Orcas Cove Boat and Sea Kayaking 3 hour tour

Kayakers heading out of the Salmon Stream at Orcas Cove

If you imagine Alaska as a place to get away from it all and enjoy the serenity of the wilderness then the Orcas Cove sea kayaking is the tour for you. Our 3 hour tour is a kayak and boating adventure that allows visitors to escape the crowds in Ketchikan. Orcas Cove is the name of the place where we kayak, unfortunately we don't see orcas every day, but with 3 hours on the water we do have excellent chances to spot marine wildlife. The true highlight of the Orcas Cove tour is exploring the secluded coves and rainforest islands by sea kayak with friendly, knowledgeable guides, although the snack of local smoked salmon on board the mothership is ranked a close second by many of our guests.

Duration: 3 Hours

Price: $159 Adults/$129 Children (6 - 15 yrs)

Tour Highlights

  • Small boat cruise to and from Orcas Cove

  • 1.5 - 1.75 hrs wilderness sea kayaking

  • Explore islands and watch for wildlife

  • Friendly and knowledgeable guides

  • Only 6 guests per group (or your own group of up to 12)

  • Smoked salmon picnic and hot beverages

See Scott McMurren of Alaska Travelgram on the Orcas Cove Tour.

What’s Included

  • Meeting on the cruise ship dock

  • Waterproof paddle jackets and pants

  • Dry bags for cameras and binoculars

  • Snacks and water

What to wear and bring

  • Warm, comfortable layers

  • Hat or cap and sunglasses

  • Camera and binoculars

How to Book

Tours fill fast, please book early. To book the Orcas Cove tour please go to our online booking system or call us at 1-800-287-1607. We do take payment in full to reserve a tour, however you may cancel anytime outside of 14 days. Learn more about booking and cancellation policies here.

Timing for Cruise Ship Visitors

No bus or van rides are required - we meet guests on the cruise ship dock at berth 2 and walk right to our floating office. If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow at least 15 minutes from the time your ship docks to your trip's starting time and allow 1 hour between your trip's finishing time and the departure time for your cruise ship. We'll be punctual - no one on our tours has ever missed their cruise ship - and don’t worry, if you accidentally book a tour time that doesn’t work for your ship we will let you know and arrange a time that works.

Ella and Chelsea were great to paddle with and really informative about all the wildlife we saw. You and Greg have a wonderful thing going and we wish for your continued success! I won’t hesitate to recommend your tour to anyone going to Alaska as our friends recommended you to us!
— Tucker, 2015
A 20 minute boat ride from Ketchikan brings kayakers to the mothership, Sea Spree, in beautiful Orcas Cove.

A 20 minute boat ride from Ketchikan brings kayakers to the mothership, Sea Spree, in beautiful Orcas Cove.

Orcas Cove Tour Details

Southeast Sea Kayaks is located in downtown Ketchikan, for the Orcas Cove tour you will meet your guide on cruise ship dock and walk about 3 minutes to our floating office. Don’t be deterred by the possibility of rain (Ketchikan is in a rainforest after all) we’ll outfit you with everything needed for kayaking in Alaska including waterproof jackets that are specially designed for paddling with hoods and neoprene wrist closures; rain pants, when needed; and dry bags for cameras and personal items that you want to bring with you on the kayaks. We also use sprayskirts on the kayaks to help keep everyone dry and we have a place to store your extra gear at our office.

Small Boat to Orcas Cove

Climb aboard our comfortable cabin cruiser and enjoy a 20 minute boat ride to Orcas Cove with your experienced captain. Along the way you’ll learn about Ketchikan, see the Saxman Totem Pole Park from the water, keep an eye out for whales and other marine mammals and watch for bald eagles.

Mothership Sea Spree at Orcas Cove

The small boat ride ends at the mothership, Sea Spree, a floating base that allows us to enjoy Orcas Cove without having an impact on the delicate intertidal ecosystem. There’s a head (a nautical bathroom) on board;  a platform that makes it easy to get in and out of the kayaks and a warm galley where guests enjoy their smoked salmon after kayaking. Once on board the mothership we’ll get outfitted with sprayskirts to keep the water out of the kayaks, learn how to paddle and load into the kayaks for the next stage of the adventure.

Explore By Sea Kayak

Kayakers head off from the mothership at Orcas Cove

Orcas Cove is one of the best places for sea kayaking close to Ketchikan and it’s the kayaking that is the true highlight of the tour. Sea kayaking allows us to slow down and enjoy the quiet dip of the paddle in the water, the sound of birds singing in the rainforest and the salty smell of low tide. Once on the water, we have 1.5 - 1.75 hours kayaking time which allows us to set a leisurely pace. In our 20 years in business we've learned a lot about how to make kayaking in Alaska safe and fun for our guests. It begins with great quality equipment. Our fiberglass double touring sea kayaks are fast and stable. They have rudders to help with the steering and you don't have to co-ordinate paddle strokes with your partner which makes for happy couples. We also have triple kayaks that make the paddling easier for families with smaller children.

This was our second adventure with Southeast Sea Kayaks. After a quick, beautiful boat trip to Orca's cove we were quickly in our kayaks and out exploring. These guys do everything right-from the guides to the equipment, everything is top-notch. If you aren't an experienced kayaker don't worry they will help you get comfortable and out paddling really fast. If you are a kayaker this is the company you want to paddle with. If you have the time make sure you do the Orca's cove trip, if not the Ketchikan harbor trip is great too. If you can only do one thing in the Ketch, make sure you book a trip with these guys! 

Lisa A on TripAdvisor

Although we don't see them every day, Orcas are frequent visitors to Orcas Cove.

