About 30 charter fishing boats operate out of Whittier, the closest saltwater fishing to Anchorage, mostly targeting halibut and occasionally salmon. Contact the Whittier Chamber of Commerce or Harbormaster for a list of operators. MJ's Bread N Butter Charters (tel. 888/472-2396 or 907/472-2396; www.breadnbuttercharters.com) has a long reputation. They charge $285 per person for a day of halibut fishing.
You can rent your own boat, for fishing, exploring, or even sleeping, from Whittier Boat Rentals (tel. 907/232-2783; www.alaska-boat-rentals.com). They carry quality equipment, including boats suitable for an extended trip. Full-day rentals range from $550 to $950; they rent rods and shrimp pots as well. Or book a guided charter, with a choice of vessels with experienced skippers, from Whittier Marine Charters (tel. 907/440-9510; www.fishwhittier.com).
Whittier is a popular starting point for kayak trips to beautiful and protected western Prince William Sound. Day trips for beginners paddle along the shore near Whittier, often visiting a bird colony, or take a boat 5 miles from the harbor to Shotgun Cove and paddle back. Longer multiday trips go by boat to waters where you can visit glaciated fjords and paddle narrow passages. Alaska Sea Kayakers (tel. 877/472-2534 or 907/472-2534; www.alaskaseakayakers.com) offers 3- and 5-hour day trips, for $79 to $220; paddles at Blackstone Glacier that begin and end with a charter boat ride, for $330; and extended trips. Guides are well trained, and occasional weekend instructional clinics are offered (check the website for times). Offices are at each end of Whittier Harbor. Prince William Sound Kayak Center (tel. 877/472-2452 or 907/472-2452; www.pwskayakcenter.com) offers guided half-day trips starting at $80, as well as full days and other options, and rents kayaks. They've been in business since 1981.
Most self-guided kayakers charter a boat to drop them off among the islands beyond the long, deep fjord in which Whittier is located. There are six Forest Service cabins in this idyllic area (reserve 6 months ahead). Flat sites suitable for a tent are not plentiful on these rocky shores, so do some research with the Forest Service or Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage before you go (the tent platforms at Surprise Cove State Marine Park make an excellent remote base camp).