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Glacier Bay is a national park and preserve located in Alaska. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve protects tidewater glaciers, which flow out of the mountains to the ocean, and other natural wonders. Visitors to Glacier Bay can choose from a variety of boat tours to view the beauty of the area. Everything from single-person kayaks to cruise ships holding thousands allow visitors to see the national park by water. The majority of Glacier Bay tours are by water, but visitors also can experience the park by air and on the ground.
Glacier Bay tours by boat are offered by a park concessionaire and by tour companies. A Glacier Bay tour boat leaves every morning during the summer from Glacier Bay Lodge in Bartlett Cove and travels 130 miles through the bay on a seven-hour cruise. Tour boats originating in Juneau, Alaska, or other Southeast Alaskan towns bring visitors on Glacier Bay tours as part of a longer itinerary. Some tour boats specialize in whale watching for the humpback whales that feed in the area's waters each summer. Private charter boats for small parties can be rented for multi-day trips in the area.
Cruise ships bring the majority of visitors to Glacier Bay. These cruise ships usually originate in major cities on the West Coast of the United States and carry thousands of passengers. Ships generally spend approximately 10 hours in the bay before continuing their journeys. Park rangers board the ships to give presentations about the park and answer passengers' questions.
Another way to see Glacier Bay by water is on a kayak tour. Glacier Bay tours by kayak include guided day tours and overnight trips. Kayakers also can rent kayaks in the park or bring their own. Guided rafting tours of the park also are offered.
Other Glacier Bay tours include airplane tours that can last one hour or some that last longer. Visitors can get a comprehensive view of the area and spot Alaskan wildlife. Short hikes led by park rangers can be enjoyed at Glacier Bay. Outfitter-led hiking, camping, backpacking and mountaineering tours into the backcountry bring more adventurous visitors face-to-face with Alaska's deepest wilderness.
Hunting and fishing are allowed in the preserve section of Glacier Bay, but not in the national park. Outfitters and hunting guides are available to take hunters into the preserve. Fishing guides take anglers on fishing trips and teach them about the various fish species in the area. Both fresh and saltwater fishing is available at Glacier Bay.