I would visit Petersburg as a child because my dad’s dad, whom we refer to as “Papa Wolf,” lived there with our Grams. We would fly from California to Juneau, and then Juneau to Petersburg. Once we got to the town, we would head to the dock and all six of us would pile into a zodiac that took us to the little island where they lived in a log cabin. Yes, a legitimate log cabin on an island in Alaska. It was the best place. 

I was still pretty young by the time my Papa Wolf moved downtown. But even after almost 20 years I still have vivid memories of walking along the beach searching for stones to skip along the water, or heading into the forest with my Grams to collect berries to use in pancakes and other treats. Though my Papa Wolf doesn’t live there anymore, those memories will stay with me forever and have solidified Petersburg in my memory. So, here are my suggestions for things to do in Petersburg Alaska, should you ever happen to find yourself there. 

Things To Do In Petersburg Alaska

Petersburg is a small fishing town on the Frederick Sound in Southeast Alaska. And I’m going to be so honest, if you want to spend all of your time outside, I would not recommend going here during any season that is not summer. The weather in Petersburg Alaska is not what I would call ideal for wintertime activities. I mean it gets very cold. Like, very cold. So, if that’s the type of weather you enjoy, great! But if not, try to keep your travel plans to the summer months. 

Go Fishing 

The views in Petersburg Alaska USA are unbelievable
Beautiful view of the water in Petersburg, AK

Petersburg Alaska fishing culture is still very prevalent today. Depending on your skill set, you can either decide to try and fish on your own from one of the docks, or you can go on a guided tour. I would not consider myself a skilled fisherman, so going with a tour is definitely the option I would choose. 

If you venture to Blind River Rapids Boardwalk, you can try and reel in a King salmon. Or, you can cast a line for some herring right off the dock. If you want to fish out on the water, then you can have a guide bring you and your party out to search for halibut, which is my personal favorite. Depending on your luck, you can catch between a 100-300 lb. halibut! That’s dinner right there for a while. 

If you prefer to stay out of the elements while participating in the local culture, you can go to the Clausen Memorial Museum. Here, they have traditional fishing gear on display along with historical background that explains the uses behind the different equipment. After looking at the displays here, you and your party can head over to Bojer Wikan Fisherman’s Memorial Park where statues have been built in honor of local fishermen from the past. 

Visit LeConte Glacier 

The city of Petersburg Alaska is only about 20 miles from the famous LeConte Glacier. Visitors can choose to take a boat tour, which will bring them as close to the Glacier as they are able. For those with a more extreme thirst for adventure, there are kayaking tours that are offered. I would only suggest this for people who don’t mind the cold and are in good physical condition. It takes between 1-2 days to reach the Glacier by this method, so it’s no walk in the park. 

If you choose this method though, the final reward is so worth it. Along your journey you will pass by wildlife, (even whales!) and once you get to your destination, you’ll be able to paddle through the icebergs. Of course, if all this sounds a little too intense for your liking I don’t blame you at all. There are also flightseeing tours that will give you a great view of the Glacier in a much more comfortable setting! Whichever option you choose, I’m sure you will be pleased as it is one of the coolest things to do in Petersburg Alaska 

Explore Mitkof Island 

Petersburg sits on one side of Mitkof Island. The island as a whole is a popular destination for visitors to see wildlife and also experience small town living. When you drive around, it’s possible that you will be able to spot Black-tailed deer, Black bears, eagles, moose and porcupines. There are also many hiking trails around the island that will give your party a more hands-on experience. In their downtown area, there are many bars and restaurants to hangout in. 

Experience the Wrangell Narrows 

This 35km channel runs in between Mitkof Island and Kupreanof Island. It is the quickest way to get from Wrangell- St. Elias National Park and Reserve to Petersburg. It’s popular not only for its immense beauty, and high chances of seeing wildlife, but also for its risk. This has been the principal passageway for ships going between Canada and Alaska for over 150 years. The remnants of past ships that have tried to journey here and failed still serve as a reminder of its deep history.

A license pilot is required to accompany ships as they go through this waterway. Some accounts even record there being reported incidents occurring every .25 of a mile during the journey. It is believed to be so dangerous because of the winding landscape, unforgiving rocks, and intense current. Going through here is easily one of the most dangerous things to do in Petersburg Alaska.


Whether you are looking for a quiet, small town vacation, or if you are a thrill seeker with a serious death wish, Petersburg will be able to accommodate you. With such a wide variety of things to do in Petersburg Alaska, I am sure you will come away from your trip wishing you had stayed longer. 


Do cruise ships stop at Petersburg Alaska?

Petersburg is located well outside of the route taken by large cruise ships. Although there are many smaller cruise lines that come through there.

What is Petersburg Alaska known for?

This small town is known predominantly for its fishing traditions and large Norwegian population and culture.

Why is it called Petersburg?

It was named after Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant whose family began to largely populate the area.


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