Polar travel has grown dramatically in the last two decades and in recent years has become the focus of academic inquiry. Using a model initially developed for understanding the nature of culture, action, and knowledge in the development of human geography, we explore the nature, scale, and scope of research related to tourism in the Arctic and the Antarctic. We take a comparative approach to highlight the tourism issues that are largely similar in the two polar regions. Polar tourism research appears to cluster around four main areas: tourism patterns, tourism impacts, tourism policy and management, and tourism development. By assessing these emerging research clusters, we identify research gaps and potentially fruitful lines of inquiry.