Sitka Whalefest

November 4-7 2021


Sitka WhaleFest is a festival to celebrate marine life through science education, community and storytelling! Sitka WhaleFest raises awareness, educates, and creates enthusiasm for the marine environment. Our goal is to bring a deeper understanding of the marine environment to a diverse and inclusive audience in a way that all participants feel welcome and engaged.

Through a community-based festival we celebrate the marine world and our connection to it. We seek to convey that science is not just for scientists; it is a part of our everyday lives. The core of the festival, is a unique science symposium for all that blends local knowledge and scientific inquiry of the rich marine environment of our oceans. Surrounded by community and cultural activities, the weekend events include science presentations, marine wildlife cruises in beautiful Sitka Sound, a marine-themed artisan market, music, local foods, art show, interactive student sessions, and a fun run/walk. Come to Sitka WhaleFest and celebrate with this unique tradition with our community!



Previous Next

2020 WhaleFest Theme

Ocean Connections: Culture and Communication

“Ocean Connections” explored the many forms of culture and communication that are tied to the marine environment. Through the lens of Indigenous knowledge and scientific discovery, we examined the web of interconnections that makes up the world’s oceans.

Science Symposium Speakers

The heart of Sitka WhaleFest is the three-day symposium, where world-renowned scientists share their current research. These presentations are unique because the speakers are chosen for their ability to communicate their work and engage a broad sweeping audience. This innovative science event gives future scientists and anyone interested in our oceans opportunities to meet and interact with a passionate and diverse group of speakers. Each afternoon, symposium participants and guest speakers will explore a daily theme connected to the overall theme of the symposium.

Beautiful Sitka lies along the coastal edge of Baranof Island in the Tongass National Forest and spectacular Southeast Alaska.  This remote community, with its myriad forested islands and rugged coastline, is home to whales and other marine mammals that can be observed each November during Sitka WhaleFest.  Enjoy delicious local seafood and shop Sitka’s many galleries and shops.  Sitka’s weather this time of year is in the 40’s and lower 50’s.  Rain or shine, the festival will go on!


Alaska Airlines, one of the west coast’s major carriers (and one of the country’s most highly rated airlines) has never abandoned its tradition of service to rural Alaska. Sitka has a direct flight daily from both Seattle and Anchorage, and a connecting flight to Juneau.  Thanks to Alaska Airlines, all full symposium registrants receive a discount code for travel to Sitka WhaleFest; the discount code is included in the registration confirmation email and will appear when you register.

Alaska Seaplanes, is the premier commuter airline of Southeast Alaska. Operating from a hub in Juneau, Alaska Seaplanes serves the Skagway, Haines, Gustavus, Hoonah, Kake, Klawock, Sitka, Angoon, Tenakee Springs, Pelican, Elfin Cove and Excursion Inlet on a year-round basis.  Custom charters are available throughout Southeast Alaska, Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.


Alaska Marine Highway, The southern U.S. terminal is located in Bellingham, Washington (just north of Seattle). Departing from Bellingham, you can expect to stay aboard the ferry for roughly 4 days, sleeping either in a cabin, in one of the lounges, or camped on deck. Cafeteria service and showers are available on all ferries, but only the larger boats have private accommodations. For reservations, more information, or a schedule contact: Alaska Marine Highway P.O. Box 25535 Juneau, Alaska 99802-5535; 1-800-642-0066 or 747-8737 in Sitka.


Westmark Sitka is offering WhaleFest participants a discounted room rate of $119 per night. Mention WhaleFest when you call to make your reservation. The promotional code can not be used for online booking.

Phone: (907) 747-6241

Aspen Suites Sitka also offers WhaleFest participants a discounted rate of $89 per night. When you call to book your room mention WhaleFest to receive the discounted rate. These rooms cannot be booked online.

Phone: (907) 747-3477

There are vacation rentals available in Sitka, including Golden Alaskan Lodge Book online, or call (907) 747-3712.

For more information about Sitka, other accommodations, or other visitor opportunities please contact Visit Sitka by visiting their website (www.visitsitka.org), following their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/VisitSitka) or calling (907) 747-8604.

Volunteers are vital to the success of Sitka WhaleFest. If you are interested in volunteering or being a part of the planning please contact whalefest@sitkascience.org.

Thank you for your help and continued support!


Contact us

Sitka WhaleFest 834 Lincoln Street Sitka, Alaska 99835
907.747.8878 ext. 2