kayak Island State Marine Park is directly exposed to the weather from the north, it is not very heavily visited by tourists. The park’s history is one of the main reasons it remains protected today.
Kayak Island State Marine Park is home to the site where the very first European set foot on Alaskan soil. In July of 1741, George Steller landed on Kayak Island for the first time. The Bering Expedition is said to have landed along the beaches that comprise the Kayak Island State Marine Park, where the explorers were able to create small shelters. The explorers discovered a native camp on the island, but there were no natives near the camp at the time. The Europeans swapped some of their items from home with some of the items they found in the native camp in a sort of one-sided trading effort.
The remote northern location of the Kayak Island State Marine Park is one of the reasons that the park is not very well visited. This quiet park is ideal for people who like to avoid large crowds while they explore the Alaskan wilderness. Visitors will enjoy quick and easy access to all of the amenities without the long lines and waits that can occur at more popular Alaskan destinations. The waters are far less congested as well, which is great for people who are just learning how to kayak.
Unfortunately, Kayak Island State Marine Park experiences harsh weather during most of the year. Strong, cold north winds can be biting on the open water. Visitors who are prepared for the weather should have no problems staying comfortable, however. It is important to pack cold weather gear for a visit to the island almost any time of the year. The buildings at the park are built right on the water, so they are easy to access after a day of kayaking along the shoreline of the island. Built to withstand the typical harsh weather, these warm buildings are excellent places to enjoy the scenery without experiencing the weather.
The main activity at Kayak Island State Marine Park is kayaking around the island. Kayaks are available to rent, or visitors can bring their own equipment. People who have never ridden in a kayak before can tag along in a double kayak with a more experienced person at the oars to help them learn. Some of the most beautiful areas of the Kayak Island State Marine Park can only bee seen from the water because they are in more remote areas of the island that are difficult to access over land.
Exploring the Beaches
Kayaking along the coast brings visitors to remote beaches where they can explore the undisturbed sands. Various items wash up along the shoreline where visitors can discover them. Most of the beaches are made from fine sand. They are not very deep, but they can run for miles along certain areas of the island. Kayakers can simply row up onto the soft shore and disembark without having to get out and drag the boat onto the shore. Between the beaches there are stretches of shoreline with tall cliffs or glaciers that disappear into the ocean.
Kayak Island State Marine Park is a perfect place to take a camera. The sunrise and sunset are spectacular against the backdrop of the Alaskan Gulf or the tall glaciers that surround the island. Kayak excursions take place in waters that are riddled with large pieces of ice that have broken off of local glaciers and are floating freely. The northern air is thin, which makes everything appear more crisp and clear. Visitors should make sure they have plenty of film because they will want to snap pictures of this incredible landscape constantly. Every time the sun shifts it creates a different marvel from the ice and water.