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Why Polar Bears Spend Their Summers Along the Coast

April 07, 2021

Most of us would prefer to spend our summers on the beach or close to the water but have you ever wondered why polar bears do?

In the past, we’ve highlighted that Baffin Island’s western coast is the best place to see polar bears during the summer and that polar bear boat tours are the best way to get safe but intimate viewing opportunities.

But have you wondered why summer polar bears remain along the Arctic shoreline?

Join us as we explore the reasons polar bears love to spend their summers along the coast.


Their Icy Domain Retreats

Polar bears have one of the most extensive roaming territories but do most of their travelling during the winter. When the Arctic waters freeze over, these bears can travel as far as their stomach will take them.

But as the spring turns to summer and their frozen platform turns into open water, they retreat with the ice towards land or large enough islands that they can spend most of their summer resting.


Why They Swim So Much

The summer truly highlights how rocky and mountainous the Arctic is, with the Arctic Cordillera Range stretching from Ellesmere through Baffin Island. That means that travelling during the summer requires more energy to cross the surrounding hillsides.

This is why it is common to find polar bears swimming during the summer. It can be easier to swim from one cove to the next through the water. Polar bears are notoriously good swimmers, and even cubs can travel many kilometres in the water.

Why You Find Them Along the Shore

You will generally find polar bears near the water because this is their source of food. They need to be close to the water to catch their meals. However, the summer is difficult for hunting, and polar bears tend to fast until the ice forms again.

This summer fasting means that they need to conserve their energy and avoid travelling long distances. They will generally rest in a shaded cove or beach during the day, making boat tours the best way to view polar bears during the summer.

In parts of Baffin Island, like the area around Qikiqtarjuaq, you can boat along the shoreline and view numerous polar bears in the sheltered coves and rocky beaches.


Are You Interested In See Polar Bears

If you’re interested in seeing polar bears in their natural habitat during the more comfortable summer weather then our Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island Safari is the trip for you!

Spend each day travelling past icebergs and beautiful Arctic landscapes as you visit known polar bear locations. Our small group tours are the safest way to view them without obstructions from the comfort of our boats.

Learn more about our summer safari and other Arctic adventures here.

By: Mat Whitelaw