With only about 100 miles of road, Kodiak is a great place to go out exploring on your own. Several national car rental agencies are available on the island with offices at the airport and in downtown Kodiak. If you are flying in, you will probably want to pick up your car at the airport. If you are arriving by ferry or cruise ship, it is a short walk to the downtown car rental agency.
A multi-cultural town full of hard-workers, residents of Kodiak believe they live in paradise. On sun-drenched days in summer, you’ll find families out walking the trails and beaches, picnicking, fishing and swimming. Downtown, picturesque St. Paul Harbor is active with fishing and sightseeing boats coming and going. The ferry brings people from the mainland and the Aleutian chain. The shopping square is lively with visitors and townsfolk looking for treasures at Kodiak’s unique gift shops or dining at one of Kodiak’s great restaurants. Three museums, the Baranov, the Alutiiq and the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center are in the heart of downtown Kodiak. You’ll meet many locals who take great joy in talking with tourists and sharing their love of the island.
Just across the channel from downtown Kodiak is Near Island, a popular place for short walks and the site of one of two float plane airports in Kodiak. Near Island is also home to the Fisheries Research Center, which features an aquarium and touch tank where curious people can learn more about the fish and intertidal animals. At St. Herman’s Harbor in Dog Bay, large commercial fishing vessels can be found preparing for trips to sea.
Approximately 13,000 people live on Kodiak Island with around 2,000 of those living in the remote villages. Despite the fact that there are plenty of shopping conveniences available, many families depend on Kodiak’s local fish and wildlife resources for much of the food on their tables. When the fish are running, locals are out fishing to fill their freezers for the long winter ahead. The same is true when hunting season begins. Deer, elk, duck, and rabbit are mainstays on the dinner table along with salmon, halibut, cod, scallops and shrimp.
There is a strong tie between the people of Kodiak and all its natural elements. Whether worrying about loved ones at sea or debating about the best time to put in a subsistence fishing net, Kodiak residents are connected to the sometimes rugged marine environment. The weather can be harsh on Kodiak Island with strong gales and pouring rain. The island, a rain forest, receives approximately 80 inches of precipitation per year. Fog is not uncommon. Winters are considered mild compared to other parts of Alaska, but ice and snow are often seen November through March. The weather seldom stops people from enjoying the outdoors; the motto is “gear up and go” and visitors are encouraged to do the same.
Most of the Kodiak Island Archipelago is roadless and can only be reached by air or boat. There are a number of air charters available to fly visitors to outlying areas. Air taxis can take you on a flightseeing adventure across the island or may take you to remote areas for bear viewing. Depending on the company and/or aircraft you may travel with two to five other passengers. In this way you’ll have the best selection of dates and times. If visiting a Kodiak Island village or outlying lodge our island is part of your trip itinerary plan ahead, book your reservations early and build in days for weather delays. If your heart is seat on bear viewing, book reservations ahead of time and build extra days into your itinerary for weather delays so you can avoid disappointment.