Food and Drink in Whittier
The dining scene in Whittier is eclectic, simply because there is not a ton to choose from. You'll find fresh doughnuts, solid Chinese food and heralded fish 'n' chips, but dietary restrictions could prove cumbersome. Head to the waterfront to dine at one of the few but reliable restaurants.
China Sea: Korean-owned and doing Chinese food well for years, China Sea features specials like kung pao halibut. (6 Harbor Road; 907-472-2222; open about 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily).
Varly's Swiftwater Seafood Cafe: Known for its fish 'n' chips, Varly's is a real local spot, known also for its rhubarb crisp, which is on offer for dessert. (Harbor Road, next to China Sea; 907-472-2550; open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends)
Lazy Otter Cafe & Gifts: Lazy Otter is the place for espresso, breakfast, lunch and ice cream. The salmon cream cheese bagel is to die for. Boxed lunches are available for the day (or train trip to Anchorage). (Lot 2; 907-472-3000)
The Donut Depot: As you might expect, you can head here for snacks like fresh doughnuts (duh) and burritos. Cash only. (100 Railyard; 907-529-2516; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
The Inn at Whittier: The Inn is the premier place to stay in this tiny port town, but it also offers a sun-filled dining room with plenty of windows for views of Prince William Sound. A room is usually set aside for tour groups coming through for lunch, but access to the main dining room is available without reservation (unless you want a table near the windows). Visit for lunch or dinner. (5A Harbor Loop Road; 907-472-3200)
Don't Miss in Whittier
Begich Towers: The main residence in town is what you'd expect of a 1940's military structure, including dark, narrow halls. Although you obviously cannot enter residents' apartments, anyone can go inside the building: Everything in town is located there, including the grocery store on the first floor and a medical clinic on the third. This is an unusual setup, even for quirky Alaska. (100 Kenai Street)
Fishing: About 30 charter fishing boats operate out of Whittier. The Whittier Harbormaster keeps a list (call 907-472-2330). You can arrange to have your catch shipped home.
Blackstone via kayak: See Prince William Sound by kayak with Alaska Sea Kayakers (877-472-2534; two locations along the harbor), which offers classes, day trips and overnights in a number of scenic camping locales like Blackstone Bay or Harriman Fjord. Space is available for day trips, but advance planning is recommended for any overnights. Also consider the Prince William Sound Kayak Center if someone in your group is looking to rent paddleboards. (101 Billings Street; 877-472-2452; open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
Prince William Sound Museum: Focusing on Whittier's military history, specifically that of World War II and the construction of the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, this small museum shares space with the Anchor Inn. (100 Whittier Street; 877-472-2354; open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.)
Glacier boat tour: Two operators dominate the boat tour scene in Whittier. Phillips Cruises and Tours (800-544-0529) offers a 4.5-hour, 26-glacier cruise of the sound on a fast, three-deck catamaran, counting the glaciers as they go. They offer a unique no seasickness guarantee. Major Marine Tours (800-764-7300) operates a smaller, 149-passenger vessel that visits 10 glaciers and puts an emphasis on food (for an extra fee) with an all-you-can-eat salmon and prime rib buffet. Both are located on West Camp Road directly next to the cruise terminal.
Glacier Jet Ski Adventures: Relatively new to the Whittier tour operator scene, Glacier Jet Ski Adventures offers adrenaline-junkies the chance to jet around the protected sound with no experience necessary and get this -- heated life vests. (Located in The Triangle; 907-830-4001; Open everyday from May through September, weather permitting)