Orcas Cove Scenery & Wildlife

Orcas Cove is a serene wilderness location, far from the bustle of town and the busy cruise ship docks. The old growth forest presses right down to the shoreline and the intertidal zone of over 20 feet is home to a colorful array of creatures. The combination of a protected location and an interesting shoreline with small islands and rock gardens to explore are what make Orcas Cove such an excellent place to sea kayak. There is a wild salmon stream and several bald eagle nests are active in the area. By it's very nature, we never know what wildlife we will see on any particular day - that's part of the excitement. All of the photographs here on our site were taken by us or our guests on tours so they give a good idea of the variety of wildlife.

Orcas Cove gets its name because it is an area where the resident pods of Orcas are frequently seen during the king and silver salmon runs. Humpback whales, porpoises, seals and sea lions also inhabit these waters and we have observed humpback whales lunge feeding in several locations near Orcas Cove. Along the shore we may see river otters, mink, deer and even occasionally, black bears. Orcas Cove is not a wildlife tour, our focus is safe and fun wilderness sea kayaking but on those days when the wildlife obliges, the tour is truly a once in a lifetime experience

Friendly Guides and a Relaxed Pace

Our guides receive rigorous safety training and are experts at taking first time kayakers of all ages safely on the water in Alaska. They are also great naturalists and will enthusiastically share their love of the land with you. Guides carry binoculars to share with the group but guests may also want to bring their own. We travel at a relaxed pace: the goal is to enjoy the wilderness and explore the shoreline, not to set any speed records. There are many opportunities for photographing the exceptional scenery and wildlife and guides will happily take pictures for you.

Guides love to share their knowledge of the area and the sea stars!

Smoked Salmon Picnic and Hot Drinks

After exploring by kayak, hungry kayakers are welcomed back on board the mothership with hot drinks and a picnic of Ketchikan's finest smoked silver salmon. Our Orcas Cove Select smoked salmon is caught and smoked in Alaska. Many of our guests tell us that it is the best smoked salmon they have ever tasted!

We went on the Orcas Cove trip, and we had a wonderful time. The views were pristine. We saw a couple of bald eagles, sea stars and a bunch of salmon jumping in the water. The staff was very fun, friendly, and professional. Our guide happily took pictures of us when we asked her to. She also told us some cool stories about Ketchikan, and her adventures living there. The light lunch of salmon, cream cheese and crackers were just perfect after kayaking. 

Annie Cooper on TripAdvisor

Who Should Take this Tour

Orcas Cove is a great tour for both beginner and experienced paddlers. Anyone with an adventurous spirit and average physical fitness can participate. Checkout our FAQ page for more information on physical requirements. We recommend this tour for families with children age 8 and older or with enough group members for 6 - 7 year olds to paddle in a triple kayak with 2 adults. We can accommodate private groups of up to 12 on this tour. For groups of 4 - 10, the Orcas Cove tour can be combined with Misty Fjords Flightseeing for the ultimate Alaskan adventure.  If you are looking for a challenge, check out the Orcas Cove Kayak and Hike 5.25 hour tour. If 3 hours sounds too long, or you are on a tight budget, check out the Ketchikan Kayaking Tour.

How to Book and Cancellation Policies

Book early! With only 6 guests per tour space fills quickly. Tours may be reserved online or over the phone at 1-800-287-1607.

We take payment in full at time of booking. Tickets are fully refundable, less a $25 processing fee, if cancelled at least 14 days before the trip date. Cancellations with less than 14 days prior notice are non-refundable. We do offer a full refund in the unlikely event that your Cruise Ship is running too late for your trip to be rescheduled, or if your cruise ship misses port. Southeast Sea Kayaks reserves the right to cancel trips for unsafe conditions (occasionally we have high winds) in which case all money will be refunded in full. Rain is not unsafe - we will dress you for the weather. All participants must sign a waiver, a copy is available on our FAQ page.

Orcas Cove is a beautiful wilderness area for kayaking, the scenery is breathtaking in any weather.

Orcas Cove for Groups

The Orcas Cove tour is available for groups of up to 12 and we offer a discount to groups of 8 or more. Checkout our group tour page, call or email us for available group tour times.

What to Wear and Bring

Kayaking in Southeast Alaska is all about staying warm and dry. We provide all the necessary outerwear and gear so that our guests do not have to bring special clothing or equipment. We ask that you dress in warm, comfortable layers. Guests usually wear our paddle jackets as the outer layer, leaving their own coats in the office. We use spray-skirts on the kayaks to help keep you dry. Sneakers, sport sandals or rubber boots are ideal for foot wear rather than large hiking boots which tend to be too bulky for the kayaks. A baseball cap or brimmed hat and sunglasses are a great idea on sunny days. No heels please - they can be dangerous on the docks. Dry bags are provided to protect your camera or video recorder and any other small items you would like to bring on the kayaks with you. We have a safe place where you can store purses and backpacks while you are paddling.

How to Find Us and Trip Timing for Cruise Ship Visitors

We meet all our guests right on the cruise ship dock. If you are arriving by cruise ship, please allow 15 minutes from the time your ship docks to your trip's starting time, so if your ship arrives at 7am then you can book a tour that begins at 7:15am or later. Occasionally, we will book tour "on arrival" for ships that have very short times in port. Please call or email us for details. At the end of the trip please allow 1 hour between your trip's finishing time and the departure time for your cruise ship. For example: the 9am Orcas Cove Tour finishes at 12pm so that trip would work for any ships departing at or after 1pm.

Orcas Cove paddlers heading around Carroll Point.

Looking for More Information?

See our Frequently Asked Questions, read our Top 5 Reasons to take a Southeast Sea Kayaks tour, check out our Blog or learn more About Us. Call Us at 1-800-287-1607. We are open year round and are always happy to answer questions and help you find the right tour