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Miller's Landing kayak tours

Wisconsin
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166 posts
57 reviews
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Miller's Landing kayak tours

Does anyone have any experience with the Miller's Landing kayak tours? I read their TA reviews which are very mixed to put it nicely but most of the negative reviews are in regards to the campgrounds and not the kayak tours.

There's a deal on Groupon right now for their tours, including a 3 hour trip to Tonsina beach for 2 for $65 and a 6-7 hour kayak/hiking tour to Caine's Head for $159. Plus, there's a 20% off code for health and fitness deals. The 3 hour trip seems like a good deal and we're going to get in plenty of hiking on our own as it is, so I'm thinking that may be a good deal (and we need to figure out somewhere in our itinerary to be semi-economical so we don't blow way past our trip budget). So, any feedback on experience anyone has had with their tours or if the area they go to is good for kayaking would be appreciated.

On a largely unrelated topic, is there anywhere in the region where it's possible to kayak close to the glaciers outside of the expensive full day tours that take a larger boat out? I have no doubt those are great, but there's so much to do and so little time and (most importantly) not enough money for it all.

Chugiak, Alaska
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2,104 posts
12 reviews
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1. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

I had a bad experience on the Caine's Head trip last year. My friend and I got paired with two kayaks of much more expert kayakers because of Miller's Landing messing up our tour scheduling. Instead of getting us our own guide, they just put us with another group and it was horrible. The guide couldn't convince the other folks to slow the heck down and my shoulders were killing me half way through the trip from trying to keep up (and I am a fit individual, but we had two adults and they had an adult and a child in their kayaks). We sat on the beach rather than trying to keep up with the ridiculous people on the hike and watched a group on a Sunny Cove tour leisurely paddling up to the shore, taking pictures, and generally enjoying the heck out of their trip.

It had taken me an hour to recover from our horrid journey, but I got up and helped their guide pull the kayaks up on the shore while those folks on that tour took more pictures and looked around.

We then waited a full hour and a half longer than the Miller's Landing tour stated we would on the hikers. The guide told us than the water taxi that we'd take back wouldn't have been there any sooner. We got back nearly two hours after the tour on the web site said we would. Good thing we had no other plans that day. The walk from the water taxi to the shore included calf deep wading so don't plan on wearing nice shoes or on using the same shoes the rest of the day. We weren't warned of this possibility.

I'd look into Adventure 60 North instead of trying to get a deal. I would not book a tour or recommend a tour with Miller's Landing ever again after that debacle.

Edited: 23 March 2014, 07:19
USA
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2. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

What a shame, AKStafford! I feel for you for that experience. I too am fit but my kayaking experiences use entirely different muscles & can be a grueling experience in the ocean, with wind or chasing after others.

Guides should always, always pace the group to the slowest participants. Otherwise, it can be quite dangerous. Especially with double kayaks with adult/adult weight vs adult/child weight.

Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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1,803 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

I haven't been on a tour from Miller Landing, but have several other experiences that are related. We hired a Miller guide the first time I went down with a friend.My experience was on rivers up to that pointed happily with a knowledge of seamanship the experience transferred well. The guide was a young woman who worked 3 or 5 seasons in Alaska and she knew her kayaking and the area quite well. We were in very competent hands.

Another time I went out with a private group and the 'leader' went off on his own rather than lead the group. I stuck with the main group and everyone did quite well, but needed someone familiar with the area and seas to make the comfort level adequate.

Another time I brought two young cousins to kayak and we rented kayaks from Miller Landing. With one in a double kayak and another in his own, the water was flat enough I was willing to risk the newbie in the water, we would likely not get too far but have an hour or two of good fun. The one guy jumped in and quickly proceeded to show his terrible level of inexperience, and Miller's called us back to shor and gave us a refund rather than risk lives. So they do care!

The message I would take away from this and the earlier postings is to check out the other people on tour and make sure you are compatible, and that the tour guide has the same priorities you do. You aren't taking a water taxi, so you shouldn't be stuck the way alaskantiger was.

There may be more custom outfitters in Seward, but Miller's Landing fills a niche for a wide variety of people and budgets. We also have to remember that personnel change over the years, so the service 2 or 3 years ago may not be the same as today, but I would take good reviews as a good indication of good results. That is where "corporate culture" carries on.

Please come back and let us know what you do, and the experience you have. You may also let Miller know you are to report back to us!

71

Edited: 23 March 2014, 20:49
Alaska
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4. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

I see I get only one edit, and I used that to specify the guide was from Miller Landing. On second look I also wanted to specify that the Private Group another time WAS NOT related to Miller Landing, but it was a gathering of friends of friends, one in particular not reliable.

71

5. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

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Wisconsin
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166 posts
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6. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

Thanks for the responses. I started looking into other companies that offer kayak tours and flirted with the idea of doing an all day kayaking tour to the Aialik Bay but after further considering the cost and my wife's luke warm reaction to the idea, we're going to stick with with doing a half day tour but I think we'll avoid Miller's Landing. As much as I'd like to be paying $50 instead of closer to $150 for a half day tour, the reviews are way too hit and miss compared to the other companies in town.

7. Re: Miller's Landing kayak tours

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